Since my grandson turned 3 months old, my husband and I have had the delight and privilege of providing child care for him a few days a week. As I’ve said to anyone who will listen, being a grandparent is one of the most cherished roles I have ever taken on.
Before Lucas had a presence in my life, however, I became a mother to a little girl who has become one of the most astonishing, loving, and giving people I have ever known. Other than the normal worries parents adopt while their children are growing up, Erin never caused any drama or heartache from the day she was born. But it’s only since I became a grandmother that I have faced the truth of how beautiful a child’s heart is – how honest and generous are their expressions of love. Don’t get me wrong, when I was a very young mother I appreciated the precious person that was my daughter, I became thrilled at every adorable development in her life, I felt that being a mother was – and is – my highest calling, but now as a considerably older mother and grandmother, I am freshly aware of a young child’s ways of expressing that love.
My husband and I can be playing outside with our 2+ year old grandson when all of a sudden he will stop what he is doing and run to one of us with his arms open wide and launch himself at his Grampa; then he will turn toward me, Grammo, and run and launch himself at me, with the tightest huggies and kissies available on this earth. Or out of nowhere, regardless of where we are or what we are doing, Lucas will walk up to one or both of us and say, “Kiss Grammo, Kiss Grampa” and we do just that. The honesty of a child’s behavior is mind-blowing to me – there is no pretense and no calculated manipulation. Certainly, that will come later as it did for all of us, but right now, that type of behavior does not exist. If one or both of us grandparents do something Lucas deems as funny, he’ll endearingly say, “Oh, Grammo. Oh, Grampa” and the smile on his face when he says that melts my heart over, and over, and over again. What a gift this little 2.9-year-old child is to us.
I am so grateful that I have been freshly exposed to the joy-infusing love of a child’s heart. What an extraordinary Valentine’s Day gift that is to me in my mid-60s of life.
This week, Valentine’s Day will be celebrated or it will be bemoaned. It’s just a day but some people put so much pressure on this Hallmark holiday that they end up being miserable leading up to the day, on the day, and the days following it. Here’s some sarcastic humor that just might ease some of the pressure.
Mike walked into a post office just before Valentine’s day, he couldn’t help noticing a middle-aged, balding man standing in a corner sticking “Love” stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. Then the man got out a bottle of Channel perfume from his pocket and started spraying scent over the envelopes.
By now Mike’s curiosity had got the better of him, and so I asked the man why he was sending all those cards. The man replied, “I’m sending out 500 Valentine cards signed, ‘Guess who?'”
“But why?” asked Mike.
“I’m a divorce lawyer,” the man replied.
The above article recounts the personal feelings of a blogger who experienced his first Valentine’s Day without his wife who died on July 4, 2012. For those of us not experiencing such a loss, we may too readily try to point out that this “holiday” is just a Hallmark greeting card day, or florists and chocolate manufactures making lots of money day. It’s more than that – especially when so many memories are tied to the event. Whenever a “first time without” comes around on the calendar, the dread leading up to that date can be very troublesome, as it was for this blogger.
I recently watched a show in which interior designer, Nate Berkus, said the following about the things we have in our lives:
The truth is – that things matter. They have to because they’re what we live with and touch each and every day.
They represent what we’ve seen, who we’ve loved, and where we hope to go next.
They remind us of the good times and the rough patches and everything in between that’s made us who we are.
Events, celebrations, and the like provide the same type of life-shaping experiences. That’s why today is far more than a commercial and financial windfall for the greeting card, floral, and chocolate industries. Without someone with whom to celebrate the focus of this day, it becomes a non-day from which you can not escape. Thank God for the memories, the photos, even the many things around the house that represent the touch and essence of our Valentine.