Dr. Jamie Jenkins: Grandchildren--Wonderful and Exhausting

It was a wonderful and exhausting time.

After 33 days they are gone. The house is quiet. Less cluttered. And a little sad.

On July 16 Lena and I welcomed our two grandchildren at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. We were excited that seven year-old Jamie and four year-old Felicia arrived from Japan. Now they have returned to their "Tokyo house" and their Mom and Dad.

We enjoyed the time with the grandkids. Distance prevents us from being together often so we make the most of the time we do have together. These past weeks afforded Jamie and Felicia the opportunity to make new friends with other children and grandchildren of North Georgia clergy. That was good.

Lena and I enjoyed (and at our age sometimes endured) the almost five weeks with two energetic, smart, witty, funny, creative (Doesn't that sound just like a grandparent?), and strong willed children. Watching the Braves at the stadium and on the television. Ping pong (I won some times). Swimming at the beach on St. Simon's Island and in the neighborhood pool. The animals and the rock climbing wall at the Atlanta Zoo. Feeding the ducks at the river.

A visit to our families in Mobile afforded the chance to attend a wedding, see Aunt Marie's cows, and meet a lot of cousins. Making crafts with Nana and playing basketball at the YMCA. Filling the bird feeders and watching the rabbits eat the flowers in Lena's garden. Water balloon fights and throwing the baseball with Uncle Jonas. Watching Tom and Jerry cartoons and the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while traveling. Cuddling in the morning while slowly waking up. Shopping at Target. Refereeing occasional (?!) disagreements.

It was a wonderful and exhausting time.

Near the end of the visit with our exceptional grandchildren we went to the fabulous Fox Theater to see the movie, Toy Story 3. It was lots of fun to share together. In this third episode of Toy Story, Andy is now 17 and is leaving for college. He has outgrown his toys and has to decide what to do with Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky, Bullseye, Hamm, Rex, and others.

The toys are mistakenly given to the Sunnyside Day Care and this proves to be a disaster. The toys are miraculously returned to Andy and he decides to give them to a little girl named Bonnie. He introduces each toy individually. When he gets to Woody, Andy says, "He will never leave you. He will always be there for you. You can count on him."

Andy's description of Woody could easily be a description of grandparents. And certainly of God. "If we, with all our limitations, love our wonderful and imperfect grandchildren and lavish gifts upon them, how much more will our Father in heaven take care of them and give good things to them. Even as we are there for them through thick and thin, how much more will God stick with them (and us) no matter what." (Forgive me for my paraphrase of Matthew 7:11 and 28:20).

Jamie Jenkins

[Taken with permission from "Monday Morning in North Georgia," August 23, 2010. North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.]


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