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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

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Financial investors know how important it is to start saving and placing those precious finances into income-earning locations.  Parents and grandparents know how important it is to invest as well.  They start young lives with the joy of reading.  Books introduce the world of imagination, learning and life about the world in which they will live.

My first grandchild is two this year.  As the day drew to a close and washing up had been completed, he gathered his blanket and an armful of books and ran into my arms, climbed into my lap, curled up so that he was comfortable and then he pointed to his books, gesturing for me to read to him.

He buried himself deeper into my hug.  I picked up the top book and opened it up to the first page.  These board books are fun to read.

Colorful characters and simple stories with clad truths make it fun.  Even though I have never read these books, it was easy to put in a lot of expression and emphasis.  The meaning of the lesson became more and more clear as I read to my grandson.

There were easy moments for me to ask him to point to colors, animals and objects on the page.  He was participating and no doubt learning while he snuggled in my embrace.  It was my first time in the role of grandfather reader.

I was relishing the moment.  This has been a dream to invest in these little lives this way.  I could introduce him to so many wonderful ideas and reenforce some of life’s most important values.

In brief well designed books, I taught my grandson about friendship, initiative, community, helpfulness and loyalty.  He learned about telling the truth, honesty and industry.  He will need these qualities when he lives his life among people who are not so helpful to others.

All during the reading I was thoroughly enjoying the cuddle moment.  My grandson curled up and tucked himself in a comfortable position, inside Grandpa’s embrace.  It was a special moment.

He is young but I hope that the love that we shared will always be a part of his life.  It will for me.  Reading and books and grandfather’s bonding time are treasures.

Did someone read to you in your childhood days?  Do you remember going to a library in your youth?  Classic novels probably still leave memory moments in your mind, right?

photo credit: KJB photography

IMG_3214Life has many mysteries.  Many we have heard about but nothing heightens our senses like our first hand experiences.  That is a good way to explain my first foray as a grandfather.

I used to think that grandfathers were old people.  That is a notion that I have jettisoned very quickly.  Yes, as soon as I was notified that my daughter was expecting, I decided that grandfathers are very young!

My life was not blessed with a lot of interaction with that generation ahead of me.  I saw a picture or two but I do not have many memories.  Certainly there were no conversations that I had with my grandfather.

I hope that if God’s good grace allows many conversations await my grandson and me.  In fact besides just talking I hope that there will be many shared experiences.  Planning those touch points is not a problem.  What has surprised me are the many moments of pause.

Both of my parents are gone.  On the paternal side of my immediate family, I am the aged one.  Yikes!  That is a scary thought.

But, fear does not dominate my thinking much.  Instead, I am often amazed when I look into my grandson’s eyes.  He is pure, innocent, simple and with only potential in his body.

There have been no disappointments, no hurts no pain with people or tragedies that have scared his soul.  Hopefully, I can help him negotiate any of those inevitable tough times in life.  In the mean time it is time to bond with this third generation.

I hold him on my knees and I am amazed that I love this little life so much and we have not even had one intelligible conversation to date.  But, when we hug it is full of life.  Our checks squish together and the warmth and freshness of his cleanness easily breaks out a smile on my face.  His wiggling around and purring sounds melt my spirit.

When he laughs, I drink in the sound of his cheer.  His giggling is not couched in words just overflowing with happiness.  Each time his eyes focus on something, his little brain is making notes, growing his curiosities and trying to form the endless parade of questions that grandpa will get to answer.

Whatever privilege I have to pour into his soul the wisdom of the ages, I will do so.  Maybe we will sit on a dock with fishing poles in hand as he fills my heart with inquiry and I fill his life with life experiences that will make his life very beneficial to the lives that he will touch.

Lucas BaileyThere will never be another Father’s Day for me like this one.  Yes, I am blessed with five children.  Do not faint.  God blessed my bride and I with three of our own children.  Then, our two oldest are now married.  We love our two in-law children so much that we count them as our own.  Three plus two equals five.

Having these five with us is a blessing.  We laugh, discuss, make memories and serve in the building of God’s Kingdom together.  On top of all of these joys we have a new blessing to enjoy for the rest of our lives.   This Father’s Day, I have the added celebratory credential as a Grandfather.  Baby Lucas was born one day before Father’s Day and launched me into the world of grandparenting.  What an amazing treat in life.

For years we have been preparing ourselves for this wonderful phase in life.  There would be snatches of wisdom left by others in this field of human satisfaction.  Someone once declared, “Grandparenting is God’s reward for parents who did not murder their teenagers.”  It was said only once to me.  I have not forgotten.

Then, Moses made a huge point in inspired Scripture teaching that legacy was more than horizontal impact.  The privilege of influencing others is not just among our peers.  Instead, we must also pour into our vertical legacy through our children and our children’s children.

On this special day when I have the thrill of being included among this special group of men known as fathers, I also can invest in the third generation behind me.  Our nuclear group has now added this stunning dimension to our family tree.  This little guy is the first of hopefully many.

Our gathering times will be fun but also edifying in our faith endeavor.  Together we will live our lives for the glory of  the King.  We will encourage each other in our spiritual pursuits, cheer each other on with achievement, learning and challenges.

We will make a difference in our lifetime.  Automatically, we will celebrate what we can all do together.  Certainly, we will do far more together than we will ever do on our own.  It is a miracle known as family.  It is the best.  God has blessed me with this wonderful strength.  I delight in putting it into efficacious practice.

Happy Father’s Day!

photo credit: proud parents

 

baby booties 2012Christmas 2012 in Texas will be a very special celebration in our memories.  Of course it was memorable because all five of our children were there to celebrate with us.  But, something else made 2012 a forever smile time.

If you’re thinking of a first, then you are correct.  It was an unforgettable first for our family.  The celebration was spontaneous, surreal and unexpected.

Our adult children were calling us together so that they could give my bride and me our Christmas gift.  They seemed unusually eager for me to hurry, but I was busy upstairs getting my camera gear ready.  Eventually, I succumbed to their entreaties, but puzzled at their relentless insistence.

Once I descended the stairs our children were giddy and our daughter gave us the clear instruction, “Look on the Christmas tree for your present.”  Curious and bewildered, my bride and I examined our tree.  Everything on my side was familiar.

Then, my bride, exclaimed, “Here it is!  What is it?”  She held up a pair of reindeer shoes.  “They baby shoes,” I declared.

“What?” my bride uttered.  “What kind of shoes are they, Mom,” our daughter teased.  “Really?  Are they baby booties?” she was hopeful but cautious in her enthusiasm.

Then, she lost it completely.  We are going to be grandparents!  What joy broke out!

For years my bride has been preparing for the day when she could cuddle and spoil her own grandchildren.  It was a given that when a baby was within arm reach, she was in line to offer to carry any little life that would allow her the privilege.  Just that morning we saw a baby at the grocery store and we both sigh, “It could be ours.”

Now, the wait is over.  There will be no more moments of gazing and admiring the grandchildren of others.  We won’t have to pretend that we are out looking to adopt grandchildren or act as honorary grandparents to total strangers.  God is blessing us with our own grandchild!

A joy has erupted in the life of my bride.  She has a smile that hasn’t been possible to wash off.  We both laugh, tease and smile with good thoughts about our new family addition to be.

This is the part of life where we can enjoy a young life, pour on the charm and when we are need a break, we just go home!  I am looking forward to this.  It’ll be a delight beyond human expression.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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