One Sunday when we missed church, we watched the First Baptist Church service on TV. Emil Williams was preaching, and one of his comments spoke to me, that if you don’t have grandchildren, adopt one! That comforted me, and I still remember its impact on my emotions.
A dear friend, Edward, whom we consider a family member, was out of town during the ice storm, and his son stayed several days with us as our electricity was on and his wasn’t. We shared with Ben and became close. He and his girlfriend Jessica began coming by on Sunday afternoons to visit John, and they will never know what joy they brought to our lives. The day he died, they were there to put my house in order and to help in many ways. They have now moved to another state, and we stay in touch with Facetime and texts.
John, our son, is godfather to a precious teen, Carmen, who lives in California. Long ago, I “adopted” her mother as a daughter. Words cannot express the joy Sonia and Carmen have brought to my life. I even get messages from Carmen’s school listing me as her grandmother. She has spent time with us in Jonesboro since before she could walk. We Facetime regularly and look forward to the next trip when we can get together.
And my Natalie! (Shown above, at her first birthday party in 2012.) She has loving grandparents. However, she calls me “GG” and her wonderful parents allow me to have a special part in her life. We had dinner last night, and this morning my heart is warmed by the memory of Natalie’s hugs. At John’s memorial service, her mother, Jeanne, gave the message. Heath and Natalie sat with our family, and when her mother began speaking Natalie slipped by us and stood in front of the pulpit. Jeanne picked her up and finished speaking with Natalie, at almost two years of age, in her arms. It was perfect, as John adored Natalie and was even able to hold her as an infant. There were many smiles among those who realized John would have loved this element of surprise.
Then there is Anastasia. The daughter of John’s cousin Harold, Lynn, adopted a little girl from Russia. We have had the privilege of being with Stasi since the first visit to Jonesboro, and this summer during Harold’s illness and death she and Lynn spent a month with me. Stasi and I have a special relationship, and I enjoyed having them with me. Stasi loves sunflower seeds and wants me to buy them in the shells – our only problem was to keep the dogs away from the shells! When I told them goodbye at the airport, Stasi ran back to me and hugged me once more, telling me that she wanted me to be her “fake” grandmother. I’ll take any title for those hugs!
I am feeling grateful this morning to these parents for sharing the precious love of their children with me. My heart is full of love and appreciation, for to see life through a child’s eyes is a beautiful sight.