We had the joy of keeping our grandkids in Dallas the last four days. We stayed in a hotel and had a blast. I will never forget these special nights. Jude and I would tell stories and laugh until she finally closed her eyes for the last time until morning. She stayed curled up next to me the whole night. It was a beautiful picture of the fact that she knew she was completely safe next to her Nawny.
Sam is fearless and will be gone before you can blink. He can find the tiniest places to squeeze into, like a little mouse. One night he rolled off the bed and fell onto the edge of Bill’s suitcase. When you are woken up in the night with a bone-chilling scream from your grandchild, it’s hard to find your happy place to resume your sleep. We padded the floor with pillows around him to ensure his safety from that moment on. He is now rocking a new summer haircut and a nice little knot on his forehead. He very much looks the part of a three-year-old boy.
The funniest moment was taking Jude to the bathroom at one of the swimming pools. Toddlers generally give a one-minute warning when they need to go potty. In my experience, the outdoor bathrooms are never very nice but that didn’t seem to bother Jude as it did me (when you gotta go, you gotta go!). She climbed up onto the toilet and much to both of our surprise the toilet flushed by itself before she could complete her task. Jude is usually pretty slow moving and ‘chill’ about everything but when that toilet flushed she flew off that seat and landed in the far corner of the stall behind me faster than Supergirl! Not only did it flush while she was on it but it was the loudest flush I have ever heard in my life and, unquestionably, in her life. It was deafening! We were presented with a dilemma because she still needed to go potty. There was no way in this world she was getting back on that toilet! I was so grateful for her strong bladder as we ran inside the hotel to complete the task. For the rest of the trip, I had to assure her each time she went to the bathroom that it wouldn’t happen again. Between the speed of her departure from the toilet and the shock on her face, I can’t help but laugh to myself now as it reminded me of a cartoon character running past leaving the word ‘zoom’ in its tracks.
We went to a sea-life aquarium, swimming pools, had pizza and chicken nuggets, treasure hunting, playgrounds, movies, and waterparks. They both said the lazy river was their favorite thing. We must have lapped that lazy river 30 times with them begging to keep going. It was such fun. They started out in a tube with us but soon wanted to swim on their own with their floaties, as we came behind them in the innertubes. We showed them the handle they could reach, and we each had our hand in the water so they could grab on if they needed help. They regularly needed to grab hold of the lifeline but didn’t want to keep holding on any longer than necessary. They said, “No, let me do it”… and we let them … but we were always right there in case they needed help. If they didn’t see our hand or the handle of the float they panicked until we reached out and pulled them close. They wanted to do it themselves but they also needed our protection.
I thought about our time together these days, and the common factor of every moment was the fact that Bill and I kept them safe. They could have carefree fun if they knew they were protected … we were their safety net. I realize how important that truth is for a child to grow up well adjusted. With each passing day, they need us less and less. It should make us happy as parents and grandparents as they become more independent because it is the way God intended it to be. They will eventually be the ones making their own children feel safe. As they grow, the lifeline we throw them gets longer and longer until they are able to manage all by themselves in their own float. Until that time comes, I am soaking up each moment my grandchildren need their Nawny as their chubby little hands reach for my hand. It will always be there when they need it. When we are walking, if I remove my hand from Jude’s, even for a second to adjust my purse, she cries, “Nawny, I need your hand for me.”
I realize just how desperately I also need the hand of Jesus in my life. I become independent and I get so lost and helpless. I try to improvise and find my way but I get terribly off track and make a mess of everything surrounding me. I fall off the bed, I run in fear, I sink under water and finally reach up for His hand. I praise God it is always there for me pulling me up from the bottom to the place where the air is fresh and the sun is bright. I can breathe again and feel the sun on my face. I know I am once again in complete safety in the loving arms of my savior. I stay close to him in the night without fear of the enemy snatching me away. I look for his hand to guide me and listen to his voice to show me the right way to go. I say to Him when I am separated from him by my sin, “Jesus, I need your hand for me.”
”If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle by the farthest sea, even there Your hand will guide me;Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me.” — Psalm 139:9-11