The "h" word
My grandchildren (a.k.a ‘The Fab Four’) are growing up.
They are now 12, 10, 8, and 6.
Watching children grow up is, for me, proof of God’s grace towards me.
These four young people are healthy, smart, and scrappy little folks who are learning about the world they live in.
And, thanks to school, they are increasing their vocabulary.
The Fab Four have this little toy, I don’t know, it’s some cartoon character that has a button you push that says ‘hi,’ or something like that.
So L, now 6, came over to me a few weeks ago and announced, “Bunny Beth, listen to this.”
L then pressed down on the button and didn’t let up, and the little character was spitting out “h…h….h….”
L started giggling, and behind him I could hear J (10), and V (8) giggle also.
N (almost 13) was not there. She’s almost a teenager, and has her own age appropriate activities these days.
Confused, I looked at L and asked what the little creature was trying to say.
Giggling uncontrollably, L whispered to me, “it’s the ‘h’ word, Bunny Beth.”
“The ‘h’ word”? (I’m perpetually confused these days).
“Hell, Bunny Beth, V and J chimed in unison, loudly. Then they all cracked up laughing.
From the kitchen, my son gave L, J, and V one of those arched eyebrow parental looks that said “cool it.”
“Sorry, Dad,” they answered him.
Then they cracked up again, on the floor, holding their stomachs.
My son shook his head, looked at me, gave me an eye roll, and went back to loading the dishwasher.
I smiled (I didn’t dare laugh), but as I’ve thought about this, over the past few weeks, I have cried.
Not the bad kind of tears, but the good kind.
The kind of tears that make me realize how blessed I am to have a son who is so good with his children, to have grandchildren who love me and want to spend time with me.
It makes me sad, sometimes, to watch The Fab Four get older so fast, but I keep reminding myself that this is what happens–children grow up!
When I was raising my son, as a single parent, I was in a perpetual state of stress, trying to keep food on the table and shoes on my son’s feet.
Before I knew what was happening, my son was announcing it was time to go off to college, “it’s time to be my own man.”
But as I started on my own new path (going to college, living as a single woman with only myself to take care of), I realized that I had so many memories to enjoy, of the good and bad days when my son was growing up, of how many sacrifices my parents made to help me raise my son.
Again, the good stuff.
So now, as I watch these four amazing young people grow up, I find myself giving thanks, every day, for the chance to watch them grow, to hug them, to laugh at their jokes, to watch them live their lives with joy and passion.
There’s just no other word for it.