Courtney’s Love Lesson

Courtney’s Love Lesson

From Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul

Courtney’s Love Lesson

Life is not dated merely by years. Events are sometimes the best calendars.

Benjamin Disraeli

The July day was bursting with sunshine and warmth. The kind of day that whispers, “Let’s go to the beach.”

Fridays were dear to my heart because Friday was my day to baby-sit our beloved grandchildren, Mikey, three years old, and Courtney, two years old. Taking them to the beach could only make the day more heavenly. Well . . .

What seemed like a wonderful idea at 10:00 A.M. didn’t seem quite so wonderful at 11:00 A.M. as I began unloading the car with all the beach necessities: a blanket, cooler, sand toys, beach towels and two very rambunctious toddlers. What in the world had I been thinking? How could I manage all this by myself from the parking lot, which was a city block away from Lake Michigan’s edge?

“Oh! Dear God, help me,” I prayed as I stood there a wee bit overwhelmed, waiting for the morning’s estrogen to kick in and calm me down. Just then a group of young, strong (note the keyword, strong) men walked by.

“Excuse me,” I said. “You look so healthy and strong. Would you like to carry some of these things for us? The children are so excited, and I just can’t do it all.”

The taller of the three, blond and tanned like a California surfer, smiled and answered, “I’d be happy to help. I remember, as a kid, my Gram taking me to the beach.”

A short time later, we wished our godsends a happy day as we staked out our homestead a foot from the water’s edge and began building a secret tunnel that would take us to Disney World. Mikey was eager to play in the water, splash and “swim,” but not so for Courtney, for the vastness of Lake Michigan and the rolling waves seemed to frighten her little heart. Mikey and I played in the water, as Courtney sat in the sand contentedly digging, filling and emptying her pail. No amount of coaxing, no offer to hold her in my arms could persuade her to come into the water. Fear shone through her big, brown eyes.

Suddenly, a strong wind came up, and within a second Gramma’s straw beach hat took wings and sailed out across the waves.

“Gram, Gram, your hat!” Mikey screamed excitedly.

“I guess it wanted to go swimming, too.” We laughed, watching as the waves carried it further out. And then out of the corner of my eye, I saw Courtney step into the water, her little body taking small, determined steps.

“Court, you’re in the water?” Mikey shouted gleefully.

“Me get Gramma’s hat,” she answered as one little foot was placed in front of the other.

I stood there in the presence of our God, the Lord who had created this beautiful day, and these grandchildren who lived within my very soul, and tears fell from my eyes. Here was a child, so filled with pure love, that her fears were overlooked as she stepped into the water hoping to rescue her Gramma’s hat.

Scooping Courtney into my arms I whispered, “I love you so much,” as we waved good-bye to the beach hat. It had been a five-dollar special at Kmart, but it had taught me a million-dollar lesson.

Love conquers all things.

Alice Collins

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