Having grandkids has really taken me by surprise. Yes, I’ve always liked kids, especially my own. Certainly I anticipated that having grandchildren would be fun. When Krista, our oldest daughter, got pregnant for the first time I thought it was ‘cool.’ This was simply another season of life to enjoy. No big deal. In retrospect I wasn’t prepared for the flood of emotions that would overtake my life. I will confess that I am an obsessed grandfather! I am also married to someone I now call, ‘grandma gone wild!’ I hope Donna never has to choose between me and the grandkids. I hate being a loser.
Yes, our grandkids, Tully 3 and Tessa 16 months, are really cute. They are possibly the most adorable grandkids that have ever been born. Tully has white blond hair and already looks to have the makings of a great surfer (even though he is currently afraid of the water). Tessa, who is a girthy little gal I have affectionately dubbed, La Gordita, is full of strong willed personality (yes, from her mother) and really seems to like me.
Now of course I know that nearly every grandparent thinks their grandkids are really the cutest and that the universe revolves around them. We should have had our grandkids first! reads the bumper sticker of a beaming grandparent. The sentiment probably doesn’t do much to inspire confidence in grandma and grandpa’s adult children, but as a recent grandfather myself I understand the statement. Free of primary responsibility for raising one’s own children a grandparent can relax, play, spoil and simply relish having grandkids. When they call me Grandpa, it is a badge of honor.
For the past three years I have been wondering what it is that is so special about grandkids. Why am I so enamored with Tully and Tessa? I have pondered ideas such as, a desire for a genetic deposit in the future, a chance to be a better grandparent than I have been as a parent, selfishly wanting to be adored, someone who will remember me long after I am gone, or just the joy of being a part of young lives as they discover things for the first time. I am sure that each of these, and more, play a part in my enthusiasm.
However, another aspect of this whole grandparent thing finally came into focus for me a few weeks ago as I discovered an old clipping from my files. There it was in the newspaper of The Country Church of Hollywood, July 1958. I was eight years old at the time. On the cover were pictures of my grandparents, Walter and Louise Jolley. The title of the article was, Hollywoodians Stand For Christ. My grandfather spent his life working in the film industry at 20th Century Fox Studios. The article chronicled how both my grandfather and my grandmother had their faith in Christ come alive late in life, in large part because of a ministry called the Hollywood Christian Group. Reading these dual testimonies of how Christ had changed their lives brought me full circle to Tully and Tessa. In our family we have at least four generations that have called Jesus Lord. Now, I am hoping and praying that our grandkids will come to this same saving understanding of Christ. This is not because of the desire for some sort of family legacy, but because I want them to be born again, saved from God’s wrath due to their propensity to disobedience (which is already very obvious!).
Unfortunately, I know too much about life. This is what happens when you have a lot of birthdays. I am very aware that they are entering a world where pain and frustration will be a part of their lives. Where the battle for faith won’t be easy. Sure I hope that they do well in school, enjoy the outdoors, have good friends, and maybe even make it onto a club soccer team. But the primary reason my eyes often get moist when I watch Tully and Tessa play is because I hope for them to know the peace and security of an eternally secure relationship with God. I want them (and anymore that might come along!) to discover the reason for their existence. We are made to worship and love God. It is only in a right relationship with God that they will find lasting joy and satisfaction. One day I want to re-connect with them in heaven and worship our great God together.