He turns at the sound of my voice, eyes lighting up as recognition dawns.
Then he scampers toward me on all fours, a big beaming grin on his face.
One tiny hand after another planted on my legs as he totters successfully to his feet.
Throwing caution to the winds, (and abandoning the support of my walking stick) I stoop and scoop him to me.
We haven’t seen one another in the flesh for almost a month, so we slowly become reacquainted again.
I hold him close, marvelling at my grandson’s warm weightiness and the beautiful feel of him, just as I did when he was only a few days old.
Yes, it would have been safer for me to have sat and waited while a parent passed him to me but I was impatient to cuddle him straight away.
We play together for a while and I am child again in his company.
Forgetting my limitations, pressing past the pain, I revel in the freedom of being here with the little boy who lights up my life.
I could have been more cautious, exercised some common-sense.
I could have thought more about the effects on my body of bending low and lifting his small frame.
I could have decided I was too unfit, too sore, too stiff to engage in lifting, never mind play.
But I didn’t.
Admittedly, I can’t do crawling races and chases like daddy or grandpa can, nor can I run or walk swift to keep apace with him like others will do.
I am the grandma who mostly sits, slides gradual and careful to the floor, the one who bends M.E and arthritic-stiff legs slowly sideways before they protest too much.
I can still stack cups, build brick towers, shake rattles and soft toys, play peek-a-boo and feed him his meals.
I will be the one who reads stories, sings nursery rhymes, does puzzles and plays the slower games.
I may be the one who gives him wheelchair rides instead of pushchair ones. Who knows?
And much as I treasure each moment and opportunity to be with him, there is always a degree of payback afterwards.
For each extra exertion comes a fresh wave of pain and fatigue, maybe unnoticed at the time (such is my focus on the moment) but relentless soon afterwards.
It can take many days to recover from pushing myself too much. Often weeks.
Though it all pales into insignificance besides the opportunity to be with my family, share time, show love.
Because in the end, love is the best and strongest motivation of all.
It changes us as we give out to others. We willingly leave our comfort zones, embrace new things, extend ourselves beyond our previous capacities.
The heart of the matter is always a matter of the heart.
As God’s love gradually thaws, restores, envelops and invades our hearts, we become open to the possibility of transformation and change.
The real, open-eyed aware, deep sacrificial, complete, unconditional, totally giving love of God helps set us free from ourselves.
It helps us grow into faith and maturity, to be sacrificial, show compassion, give generously of ourselves, our time and resources.
Our human way of love, wonderful as it can be, is but a poor imitation and reflection of God’s love.
This is what we are aiming for as we grow more into Christ-likeness:
“Love never gives up.
Love cares for others more than self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep a score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of the truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.” (1 Corinthians 13:3-13 ~ The Message)
I’m a long way off loving like this but I have a deep appreciation for the love which God has already implanted in my heart, which keeps increasing as I grow in faith and understanding.
We are born to love God and to love others. To live unselfish lives.
And what stronger motivation do we need than seeing how much God loves us and desires to be in relationship with us?
Oh, beautiful. Joy, I'm so glad that you have the right now, that you were able to scoop him up and hold him to you, that you've been stacking blocks and feeding him his dinner and loving him like this. I'm praying that God will shield you from the payback that you anticipate. x
Thank you, Helen. Your prayers are greatly appreciated! Now I am back home and pacing myself carefully to avoid too much payback. But nothing and no-one can take those precious memories of being with him away from me. 🙂 x
A beautiful testimony Joy, of the strength and power of God's love. Precious.
Thank you, Liana. Indeed it is. God is so good to us! Blessings to you, friend. 🙂 x
Dearest Joy,After many months of being off, I am back but feel I have lost so much. I was thinking of you yesterday, and today, you came to my inbox. No other sign from your blog for months.How beautifully you describe the wonderful time you spent with your grandson! Having nine of my own, I feel your joy and love. Grandchildren are even more special than out own children were; or is it we that have grown enough to appreciate the gift we were given?Sorry for your physical pain and limitations. That's how life goes…always between joy and pain…to keep us going, and learning, and becoming. Bless you my wonderful friend! I am sorry I did not stay in touch…Life demanded my total attention for many months.Wishing you many more wonderful moments with your grandson…joys for both of you that will become great memories for him. xxx
Dearest Katina, it is lovely to see you here again! I haven't been active much on Facebook recently nor visited the TW group page for months. But I have still been blogging here and over at poetryjoy.com. So I am a bit mystified to hear you haven't been receiving my posts, though very happy you got to read this one! As a new grandma I do marvel at the capacity to love him so much. Perhaps we have "grown enough to appreciate the gift we were given" and able to love without any expectations or pressures we may have felt as parents.I am sorry you have been away for so long and hope your return will be lengthy. You have been missed! Life has a way of demanding our total attention at times and I've taken a few mini-breaks to help me cope. Sending much love your way. May you enjoy many special moments with your own family, especially with Christmas on the horizon! God bless you, my friend. xox 🙂
Grandchildren are so precious, aren't they? They can really brighten our days. So good for the soul. Praying your body won't have to suffer from pushing yourself too much! Hugs!
Indeed they are, Trudy! I tend to lose all track of time, never mind awareness of how much I am exerting myself or how weary I am getting. The key thing, as you so rightly say, is that "they can really brighten our days" and the emotional lift makes up for any amount of pain or weakness we may be feeling! Bless you for your kind concern. *Hugs* 🙂 x
I understand, Joy. I was diagnosed with the same two menacing illnesses many years ago. My heart goes out to you and you remain in my prayers… I am so glad that you have your grandbaby close-by to brighten your day and cheer you on. I also had my grandchildren close-by. Now, I am a great grandma and little Max is far away in Ct. But we Skype …and just seeing his sweet face and beaming smile cheers me. Such a lift the Lord brings me through this little man of (almost) 2 years!! God bless you, Joy…..! hugs, Carole
Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, Carol. You will understand all too well how much they affect our daily lives. We actually see our grandson more on Skype than in real life because they live at quite a distance for me to travel easily. But it is a great way to stay in touch, isn't it? I share the joy of "seeing his sweet face and beaming smile" as it is a great way to be cheered and uplifted! Praying for you to stay as strong and healthy as possible in this challenging season of the year. Blessings and *hugs* to you, my friend. xox
God bless you, this Thanksgiving and Christmas season and always! Yes, skyping is the best with these little bundles of joy!! Praying for you as well, Joy…God bless you, my friends. xox
Thank you, Carol. I really appreciate your kind words and prayers. May your Thanksgiving and Christmas season be rich with joy and heavy with blessing as you share special time with family and friends. 🙂 xox