By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist
Brenley Shay Shelburne is now almost a week old. Yes, this proud father of four sons is now the beaming grandfather of TWO beautiful little girls. Amazing!
It’s too early to tell, but I’m pretty sure little Brenley has come on the scene GPS-equipped just like her little now 18-month-old cousin Brylan. Brylan just crawls into Paw Paw’s arms, points, and the Grandpa Positioning System is automatically and immediately engaged. Paw Paw goes wherever she points.
Grandfatherhood is an interesting and wonderful stage of life. I’ve noticed that I’m talking to myself more these days. When no one’s around, I catch myself saying aloud in Brylan-like tones, “Paw Paw! Paw Paw!” just to hear it.
Brylan dances about, all the while singing/chanting the names of people she loves. Her names for her four grandparents figure in prominently. I’m tempted to list those for you. (The amazingly advanced child has chosen four distinct names.) But were I to list them in any kind of order, I’d undoubtedly be in trouble with three of my grandparenting colleagues.
Now I find myself doing the same thing. Chanting, that is. We’re driving down the road to go see the little girls, and out of my mouth I hear flowing a little repetitive chant, “Brylan, Brenley, Paw Paw; Brenley, Brylan, Paw Paw . . .” You get the idea.
Yes, I know. Unless you’re a grandparent, the silliness of all this gets a little nauseating. But grandparents understand.
Brylan’s daddy (once known as Jeff), just shakes his head. “It’s weird!” he says in astonishment. “When Dad turned into a grandfather, he regressed about 30 years.”
“Regress” isn’t the word I’d have chosen. But grandparenthood does indeed turn back the clock a bunch of years and relieve you of a good deal of stodginess, a burden it’s good to get rid of anyway. It had been too long since I lay on my back in the grass and watched the clouds roll by. Brylan and I recently fixed that deficiency.
And Brenley? That little beauty wasn’t aboard more than ten minutes until she had me wrapped around her little finger, too. The most wonderful thing in the world may be to sit back in a recliner with your little grandchild napping on your chest. A little sleepy and contented coo from her is worth more to me than anything ever written on a check.
Rocking our newest little girl, I found myself again just gazing at her beautiful face. She is little and weak and helpless, completely unable to do or make anything to trade for wealth, impress the powerful, or prove her worth.
But she is deeply loved. Helpless and small though she may be, her “value” in my book is incalculable—just like God’s love for his unimaginably weaker and smaller children, you and me. Our Father looks at us with eyes filled to overflowing with love. He could not possibly love us more, and he will never choose to love us less.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org