We’re all familiar with surprise birthday parties. Well, late Sunday night (and just in time for Mother’s Day), our daughter and son-in-law experienced a surprise birth! Yup, our new granddaughter arrived five weeks early, weighing in at 5 lbs, and measuring 17 inches. My husband and I are now grandparents. So far, it’s pretty amazing.
We’re in Colorado. Our daughter and her family live in Washington. We have yet to meet our grandchild. We’re definitely going to rectify that soon, but at this point we’ve only seen a couple of ultrasounds from the past eight months, a cell phone picture of her at less than an hour old, and I’ve heard her cry over the phone. Yet we already love her to pieces.
This immediate, unwarranted love reminds me of when each of our daughters were born. I’d just spent hours in labor, and when were finally born, they weren’t exactly beautiful. (In fact they were pretty gross—all wrinkled and slimy!) But I loved them the moment I saw them. It reminds me of how much God loves us, even when we had done nothing to deserve it… when we were in fact pretty unlovable!
Being a parent has taught me so much about God—not only his unconditional love for me, but also His instruction and discipline. I’m sure our kids thought their parents were sometimes arbitrary, or downright mean!—just because they couldn’t see the big picture from their limited experience. How often do we accuse God of the same traits?
I admit it—I was a far from perfect parent. When our kids were toddlers, sometimes I made them take naps because I was tired. As they got older, I annoyed them in bigger ways. I’m sure they’d be happy to make you a list. But God always treats us with our best interests in mind. We really have nothing to complain about. Of course, that doesn’t stop us.
I’ve met several couples who have decided to remain childless because there are no guarantees their kids will turn out well. That’s a valid concern. There are no guarantees. I’ve known awesome parents whose kids put them through years of heartache. Even God, the perfect parent, has rebellious children.
Yet the Bible calls children our reward, and so they are. We have countless stories of how much our kids have enriched our lives… . .) A just-learning-to-talk daughter’s hepicopets, hasslesauce, and happy seat (her car seat). A two-year-old removing every stitch of clothing and using her poster paints to turn herself green from head to toe. A three-year-old looking up from a dramatic temper tantrum to cheerfully exclaim, “I’m crying!” (Her street cred plummeted.) Even a newly-engaged daughter who, after replying with an enthusiastic “Yes!” to the proposal and having a ring slipped onto her finger, breathlessly gasped, “I thought I was getting a turtle for Christmas!” They were (and still are) just plain fun!
Being grandparents is going to be a brand new adventure for Pete and I. We’re old pros at being parents, and if we can take any credit for the way our offspring turned out, we did a good job. But I we don’t know diddly about being grand. In fact, I am giving you permission to send advice. Are you a grandparent? What do you know that I should know too? Did you have an amazing grandparent? What made them amazing? Or were your grandparents more of a negative example? We can even learn from them, if only not to repeat their mistakes. We may not take all your advice, but I promise to read it all thoughtfully and prayerfully.