Walking up the driveway to your front door yesterday, the very first thing I spotted was your face down low, peeking through the tall narrow window next to the front door, grinning out at me with your million candle-power smile, delighted that I’d come to visit you. You, the person in the world who first made me ‘Nana’. Your hug after I walked in the door was as big as toddler arms could give.
I turned to hug your sweet sister and chat with your momma. You hung close, waiting as I spoke to others, but then grabbing my hand to pull me in and show me your airplane and be certain that I intended to stay for awhile. I sat on the floor and you bopped around, playing and showing me things.
Later we went into your room to play, and you were all exuberance, all appreciation, all shrieky-happy laughter as I made an over-the-top silly gasp each time a ball popped out of a slot in your toy. You came up to me and turned around and backed up to seat yourself on my lap and I whispered in your ear that I love you, that you’re a good, good boy. You didn’t look at me and you didn’t speak but you pressed your ear close, and your body was quiet as you soaked in my words.
When your sister came to sit on your lap, on my lap, making you the unwilling middle of a lap sandwich, you pushed her off. But when I asked you to scoot over, to make space for her too, you did so willingly. As long as I kept space for you too, you were happy. It’s hard being an older sibling, isn’t it? From one first born to another, I know how hard it is when you’re little to have siblings pressing in close, competing for everything.
Later when it was time for me to go, I didn’t want to leave. But you were resigned, and came willingly when I asked for yet another hug. You opened your arms wide for me and snuggled in. I whispered in your ear that you’re an awesome boy, and that I love you so much. You turned your face to me and I thought you were going to say something, but instead you kissed me right on the lips, and my heart melted into a puddle.
You’re not the only child-of-my-child who I love as if you were my own. With each new grandbaby, my heart expands a little more and each time the love is just as big. But you were the first one to show me that’s how it is to love a grandchild. There’s a special Ranger-sized place in my heart and it will always only be all yours.
I know God made you for great things, but I’m convinced that at least one tiny purpose in your life, and in that of your sweet sister and your precious cousins, is because God knew I needed your kind of love. With my house full of wing-flapping, boundary-pushing, squawking-on-the-edge-of-the-nest teens– people who seem perpetually displeased with me- – God knew my battered heart needed toddler-love too, the uncomplicated, wholehearted embrace that teens just aren’t in a place to give. I needed little ones to see my heart truly, to affirm who I really am. To show me Jesus-love in a way that only you can.
Oh, what a gift you are. Straight from Jesus. I am so blessed.