Tuesday, July 09, 2013
What's your Side A?
Soon after our daughter gave birth to our first granddaughter a few days after her 17th birthday (read more about that here), Bart went to the Festival of Homiletics. If you aren't sure what that is, it's a conference on the art of preaching. As part of the conference he heard amazing sermons and came home and told me about one of them.
He explained that the preacher was talking about how the old 45s had two sides. One side was typically the hit song of a group, but back in those days they had to put a song on side B. Side B songs were known for being mediocre at best. In the sermon, the preacher talked about how in our lives we sometimes start out playing our side B song. At some point in life, things fall together, and we find ourselves on Side A. The purpose for our life becomes clear and we find ourselves playing our "hit song."
Bart said, in conclusion to him telling me that story, "Maybe our grandchildren will be our Side A."
When people have asked me in the past why we have chosen to adopt our children, I talk a lot about breaking the generational cycle of poverty, abuse, addiction, mental illness, etc. and giving kids a choice by letting them live a different kind of life. They still have free will to decide how they want to live, but at least they have seen a different view of the world. We have children who have parents who have been in foster care and even grandparents who were, so joining our family has allowed them to see a different way of life. And the lives of their children, because of us, will be better.
We have four grandchildren now and while their lives are not perfect (though the most recent one has a chance at a fairly idyllic life), they are having a better start than their parents did. I had the "if you don't want to raise children like _____ you better not drink during your pregnancy" conversation with the moms as soon as we found out they were expecting. All of them have had parents that have gone overboard on the attachment piece. They are developing at a normal rate, are smart and learning quickly and daily (I love to see all that brain growth happening before my eyes as I listen to them request things repetitively from us or their parents), and they have a backup. If things got really bad, there's always us.
So maybe some of our kids won't ever realize what we have done for them. They may resent us and never quite understand the sacrifices we made. They may be angry for a long time over the mistakes that we made. Maybe our parenting was mediocre at best.
But perhaps, as Bart suggested, we are now living our Side A. It sure seems like it in other areas of our lives as things are falling together for us professionally. We get to see our grandkids often -- not as often as we would like, but as often as all of us can make it happen. We love them... watching their personalities develop as they immerge as little people, very different from one another. We know that without us they would not exist, even if it is just because without us our children would not have lived in the place where they met the other parents.
Being a grandparent is a wonderful thing, and it just might be that our grandchildren will be our number one single, our hit song.