I’ve got to be the worst nana in the history of the world.
John and I were asked to help with our grands while their parents were at a work retreat, a job that’s a joy with an immense amount of humor thrown in for good measure.
I needed to drive Cal to preschool in the morning as I left for work. He’s a conversationalist, so driving with him is always an adventure of what topics he’ll bring up to discuss.
One morning it wasn’t discussion–it was sadness. We were almost at his school when he sobbed, “I have to go back to get my puffer fish.”
I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw the dismay on his face. Then the clock caught my eye and I realized we were already late–and I had a meeting I had to be at that morning.
“Buddy, you took it yesterday. Why do you need it today.”
“It’s show-and-tell. I have to have my puffer fish. My teacher will be sad if I don’t bring it.”
I tried to reason with him. Who was I kidding? He’s five, and I’m explaining the impossibility of the time frame for what he wanted.
We got to school, rummaged around the car, and found a small race car that might have worked.
By the time we got to the school door, he was beside himself. The tears flowed, and he refused to go into the room.
I knelt in front of him and said, “Buddy, life is hard, and sometimes you just have to bend.”
Really? Adult philosophy?
His teacher, who was standing there, looked at me as if I’d grown another head. She put her arm around his shoulder and soothed, “Let’s go see if we can find a stuffed animal in the closet.”
But all the way to work, the guilt and shame of that conversation and my lack of compassion weighed on me.
I felt like the worst person alive, let alone the worst nana. Who doesn’t have grace and compassion for a small boy?
It’s so easy to beat ourselves up for the mistakes and wrong choices we make, and the intentional hurt we cause others. No one is exempt from such actions and attitudes. We all succumb to the darkness of our own hearts.
Paul said it best.
“I have discovered this principle of life–that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” Romans 7:21
He had hope. His answer was a relationship.
“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:24-25a
There will be days when we will be our worst selves. We will hurt others, intentionally or unintentionally, and we’ll sabotage our own joy.
Jesus frees us from that. He doesn’t condemn us.
He redeems us.
Even this worst nana ever.
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