Did You Bring Me Anything?
Pardon me while I brag a bit about my grandchildren. Why, they're the cutest, smartest, most adorable kids! Did I mention they're especially talented? And clever?
And have I told you how our youngest grandson can count from one to 10 in six different languages? He's only 4. He started learning this when . . .
Oh, Ive told this story before? Sorry. Grandchildren. They're one of life's greatest joys. Who can articulate that instant heart tug that deep love and pride the sheer wonder that settles in when we hold our first grandchild?
Perhaps its because with age comes wisdom. As grandparents, we appreciate how quickly time speeds by, how rapidly those little minds and bodies grow, and how we must savor each moment. We also see the dangers in a sin-filled world. Our immediate response is to protect, love and spoil.
Did I say SPOIL? Yes, indeed. The urge to spoil grandkids is as natural as breathing. We cant seem to help ourselves.
Spoiled rotten. Its not pretty if by spoiled we refer to overindulging with expensive gifts, giving in to every whim or disregarding parents child-rearing rules. Yet perhaps you'll agree with me that there is a place for spoiling, in the sense of loving unconditionally. I call this spoiling right.
My husband, Dan, and I cherish our bouquet of 12 grandkids blossoming toward their full beauty: one given up for adoption, and one adopted in, two with special needs and several growing together in a blended family. Our bouquet is made up of outgoing and introverted, right-brained and left-brained, athletic and nonathletic, messy and neat. Every grandchild is unique. Each deeply loved.
We want to spoil them right.
Spend time instead of money. Early on I fell into the trap of overindulgence. Every outfit and toy I spotted in stores cried, Buy me! So I often arrived at a grandchild's door laden with garments or gadgets.
As years passed, I realized this error when hugs were met with, What'd you bring me, Grandma? Were Dan and I building the value of relationship or the love of stuff? Could we undo that gift expectation and still grow love? Yes, we could and we did. Heres how:
- Instead of gifts, we planned activities a visit to the zoo, trip to McDonalds, camping or fishing.
- We called frequently, sent no-occasion greeting cards and attended school events. We sought every means to demonstrate personal interest.