We All Have Our Circles of Influence, Who Is In Yours?

We had our entire family together for this weekend as my grandson celebrated his seventh birthday.  It brings back old memories when I see the kids raising their kids and the trials they go through with young ones.  I can remember getting upset over things my kids did or didn’t do!  I hear the parents say, “I’m so tired, I don’t know how we’re going to get through this!”  I remember those days well.  They will get through it…quicker than they know, in fact.

This morning as I was cleaning up the mess from having everyone here, it struck me.  It seems like just yesterday when I was down on the floor cleaning up crumbs from my own little ones.  Today, as I moved the chairs out from the table and started picking up pieces of pop-tarts, I realized I didn’t mind it anymore.  As a matter of fact, that simple act that used to make me tell the kids they should be more careful when they ate, felt like a blessing this time instead.  How blessed we are to have little ones running around, dropping food on the floor and putting their slobbery fingers on the windows!  My how my perspective has changed!

Does that mean I’m getting old?  Have I finally crossed over into grandmother-hood? I don’t always think of me as the stellar grandma.  I was only 43 when the first one arrived and still had teenagers in my own house.  As a matter of fact, after having one or more teenagers in the house for over 13 years in a row, I was even a bit traumatized about kids at that point.  I couldn’t help but look at someone with a new baby and want to ask, “Do you know it’s going to be a teenager someday?!”  As I begin my birthday month, I am reminded I will be 51 in a few weeks.  No longer am I just 50.  It just seems so much different.  Maybe I am graduating to that place in life where I can enjoy quiet nights at home knitting by the fireplace?  This year, I’m going to start baking early so that we have lots of Christmas cookies around too.  Isn’t that what grandmas do? Could it be I’m actually morphing into a real grandma?

As I look into my granddaughter’s eyes who can’t talk yet but can give me a big toothless grin, I am thrilled.  When my other granddaughter wants to climb into my arms, rest her head on my shoulder and put her little arms around my neck, I am in heaven.  When my other granddaughter and grandson come up and give me big hugs after not seeing them for a while, I feel so loved.  My oldest grandson patiently stands up against the wall and lets me get the tape measure out so I can see how much he grew since last month.  He’s 5’10.5” by the way!!!  And then there’s the one that is just preparing to arrive in March.  She has no idea what she’s getting into with this family, but I am sure will fit right into the fun!  I call her “she” but we really won’t know for a couple of more weeks.  Just wishful thinking.

I’ve come to the conclusion with all of this that I don’t have to be a super grandma to have my grandchildren’s love and influence their lives.  They love and accept me just because I am their grandma!  They might tell me I’m silly or think I’m weird at times, but they love me anyway! They’re so much easier than my own kids were.  At least, I think they are.  Or was it just because I so worried about making sure mine grew up as respectable human beings that I couldn’t enjoy the true blessing that they were in my life until they were grown?

Nonetheless, after a weekend with my entire family together, I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of influence Jim and I have on these young people’s lives.  We had our four kids, three spouses, five grandchildren and if you include the one not born yet, there were thirteen people that we directly impact just for being who we are.  So maybe it’s because I’m getting old, but I’m just not sweating the little stuff anymore.  I don’t care if I have crumbs on the floor or a kid pouting because they didn’t get their way.  Life is just too short.  It was just yesterday when it was my kids that were curled up on my lap.  Now they are grown.  These young ones will be grown before we know it too. We have to enjoy every moment before it is too late!  Who has God put in your life to influence?  Whose life can you speak into just because you are you?

Maybe you’re not a mom or grandma or your children don’t live near you.  It doesn’t really matter.  My grandparents died young so my great aunt and uncle actually took their place as I was growing up.  They were an elderly couple that took the time to influence my life.  I didn’t mind they weren’t really my grandparents.  Look around.  There are so many young people needing an adult to look up to and be loved by.  Pray for God to open doors of ministry for you in someone’s life.   We all need a parent or grandparent, no matter how old we get! I still miss my parents at my age.  I love being around those older than me so that I can soak up that wisdom they’ve accumulated over the years and get some tips on how to age gracefully!  So maybe looking for a young one to you might mean mentoring a 51 year old like me!  Relationships established between the generations don’t seem to matter if there is blood involved.  It just means taking the time to be an influencer in someone’s life.  We are never too old to make an impact on those God puts into our lives.

So as I’m sweeping up the crumbs off the floor today, I’m thankful.  Thankful that because Jim and I fell in love, we are a family. Thankful for the health of our kids and grandkids and for having them all finally home.  Thankful for another phase in my life—it never gets boring!  We all get so many days in life…it’s how we choose to use them that counts! Go be a blessing to someone and influence their life today!

Psalm 127:3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.