A great friends of mine is the founding director of a faith based non-profit organization that focuses on wholeness and healing in the lives of women. Every year, for the past thirteen years, she hosts a brunch that gathers women over food and real talk and prayer and a commitment to live in the fullness of God. I have been blessed to attend many years, and this year the brunch was amazing (we focused on love), but the strides that Baby Girl and grandma made while mommy was fellowshipping with the sisters was priceless.
Last year, I arrived at my parents' house early. I nursed baby girl, kissed her, and made my way out the door. The brunch is five hours. And Baby Girl cried the entire five hours. Well, maybe not the entire time. Grandma did get a reprieve from the wailing when she took Baby Girl outside for a walk in her stroller. She didn't intend to take her outside; They were going to walk in the hallway and lobby of my parents' apartment building. But since the tears kept flowing and the cries were unceasing, grandma took her outside. The thing is, my mother was in her house slippers, with no socks, and without a jacket. She must've looked wacky walking around, but since that is what kept Baby Girl calm, she did what she had to do. Baby Girl was five months old.
Fast forward one year.
Baby Girl is seventeen months old now. Although she still isn't feeling everybody, she loves her grandma. Last week she sat (and played, because she cannot sit still for more than 2 minutes) with grandma at church while mommy preached the Gospel. But church for three hours is different than leaving her for five hours at grandma and grandpa's house. And different it was. When we arrived at my parents' house I did a quick and dirty drop off: I took off her jacket, gave her a snack, gave her a kiss and let her know that I would return soon. When I walked out the door she was wailing, but by the time I reached the end of the hallway her crying had subsided. Unlike this time last year, she didn't cry at all while mommy was away. She and grandma had a grand time. They played in the house—coloring with crayons, pretend baking with a flour sifter and pot, and watched Happy Feet. They video chatted with "The Aunties" (my sister and niece in California) and ate grandma's fresh fried chicken and mango. They went for a walk to my mom's friends house and then to the park—sans stroller—marching and picking up acorns along the way. When I arrived at the house after my time of refreshing, Baby Girl greeted me and went about her business with playing with grandma.
I know from experience that change happens over time. But I must be honest, when Baby Girl was a baby girl and crying every time I left her I never imagined that she would be happy hanging with anyone besides hubby and I. But, thanks be to God, my imagination was limited. One year later, she still loves being with mommy and daddy, but she finds joy in being with others—especially grandma.
Some of you may be asking where grandpa was in all of this. Baby Girl is suspicious of any man that is not her father, including my dad. There was a time she wouldn't get close to him at all. (Despite the fact that she identifies him in pictures. When you ask where is grandpa, she points to him and says "Pa") Last weekend she gave him two high-fives, but wouldn't go in the room to say good-bye to him. I am pleased to report that this past weekend she not only went into the room to see "Pa", but she also gave grandpa hugs and kisses. My Baby Girl is growing up...