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IMG_0766Have ever had one of those moments in a store when you weren’t looking for anything in particular but an idea exploded in your mind and a massive smile erupted all over your face?  My bride and I were wandering through the Halloween costume department.  It was my job to drive the shopping cart and navigate through the crowded aisles.

Costumes, accessories and decorations hung from hooks and lined the shelves.  But, my new granddaughter and 2-year-old grandson came to my mind.  That’s when the imitation wigs and beards jumped out at me.

“This would be fun!” I exclaimed.  Pulling the long black wig package off of the display, I held it up for my bride to see.  “Wouldn’t Eva look hilarious in this?”

“OK, Grandpa,” my bride smirked, “it’s up to you.  It might be too big, though.”

“Naw, it’ll look fine.  Just a moment of fun will be worth it!” I announced with all of the confidence of a far away displaced Grandfather could muster.

Carefully, we put together a “care package” for our grandchildren.  The brown cardboard box was plain and unassuming but the inside gifts would surely brighten up the day of our kids and their children.  The post office received the package and posted it for the long 2000 mile journey.

Busy lives have a way of pushing out of our minds expectations that are limited by long delivery dates.  Thoughts of the glee that would erupt in the home of our daughter and son-in-law for their kids, our grandchildren,  would have to wait for the delivery day.  Work, goals and objectives siphoned off my delight and perhaps the biggest surprise was hearing from an email with the picture of our granddaughter in her new wig.

I laughed.  I kept on laughing as I shared the picture with my bride.  God’s great gift of laughter is a treat!

Together we smiled, pointed out details and marveled at this little life that captures our hearts.  She has never had an understandable conversation with either of us.  Nevertheless, we love her deeply.

Now, that we can have some fun with a simple costume, the expanding options with our family time are multiplying like an explosion of creativity.  I am loving all of it.  Each day I am eagerly looking for more of it.

There is a new dimension to life.  We enter into the world of make-believe.  It is sheer unbridled fun.

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Anticipation grabs the human soul like no other electrifying experience.  So, I played it cool when we boarded the plane in anticipation of spending time with our first granddaughter, our second grandchild.  Everyone took their turn while I gave my attention to my I-phone.

Eventually, just as I suspected, someone asked, “Do you want to hold her?”  I looked up surprised and acting detached and other-worldly occupied, “What? Oh, sure.”

This little life was carefully handed over to me.  She was so tiny.  The warmth of her little body felt good in my arms.

With attention I cradled her in the crook of my arm and caught her in the palm of my left hand.  There was no weight to this little package.  It wasn’t long before I melted into her world.

Her soft breathing made me sigh with joy.  Carefully I took her little hand in between my finger and thumb.  The tender skin, perfectly formed appendage broadened my smile.

It was natural to rock the newest member of our family.  Gently I hugged her.  Then I kissed her.

Babies smell so good.  They wiggle in grasp of their grandfather.  Surely, they love the comfort of protection, affection and admiration of their favorite relative.  It is instinctive.

In this small world between granddaughter and grandfather, the other people around us faded away.  Now, for all time a bond was forming that would be everlasting.  Nothing could break was being established at this moment.

I was falling in love with another human being with whom I have not yet had a single intelligible conversation.  Nevertheless, no one would dispute its reality or its beauty.

There is nothing comparative about a Grandfather’s love for his grandchildren.  Love is never about such small distractions of others.  Instead, Grandfathering is only about concentration on the blessings in the arms at the time.

Favorites are not allowed when love is completely pure, unselfish, giving and overwhelming.  We who wear the badge of Grandfather can’t be bothered with attention hived off to total strangers.  Love is fully devoted to a the little life at hand.

That’s what the touch of a granddaughter  will do.  It melts the strongest of men, the most accomplished of me into a bowl of gelatin ready to be molded into whatever this little life desires.  That’s why God created little ones with little fingers; just the right place to wrap Grandpa around.

photo credit: KJB photography

IMG_2958My life has officially registered decades of revolutions around the sun.  In the my mind I am experienced with life and wise to a shyster.  My heart is guarded, calloused from the past episodes of friction from undesirable lives.

Yet, in the presence of an innocent life, I am shockingly vulnerable.  She cannot even utter a single syllable that is understandable.  There is no talent or skill or knowledge that would endear her to my field of expertise.

Any sound that she makes is unintelligible.  When I speak to her she shows no interest or awareness of what I am saying.  She has no connection with titles, position, education or achievement.

No, this is not a case of disrespect.  There is no arrogance on her part.  Nor does she hold to a contrasting political or values position.

She is my granddaughter.  This summer she was born and as I held her in my arms she was a mere two weeks old.  That is a legitimate reason for her detachment from any words that I was using.

Nevertheless, while she not winning any debate or nudging me off-balance with her arguments or mesmerizing me with a well-formed speeches she did already have me wrapped around her little finger.  Maybe it is a good thing that she was able to utter a conversation that was understandable. Whatever she could have or would have asked I would have granted it or worked to make it happen.  That is the power of love, a love that melts the heart of a grandfather.

Her older brother is two years old.  He was the first newborn that competed for my heart and won it easily as well.  Now, he is old enough to affectionately hug me, run into my arms and cuddle with me when he wants a moment.  He prepared me for the “Grandparent-effect”.

I wondered when I held him in my arms as I am still wondering while I hold his sister in my arms.  How is it that I can melt into a love bonding so fast, so deeply with a human being with whom I have not even had one single understandable conversation?

It is inexplicable.  This is a phenomenon that defies explanation or reason.  Yet, I love it, embrace it and completely welcome it into my life.

Are you blessed with such innocent love?  Have you ever tried to explain it but given up and just surrendered to it?  Is it so wonderful forever?

photo credit: fong-bailey cellphone photography

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There is an insatiable appetite among humans.  No, it is not about food or possessions or achievements.  Neither is it about money or position or power.  It is about grandchildren and the unending joy that they bring to the experience of a grandparent.

We have been overwhelmed with the love that is generated in our hearts for our first grandchild.  He lives 2,000 miles away and makes for rare hugs and kisses during the year.  Yet, the fountain of desire never ceases.

Now, we have been ready and eager to welcome our first granddaughter into our lives.  She was not like her brother who came five weeks early.  Instead, she pushed the limits of her due date and made her grand entry just two days before her designated day for her birth.

I have not yet met her in person.  That will happen soon.  So far it has been text message announcements, videos and of course pictures sent through cyberspace.

Yes, the objective observer no doubt sees a newborn picture is like every other newborn picture.  But, through the guys of grandparent, the view is much different.  This child is perfect.

Like an angel sent directly from God to bless our family, we celebrate the stewardship of this precious life and welcome her into our hearts.  The love is welling up in a reservoir waiting to be lavished on this little life whenever we can make the pilgrimage to her home.  In eager anticipation we look forward to filling up our grandson’s life and our granddaughter’s life with all that good grandparents are supposed to give.

How can we be so much in love with another human being with whom we have not yet met and one with whom we have never exchanged a single word of a conversation?  This is the mystery of grand-parenting.  It is a wonder yet it is clearly an indisputable reality of life.

When God designed grandparents, He used that season of life as a reward for parents who restrained themselves from murdering their teenagers.  The tough years are washed away as if they never occurred.  This blessed bathing of the human memory is not unlike the greater picture of the redemptive story by our Savior.

So much is washed away by a single act of selfless love.  Grandparents know this dynamic.  It is a reason that we stretch the theology of “angels” and apply it to newborn grandchildren.  Don’t you think this is a great way to stretch a Biblical metaphor?

photo credit: Bailey photography

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