By: Tonya Stevenson
So graciously blessed I am to have five grandchildren seven-years-old and under. As with my own children, I marvel how God creates each child so uniquely different, yet wonderfully adorable. Having watched now three sets of children grow (siblings, our own and now grandchildren), I understand the vanishing treasure of childhood.
How wonderful to see the world through a precious child’s eyes, their utter amaze at God’s exquisite creation we obliviously pass by: The worm, rabbit, wildflowers, and a baby deer along the trail, bugs, clouds, and plants from the garden, unfortunately even snakes as you snatch them from the danger. They have taught me to stop with them and point things out just to watch the wonder in their voracious eyes.
They grow and learn at speed of light, in bubbling exuberance that, makes even old hearts light. All my grandkids have good adoring parents, which makes my heart rejoice and praise the Lord. My Son’s three live the closest, so we see them the most, two rough-n-tumble boys, and a darling girl, now five, three, and two. I must admit I spoil them with gifts, special treats, but mostly with my full attention.
When church is done Mom, Dad and Grandpa are often left to the adult conversations as three energetic little bodies descend on me, “Up Granma … let’s go down the big slide … can we play outside … give me an airplane ride.” It is all okay with me.
One day when he was still four the oldest whined when time to leave; his mom in mock scolding shook her finger at me, “I tell people, my kids would be much better if I could spank their Grandma.”
“Be nice to my Granma. I love my Granma,” my grandson cried as she strapped him in his seat.
Just the other day our son’s kids came to stay. We went for walks, played hide-n-seek, read books, and then I put them in a DVD bible story while I cooked. Running down stairs to check on them, I sat down for a minute; so my athletic all-boy grandson of three pounced on me. Laughing I rolled him over for a tickle which produced an infectious rolling giggle. They are truly happy children, it’s so good to see.
Oh Lord, only because of you is their childhood as it should be.
My grandson rolls away and stands.
“You know you two boys are my favorite (only) grandson’s,” I joked.
Suddenly that laughing three-year-old turned serious as stone, his deep brown eyes looked into mine, as he placed his chubby palms up on my cheeks. His tongue could not produce the depth of feeling is his eyes, “You … you is my Granma.”
I was shaken to the core. His little arms wrapped around my neck and I held him close and marveled. “God, help me not to fail these children.”
A vivid picture flashed in my mind of another little boy so many years ago, who looked up at his dad that way. His eyes were palest blue. He had the fairest of complexions. His dad took him everywhere and toted his perfection. Their household was a violent mess, broken by lust and unfaithfulness – but these two had a bond that was the envy of the other loveless urchins.
Alas, the home was split. A lonely little boy was left without his dad. Weeks later he spotted him sitting with others on a hill. The boy begged his mother, “Please, can I go see my daddy? Please!”
Begrudgingly she agreed. He instantly departed at a run.
It wasn’t long before the boy slunk back, his eyes shocked pools of agony above tear stained cheeks. Sobs wracked his little body so words could hardly escape, “Da-ad … wouldn’t talk to me. He wouldn’t lo-look at me.”
His mother gloated to her friends of what a jerk the man was, then barked the sharp command, “That’s enough, dry it up!”
Dry up … he did: His smiles, his joy, and his childhood; it was as if they vaporized before my eyes. He grew angry, cold and wild. He is the same man today. He lost the one part of childhood no one should outgrow … hope and faith in a Father’s love.
I have explained to him the good news of God’s loyal love. He listens, even asks to hear again, but can’t seem trust even the eternal Father’s love.