When I was a child, I often walked across the driveway to visit Grandma. We played Scrabble; ate lunch before she revealed what it was; walked a mile measured in quarter-mile stretches; made clothespin doll skirts from hollyhock blossoms; played with Jackie, her dog; fed birds in any season; admired precious elm trees; picked cherries in Grandpa’s orchard; planted vegetable and flower seeds; splurged on a daily piece of chocolate; collected rain water in a barrel—to soft-rinse her hair after a shampoo.
We sat on her favorite cast iron bench with a broken leg, a’tilt against a tree;
spied humming bird’s nest in our maple tree; reveled in town history; watched the Memorial Day parade, which ended at the cemetery across the street.
We walked her mile around and through the cemetery. She told stories about Lulu buried here, her father buried there, and town fathers buried yonder. We paced the perimeter of the first log church; wondered at the rotting wooden grave marker inscribed, “Here lies my strong right arm.”
We remembered lots of things. But after all those years of showing, telling and listening, what I remember most is the person of Grandma herself, who shared untold hours of her God time with me.
Grandma lived alone, so I was often encouraged to go see her. Our times together were rich with words spoken, Scrabbled with tiles, or felt in our hearts. Even today, as I wonder how my mother does something, I also think of Grandma and how she might have done it.
Does your child get to spend time with a grandparent living nearby? Yes? Your child is blessed! No? Then why not adopt a “Grandy” from your neighborhood or church? Give the new Grandy the gift of your child’s innocence, curiosity, sense of awe, searching for truth, drive to ask questions, and more. Most senior people understand the Childrenese language. They are wise. They see through children’s eyes. The influence of a Grandy on the life of your child might be key to how your child grows and lives for the rest of his or her life.
In our church, we once had twelve senior citizens and twelve young children. We paired them–child and “adopted Grandy”, encouraging them to interact at church and to remember birthdays and Christmas. On Sundays, as Grandys grinned when children ran up to them with hugs, greetings and news of the week, we witnessed the essence of gifting love.
As you plant vegetables and flowers in your garden, don’t forget to grow Grandy flowers! Plant a grandparent or two—real or adopted–in the life of your child, and watch the love grow!