The weekend following slumber party with the girls was a slumber party of a very different nature. I got one on one time with my sweet Liam, freshly turned 4, for the whole weekend. He was so excited to see me when I picked him up that he ran right out of his bath towel and into my arms. After a big bear hug I suggested clothes for his visit. He complied and we were on our way.
I’ve blogged about the sweetness of having young grandchildren before, and I will again because I want to memorialize forever these times before they turn into teenagers and I lose my memory. I love the way Liam wakes me up – “Look Grandma, it’s morning, time to get up.” This time I was able to coax him under the covers for a bit. We snuggled and fell back asleep, sweetness under a bedspread. He slept deeply – growing is tiring work.
Saturday was filled with things ordinary and extraordinary. Chocolate cheerios and milk on the side for starters. Liam loves riding his tricycle, alternately called a bicycle or scooter depending on his mood. He rides in the house and outside the length of our back porches, downstairs and up. I grew a bit weary of carrying the trike up or down the stairs but the smile on his face as soon as I would set it down and he climbed on re-energized me. He played with two construction digger trucks outside in a pan of real dirt. We watered plants, swept the patios, stepped out our traditional counting of the flagstone steps between the patios. For quiet time we had two DVDs from the church library – a Veggie Tale mystery and a Max Lucado story where an ugly caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly.
In the middle of our Saturday afternoon we had the privilege of attending a funeral for an elderly saint. Peggy was a friend, spiritual tower of strength for many of us in my church family. While I sang and worshipped God during the service, Liam played in the nursery, waiting patiently for the dessert tables being set up in the fellowship hall. He could not get over the spread. I like to think of the tables filled with food inside God’s house as a glimpse into God’s endless love and amazing generosity for the little ones. He was so good I awarded him two cookies and a cupcake with orange icing. As we ate and visited with others who had loved Peggy, I thought of how her legacy lives on, her memorial service an opportunity to show Liam God’s love through other Christian believers.
Saturday night was a real slumber party. Bath time always – because little boys get dirty during the day and because I love the smell of clean children. Bubbles and sea creatures and laughter and water in the eyes. Then time to try out the new Batman toothbrush with fresh batteries, which he helped insert. Liam and I love putting things together.
Grandpa and Luke were at the ranch so Liam got to have stories and bedtime in the big bed. We watched a Paw Patrol show first – a luxury I don’t usually allow, TV in bed – before we settled in with some good books. He chose a Golden Book version of Jonah and the Whale and we read how God used a big fish to show Jonah that yes, he did need to go where God told him and be obedient. Prayers. Then sleep came quickly for both of us.
Sunday morning I woke before Liam and decided to surprise him with breakfast in bed. I brought in a tray with my coffee and lots of cut up watermelon, a favorite for both of us. Waking him gently I helped him sit up against the cushions. We sat there quietly for a time, listening to the birds, the chatter of squirrels playing chase in the trees, the cool breeze floating in through the open window. While he ate he requested the Jonah story again, and I read it to him from a different story book. I liked the words of the story in this one better, but the illustrations in the other were superb. So we looked at one while reading the other, talking about how happy it makes God when we obey. How He will always come after us even if we run away, that you just can’t run away from God’s love. Love is who He is and what He does.
Liam had some good questions. Q: How did Jonah end up back on dry land after being inside the fish? A: The fish coughed or spat him out onto the land. Q: Why do some people pray with their hands pressed together and others fold their fingers over their hands? A: There are lots of ways for people to pray, and none of them is wrong. God made us each unique, special, and if we want to pray with hands folded or sitting down or standing up or while walking or hands not together that is ok. What matters is that we talk to Him, and listen when He places answers on our hearts.
We dressed for Sunday School and headed out. I made sure to keep the nav screen in my car on Map – Liam likes to see where we are going. In his class their verse for the day was Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid I will trust in You, God.” I listened to the children quoting the verse aloud – something really sweet about that. Then I walked to the safety gate and told his teachers Liam was going to get to go to Big Church today for the first time.
Liam observed everything about the sanctuary carefully. He pointed to the stained glass window with sunlight coming through and I explained the picture of the cross, the crown and the dove. He was good – really, really good. He played quietly with cars and some stickers, but mostly he watched in quiet or whispered questions, taking it all in. Singing, praying, welcome time hugs and greetings, more beautiful songs. He asked about the offering plate as it passed by and I told him we give back to God to help others in need. I didn’t expect him to sit through the message so we left after the first half of the service, my heart singing at the privilege of influencing my grandson for God and the truth of His Word.
At home we had sandwiches on the back porch, then tackled the task of putting the backrest on his booster seat. He patiently held the seat in place while I tried every which way I could think of to hook those tabs together. He would encourage me when I would get frustrated – “We can do it, Grandma.” Finally I turned to google and downloaded the instruction manual. We had it together in just a few minutes. I high-fived Liam while he said, “We did it! We did it together!” Never give up. Never surrender!
Then it was time for a marathon Lego session. We scoured the bins for people and parts, searching for missing heads and legs, found some rifles so we could set up a target range, built a glass house for the cat and racing stalls for the horses, complete with a trophy and gates. We also constructed walls with propellers on top of the roof. He has loved the Lego table since he was 2, but now he is able to create and use his imagination. I would have stayed there for days in that innocent, time-suspended space.
But couldn’t. On the drive to return him to his house I glanced back. He smiled at me, his head resting comfortably against the backrest. Another successful slumber party, I thought, and sent up a grateful prayer.