Dahlia (in her father’s lap) getting a trim. (We don’t say c-u-t because it scared her.) With two of her own, this professional has had lots of practice cutting hair on a moving target. Dahlia was fast, but the beautician was faster.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children [or grandchildren] or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life, (Matthew 19:29, emphasis and addition mine).
Every year it is the hardest thing I do: leaving behind my family, especially my grandchildren. But every year, God gives me a special gift through those grandchildren. For example:
- The first time I went to see my first grandchild, Orion, he was two months old. He laughed out loud for the very first time while playing with me. God knew that I would love that particular milestone.
- A year later, his parents and I were playing with Orion. My son said, “Say da-da!” Orion responded: “Da-da!” His mother said, “Say ma-ma!” Orion responded: “Ma-ma!” Then both of them said, “Say gramma!” Orion looked at me and said: “Gramma!” It was the first time he said that name, and he said it to me! It absolutely melted my heart.
- The next year my daughter-in-law pointed the camera at me, with Orion next to me. She said, “Smile!” Orion grabbed my hand, turned, and smiled for the picture.
- That same day, I noticed something different about my daughter-in-law. I asked her if she had news for us. She smiled and turned away. About a month later, they made their announcement that they were expecting their second child. But I had been the first to know.
- On my next visit, I made my annual trip to Texas to visit churches, prayer partners, and family. I spent my last night there with my cousin. He invited me to stay another night, but I answered that I had a grandchild due soon, and needed to return to North Carolina. That day I drove as far as I could, but finally had to stop for the night. The next day, as I was crossing the border from Tennessee into North Carolina, my phone started dinging and dinging with notifications. It makes the same tone for text messages that it does when entering a Wi-Fi zone. Since that border is a high mountain pass, Wi-fi seemed unlikely, and since I was driving, I couldn’t look to see what it was. When I got to Asheville, I looked at my phone and the first message I saw was a picture of a newborn baby. When I scrolled through the other messages, there were more pictures, and a message saying that my granddaughter had been born: Dahlia Luna. She was the first girl born on either side of the family since my own birth in 1955.
- Last year, little Dahlia took her first steps on Christmas day as I watched: thirteen steps!
- I often have wondered if my grandchildren might forget who I am, given that I am gone most of the year. But that question was answered this year. When I arrived to visit, Dahlia came over and sat beside me. She looked up at me and said, “You’re my friend!”
- I have also wondered about my grandchildren’s spirits, given that their parents are not Christians. After their bath, Orion turned on the radio in their room. Dahlia, wrapped in a hoodie towel wiggled free from her mother’s embrace and began to dance. The radio was playing a Christian song. Dahlia danced and whirled, swinging her arms and swaying through the whole song. Later, as I was thanking the Lord for that moment, He assured me that while I attend to His business in Europe, He is attending to my family members. I feel certain that their parents and other family members will also eventually come along. After all, nobody knows a person’s heart better than the Lord does. And He knows how to set things up in the very best way to bring them to that moment of decision to full advantage for making the right decision at the right time—after all, He did it for me.
- Two years ago I gave Orion a placemat that is a laminated map of Europe. This year he began to be interested in all the different places that I have been. So my son handed him a dry-erase marker and we marked all the places I had been. Then he colored in the whole boot of Italy because it’s where I live. He said that he wants to come visit me in Italy.
In addition to these precious times with my grandchildren, I have countless others, the children of missionaries, who have adopted me as their grandma. Last year I wrote about being dubbed Grandma Brownies (see My Grandmother Anointing and Grandma Brownies Rides Again!).
Let me interpret this for you (I understood it!): I (am) shining (for) my sister. I am hugging my sister. Sweetness!!! And at the top of the picture, under Orion’s drawing, you can see the placemat of Europe
People sometimes assume that I am lonely because I mostly travel alone. Are you kidding? There is too much to do and lots of grandchildren all around to love. Who has time to get lonely? God is good!
 It was a beautiful moment of joyful innocence that I couldn’t capture on video because the world is so crazy that carrying around a video of a naked two-year-old dancing in my phone would be seen in a bad way.