Today I am grateful for the blessing of “generations of love”, granted to us as a gift, I believe, from God to offer strength, support and, of course, smiles. Indeed, my grandmother, who just turned 95, has been known to say that she and my grandfather started a “population explosion”. They had five children, who had children, who had children… (Yes, we are blessed with times where five generations of family have been together!) And the result? Lots and lots of love and smiles…
For me, this really hit home last Thursday when the kids and I visited GG just one day after she had come down with pneumonia. Expecting just a brief visit to offer a kiss and a smile, we were surprised to experience a lengthy one full of many received (and given) kisses, brief spoken conversation and warm unspoken exchanges.
When we first arrived for the visit, I could hardly envision smiles we would share. To be honest, I thought we might walk away crying, because as the kids and I entered the door, GG (as the kids call Grammy) was as still as could be, eyes closed, mouth open, holding her rosary. As the kids tumbled into the room, I paused, wondering if a quick touch later I would need to tell the kids GG was “sleeping”. (GG is in a nursing home with a no-machines, no hospital etc order by choice). Luckily, this was not necessary.
When I touched GG, she was warm, woke and offered a week smile. She could not talk well, but managed to welcome us nonetheless. Then, as Luke and Nina alternated between offering and receiving kisses, hugs and “I lvoe you’s”, playing with GG’s stuffed toys, walker, snow globe and lobster toy and asking only-young-chidlren-can ask questions, such as “Why does she only have two teeth?” and “Why is her skin (on her hands) bumpy”, GG and I managed to exchange a few verbal sentences. But, mostly, there were just looks – connections of love… And, a few pauses for prayer. (Nina joined us in a Hail Mary) and song (the kids held her hands and sang “Ring Around the Rosy”)
GG simply lit up gazing at the kids or making eye contact with me. And, she seemed to have a special connection with Jack, who I laid her next to her. It was heart-warming to witness how GG continued to shakily reach for Jack’s hand, to cover it in kisses, or to pull his face close to hers (with my help), to do the same. Each time she did, no matter how fussy Jack was getting (which GG was somewhat unaware of due to to hearing loss), Jack would smile — one of those wide, open-mouth smiles that two-month old children melt hearts with.
Oh, it was such a beautiful dance to watch. GG reaching for Jack. Jack smiling in delight. GG lighting up in return. And, then, GG had enough strength to share some words: “He smiles at me.” Something in the way she said it made me think it was more than just Jack she was speaking of…
GG also tried to say something to me several times which I could not quite catch, something about, “I am always tied by visitors bring me…” I think she said “inspiration”. Whether she said “inspiraton” or not, that is what I heard. And, our visit brought me inspiration:
God smiles on all of us.
I am so lucky to be reminded of this in such a poignant way.
This post is being shared at Heavenly Homemaker’s Gratituesday. Please visit the links there to be warmed by what others are grateful for today.