Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Chapter 18 - "My Grandkids and Me" or "Shhh... Mimi is getting faith in God"

You knew this chapter was coming, didn’t you? I thought this would be a good place to put this, since we just celebrated Grandparents’ Day a few days ago.

Even as I start this chapter, I’m sitting in my favorite writing spot, my recliner. It’s in the corner of my cozy living room, and if I look to my left a bit, I can see through the lace drapes, out into my yard. For the last thirty minutes my ears and eyes have been “tuned” to my gate, waiting for the sound and sight of my grandchildren’s arrival. They have the key, so they’ll be on my porch before I can get out of my recliner.

This is a happy day for me, because I haven’t seen these particular “grandkids” (I use that word in keeping with the title of my book, because I don’t usually refer to my children and grandchildren as kids and grandkids, since I’m not a goat, and neither are my daughters and daughters in law) in about a month.

There are some great stories, and so many cute things my grandchildren have said, and so many things we’ve done together:

Monday's are Philip and Liz's "day off."  Philip had left to make a visit (did I say day off?), and after settling the boys down with their toys, Liz went to take a shower.  She had just dressed, when she walked into the living room, which was nice and clean when she left out. Now it was cluttered with their toys.  She proceeded to scold them very sharply, when she looked out at the gate, and there was a strange man standing there.  He was with a young lady from the church who had brought him to the pastor's house.  He had a long beard.  Liz went out to the gate to see what he wanted.  She called Philip, and he said he was on his way home, so she invited them in.  She realized that Sam wasn't in there, so she went to the bedroom to see about him, but he had locked himself in.  "Sam, open this door right now!"  He said, "I'm not coming out...I'm scared of Santa Claus!"
Andrew is learning to tell time on a clock with hands.  Yesterday morning Anna asked him what time it was.  "9:15," he said.  "Andrew, that's good...how did you know?"  “Because when the big hand is on the 2, it's 9:10, and one more number is 5 more."  She said, "Andrew, how did you know that?"  He said, "Because I always sleep with my thinking cap on."
I have to include this one from one of my own "babies:" My daughter, Ruthie sent me a message while I was at the airport during one of my trips one Mother’s Day.  She wished me a Happy Mother's Day, and then she said, "I'm so glad I grabbed you when it was my time to be born."
But I’d like to share the ones which consist of the times I’ve stayed with my grandchildren while their mommies were in the hospital having their little siblings.

I wrote a devotional once called, “Adjust Your Oxygen Mask; or Mimi, I Want My Chocolate Milk!” I actually wrote that lesson while I was keeping Jacque and her 4 siblings, while their Mommie was in the hospital, having her sixth baby. The idea of the lesson was: if you are going to help someone (like on a plane to adjust their oxygen mask) you need to have your act together first, (just like you should adjust your own oxygen mask in case of emergency, before helping a child or someone else.)

Because Sarah had a C-Section, it took her a little longer to recuperate than it did with her other five. So I stayed a few extra days until she was able to get around.

While Sarah was in the hospital, and even after she came home, as soon as Jacque would get up in the morning, she would patter downstairs in her bare feet and gown, go into my room where I was reading my Bible, and say, “Mimi, I want my chocolate milk.” I learned really fast that if I wasn’t prepared for the day before these little ones got up, chances were I wouldn’t have another chance until the next morning.

The lesson I learned from Jacque was: I don’t know what this day holds. Before interruptions come “pattering down the stairs” I’d better “have my oxygen mask adjusted” by spending a quiet time with God, and turning over the events and interruptions of the day to Him.

Thomas Gregory, who was named after his two grandfathers, has two siblings, Andrew and Debbie. Tommy Greg was born here in my town, so I got to stay with Andrew and Debbie.  I think my favorite part of having a new grandbaby, is getting to share those special moments right after the birth, with the baby’s siblings. I never cease to be amazed at how fast these little guys bond together, right from the beginning. Actually, I think they’ve already bonded before birth…feeling the baby move; seeing the ultrasounds…things we never shared with our children when I was expecting their siblings. That was sort of taboo back in the 70’s and 80’s, at least around the Sloan house, where we didn’t even use the word “pregnant” in mixed company.

Tommy Greg was born in January, a very cold month here in my mountain home. So after visiting with Mommie and Baby for a while, we left Daddy to take care of Mommie while Andrew and Debbie and I took a taxi home. It was about 5:00 Saturday afternoon. We went down to the corner store, bought some treats (I’m a real party grandma), came home, had supper, and showers.

As soon as they were in their jammies, and the dishes were done, we went into my bedroom; I put a Little House on the Prairie on, turned on my electric blanket, put on my gown, and crawled into the warm bed with my grand-treasures. When Mama Bear and Papa Bear came home from the hospital with Baby Bear, that’s where they found us, eating ice cream! What precious, happy memories.

Mark Allen Ralph decided to make his appearance four years ago, the first day of Vacation Bible School. That was fun, but a special challenge, since I had to juggle getting out the door and head for Bible School, with two little boys in tow. Actually Mark’s arrival was scheduled. Isn’t that funny? I don’t think I’ll ever get over the very well planned births mommies give these days. Isn’t there something missing, a little mystery element when you know what you’re going to have, where, when, almost the hour? Anyway, “planned births” sure make things a lot more organized for everyone involved, I guess.

When my 5th baby was born in 1977, I couldn’t believe my ears when my hospital roommate told me she actually went to K-Mart on February 13 to do some last minute shopping before checking herself into the hospital on Valentine’s Day. She knew what time her baby would be born, and that she would be a girl…and a Valentine Baby.

But I don’t know…there’s a special feeling about a sudden burst of pain…no pain…“It’s a girl!” that is exhilarating! You haven’t had months to prepare yourself for what your baby will be. It all happens in that incredible moment when you know it’s over, and then finding out who he or she is at the same time.

Not all births are like that, of course. Anna’s deliveries were never scheduled, although she knew what her baby would be before he or she arrived.

We’ve all heard stories about babies being born on the way to the hospital. A lady who lives near my house had her baby just as she stepped into the lobby of the hospital…in front of all the people sitting there.

But back to my grandchildren:

Time and space fail me to tell of everything. But perhaps among my many favorites, is the little hand-written note on my bedroom door.

I live alone. But I am blessed to live in the same town with one of my sons, and within a few hours of three of my daughters. So during one of the visits of my daughter, Anna and her family, Debbie wrote me a little note, and put it on my bedroom door: “Shhh…Mimi is getting faith in God.” Let me explain:

I take advantage of the fact that when my children are here, they can answer early morning phone calls, and receive early morning visitors. So I get up, shower, put my gown back on, and crawl under my blankets on my un-made bed, to have my devotions. My grandchildren are very well trained by their mommies to respect my “corner of the world”…whether I’m visiting in their home, or whether I’m at home in my bedroom, especially early in the morning. Hence, the precious little note written from the heart of a 6-year old and her opinion of what it is to have a quiet time with God.

How right you are, Debbie. I lack so much faith this morning. Things are a bit upside-down in my world. So it’s in my little corner of the world, every morning, behind closed doors, that I “get faith in God,” and things come into the right perspective.

There are decisions to be made that perhaps will change my life, and the lives of so many others; legal affairs to get in order; travel arrangements to be made. I really need to “get faith in God.”

How do you get your faith in God? I do it by:

    Getting alone with Him early in the mornings in prayer and Bible study.
    Remembering how He has brought me through difficult times, and helped me to survive.
   Keeping my focus on Him. To me, this simply means going about my daily routine with a positive attitude.
    Realizing that negative thoughts are put there by the devil.
    Negative thoughts can lead me to doubt.
    Doubt is the opposite of faith, and can lead to depression.

“Thank you, Lord, for my precious grand-treasures, and for the lessons You’ve taught me through them. Amen.”