With the disruption of schedules, shelter in place and who will get to see who, the desirability or value of spending time with each other becomes premium. How do you navigate spending time together?
As I examine some of the roles I play, I have been pondering that question. The effort it takes to connect with my grandchildren and other children take planning, intention, safety, … the list goes on and on. How do I balance all of those safety precautions with the value I place on staying close and connected?
What I am discovering more than anything is the desirability of loving on the children in my life. When you begin to listen to the tidbits of conversations you get from them, you begin to hear how this time of shelter in place is impacting them.
Of course, different people have differing ideas on what constitutes safety, too, which also impact the balancing act. Here at our house, my husband has autoimmune issues so no one but myself basically comes in or out.
My grandchildren include 3,7,8-year-old girls in my son and daughter-in-law’s home and a 5-year old boy in my daughter’s home. To have a way of connecting when we aren’t together relationally, we started a private Facebook group so we could post pictures and any game or family activities to share in that spot.
The other thing about having that private group was that we included “Uncle Robert” who could participate in family life with all of the other 9 of us. That started well when the pandemic started 5 months ago and has backed off some by now.
Then we started zoom meetings for all of us, once a week, including the playing of games as a family. One of the favorite statements of the 3-year-old is “I can’t see.” since her older sisters tend to overshadow her. We have played “Would you rather?” and Picture Bingo with success from ideas from Pinterest among other things. As my son said, “It’s all about the kids anyway.” which is part of the value of spending the time together.
I realized though, I wasn’t getting the connections with the kids individually like I wanted so I set up one on one time with the three oldest ones. I had a sense that they wanted and needed more time.
I found out that you can load Kindle Cloud Reader on your laptop so I can share my screen on Zoom and we can read a book together. I also am downloading free books from freebooksy which is a daily email you can sign up to download free books to your Kindle library.
One of the girls loves to draw so we’re setting up youtube drawings with her. This panda one turned out very fun. We draw at the same time while I have it up on the zoom screen and I stop it periodically so she can draw.
The surprises come in what the grandchildren tell me. When my older grandchildren and I were having difficulty making the right time connections, I told the oldest, we could wait. I didn’t want to interfere with what they were doing. She said, “I can always stop what I am doing to spend time with you, Grandma.” Be still my heart.
The grandson lives a little closer so he gets to come to the house sometimes. We still play outside, not inside and do things like T-ball, soccer, and ride bikes. When he leaves with his mom, our tradition is to do air hugs and kisses and yell out the car window as they drive away, “I LOVE YOU.”
His mom told us later he was saying to himself as they drove away, “Don’t cry, Jay, don’t cry.” Talk about making us want to cry. You never quite know the value of spending time with your grandchildren until you hear their hearts.
What if you don’t have those kinds of connections?
I realize not all of you may have even zoom connections with your grandchildren. You do have heavenly connections with them, though. You can be asking God, “How am I to be praying and interceding for my precious grandchildren?” Keep asking Him and asking Him for visions and pictures of them with Him. He will give them to you.
Listening to the children and to God helps each of us make the connections that can be made during this most challenging time, either physically, across the internet or across heaven. The Spirit intercedes with groans. when we don’t have words.
I would love to pray with you for your children and grandchildren and hear how you are spending time with them. Post on My Sacred Moments and let me know or reply to this posting. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.
Nancy Booth wants to create safe spaces for you, helping you find ways to have two-way conversations with God. She loves encouraging you to look for ways He is at work. Nancy is a spiritual director and writer. She would love to accompany you on your journey of discovery to hear and see more of the God who delights in you. Peace, hope and freedom could be yours Contact her today.