I became a grandmother when I was 36 years old. This is shocking to some people, but for me it was not something out of the ordinary: I had my first child when I was 17. Moreover, 17 was not particularly young to have your first child in my family.
Being a young grandmother has given me so many blessings. I was in the delivery room for both of my granddaughters' births. My son and I had a lot of fun while we waited for each of his daughters to make an entrance into this world. Both times were two of the best moments of my life. Welcoming new life into my family is an honor.
But our family has also had to welcome death. Four years ago my son died by suicide. That is a story for another day, but any parent can imagine the pain that sentence contains. Our family has had to rely on each other to survive our grief. A few months after my son’s death, his fiancé and daughters moved into the house next door. That was an answer to a prayer, as we wanted to be close. I am the one who watches the girls while their mom works. The oldest gets to go to virtual school during the pandemic and none of us have to worry about her safety.
The relationship with these two little humans has healed me in so many ways. They keep the memory of my son, their daddy, alive and they give me hope on days when I look around and see very little hopeful things happening. They make me laugh, they keep me on my toes, and I am so lucky that God gave them to me and my family.
I know sometimes the thinking is that once kids grow up and leave the house, that parents are off the hook. And I do get that. Raising kids is exhausting. It is nice to have evenings to sit in the silence of a house after having spent what seems like a lifetime cooking and cleaning for people that you created and birthed. But what I have found is that my grandchildren actually give me energy—unlike the exhaustion I felt back when I was raising my own kids. They make me laugh so hard. I care less about little things than I did when I was the parent. With age comes wisdom of what really matters.
I am currently writing this sitting in a hotel room. My husband and I packed up and took our granddaughters on a spontaneous road trip. We never would have done that with our kids, but here we are having a blast on the road with these two little girls — little gifts who smile and remind me how much God loves me.