Things have been interesting around here lately and I realized that last week was multi-generational for me. Being from a family that actually enjoys spending time together and that lives in rather close proximity to one another, the multi-generational thing isn’t really all that unusual but the way it played out was.
I got to spend an extended amount of time with three of my youngest grandchildren while their parents enjoyed an anniversary celebration far away from anything but each other (now that’s an anniversary!). For several days it was Grams and the kids and we had a great time. Not that everything was peachy – we had our issues but they were minor and at the end of the week the kids still loved me!
My dad, who is 82, experienced what it is like to fall twice within a 10 day period which is not exactly an experience everyone looks forward to. Along with those other wonderful family members I mentioned earlier, I spent several hours in an emergency room and we have spent several more trying to help dad understand the meaning of the words ‘rest’ and ‘very limited activity’. Not an easy task!
Then my twenty-something daughter was in a car accident. Her car was totaled but thankfully she and the two passengers in the other vehicle walked away with minor injuries. Another trip to the emergency room!
From the old to the young there were changes and adjustments. There was sadness from some missing their parents (or maybe it was just because they didn’t get their way!), from age making itself known in a harsh way and from the realization that accidents happen very quickly. But there was also joy when serious injury could have taken place and didn’t, when a fall didn’t mean a hospital admission and when Grams let the rules be broken since mom and dad weren’t around to know about it!
I feel blessed to have shared these experiences with those I love so much. I have fond memories of my own childhood and am grateful my grandchildren will have the same. I love my children more than I can even begin to express and to be there for them when they need me is a reward. My parents have supported me always and it’s a privilege to do the same for them now.
As I look back on my week of multi-generational care giving, I realize anew how fast the stages pass. I’m sure it was just weeks ago that my children were the age of my grandchildren and I was the young twenty-something. I turned around once and my parents were great-grandparents and I know this to be so because somehow I’m the grandparent! When? How? Watching my grandchildren play reminds me that childhood innocence is a treasure and shouldn’t be rare or rushed. Being with my grown children gives me hope that dreams can become reality and pushing through hardship has rewards. Watching my parents age with grace teaches me that you can still be joyful, kind and thankful even when being launched into unknown territory.
And me….at my current stage? Well, that reminds me that I need to remember to do more than just take up space. I need to look for the good, share the best, spread the joy and thank God that He is with me in every stage and through every experience – the happy and the hard. I want to be carefree and laugh like a child, dream and experience like I’m in my prime and be full of peace when my strength is failing. I want to live for more than just myself, to experience the best of every stage and hear “Well done*” when the time is right. I may not hit every mark but I most definitely will enjoy trying!
O God, You have taught me from my youth;
And to this day I declare Your wondrous works.
Hey Handsome, the only thing missing is growing old with you.
You are in my heart!