The Love Of A Grandparent
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children” (Psalm 103:17).
Grandparents are the glue of the family; they have lived and heard all the inherited, treasured stories. They are forerunners who lead the family into the future with the blessed memories of the past. What an amazing privilege!
Four years ago we moved to a new home and parish, and we quickly recognized there was a movement afoot. Many, in fact most, of our new friends are couples who retired and moved to the area to be close to their children and grandchildren. The mutual plan was to be a presence in the lives and activities of our grandchildren.
The distinct honor and position of a grandparent never changes. In some circumstances though, the responsibilities may require a need for adjustment. The uniqueness of each family creates a special purpose in every relationship: parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Obviously, the dynamics of the family have changed over the years. There are many contributing factors to societal fluctuations, but when love is everlasting, the children’s children only know the good in any transition.
I have very specific memories of my grandparents. My paternal grandmother worked in a factory every day and kept a meticulous home. My maternal grandmother always wore a dress and baked delicious homemade bread. She walked to Mass every morning; and when she was widowed at an early age, she became the housekeeper at the parish rectory. I knew her Catholic faith was important to her.
My maternal grandfather passed away before I was 4 years old, but I remember him cutting out paper dolls with pink plastic scissors. He loved to sing and taught me the words to nursery rhymes. He sang in the church choir and was known for his Christmas Eve solo, “O, Holy Night.” My paternal grandfather was a carpenter, and I loved riding in his panel truck with all his tools. He brought gum and candy bars every time he visited. Sadly, my paternal grandparents divorced when I was 11 years old. I share these memories to emphasize how important a relationship with a grandparent is to a grandchild. The smallest details with great love are etched in their little minds forever.
An essay I recently read for a Serra Club Contest prompted this reflection. The topic question was: “If you could talk with Pope Francis what would you tell him about your faith journey?” One of the winning essays was from a seventh-grade boy. He wrote an emotional and personal story of faith made possible by his Grandpa Bob. This young boy’s father was incarcerated, and his mother suffered from drug addiction. He wrote about his grandpa making sacrifices so he could attend a Catholic school, and how he stood with him when he was baptized at an Easter Vigil. The articulate words in this essay were filled with love. He shared that his grandpa was his source of stability, with a spiritual understanding of God’s love. “I thank him every day for taking me in when I had nowhere else to go, and he has taught me to be a good follower of Christ. I would want Pope Francis to know that my grandpa has shown me Jesus, and what it means to be a Christian.” A book could be written with hope and promise about this seventh-grade young man and his grandpa. Sharing God’s love and saving souls is the mission of each living person. Enjoy the role you play in the lives of your children’s children. I thank God for the pleasure every day! Amen!