Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Ridiculously Reverent
This is my buddy. Landon and I have a play date once a week, and I've been anxiously waiting for today to arrive. Later this morning we'll go to the public library for "Book Babies", a weekly 20 minute program of finger puppets, snacks, a song and a story. When I excitedly told my husband about it, he laughed. Twenty minutes? It takes longer than that to get him in the car seat, drive to the library, take him back out, buckle him back in, drive him home and get him inside. His mommy is a teacher, with a bent toward reading and books, and you have to start somewhere. Twenty minutes is about right at this age. I don't think they pay librarians enough to go longer than 20 minutes with a room full of one year olds.

Weekly time with Landon often involves driving around town on errands, with Baby Einstein playing in the DVD player. I make animal noises, singing Old MacDonald ad nauseum. I've discovered you can only make a few pig noises in a row before you tend to choke. We've developed a few 'games', running my hands up and down his tummy, grabbing rolls of fat and squealing while I ask him, "whatzat?", playing Peek-a-boo. Putting his stuffed moose on my head and letting it fall onto him brings big grins and belly laughs.

He's not quite walking yet, so we're on the floor a lot. We practice his throwing arm, tossing plastic blocks into buckets, beating on various surfaces with anything that resembles a drumstick. Wooden spoons work nicely. We clap, give high fives, yell 'hip-hip-hoorah' over anything worthy of celebration. Almost everything is a 'doe' right now, the cat, the dog, leaves on trees in the yard, flowers. I did get a 'meow' out of him a few days ago as we studied a refrigerator magnet. When he puts my sunglasses on his face, leans back, and waits, I say "Mr. Hollywood" and his grin stretches to the edges of his little face. A game only he and I understand.

Very little in the house is sacred, hands-off. If it's relatively sturdy then it's up for grabs, becoming a toy, albeit briefly. Tupperware stored in the lower cupboards, measuring cups and spoons, pots and pans make great drums! For one day a week, it's all about this little boy and the time we spend together. When naptime comes and I put him in the crib, he scootches his little rear up in the air, grabs his favorite toy and blanket, shoves his thumb in and settles down immediately. After three months, the crib at our house feels familiar enough for a good nap now.

Our cupboards and fridge look different since his arrival. We have more cheerios, puffs, apple juice, prunes, sweet potatoes with apples. Sippee cups, little forks and spoons, and plastic dishes that will survive being tossed across the kitchen (the dogs will handle most of the cleanup on the floor). Laundry baskets with toys, baby videos on shelves. If you walk into our home, and take a quick look around, you'll realize quickly we are grandparents.

I became a mother when I was all of 20, and spent 25 years raising children. When our first grandchild was born, our youngest was still at home, starting his senior year of high school. I wasn't sure how I would feel, grandparenting when I was not quite finished with the first round - my own. Raising babies had been a struggle for me, not coming easily. Between being young and working full time with the first one, to having the next two pretty close together and dealing with temper tantrums over a new baby's arrival, to colic that lasted for months, hours spent with little ones had often felt long.

Nobody can prepare you for the unconditional love that is immediate, when your child has a child. It doesn't matter if you 'like babies'. You love this one, and the next and the next. You begin to pray for their future, for their safety, for strength and wisdom for their young parents, for the big choices they'll have to make in life. You realize it's a privilege to leave an imprint on their lives, treasuring the one they leave on your heart.

You learn very quickly that loving these little ones, whether it's on the phone listening to newly learned French words, or discussing how to make letters or a recent pirate birthday party, or spending time driving down the road singing Old MacDonald and making oinking sounds, or playing Peek-a-Boo - it may well be the purest form of worship and praise you put forth all week. Only God could take the times when we're being ridiculous, and turn them into a reverence for things holy, like spending time with one of His gifts, a little boy with a toothy grin and leftover lunch on his face.


  posted at 7:54 AM

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