Monday, October 22, 2012

Loving Arms

The newest and sixth addition to my collection of grandchildren is 13-month-old Molly. I have the privilege of living with her and her parents, my daughter Darice and her husband Ron. I raised three children of my own, two girls and a boy, and I’ve spent a lot of time with my other five grandchildren (all boys), but sharing a house with one brings a new perspective to my role as a grandparent.

Although they’ve shared numerous characteristics with every other child ever born, each child (and grandchild) of mine also has had his or her own personal likes, dislikes, and childhood rituals. That’s what makes us individuals. For instance, none of my children, nor grandchildren, have ever wanted anything to do with a pacifier. Except Molly. She loves hers. Sure, sometimes she rips it out of her mouth, turns it around in her slimy little fist, gives it a good talking to, and flings it across the room, but who among us hasn’t wanted to do that very same thing to our pacifier (whatever that may be) or our computer or smart phone or phone bill or credit card or car keys? Though not exactly clear to me, I’m sure Molly has her reasons for her love/hate relationship with that little contraption. In the end, though, they always find their way back to one another.

One particularly endearing ritual Molly developed in her infancy is running her little fingers over the bare skin of my arm when she’s getting ready to sleep. Not only does it feel good (I often want to drift off right along with her), but it also gives me a clear-cut signal that she’s ready for sleep. More than that, it lets me know she’s relaxed and comfortable enough with me to bury her little head in my chest and fall asleep in my arms. While I know infants will fall asleep dangling from their ankles if it suits them, this ritual signals more to me (and hopefully, her) than finding a convenient place to drop off to Dreamland.

This is about trust. Hers and mine.

This is about looking into her cornflower-blue eyes and making that deep connection that only grandmas and babies can make. It’s about my trusting that she knows I’ll never let anything happen to her; that she can scream or cry or misbehave or make messes or smack me in the face with a Mega Blok and I won’t be angry. It’s about that unspoken commitment all grandmas make with their grandchildren that says, “I’ll be right here for you no matter what. No problem is too difficult or embarrassing or frightening to share with me. You’ll always have me in your corner when the skies darken and the storms rage. I’ll never let you face your problems alone.” It’s about recalling the experiences and putting to good use the wisdom gleaned from parenthood and using all of it to help nurture the next generation of little ones—our own children’s children—a double blessing if ever there was one.

It’s about trusting one another that nothing but death will ever separate us.

And speaking of death, I hope that when I finally leave this earth (many, many years from now), I’ll have left Molly and Dustin and Hunter and Cannon and Tyler and Adam with the knowledge this grandma isn’t the only one who harbors a deep, unconditional love for them. They also have devoted, adoring, nurturing moms and dads, other doting grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and one another to help them navigate life’s tricky waters.

But more importantly, I hope I’ve left them with the knowledge that their Heavenly Father loves them more than even grandmas can love them. And when I leave this earth to begin my eternal residency in Heaven, I hope they envision me with my head buried in my Father’s chest, resting in His arms, trusting that nothing will cause Him to stop loving me.

Perhaps I’ll even gently scratch His arm as I drift off to sleep.

Deborah Dee Harper’s current adult Christian manuscript, Misstep, was a finalist in the 2009 Operation First Novel Contest co-sponsored by the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and Tyndale Publishing House. It will soon be under contract. 

Her children’s adventure book, Laramie on the Lam, originally published as a six-part, kids’ adventure eBook series by Echelon Press (Quake) is available now in print through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online sites.  

Deborah has made numerous elementary classroom visits to read her work to students, spoken to several groups (both student and adult) about writing, and developed a writing seminar for elementary-aged children. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency and writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

She can be reached through her website: or at her email address:

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Raquel Byrnes said...

That was really touching. Thank you so much for sharing. :)

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

Nice to see all your great publishing news, too, Deb!
Aloha! --Cheryl

Mary L. Hamilton said...

Very sweet. Makes me long for a grandbaby of my own. Some day!

Normandie Ward Fischer said...

Well said, Deb. As I read your description of Molly's cues for sleep, I thought how perfectly that could fit into a story. The cues we give...

Sharon said...

The little guys are so precious. Love them, spoil them, give them back to their parents...

Davalyn Spencer said...

Beautiful picture of our Savior.

Deborah Dee Harper said...

Thanks, everyone! I love cuddling Molly and I love thinking about being held by our Savior! Comforting, to say the least :-)

Blessings to all,