Grandparents month prompts thoughts of nine unique blessings
September is grandparents month, giving me a perfect opportunity to talk about my grandchildren.
Of my grandparents, Samuel and Mary Bailey, I have no memories because my grandmother died when my mother was 13 and my grandfather died when I was 6 weeks old. One of my mother’s older sisters, Aunt Jimmy, was like a grandmother.
My other grandparents, Vernie and Carrie McBride, had 12 children. The youngest was only four years older than me. My grandfather was an alcoholic from my earliest memories, and, even though he lived to be 92, I have few memories of him. My grandmother was busy cooking for a large family when I was a child. Later she used to spend the winters with my family, and I learned that she was a strong, good woman.
Joyce and I were married several years before our lives became fuller as our three children — Melissa, Lynette and Michael — came along. Their grandparents were extremely involved in their lives. The Warrens and McBrides made every effort to attend important events.
Joyce’s parents never lived to see any of our children graduate from college or marry, but my parents saw graduations and marriages for all three of the children.
Our grandchildren provided us with even greater joy. They have given us a stake in the future, focused our prayers and raised our love of the simple pleasures of relationships.
I think we were older and wiser as we experienced the new lives of our eight grandchildren. We have rejoiced to see how each child is unique and has altered the lives of our children. Each has expanded our understanding of personalities and personal missions. The oldest will soon be 25, and the youngest just turned 6. So we have been celebrating new arrivals for a generation.
Melissa and her husband, Phil Roe, gave us Jennifer, Luke and Savanna. Jennifer, the firstborn, introduced us to the joys of grandparenting. In college she met and loved Joe Thurman: They celebrated their second anniversary as he completed his first year in medical school, and she completed a Master of Business Administration and entered a program to become a physician’s assistant.
The first grandson, Luke, is an easy-going young man who has a passion for serving children in Honduras. He is beginning a graduate degree in education after earning a bachelor’s in Spanish and completing international certification as a teacher of English as a second language. Savanna Roe has completed her first year of college and has studied all summer in Argentina and Chile.
The other five grandchildren are still in that formative stage, where interests change daily and ambitions are still not settled. Lynette and her husband, Pat Brown, have two wonderful daughters. Kailey, a junior in high school, sings in the women’s chorus, likes science and enjoys being with her youth group at church.
Ashlyn Brown is only 10, but already loves to read, enjoys art, likes movies, enjoys drama and is learning to play the clarinet.
Michael and his wife, Karen, have three wonderful sons. Brady, born Christmas day 1996, will soon be 13. The love of his life is baseball, and he has become a strong second baseman with a good batting average.
Connor will soon be 8 and loves everything about life. He has a fascination with details and swims competitively. Because Connor’s auditory nerve did not develop, he has no hearing in his left ear, but early therapy has made him strong verbally and equipped him to speak clearly and correctly. Garrett is the youngest of our grandchildren, having just turned 6. He likes creating things. The only lefty in the brood, Garrett has fun with whatever he is doing.
Our wonderful grandchildren, now numbering nine with Jennifer’s marriage, have made us more dependent on prayer than ever before. We pray constantly for the souls of all, and we ask God for wisdom to touch their lives in positive ways.
I wish I had space to share all the great family stories, and I wish all grandparents could tell about their grandchildren. Thank God for an exciting new generation.