October is a nice time of year in Florida. The heat and humidity of the summer days begin to subside and comes the day when I walk outside and think, "O my, that breeze feels nice." It's because it's not loaded with the heavy hot wetness that sits on us from June to September.
With the added heaviness of this year's events, breezes of happy thought are equally welcome. As October approached this year, it reminded me that this is the time of year when we often travel north to see our girls and their families and to sit in a rocking chair on a porch by a lovely mountain river and just look at the leaves. I admit that I have whined - pouted even - because for us that trip is not a good idea this year.
"It's the same old same old," I fussed. But then right behind that thought came another: only if I make it so! Do different! Think different! When the world closed down at the beginning of this year, I had many projects in my mind. Like so many others, thoughts of cleaning out closets and drawers and generally reorganizing life were at the top of the list. The boxes of family pictures, however, is where I've really struck the happy chords. Most of the pictures that pull the heartstrings revolve around the lives of the people in the pictures above. My two oldest grands are in the picture at the top: Jack and Andrew are with their dad, David, enjoying the NASCAR race at Bristol, TN. The bottom shot of Charlotte with those expressive dark eyes looking at her little brother, Nathaniel, was taken on the baby's first birthday. We all cried because we knew he was our last baby and here he was already a year old.
My pictures have given me an Autumn gift of precious times past...breezes from the life of my family that only I can give myself. As I look at those little faces, I remember things they've done and said.
Andrew was five years old the day that he and I sat in his plastic pool in the yard of his home in Tennessee. It was blazing hot and the water was getting warmer by the minute. Still, we sat in sweet silence, just glad to be there. His little hand patted my lower leg that hadn't seen a razor in days. "Mimi," he said, "You've got splinters!"
Occasionally, the grands give us a reminder that their world is quite different from the one we have known. Ed and I took Jack and Andrew to the movie when Jack was about four. A very precocious four. We arrived early and sat for some time in the theater waiting for the movie to start. Finally, out of nowhere, Jack's little voice asked with definite seriousness, "Who's got the remote?"
Nathaniel and his sister once enjoyed a ride on a camel at the Knoxville Zoo when he was about four. When the ride was over, he cracked us up by announcing in a loud voice, "I never rode a goat before!" You can read about that incident in my book Faith Breezes: Glimpsing God's Glory in Everyday Life, available on www.amazon.com.
Charlotte took our thoughts into the heavenly realm when she was about three. As we rode in the car in the late afternoon sunshine, the beams from the sunset gave everything a golden glow. Her baby voice exclaimed, "Look what Jesus made for me!"
And that's what I think when I ponder the lives of these truly unique people who are my grandchildren. At this writing, Andrew is 23, Jack is 18, Charlotte is 14 and Nathaniel is 11. They are good things to think about even when I can't go to see them. Thankfully we have technology that lets us see each other across these Autumn miles.
Look what Jesus made for me.