Oh how I loved spending time with my granddaughter and her family! Every morning we had Garinion/grandma time. After her morning feeding, I would take the baby and let the kids get some much needed sleep. I usually got about 3 hours with her, just the two of us. This baby is a bit of a gulper and just always needed a good burp! She did not give them up easily, though, so throughout the day, I had the opportunity to hold her and love her and try to get her to burp. Sometimes, even after the burp and after she settled into a good sleep I’d just keep holding her and looking at her and loving her. Several times, I popped her into the sling and she would just snuggle in and sleep so peacefully. (In this picture, her lips look just like her daddy’s! Little, pudgy “bird lips” (not sure why we called them that… birds don’t have lips… but we did call them that and now I call hers that, too!))
I received an email from my “counterpart”… Garnion’s other grandmother (her Memaw) and she said, “Oh, my goodness. Grandkids steal your heart in such a special way. What a blessing that [MrsSgt and SgtSS] met and gave us [Garinion]. How did we live without her???” How very, very true! And once again, though I should not be, I look with amazement at how God turns everything to the good! Even our selfishness and wrong choices.
I am amazed that He takes these things and brings the perfection of life out of them. I am amazed that He responds to these things in us with love and blessing to draw us to Himself rather than using wrath and punishment. To be sure, there are consequences for all of our choices, but to know that God will woo us and lure us to his perfect love, in this case by means of a beautiful child…. Amazing! Though I know I should not be amazed. At all. God is Love! God will use the fear of hell and loss or other difficulties in this life to reach us if He must, but He really likes to woo us with his love. I believe this is His first choice and preferred “method.” He sure did a good job of that with Garinion! And the best is yet to come, I believe. This beautiful baby is a powerful tool in the hands of God. Of that I am sure!
This visit was quite emotional for me. Of course there is the overwhelming feeling of love. A new and distinct love of a grandma for her grandchild, but there was so much more. It makes me sad that our baby days are (likely) over and that this part of life is past. It also stirred a lot of reflection in me.
Every time I looked at her, I just realized how privileged I am to be a mother. I realized how many minutes and hours I wasted on silly things… silly bits of entertainment (like talking on the phone or whatever)… getting wound up about things that really turned out to be insignificant… not worrying enough about things that are truly important… not making sure that we had more fun together… and so much more! I would not be surprised to find that this visit to Garinion turns out to be another turning point in my growth as a mother. I thank God that this came before my (active) mothering is done and I can refocus myself in these days that I have with the children I still have at home.
Becoming a grandma is so amazing. It is eye-opening and perspective-giving. It is a joy that is related to, but distinct from, being a mother. It is a part of motherhood, it stems from motherhood, but it is different. You pass the torch to your children and now you know to pray for them even more than you ever knew to pray for yourself and your kids while you raised them. I’ve come to understand even more how important is this vocation of wife and mother (and the vocation of husband and father which facilitates it.) I’ve come to understand that it is a blessing and privilege that may not be fully grasped or understood (on the internal, heart level) until you see your grandchildren with their mother and you realize how irreplaceable she is to those grandchildren. Then you look back and realize it was the same for your own children and how wise our God is to have designed the family to be like this.
I realized anew that each and every moment that I have spent here, in my home, even the less-than-perfect moments, were worth everything that I “gave up” to have them. It’s not that I had regrets about how I’ve spent my time and my life. It’s that I realized how much I would have regretted it if I had chosen to pursue something different than full time mothering.
If the temptation to feel sorry for myself was lying under the surface, I have been inoculated against it. It will not get a foothold. I am not even able to be disturbed in any way just because I did not pursue the career I thought I might, or that we don’t have as much money as we might have, or that I’m not “making my mark” or whatever other “worldly temptation” there might be. For some reason, seeing this next generation begin has made me realize again that, by God’s grace, I have spent my life *trying* to live and to do the better part and it is all worth it. Every single sorrow and joy, burden and blessing was worth everything I might have “given up” to be here and to try to live this vocation well. It has given me a new determination to do a better job of it while I still can with these youngest four and to pray more for our children who are now parents themselves.