When my firstborn turned one, our family planned a cross-country flight to Grandma and Grandpa’s for the Christmas holidays. Before we arrived, my dad shopped for Christine’s first doll. Grandpa wanted to purchase a pricey standup porcelain doll with a frilly dress and long hair, but Grandma said it wasn’t practical for a baby. And so Grandpa chose a soft baby dolly with a bald plastic head and a blue cotton dress.
Every time we returned home for summer or Christmas vacation, Christine packed her dolly for the visit with Grandpa. Baby Amy became a frequent flier with thousands of miles. On our last visit, Baby Amy’s head was sticking out of sixteen-year-old Christine’s carry-on and even became a friendly point of discussion with airport security. For Christine, Baby Amy is more than the gift of a doll; she’s the gift of relationship. My dad is now 80 and struggles with health issues, which is an emotional subject for my teenage daughter, who treasures her friendship with Grandpa.
As a parent of teenagers, I am reassured to know I have the faithful prayers and support of my parents, their grandparents. Thankfully, grandparents and their grandchildren share a relationship uniquely different from parent/child. Hearing Grandpa and Christine skype across the miles, I know that my parents’ faithfulness in prayer, love, and generosity have blessed Christine’s life. Their relationship with her has also laid a foundation for her future and provided a role model for her own grandparenting.
I want to follow the model of my parents and their parents and create a special connection with grandchildren. And in generations to come, I imagine Christine will give her own granddaughter a doll; but more importantly, she will give her granddaughter a relationship that includes prayer and love.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Psalm 119:90 – NIV