I held something incredibly precious in my arms today.
A sleeping child. But not just any child, my first-born grandchild who is three and a half and seldom naps any more.
Her Mommy left for her early morning hospital shift, so Papa and Nana were on child care duty for the day. A busy day mapped out ahead of us.
After breakfast, Little One got her face and hands washed, teeth brushed, dressed in her outfit for the day, put on her backpack that seems almost as big as her, and we headed out the door for preschool.
After her morning there, we picked Little One up at preschool and whisked her off to a lunch out where she got an extra treat – a special cookie. Then we stopped at one of her favorite places – a nearby town’s library where there is an amazing and huge children’s section room complete with two play areas in addition to books galore. There she not only played and chose some books to check out, but she got to touch newly-hatched chicks as well.
After another couple of stops for errands, it was time to travel back home. Little One was so tuckered out by this time she fell asleep in the car. Still in slumber-land when we arrived home, Papa gently dislodged her from her car seat, carried her inside, and laid her on the family room couch. Mama sat down on the love seat with a new library book to keep watch.
About 20 minutes later, Little One opened her eyes, gave a little moan, and looked at me. I attended to her by walking over to the couch, holding out my arms, and she willingly let me pick her up, nuzzling against me as I did so.
I carried her, her limp little legs dangling in front of me, to the love seat, sat down, and she was already back to sleep.
As that dear little sleeping one nestled against my chest, her silky tendrils of hair curled around my fingers. With her little arms wrapped around my neck and her downy head so close to mine, I could smell her sweet breath (still as sweet as when she was a baby) each time she inhaled in and out in peaceful slumber.
When I tipped my head to gently kiss her forehead, my love for this child swelled and filled my heart until I thought it might burst. I could feel her little heart beat soundly against mine and I wondered if our hearts will always be connected, no matter what.
While I watched her sleep so serenely, it occurred to me that she must feel safe and secure in Nana’s arms. What a good feeling that must be. Not too long ago it seems, I cradled her as a tiny baby, totally dependent on her mommy, her Papa, and me, her Nana.
Now she is so big and seemed even more so as she slept in my arms. So tall, so bright and articulate, so eager to learn new things, so happy to run into Nana’s arms again after she’s been away from me.
And before I know it, she will be bigger yet. Older. More independent. Off to school all day instead of just a couple of hours a couple of days a week.
As I held my dearest grandchild, I thought of my other grandbaby, who is also not a baby any more as she will turn two all too soon. Before I know it, she too will be almost too big to sleep in Nana’s arms.
The thought of it made me melancholy. Surprising tears brimmed over in my eyes when I imagined my sweet grandbabies all grown up as adults and living lives after Nana and Papa are long gone.
I thought of my own grandmothers, the ones who never had the opportunity to see me grow up. One I never knew since she died when I was a baby and the other taken away from me too soon when she passed in my ninth year of life. My memories of her are special but few.
Will my grandchildren remember me with as much love in their hearts that it almost hurts? The kind of love I possess for them? Will I have enough time left in my life to spend precious moments with them, watch them grow up, make memories that they hopefully will remember for the rest of their own lives?
There is no way of knowing for certain as the answer to that lies in God’s hands.
So I treasure the moments I have to spend with these adorable grandchildren of mine. Moments to make memories hopefully to last a lifetime. Moments for this Nana to remember the sweetness of these little ones before they grow up.
“No one can possess an afternoon of rain beating against the window, or the serenity of a sleeping child, or the magical moment when the waves break on the rocks. No one can possess the beautiful things of this Earth, but we can know them and love them. It is through such moments that God reveals himself to mankind.” ~ Paulo Coelho