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Kids, the Second Time Around

Isaac, my first grandson, has taken upon himself the task of unloading the clean silverware.
Now, to progress to putting it in the drawer . . .

My whole gang came home for Christmas! What a happy experience was it to have all my children under my roof again . . . and all pulled up to my table again. Sixteen plates set for meals is tons of fun! Wish it could always be this way:
Daniel and Melissa and their 3 little ones
Nathan and Melanie and their 2 babies
Mark, Julianna and Emily: my 3 very eligible young adults
Ammon and Louisa: still in home school
and their dad and I = 16!

I’m Grammy. I tried on lots of names for size when I was making my debut into grandmotherhood five years ago. I tried Grandma, Granny, Nana, Oma (Dutch for grandmother), and several other versions. I wanted my name to be unique, and not easily confused with my grandbabies’ other grandmas. I wanted it to sound warm and cuddly and like you could just climb right up on my lap and get rocked in the rocking chair. So I finally settled on the name Grammy, thinking I had invented a one-of-a-kind name. (I’ve since met many other Grammies!) I love hearing the little ones call me Grammy!

Being a Grammy
is pretty interesting business. It is a delicious taste of little ones—the second time around. And this time, raising kids looks very different! It seems that 33 years of mothering has changed my perspective and priorities drastically. The first time around, my child was 2 years old for a decade it seemed, whereas now, my grandchildren seem to be 2 years old for only 5 minutes.

And picking battles. That has changed enormously. The number of things I feel like fighting over and holding my ground over with kids has melted into 1) basic survival and 2) being a Christian. All else is not quite important enough. Now I want to hug tight and know that this moment is fleeting and we should cling together, rather than struggle against each other. And I see them as small and tender and in need of gentleness and comfort from the most important person in their life.

I got the very luscious privilege of rocking my grandbaby Rachel Lily (1 yr.) to sleep at night several times while she was here for the holidays. I remembered once again how little ones sometimes get overwhelmed by their own needs and can be helped to cope by just being cuddled, held tight and rocked hard for 10 minutes—and all the stress washes right out and they relax and their eyelids flutter and they go limp in peaceful slumber . . . a most gratifying experience in helping my beloved little person.

And I was reminded of how big the job of parenting is! Wow, it takes dedication and energy. Just watching my married kids take such attentive care of their children made me realize how raising a family right requires all our strength and effort. God gives us children when we are young for a very good reason! I stretched out my “youngness” and childbearing as long as nature would allow. By the time I birthed my long-awaited 7th child, Louisa (at 43 years old), I reluctantly admitted God’s wisdom in gracefully turning off our childbearing, although I never would stop wanting another child.

Parenting is a long journey with a very steep learning curve. It takes a while to learn to admit that you don’t have the answers, never did have them, and never will have them all! Every child is a new challenge and the old tricks don’t work on this one. Nothing makes you see your own inadequacies, squelches your pride and makes you fall to your knees for help as quickly as your own little child.

Something happens over the years. Something alters within you, as a woman. I remember holding my first baby (Daniel), just a few weeks old, while I watched my church friends play volleyball at a young marrieds activity. I sure wanted to play!! I ached to play. I got my husband to hold the baby so I could play for a little while. And thus started that indescribable pull that makes mommies fuss and worry about their babies and prefer holding them and being with them. As a young mom, I had so very much that I wanted to do: crafts and decorating our apartment, and cooking new recipes and sewing baby clothes and reading books and learning new things and taking a calligraphy class and being with my husband . . . and taking care of my baby didn’t allow me much time to do these things. I can remember feeling restless and frustrated at times. But God works on your mother-heart until you end up several decades later preferring holding the baby to doing any of those things. And realizing that nothing is as important as a baby.

I still think mothering is the best job. Mothering and grandmothering.

Aren’t we blessed?

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