In the 70’s during my “cool” phase the thought of someday being a grandparent never invaded my world. I was never going to grow up and I would cling to my coolness for as long as it was cool to do so. By then both of my grandfathers were already gone and I had no real idea what being a grandfather should look like anyway, so why dwell on it. Then came my three sons and eventually another and two daughters through marriage. Before I realized it I was a grandfather of six!
Now I can completely appreciate the term because being a grandfather is indeed a grand blessing. Thankfully they don’t call me grandpa but rather Papa Joe, a title that is higher to me than General Manager, President, Owner or any other designation of elevation-being Papa Joe is the coolest thing I could be, and I embrace that title with both humility and pride that no one else could comprehend.
We have three granddaughters in Texas, and one here in Las Vegas as well as two grandsons. Each of them has a special place in my heart, as I will briefly explain. The oldest of the Lone Star girls, a recent high school graduate, has done an amazing job in helping to care for her younger sisters, and has grown into a beautiful, intelligent and independent young lady. Her middle sister was a newborn when I married their Nana and I fell in love with her just by holding her all that weekend. She has a free spirit and is also an intelligent and beautiful young lady, who will be graduating high school next year. I developed an immediate connection with the youngest of the three while in Disneyland. She was an infant not yet ready for rides so I carried her most of the day. She quickly grew into rides, mainly on my back whenever we visited. She grew up way too fast and will be an eighth grader next year. They are uncomfortable with being complimented about their God given beauty, but hey, proud Papas don’t have rules.
Every Sunday we picked up our oldest grandson here in Vegas and took him to church. I played drums in the band and he would cry until I came down to hold him. As he got older he developed an interest in music so I taught him a few guitar chords and now he is one his way to becoming an accomplished guitarist. He is also quite the football player. I was present when our granddaughter was born here 11 years ago and fell in love with her as soon as she cried. She has become a ray of sunlight that can brighten the darkest of my days. Her brother, the youngest of the six, is my little buddy. He is still in the phase that when he sees me, he runs up to me with and animated “Papa” and jumps up into my arms. He and his sister would visit me in my office frequently. Their presence would make the worst of days a vacation.
The best of our weekends are those when we are keeping the local grand kids. As the sign above says, what happens att Nana and Papa’s stays at Nana and Papa’s. I can say with all honesty that I love each of our grandchildren as much as any human is capable of. There is nothing in the world I would not do for them-I would gladly lay down my life to save theirs at any time. I pray for each of them daily, for protection from harm, from abduction, from illness, from anything that would cause them any distress. I also pray that they are open to the reality of God and His Son. And yet with all I feel for them, I’m struck at the thought that God loves each of us with a love that is inhuman, that is untainted and incomprehensible. I’m in awe that that the true depth of love and emotion that any man can have for any other being can not come close to measuring up to the depth of love God shows us daily. To paraphrase a verse in the New Testament, “Stop and observe if you can, the level of Love God the Father has bestowed upon us, that even we in our sins can be labeled Children of the Most High God”. Wow. Wow.
That someone could love me a hundred times greater than I love my grandchildren is indeed incomprehensible. Yet He’s proven it time and again in my life. And I can rest assured that if I can never outrun the love of God, then my grandchildren will never exhaust His supply of love, grace and protection. Thank you God for allowing this cool guy to experience the real coolness of being a proud Papa.