Grandchildren bring lessons in love

Tree Swing Plans and God’s Plan for Love

Given the rare opportunity, I can go a long time without answering a phone of any kind and be just fine. In fact, one of the things I like about motorcycles is that talking on a phone on one is almost impossible and not recommended, unless you’ve installed a BlueTooth helmet connection to be able to be bothered on two wheels. Why?!

But my phone rang twice last night, and both times I was absolutely delighted. In fact, I’m still basking in the glow of those calls. I like calls from friends and family and, blessing of blessings, I LOVE calls from my granddaughters, and each of the little beauties called last night!

The conversation with three-year-old Brylan was the longest phone talk we’ve ever had. She chattered and chattered, and I understood about 73% of what she said, but I just loved being the person she was talking to. Among other things, we continued work on some plans for a tree swing we’ve got in mind. Her reaction to the whole project? “Let’s do it, PawPaw!”

And then just a couple of hours later, the phone rang, and little two-year-old Brenley was calling from her bathtub. That little sweetie walks around the house, I’m told, with her plastic toy cell phone on her ear saying, “Hi, PawPaw.” (Ah, God is good!) But this was Brenley in person on a real phone which Mom was doing a fine job keeping dry. Brenley had called to sing, Shayla told me. “Baby B,” as cousin Brylan has christened her, launched beautifully into “Jesus Loves Me.” Celine Dion has never done a finer job with any tune!

It’s funny. We all go through most of the same stages of life, but no matter how many folks have preceded us, we can’t really understand what we’ve been told about the stage we’re in until we’re living it. Proud grandparents abound, but before I was one, I couldn’t really understand.

It’s not just that grandparents become crazy people at the moment of their grandkids’ birth. God uses those little people to change our lives and teach us a precious truth we thought we knew already: Real love doesn’t have to be earned.

Oh, yes, I see talent just oozing out of those girls’ pores, but I loved them before I saw it. I think they’ll achieve much and go far, but all they have to do for me to love them completely is just to “be.” I want them to know the joy of learning, growing, maturing, and being “productive,” but nothing they could ever produce, be it grades or honors or fortunes or Nobel prizes could ever cause me to love them more. Perfect love “casts out fear.” Perfectionism and performance-based “love” is riddled with it. What those girls do I want them to do joyfully out of love for God, knowing they are already people of great value completely secure in their Father’s love.

My job is to be sure a grandfather’s love helps them know that. Normally, I’m not high on committees or meetings, but Brylan and Brenley and I need to get our heads together on some tree swing plans.