People always say God only gives you what you can handle—and I guess he figures I can handle boys because he keeps sendin’ them my way. My grandson Jack, who’s now five, was the first apple of my eye. That child has every bit of his Daddy’s sense of humor and dimples. He’s truly amazing. And as much as I want to try and stop him from growing up, I just love seeing the little man he’s turning into. Then this past June his brother, Matthew, came into our world. He’s the best baby you’ve ever laid eyes on. He never even fusses unless he runs out of food before he’s ready. If he’s not smiling, he’s sleeping. And following close on Matthew’s little heels was his cousin Henry Reed, my stepdaughter’s son, whom I had the honor and privilege of seeing take his very first breath. And let me tell y’all, that’s a special thing.
I loved my own Grandparents with all my heart. I learned important lessons from them about how to treat people, how to cook and how to work. They didn’t have to lecture or fuss at me; they showered us kids with love and left the parenting to Momma and Daddy. That’s the beauty of being a grandparent—the hard work belongs to someone else. I guess I never really understood the depth of my grandparents’ love for Bubba and me until I became a grandmother myself. I just don’t think you can until you experience it for yourself. It’s unlike any other relationship. My grandchildren came into my world lookin’ to me for all the good things in life, like love, acceptance and joy. And I’m more than happy to give it, and so much more.
Becoming a grandparent changed everything for me. It even changed my relationship with my own children. Suddenly they understood how hard I worked to give them the world and how much I suffered, willingly, for their happiness. I smiled with my whole heart the first time Jamie said, “I didn’t know parenting could be so hard.” I knew then and there that he was doing something right, because if it’s easy, you’re probably doing something wrong.
Y’all, I realize that my growing family means I’m getting on in years, and that’s not something a woman likes to be reminded of. But I’m more proud than anything. I look at my grandsons, all happy and healthy, and I think to myself, “I did this. I’m responsible for this.” Sure, I can’t take all the credit, but I am a big part of these boys’ lives. One day they’ll grow up to have families of their own. God willing, I’ll be around to see it, but if I’m not, I’ll take comfort in knowing that I played a hand in this miracle.
I’ll always treasure this picture of Michael and me with our grandsons. It was truly a blessing because we so rarely get to be with all of them at the same time. It was just so overwhelming for Michael and me to look at these boys and see our own children and even some of ourselves in them. It was almost too much to even wrap my head around, but I suppose most miracles are.