Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

365 WAYS TO LOVE YOUR CHILD
Tuesday, February 2, 2021 by JULIE LAVENDER

PLEASE WELCOME

JULIE LAVENDER

TO

ANYTHING GOES

With my only grandchild living five hours away, I’ve worried two-year-old Benaiah won’t remember me from visit to visit. That thought seems to surface on the drive home after spending time with them and sporadically while we’re apart.

But when we’re together, it’s non-stop play and fun.

My daughter and her husband recently bought a new home, a step up from the small starter house they purchased as a young married couple. My husband and I drove up to help them relocate, and my daughter had the nerve to expect me to watch Benaiah while all the other volunteers lifted heavy boxes, mattresses, and an empty freezer. It was just pure torture …. NOT!

After my son-in-law installed a safety gate at the top of the stairs, I taught Benaiah how to roll a large, hard plastic ball down the handrail.

“Wheeeee….,” Benaiah squealed as the ball rolled, hugging the wall, then dropped onto the floor and bounced loudly three or four times before it scurried down the hall.  After we emptied the tub of balls, I decided to give David a short reprieve of manual labor, to labor over collecting balls to send back upstairs to us. I threw my hand up next to my mouth, to help my voice carry farther, and yelled, “Granddaddyeeee…?”

When he didn’t hear me, I tried it again. “Granddaddyeeee …?”

My grandson, as kids are so apt to do, mimicked me by holding his hand up close to his mouth and said loudly, “Yaaaa?” David soon appeared at the bottom of the stairs, tossed each wayward ball back to me for us to roll again, and then returned to work. For the rest of the weekend, Benaiah made it a game to call his granddaddy whenever he got out of sight … “Yaaaa?”

I “suffered” through childcare duties – it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it – while hard workers put everything into place. During naptime, I helped Jenifer organize her pantry. I was still arranging canned goods when Benaiah woke up.

He joined me there with his red matchbox car in hand. I showed Benaiah how to roll the car across the wire shelves and said “Bump, bump, bump,” as he pushed it across the rungs. I also emptied an opened box of squeezable fruit pounces, turned it on its side and showed him how to drive his car “in the garage.” I sat on the floor in the walk-in pantry, snapping a few pictures and filming videos while he played for quite some time. We chatted some – I asked questions; he replied with gibberish – but mostly there was a comfortable silence between grandmommy and favorite grandchild.

Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash

I dreaded the hour we had to head south, leaving my sweet baby behind.

A couple of weeks later, my daughter called to chat. She flipped the phone to Facetime and handed it to Benaiah. I asked a question or two, like always. “What did you have for dinner? Mac and cheese?” “Is Jager outside? Ruff-Ruff.” “Did you play with your toys today?”

Each question resulted in adorable gibberish. When I mentioned toys, Benaiah bolted from the couch, snatched something off the floor, and took off running. I only know this from the blur that resulted on the Facetime screen. In just a few seconds, the screen righted again, but I could no longer see Benaiah’s face. Where did he take me? I wondered. Oh, the pantry. I spied a bag of sugar and box of cereal.

“Bump, bump, bump.” I heard Benaiah say, and I could tell by the sound that his car was racing across the shelves.

I heard Jenifer’s voice ask, “Where did you take grandmommy?” When she realized we were playing in the pantry together, she aligned the phone so that I could see my grandson. I asked questions; Benaiah responded in gibberish, except for “bump, bump, bump,” “vroooom,” and “wheeeee.”

Three hundred twenty-six miles separated us, but Grandmommy and grandson shared the next half hour playing in the pantry. Perhaps, he won’t forget me after all.

I’m so thankful that God doesn’t forget me. Even when days go by and I fail to open His word because I’m “too busy.” Even when I skip corporate worship because I’m too tired. Yet, He keeps me as the apple of His eye.

Thank you, God. Life is so much better when we’re together. When I spend time with my Heavenly Father, I’m much happier. Have you enjoyed time with the Father today?

ABOUT JULIE LAVENDER

Julie Lavender is a journalist, author, and former homeschooling mom with a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. She’s married to her high school and college sweetheart, and the two are parents of four, inlaws of one, and grandparents to the most precious two-year-old ever. The Lavenders lived in nine homes in six states while David served as a Medical Entomologist in the Navy. The family then moved closer to grandparents, and David works as a wildlife biologist at an Army installation nearby. Julie is excited that her parenting book, 365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories, published by Revell, released in October. Julie would love to connect with you online.

https://julielavenderwrites.com

https://www.facebook.com/julie.lavender.10

https://twitter.com/JLavenderwrites

https://www.instagram.com/julielavenderwrites

ABOUT THE BOOK

365 Ways to Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments into Lasting Memories, released from Revell/Baker Publishing Group, contains activities that Julie enjoyed sharing with her own kids when they were youngsters, and ones that she now hopes to enjoy with Benaiah. 365 Ways to Love Your Child encourages moms, dads, and anyone who works with children to show kids every day with simple but meaningful gestures and activities how very much they are loved. “It’s my hope that these tangible acts of love show kids they are valued by you and, most especially, by God,” Julie says. With simple ideas and heartwarming tokens of affection, 365 Ways encourages parents to spend quality time with their child every day to create a treasury of warm memories to savor throughout childhood and beyond.

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