Pam Severns is one of my dearest friends, and one of my favorite “Grandma” role models. Maybe one of these days I can get Pam to write about the time she flew her two granddaughters to Gatlinburg, Tennessee just so they could see fireflies. But today, I’ve asked her to share a different story, one from this past Christmas …
I love being a Grandma or, as my girls call me, Nana. I love all of the privileges it comes with — like being able to let them stay up past their bedtime to stare at the stars, or let them bypass their peas and go straight to the pie.
I have the time a parent may not have to take them to a museum, or volunteer at their school. I am with them often enough to play a part in the molding of who they are, who they will be as grown-ups. I am one of the people in their lives who will influence their likes and dislikes, introduce them to things that will not only be fun to know but helpful in their future. All of this and more I do because I love them. I love them more than the very next breath I will take. I do it knowing that for the most part, anything I do before they are, say, eight or nine years old, will most likely not be remembered. They won’t remember the sleepless nights I spent rocking them when they had fever and could do nothing but cry. or the mud fights, or getting lost on the tram in Canada. My one granddaughter probably won’t remember the time I played in the school yard with her because she was scared to death of the other kids. The girls probably won’t remember any of that.
So why do it? Mostly because I am selfish. I love, love, love their enthusiasm; I love watching them experience things for the first time. I love making them smile, I love laughing at them, I love playing games with them, I love them. I agape them! So I am okay with them not remembering. I have come to peace with that. But every once in awhile God will give us a super special gift just to let us know that all those hours, all the pushing everything else aside, all the love we poured out was not in vain. Today, I received such a gift, and here’s my story.
My granddaughter, Avery, is in dance class with six or seven other girls. For the past few months they’ve been preparing for the Christmas dance recital. Though the dance classes are closed, her mother and I were permitted to come on the first Monday of each month so we could see their progress. So we knew how beautifully Sarah had choreographed the dance to the song ‘You Raise Me Up,’ and we knew there was a secret prop at the end that the girls were all hush-hush about.
When the big day arrived, we were seated in the audience along with an entire venue of proud parents and grandparents waiting for our special little ones to go on stage. The song began. ‘When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary; when troubles come and my heart burdened be …” My eyes were only on Avery, and I could see this beautiful girl as a tiny toddler taking her first step.
‘Then, I am still and wait here in the silence, until you come and sit awhile with me.’’ I remembered her at at age six,all dressed and ready to go to her first day of school.
She continued to dance as the song played on. “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains; you raise me up, to walk on stormy seas.”
And then it was time for the secret prop. As the song continued playing and I heard, “I am strong, when I am on your shoulders. You raise me up to more than I can be.’’ And at that moment, this most amazing eleven-year old girl lifted a sign that read, “NANA.” I know my heart skipped a beat.
I am an older woman and there is not a lot in life that can surprise me, much less bring me to tears, but it is with no shame that I declare that that little sign, that confession of love from a granddaughter to her Nana tugged on the innermost strings of my heart and will forever be seared in my mind, and on that day I cried tears of joy as my cup ran over.
I thank my God, my Abba Father for that moment in time, that most precious gift; for touching me with His hand of love. I cannot adequately put into words how special that moment was, but they are so few and far between and when, from time to time I am blessed with them I find myself wondering: If I can feel that marvelous, that perfect here on earth, how much greater will be the joy when I am in heaven face-to-face with Jesus?
To God be the glory.
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Pam Severns lives and writes from her ranch in Arlington, Washington. When she is not spending time with her grandchildren, you might find her in the barn attending the birth of a cow, or walking in the woods with her dogs.