Bob and I were incredibly fortunate to spend this past Christmas with our oldest granddaughter and her family at their beautiful new home in Los Angeles. Let me clarify: our oldest granddaughter is 2-years-old and her family is our oldest child and her husband. Now, Bob and I have memories of when this precious bundle was born, when she started to walk, and one of my favorite life events is rocking her as she fell asleep in my lap even just this past summer.
That’s when she had just turned two, but even then the storm was beginning to brew.
And this past holiday season, it was the southern California equivalent of a nor’easter. Of course, being the parents of three children of my own, this comes as no real surprise. As much as I know her parents love and cherish their daughter, evidently the past two weeks leading up to the holiday had been less than maternal fun. Much less.
If ever there were an argument for The Fall, it would be this inevitable but necessary developmental stage. My daughter and her husband are two of the most kind, patient and giving people, and so there is no “nuture” argument for their daughter’s behavior. The typical Terrible Twos remind me of an insightful quip that I believe is attributed to my hero, Erma Bombeck:
“I can remember how I had children; I just can’t remember why…”
Her parents had planned a most memorable and exciting Christmas with visions of their daughter’s squealing exuberance over some of the wonderful gifts she was about to receive! (Her endearing father stayed up until 1AM putting together the new play kitchen sent from her other set of grandparents—nicer than the real one I have at home!) What parental happiness can be compared to seeing your child revel in what you have sacrificed to give them?
So you probably know where I’m going with this…
Gratitude is one of the hallmarks of maturity. Now, such immaturity can be patiently overlooked and lovingly dealt with in the younger-in-faith Christians, just as I see this stage in my dear little one as a normal age-appropriate task in which she (and her parents) must work through; i.e., she is learning that she is not the center of the universe and she is not in charge, and there are appropriate corresponding behaviors to communicate that realization.
It is intolerable, however, as one gets older. I tend to take for granted the very air I breathe, but an even worse faux pas has to do with the grumbling and complaining when something is not particularly to my liking, be it a song service on Sunday or the morning alarm clock on Monday. Perhaps it would be more productive to allow my Heavenly Father to see me joyfully thankful that He has provided good hearing for both!
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.