The Gift of Time

By Kim Seeley

The Gift of Time

My family has been blessed recently with a new grandchild, a beautiful little girl, who has become another brilliant light in our little universe, along with her three-year-old brother, who has already blazed his own meteoric path in our lives and into our hearts. My daughter has been home with the new baby girl and preschool boy for nearly eight weeks, and is rapidly approaching the time when she must return to work.

My husband and I have enjoyed the past few weeks with my daughter and her family. We are delighted that she and our son-in-law have chosen to live in the same small town, so that we can help with baby-sitting and drop by with lunch. I wash my hands and hold the baby, and my husband heads upstairs to play trains with our grandson. When he comes back down, I might play on the construction mat with Evan and his bulldozers while my husband holds the baby.

We are basking in the glory of grandparenthood, and reveling in the gift that makes these simple joys possible, the gift of time. My husband and I are retired now, as are many of our friends, and we are well aware of the importance and significance of the gift of time. It is a special blessing to be able to play farm or toolset without constantly checking the clock. There is a distinct timelessness in the very act of rocking a baby, memorizing her dainty fingers and toes, cradling her baby lusciousness in your arms, and losing yourself in the wonder of this new life.

Of course a grandparent does not have to be retired to be a super grandparent. It just happens that in our case, our grandchildren have arrived in our early retirement years, and I regard days with these children as pirate’s plunder, treasures that quickly sift through our fingers. For childhood is not static, we cannot freeze these children in time. Each morning there is new growth, a new skill, a new word, a new behavior. Time is a gift, and it is fleeting.

When I think of my own childhood, some of my most pleasant memories are those at my grandparents’ house. I recall summer afternoons, sitting with my grandmother on the front porch, shelling butterbeans or snapping green beans. My grandmother always told long, hilarious stories, usually about her own childhood and relatives. In the winter, I would sit at her feet and help her wind her yarn into big balls, listening at the same time to another of my grandmother’s yarns about some wayward family member.

When I grew into my teens, I would bring my own stories to my grandmother. She would soundly scold and condemn any bully who had mistreated me, admonish any boyfriend who had failed to appreciate the gem that I was and cast several curses on any who broke my heart or my trust. She would accomplish all this while clicking her knitting needles, preparing vegetables, or stirring cubed steak with gravy in her cast-iron skillet. My grandmother’s hands were never idle, but I always felt that she listened to my concerns with all of her attention. She soothed my spirit whenever I laid my problems at her feet, and I always left my grandmother’s house feeling loved and cherished.

These are the feelings I want my grandchildren to remember. I want them to remember my house as a place where they were loved and cherished, just as they are at their own home. I want them to have the assurance that “Nanoo and Pop” will help them grow and thrive. I want them to remember reading fairy tales, playing the piano, and parading through the house with pots and pans and rain sticks and maracas, singing at the tops of our lungs.

Recently Evan became very sick with a high temperature, and Pop and I whisked him away from the new born baby and kept him at our house for four days and nights. We took him to the pediatrician, gave him medicine and held him when he felt too weak to play. While I was rubbing eczema cream on his poor little knees, which seemed to reflect the heat of his fever through his sensitive skin, this three-year-old looked up at me and said, “Nanoo, thank you for taking very, very good care of me.”

Of course, that melted my heart. That whole episode reminded me of other gifts for which I am grateful. I am grateful for doctors and for medicine. I am grateful for extra bedrooms and a new dump truck bed set, which helped perk up a sick little boy. I am grateful that my husband in his retirement is fast becoming the world’s best Pop. I am grateful for the role models of my grandmother and my mother, who is still a pretty terrific “Mammie” to her grandchildren.

Most of all, I am grateful for the gift of time. I do not take it for granted, and I try not to waste it, for I am aware that it is the most precious gift we can give our children and our grandchildren. I can only hope that the time I spend with my grandchildren will nurture them and help launch them into their own orbits in this universe, blazing their own trails with confidence and assurance and love.

About this writer

  • Kim Seeley Kim Seeley, a former librarian and English teacher, lives with her husband, Wayne, in Wakefield, Virginia. She is a frequent contributor to Sasee and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her most recent story, “Amanda’s Jonquils,” can be found in Chicken Soup: Messages from Heaven. She loves to read, play the piano, travel and spend time with her grandson, Evan.

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One Response to “The Gift of Time”

  1. Leigh S. Green says:

    Hi Kim,

    I randomly picked this story of yours today. I just want to say how heartwarming I felt it was.

    It was very lovely.

    Love, Leigh

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