We are at the end of day 6 of our ‘Happy Grandbabies Week.’ Naturally, we all think our grandchildren are brilliant … and they are; each in there own adorable way. Isn’t it incredible how different these little siblings are from each other? It’s amazing! I can’t believe the blessing our children have been to us. I’ve loved every stage of their lives and we are enjoying this grown up friendship we have today. Now, new bonus feature — Grandchildren!
Our granddaughter, Jude, is 23 months old. She has the best verbal skills I’ve ever seen in a child this age. She speaks in multiple, full sentences, makes jokes, and totally understands verbal humor. The first night they were here she woke up in the night disoriented and crying. I ran upstairs and came into the nursery where I found her standing in her crib, sucking her little thumb and holding her Lovie blankie calling my name. I picked her up, rocked her and sang to her. I reminded her where she was and retold our story about the trip to Kentucky. I said, “Ok, Nawny wanted you to know you are safe and we love you. Now I’m going to put you back in your bed so you can have good dreams and good thoughts.” She lifted her head from my shoulder and kissed me and said “Oh thank you, Nawny.” Are you kidding me? I was a puddle after that. I’d sleep on the floor in front of her crib every night without a blanket or pillow if she wanted me to!
Before we left DC for our long drive, I asked Rachel and Phil to leave me voice memos saying a phonetic interpretation of all her funny little words that are unique to her. As great as she is verbally, she is still a baby. For example, there is Elmo and Animal … but she says these two words in the same way, so you have to use the context surrounding the conversation. I can’t bear it when she tells me something and I don’t understand right away. She’s very patient but it’s also very clear, through her eyes, she wants the correct response, and will keep at it until she is understood and affirmed. She does not want to be misunderstood; but who does? We all want to feel like we are being understood and heard. I believe miscommunication happens more than we would like to believe. I hate it when I find out I’ve been misunderstood and even misquoted. Who doesn’t? “That’s not what I meant, I didn’t even say that.”
Our Rachel was an early talker. She teases me because I’ve always told her that her first sentence was at 8 months old, “Bubba ate apple.” Now that she has kids she claims that I am totally mistaken on the age! I don’t know … that’s the way I remember it! Rachel is our second child after Lance (4 years older than she). I will write another blog just for Lance another time but I will say, he is obedient, complaint, kind, orderly, funny, thoughtful, creative, smart and winsome. He has dark eyes and dark hair and weighed in at almost 10 pounds at birth. We gave away his newborn clothes because he went straight into 3-month clothes at the hospital. He slept all night the first night we brought him home. Of course, we didn’t! We were shaking him and feeling for his heart beat every hour to make sure he was ok. He seems to have turned out better than fine, quite honestly, the best guy I know.
Our blue-eyed, blond haired Rachel (which means ‘like a little lamb’) was born at 81/2 pounds on a cold February morning. We knew we probably wouldn’t have two good sleepers in a row but we didn’t anticipate her being the polar opposite of Lance in her sleep pattern. We felt welcomed into the real world of parenting with one who defied sleep until she was in her double digits. Rachel was somewhat strong willed, determined, embraced disorder as her friend, funny, loud, creative, smart and endearing. The thing I love the most about our two children is that despite their age and personality differences, they have always been the closet of friends, and still are to this day. They understand each other.
When Rachel was a little girl I sang a song to her that I learned in a seminary preschool education class called “There’s no one like me.” The words are “search all the world over there’s no one like me, no one like me, search all the world over, there’s no one exactly like me. Some people are short and some people are tall, God made them all, but no ones exactly like me.” When she was about Jude’s age, one day when I was singing this to her. She stopped me with a strange look on her face and said, “No … stop singing that.” I said, “Why don’t you want me to sing it?” She said, “Cause no one likes me,” she puffed with her arms folded across her chest. My creative colorful bubble of best preschool mom popped right in my face. I tried to wrap my head around the fact that she was two years old and I had been singing what I thought was an excellent esteem building song to her for two years, only to realize all she heard was her mother telling her no one liked her! Her sad little face brings tears to my eyes to this day. I pulled her into my embrace and said, “Oh no, sissy, that’s not what I’m saying at all.” I proceeded to give the best theology lesson possible on a two-year-old level. I told her how God made her special … one of a kind, and He loved her so much and we all not only like her but love her.
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and my soul knows very well.” Whew, I’m happy to report that the miscommunication in her preschool years did not cause permanent damage or stunt her self-esteem in any way. She’s always been quite clear on letting everyone know that she liked who God made her and would be exactly that- not even a touch pliable to bend to who you might want her to be! You could like it or lump it! Naturally during her teenage years she would love to bring that up to people we knew. She would tell them, “So my mom used to sing me this song when I was a little baby and toddler- for years….saying that you could search the whole entire world over and not find one single person who liked me!” Oh the drama, always at mamas expense….but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My funny, funny little girl. I have searched the world over Rachel and there is no one like you- you are the best!
I love the uniqueness of how God makes us- it is so beautiful. Our little man Sam (10 months) is completely different from his big sister but his disposition and characteristics are incredibly amazing. He reminds me of what I think my husband, Bill was like as a baby…. totally chill, self assured, strong and silent, always working on something, deep and thoughtful, funny and sweet. The complexity in which we are created sincerely astounds me…. my soul does know this very well indeed. Celebrate and esteem the uniqueness in yourself and others.