I must admit that I have enjoyed being a grandparent far more than I ever thought was possible. Yeah, this is an article about my grandkids!
What makes it so much fun for us is that our grandkids live close by. Our daughter, Jenny and husband, Josh, with two-and-a-half year old, Brooklyne, live thirty miles from us. Eldest daughter, Laura and husband, Ken, with three year old, Alyssa, live less than a mile from our home. We also have two older grandchildren from Ken’s first marriage. Daniel and DeziRay live twenty-five miles away. So, we get to see all of them frequently.
I’ve written before that we get to keep Alyssa overnight on Thursdays. This little girl is one of the most restless sleepers you’ll ever find! Sometime between one and three in the morning she will begin kicking and thrashing. Since Isaura (the grandkids call her Meema, and I’m Dandaddy) and I bracket her in bed we both end up feeling the effects of these middle of the night disruptions of what is supposed to be a tranquil nights sleep. Isaura has Fridays off so she can take care of Alyssa. On the other hand, I also take Fridays off, but I get up early to play golf with friends. Because I want to feel fresh on these mornings, I’ve started sleeping in the guest room just so I can get some sleep!
This week on Friday morning I was dressed and saying goodbye to my wife when Alyssa woke up. Stretched out in our bed under the covers, through half-closed eyes, she looked at Meema and said, “It’s Good Morning time!” Just hearing her say this in her own way is proof positive that it is indeed going to be a good morning.
On other Friday mornings Isaura tells me that Alyssa will come downstairs still in her sleepers, dragging her blanket, announcing in full voice, “Meema! I awake!”
Because of the 30 mile distance separating us from Brooklyne, Isaura and I do not see her nearly as much as Alyssa. This has caused Brookie to be unsure in her relationship to me. So this past Wednesday evening I was scheduled to watch Brookie while Jenny was teaching the high school class at church, and Isaura was leading a prayer meeting. Being of an entirely different temperament, Brookie will express her displeasure at the drop of a hat. When she saw her mom leave our house, she cried, wanting her mom to come back. No sooner had she settled down, but Isaura left for her church prayer meeting. Once again, tears. As she stood off from me about ten feet, surveying me with considerable uncertainty, I asked her if she’d like to make some cookies. She shook her head no. How about baking a cake, I asked? Again, the negative headshake. Let’s play Lego’s, I offered. Wanna play Lego’s? Again, no.
Not to be put off, I walked into the kitchen and prepared to make something which would satisfy my sweet tooth. I pulled down a box of white cake mix, and a box of brownie mix. Brookie was sitting at the Lego’s table showing little interest in the popular blocks. I, on the other hand, had music playing on the radio, humming along as I mixed the recipes in separate bowls. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Brookie standing by the sink watching me. I asked her if she wanted to help me. She shook her head, yes. I told her to grab the “steps” (the folding step stool) and open it in front of the counter where I was working and climb on up. I let her lick the beater and scrape the bowl where I had mixed the brownies. After washing the beater, we mixed the cake mix, and again, I let her lick the beater and bowl. I washed up the dishes whereupon I was confronted by Brookie telling me she wanted me to read her a book. As she sat on my lap, I read a children’s version of several Bible stories. After reading three books and taking the baked items out of the oven, Brookie decided I was now her personal Jungle Gym!
When my wife came home, she asked Brookie if she wanted to take a bath. With great excitement in her voice, she said, “Yeah!” So I was given a reprieve for about thirty minutes. After her bath and back downstairs, she looked at me coyly, and said, “Can’t catch me!” Round and round we went. Each time I would catch her I would pick her up, flipping her upside down so she would be above my head. And each time I put her back down, she’d say, “Do it again!” I lost count as to the number of times I lifted her that way, but I haven’t had a shoulder workout like that in some time!
Her mom finally came through the front door. Brookie and I couldn’t see the door, so I said, “Brookie! Is that your mommy?” She cried out, “No!” I thought she might have misunderstood, so I said it again. And again she cried out, “No!” Then it hit me! Brookie was having so much fun that she didn’t want to stop. The arrival of her mother meant they would be going home. Her mother assured her they would not leave right away. So we all had a piece of cake, a brownie and a glass of milk.
It was a great evening!
One last story about Alyssa: On Thanksgiving, we all gathered around the table prepared to consume copious amounts of turkey, stuffing and the rest. But before we ate, we all joined hands in prayer. On every other occasion I would be the one offering the prayer. Before I could say anything, it was suggested that we allow Alyssa to say the prayer. “Why not?” I said. I looked at Alyssa and nodded for her to pray. This was her prayer: “Dear Jesus, thank you for the food. Thank you for the whole wide world! In Jesus Name, Amen!” Instead of then offering the adult prayer, which would send the signal that her prayer wasn’t really legitimate, I thought, “I can’t improve on that prayer!” So instead, we got down to the business of eating.
Isaura and I are so blessed with these precious little ones. They truly are a gift from the Lord!