Raising Grandchildren: What Parents Miss

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
    offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
    are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
    when they contend with their opponents in court.
Psalm 127: 3-5

A few months ago, my daughter moaned about missing the last of Victoria’s childhood and the last of Amari’s little boy years. They were nine and four when they came to live with us. At eleven, Victoria is moving into adolescence, but she’s at that point where she’s very grown up one minute, and the next, she reverts to a little girl.  Amari is six and in the first grade. He’s lost his baby cheeks and, although he’s still a little boy, he’s begun to focus on boy interests like football and basketball. Sometimes, he throws his chest out, pulls his shoulders back, and struts. It’s cute and hilarious, but I don’t tell him.

It’s sad that she’s missing this. There’s so much about them she doesn’t know and can’t share. As the Psalmist says, children bless and reward their parents. My daughter’s quiver stands empty due to her choices, and the rewards and joys fall to me and my husband.

For example, Victoria won the Science Fair at her school. First place!!!! Next week, she competes on a regional level. I grew up in an academic family. My father spent a large part of his career as the Dean of the College of Sciences at Clemson University. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology. Winning the Science Fair rates high on our “busting our buttons with pride” scale. Her mom misses out on celebrating this achievement. She doesn’t get to be here preparing Victoria for her presentation and calming her nerves.

Amari barely spoke when he came to us. Now, he talks non-stop. He loves God, he asks amazing, complicated questions, and talks to everyone. Just yesterday, I took him to a follow-up visit with the Allergist. Brave man that he is, this doctor checks Amari’s ears, throat, and nose, then he lets Amari use the otoscope to do the same on him. Amari loves it! All isn’t joy for him, though. Recently, he ran into some trouble with some boys, a precursor to bullying in the first grade! Mom wasn’t here to recognize something was wrong, comfort him, and deal with the problem. I took care of it.  I’m glad to say his teacher responded immediately to the issue, too.

Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6

It breaks my heart that my daughter continues to miss these experiences due to her poor choices. For us, we have the crowns mentioned in Proverbs living in our house. We’re tired. It’s hard work, but I can’t imagine life without them here. We are the parents in their lives, not their mom. Instead of pride about her true parents, Victoria avoids questions from classmates. They’re curious. Most of them know me, so if they ask why she’s with me, I tell them Mom can’t take care of them right now. That’s it. Nothing more needs to be said.

Hold your children close. Hold your grandchildren closer. When life becomes hard, remember they are your crown, blessing, heritage, and reward.

 

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My Daily Balancing Act

We discovered these rocks on the shore in Rhode Island. There were hundreds of these stacks, balanced against the winds from the ocean. © Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

A few days ago, I knew exactly what I wanted to say in this post. Today, the desire to say it is gone. There are other needs pressing on me, and I don’t know whether I’m ready to share them.

I know, I know, I’ve been an open book about the struggles of my life, but most of those posts talk about situations in my past. Many of them quite a few years ago.

I’ve come to a point in my story where the posts have caught up to real time. To now. Today. That means the stories I’m sharing are ones I’m experiencing. The people they affect are dealing with them now. There are parts I can’t disclose, yet.

That makes the goals of my posts a bit harder to share. The outcomes are unknown. Yes, I trust God to take care of us, but everything I’ve been through has shown me that His way is often a way I can’t begin to imagine. He doesn’t always give us the easy outcome. He has a long-term perspective that I can’t know or see. To be honest, that frightens me when I stop to think about it.

So I don’t stop and think about it.

There’s enough going on in our lives to keep me from focusing on things I can’t change. Thankfully, I’ve never been much of a worrier. I’m a doer. I prefer to be on the move, headed toward a goal. And that goal, for now, is to get through this day. To get through the next day. To help my grandchildren cope with this unfair situation. To find time to spend with my husband, time separate from the grandchildren. To find time to focus on the rest of our family.

AND, to make sure I take time for me, so I’m the person they need.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

It’s not easy. It’s a balancing act. Most days it feels like the rocks in this picture, balanced against all odds. Like these rocks, I will persevere. I will stand against the elements and time. If nothing else, my story has taught me blessings will come. So, I wait and balance.

It’s what I do…for now.

When Do You Take Time To Stop?

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

One of my favorite authors posted on Facebook the other day that she took a day off and did nothing but watch TV, catching up on shows and eating. This was unusual for her, and she asked if this was what normal people do every day.

Most of the ones who responded said they didn’t know because they never had time to stop. I was one of those people.

This morning, as I geared up for everything on my to do list, I realized that I should not feel proud of the fact I never stop. That is not good. It’s not good, either, for people to spend their days watching TV and eating.

We are commanded to stop, be still, know that He is God. This is not by accident. We need it.

God knew we needed to slow down and rest. Even he rested.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Genesis 2:3

Although people focus a lot on Jesus’ efforts to push forward and act during his time on earth, he did carve out  niches of time to rest.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Matthew 14: 13-15

In the above passage, Jesus had just learned of the beheading of John the Baptist. He needed time to think, to draw near to God. He withdrew by boat to a solitary place. Have you ever gone out on a boat and drifted on the currents? It’s peaceful, quiet, a place to reflect and restore. When the people followed him, he tended to them, but by the end of the day, the disciples express concern over how to feed the people. Why? Jesus chose a remote place where he could be quiet, to be still, to be with the Father. There was no food.

The crowds took that time. Doesn’t that sound familiar? But, it doesn’t deter Jesus. See what happens after they feed the five thousand:

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:22-25

He still found the time to pray and be alone. It meant he missed his ride, but he made the choice to get what he needed most.

This is just one day in Christ’s life, but if you look, you’ll find many occurrences where he sought time to rest as his father commanded, to follow the psalmist’s admonition to be still and know.

This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV or playing with your tablet. It means to be still. To listen for the Spirit. To pray to the Lord. To feel the comfort of His power and presence.

I admit, this is hard for me. I’m pulled in so many directions, but I need to rejuvenate and be still. Even if it’s a few quiet moments with the bathroom door closed, I need to find it.

Where do you go to be still?