God’s Good Time

God’s Good Time

From Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul

God’s Good Time

Where children are, there is the golden age.

Novalis

A few Christmases ago, I opened a gift from my son and daughter-in-law and was mystified to see a diaper nestled in holiday paper. Turning it over I read, “I love you, Grandpa and Grandma. See you in July.” Talk about fireworks! I instantly became a first-time grandmother-in-waiting, with all my time references revolving around that due date.

I told everyone I knew, and those who were grandparents all gave me the same glowing response. I would will my eyes not to glaze over while I listened to these sage words over and over again. “Just wait. You can’t imagine the joy and love of being a grandparent.”

Of course I could imagine! I had five children of my own, four nieces and seven nephews. I’d been there. I knew what it was all about. In fact, I already loved this baby.

June took more than its fair share of summer, and then July trudged into August, forgetting to leave us a grandchild along its way. “Everything in God’s good time,” I had always taught my children, but now I was really beginning to wonder if God might just need a calendar.

Every time the phone rang I jumped up thinking, This is it! If I was away from home I checked for messages every half hour. Cheryl, the mother-to-be, was kind and patient with me. I did try to limit my “How are you doing?” calls to no more than four or five or six times a day. I took her to lunch, matinees, craft sales, garage sales, anything to move the days along and hoping, just maybe, I would be with her when it happened.

If you noticed all creation sang in harmony on August 4, 1998, it’s because that was the day Joshua was gifted to this world. He was wonderful beyond words, and I was captivated by his every sound and motion, his very scent. And the first day of his life didn’t pass before I heard myself say to a grandmother-in-waiting, “Just wait. You can’t imagine it.” I’m not sure, but I think I saw her eyes glaze over.

When Joshua was three months old that little family moved two hours away. My husband and I saw him as much as possible, but it was never enough. We’d call each other Papa and Grandma just to hear the words.

Of course, Joshua learned to say “Papa” long before he said “Grandma.” On the phone he’d squeal “Hi, Papa!” all through the conversation.

He could say “coo-kee” and point to my cookie jar. He said “pease” for please and included the sign language gesture his mother taught him. He said “bite,” “ball,” “show,” “touchdown,” “cracker,” “outside,” and the list went on and on.

But no “Grandma.”

When Jason and Cheryl asked us to care for Joshua while they traveled to her brother’s wedding, we couldn’t say yes fast enough. I was reminded of the “We’ve Got Annie” musical number in the movie Annie. You know, tap dancing down the grand stairway, singing and twirling bed sheets in the air as we prepared his room. Okay, I admit, I do exaggerate a little—our stairway is more functional than grand.

Our four days together rushed by with swings, slides, choo-choos, playing trucks and reading stories. Joshua delighted us with kisses and reminded us to pray before each meal.

When we paraded him into church he pointed out every picture of Jesus. “Jethus love me,” he’d announce with absolutely no doubt about his lovability.

At home he’d stand eye to eye with the statue of Jesus in our living room. “Hi’ya, Jethus,” he would say, trying to shake hands or get a high five.

But still no “Grandma.”

The last night of his stay came too soon. I was in my bedroom folding his little clothes fresh from the dryer and packing them for home. I was missing him already when a scraping sound coming down the hall broke my thoughts. I looked out to see Joshua struggling to pull the statue of Jesus behind him. When he saw me, he righted the statue and flung his arm around its shoulders.

He smiled up at me. “Look, Gamma. I bring you Jethus!”

My heart filled until my joy spilled over into tears. God truly uses the simple to confound the wise.

Cynthia M. Hamond

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