We tended the kids tonight and when Matt and Jenny returned after 10 pm and all the kids were down, they introduced us to their friends who commended us for being available and willing to watch the kids while mom and dad went out for the evening. We were polite but less than gracious and this is how I wish I had responded:
"Thank you very kindly, but imagine if you can being old and alone, and having children who welcome you daily into their home as part of their family, and trust you implicitly with their kids, whom you love and adore, and who return an abundance of love and affection and seem always excited to see and be with you. Would they be an imposition or chore to spend an evening with?
Or imagine being old and alone and having kids and grandkids who rarely visit and where you don't feel welcome in their homes, nor are you invited to share in their lives in any way.
We are blessed with the former, but have friends who endure the latter. No, we are receivers in this relationship and are all too aware that kids grow up and need you less, so we are committed to cherish every moment we are permitted to be with them or welcome them in our home. You should envy us, because it doesn't get much better. But you needn't praise us for selfishly cherishing every moment we can enjoy with our grandkids, and their trusting and accepting parents."
Well, that's how I wish I had responded, but I just stumbled meaningless jibberish and we dismissed ourselves and came home. But we do have it good and love our kids and grandkids, and are well aware that to be accepted and even appreciated living next door is rare and to be nurtured and cherished.
Life is short, those twins were only two for a year and leave only memories. But we make new memories with each of them every day now and are painfully aware that we are getting older and have continually less to give, and are sustained chiefly by their acceptance, their trust, and our reciprocal affections. May we love without possessing, serve without demanding, give without accounting, and accept graciously the unbounded love we feel in return, because time doesn't return.
Love you all