Grandchildren, Wow! I’ve heard people say how great it is to be a grandparent, and I thought, yeah, I’m sure it’s fun, but… Who knew?
My son told me about a conversation that he had with his three year old that demonstrates why grandparents can lose their hearts to their grandchildren. The conversation was about where my grandson wanted to spend the 4th of July. His choices were to stay at home, where they could have friends over and then walk across the street to a park and watch a fireworks show, or go to Phoenix (where I don’t live but spend some time). Phoenix is over an hour and half from their home and there were no plans for how the holiday would be spent there, so there were no carrots to be dangled.
My Son– Do you want to stay here and have ___ & ___ over (who he adores, btw) and we’ll all go watch the fireworks in the park, or go to Phoenix?
3 year old grandboy– I want to go to Phoenix.
My son– Why?
3 year old grandboy– Because Mimi (I’m Mimi) is there.
My son– How do you know?
3 year old grandboy– Is she?
My son– Yes.
3 year old grandboy– See.
He didn’t know for sure where I was, but on the assumptive possibility that I was in Phoenix, my grandson chose to sit in the car for almost two hours so that he could spend time with me. This child is pretty cute, he can work a room, and has gained a level of popularity among family and friends that I would say rivals… oh, maybe celebrity status in his little world and mine. It sure feels good to know that this adorable person has a thing for me. He likes me… a lot, and I’m so glad he does, because I’m kind of crazy about him too
This little guy makes me feel loved, but other than this love, his adorableness, his hugs and cuddles, I think there’s something else that gets my attention and keeps me coming back for more…
Grandchildren give their grandparents a glimpse into the keys to happiness and without even recognizing it, us old folks really like to be in close proximity to that wisdom. Spending time with my grandchildren, I’m aware of things that I was often too busy to see when I was raising my sons. Two of the most important truths I need to embrace in my life radiate from my interaction with my grandchildren…
1. Unconditional love is intrinsic to our purpose, needs and desires. My grandchildren love me without judgement. They don’t care about my faults and imperfections. They don’t care that I’m not in the shape that I used to be, how much money I have, or that I’ve made some mistakes in my life. They just love me, unconditionally, and want me around…
This love and acceptance feels so good, so right, because it’s the love and acceptance that we’re all meant to have for ourselves:
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. –Buddha
In two of the Gospels we’re commanded to ‘… love our neighbor as ourselves.’
It feels so good when another person loves me and wants me in their world even though I’m not perfect. But do I love me and want me in my world even though I’m not perfect? Regardless of what I look like, have or achieve, do I still value myself, do I feel good about myself? Seeing myself through my grandchild’s eyes, reminds me of the importance of seeing myself through the perspective of my creator. My value is in being, not in being anything in particular. Ah, yes, seeing myself this way… step one to happiness.
2. Children know how to be present, letting go of uncomfortable thoughts about the past and free of anxiety about tomorrow. They live in the moment and if you live there with them, it’s a feeling that can transport a body out of the daily grind of what’s next and feel appreciation and joy in what is. Their philosophy of life is simple– Have fun… Brilliant!!
I’m so grateful for the young teachers I have in my life. Soon they will become teenagers and then adults who may allow themselves to get wrapped up in untruths that don’t lead to real happiness. But for the time being, these young ones have it all figured out, so I plan to cherish and soak up every bit of their genius while I can.
Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.