Monday, January 9, 2012
Papa, Granny, and Reese
“Love never ends…” 1 Cor. 13:8
For most families, time and distance prove to be the main obstacles to family “get togethers,” but they aren't insurmountable barriers. Truth is, they are obstacles that need to be overcome and conquered so that our kids can know and model their grandparents and great-grandparents.
Though we have been far from perfect in our efforts to stay connected with our extended family, we have tried hard to bridge the gap. As we’ve lived in Branson all these years, we’ve gone through multiple sets of tires driving back and forth between Fort Worth, Baton Rouge and Branson. Our families there have made the long drives to Branson too. The result has been a special relationship between our family and our extended family.
That special relationship is now extended between great-grandparents and grandkids. Over the Christmas break, we got to visit Baton Rouge and spend time with Jeanie’s wonderful mom and dad. Elizabeth and our granddaughter, Reese, got to go too. As parents and grandparents, we get to see Eric, Elizabeth, Mark and Reese quite often, but the great-grandparent connection doesn’t happen as frequently.
The weather was beautiful and we got to play outside quite a bit. Reese’s great-grandpapa carried her to the fence next door and she laughed as she looked at the dog in the yard - that moment was solid gold. These days, many kids don't ever meet their biological grandparents and great-grandparents and if they do, they only see them rarely. It’s one of the casualties of the blended family. As new parents enter the scene, grandparents of former parents often get lost in the shuffle. That can leave some missing pieces.
One piece is the connection to roots. We need to know where we’ve come from. To literally hug or shake a hand with someone who bears our same DNA is huge. I talked with someone last week who still maintains a loving relationship with her biological dad’s parents even though her parents divorced years ago. Her mom has long since remarried and she loves her new dad a bunch, but her former grandparents are important to her and she wants to keep the relationship healthy.
It’s worth taking the time to cultivate the relationship between our kids and their grandparents. Even if we have a struggle with our parents, we should set that aside and let our kids experience the joy and wisdom that comes with spending time with aging loved ones.
Another piece is the grandparent’s connection back to the kids. Grandparents have so much to offer growing kids in wisdom about life, faith and relationships. That’s how God designed it all and kids need to hear the wisdom firsthand.
As I watched Papa carrying Reese, I knew something special was going on. I knew there was a connection established on a line that goes back centuries. I knew that adventuresome spirit in Reese came from that same spirit that I see in Papa who, at 90 years old, still competes in the Senior Olympics.
Thank you Papa and Granny for the care you have shown to me and to all the Beadle clan. Your spirit and compassion are being passed on through your kids and grandkids.
That’s the DNA called love.
By Eric Joseph Staples ©