My eight grandchildren have been buying school clothes and getting ready for new adventures. Their situations are all different, with the three local children (Grant, 14, and Abby & Erin, 11) going to a Catholic school which started classes last week, the two North Carolinians (Darilyn, 11, and Jack, 6) being home-schooled, and the three in New Hampshire (Leah, 18, Jessica, 17, and JoAnne, 10) going to a public school. Leah will be starting at the local community college this winter.
When Leah turned 13, we were chatting on the phone. “I’m growing up on you,” she said. I’ve never forgotten that line and the sadness that washed over my soul. It’s so true. Much too fast for grandpa.
I wasn’t through enjoying their childhood and now they’re leaving it behind so swiftly you’d think they didn’t know how precious it was and how nothing will ever be like it was.
I still remember the day I was pushing Grant on the swing in his front yard. I said, “Grant, in two weeks, you will be three years old. And then what’s going to happen?” His folks were planning a birthday party and I knew he would be excited.
I said, “What?”
He said, “When I turn three, Daddy’s going to let me chew gum.” He was excited about that.
Each generation seems to get a little finer, grow a little taller (Grant is an inch over me, we noticed last night), and be a little smarter. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The kids call my Mom “Granny,” which has always seemed strange to me because that’s what we called her mom, who died in February of 1963. I still call her “Mom.”
She keeps asking, “Have you thanked the people on your blog for sending me all those birthday cards?” I keep meaning to. At last count, she’d received around 75. (I guarantee she still has every one of them, in a basket somewhere in the dining room.)
So, I thank you on her behalf. I’m not promising we won’t do the same thing again next year, understand. With her numbers now entering the stratosphere, each birthday becomes more rare and more precious than all the others before it.
This morning I was lying in bed pondering why mom still goes to church. She hurts all over and has trouble walking. The walker sits near the front door for use when she leaves the house. Getting ready for church takes longer and longer.
Most of the people I know would have quit going a year or two ago. If you’re looking for an excuse to get out of church, she has the best one: she’s just not able. Yet she goes.