I am the grandmother to two little girls who, at four months apart, are parentheses around the age of two. One is blonde. One is brunette. One has straight hair, the other curls. They both have eyes and smiles that light up the sky and set off fireworks in my heart. They are smart and curious and delightful and beautiful and the missing pieces in my life that I didn’t know I needed. Every grandchild that has come has unlocked something in me that feels like a homecoming.
I am in love with them.
And I am learning how to be a grandmother.
On this learning curve, I really blew it last month.
I am so careful and attentive to what I give them. If I spend a certain amount on one, then I spend the same amount on the other. Not perhaps at the same time nor on the same thing, but the running tally is in my head. My innate sense of justice, vigilant against favoritism.
So when one little one needed a new pair of quality shoes which was out of reach for her parents, I knew that I had spent the same on a couple of dresses for my other granddaughter, and I happily sprung for the shimmering pair of pink Mary Janes.
My mistake is coming.
Okay, here it is. The new shoes were at my house the same time as both granddaughters were there, and I gave them to the one without giving anything to the other. Right, right, I know they will have to learn that sometimes that happens, but may I remind you that they are TWO. Their little hearts and minds do not/cannot fathom that yet. It is as foreign a concept to them as “sharing.”
So my older granddaughter (by four months, remember) opened her shoes, loved them, and put them on. Hooray! My younger granddaughter saw them and wanted to put them on as well. Telling her they belonged to her cousin set off her grief. When she finally understood, she walked to the corner of the room, disappeared behind a chair, and in hiding tried to comfort herself by repeating her name.
Cue sword piercing my heart.
The next day, I ran to Target as soon as I could and found an inexpensive pair of gold shimmery shoes in her size. Later that afternoon, my husband brought them to her house and had her open them. At first, she thought these shoes too belonged to her cousin. When she was made to understand that they were HER shoes, she immediately begged to put them “On! On! On!” She has barely taken them off since.
After putting on her new shimmery, “sparky” shoes, my husband got down on his knees and spoke to her in love, “Your heart matters. YOUR heart.”
My husband and I get to join my granddaughters' parents in conveying the truth they so constantly do. These little girls are going to grow up knowing that they are seen. They are delighted in. And that their hearts matter.
Let this story have its way with you. Let it prick your heart in the remembrance of times when your heart was overlooked. When you didn’t get the new shoes, the new dress, the new notebook, the loving glance, the TIME. When the message you received was not “your heart matters.”
And now, let me remind you of your Father. The One who is fierce on your behalf. Who is not keeping a tally of any kind, because His love for you is immeasurable and His gifts of love and provision to you are boundless. He sees you. He delights in you. He wants you to know it so badly that He came in person to deliver the message, and He is coming still in this moment.
Hear His voice. He holds your face in His hands. He speaks. “Your heart matters.”
“The same way a loving father feels toward his children –
that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us.“
Psalm 103:13 (The Passion Translation)