Cornflakes taste good in one spot only – the small kitchen table in my Grandma Cates’ old ranch house. An early riser, I would bounce my way into the kitchen when visiting my grandparents, crazy curls tousled and tiny tummy grumbling. My grandmother, the first to wake – always – would set me up with a bowl of cornflakes and listen to my prattle while preparing glorious food for our family dinners. Early sunlight streamed in through the doors and windows of the kitchen, giving a slight outline of the persimmon tree just beyond the front porch. How could cornflakes not taste magical in such lovely surroundings?
Apparently the magic is in the love of a grandparent – as this young parent with two amazing sets of grandparents is coming to understand. My trips down memory lane have increased as I witness my children basking in the attention and care of their grandparents – so buckle up friends; I’ve plans to revisit the past.
My brothers and I just needed to see the turn off of Manchaca for the hours of confinement to fade away and the excitement of seeing Grandma and Granddad to glow anew. A familiar litany ensued: first, the declaration from Dad, “You can take your seatbelts off,” followed by the railroad crossing bringing to sight the white, slightly BB-gun marred sign “Cates Ranch,” and then finally, the gate. We fought over who got to open the gate and tiptoe precariously over the cattle guard. Being oldest, I probably won the privilege more than my brothers; and being most clumsy I probably twisted my ankle more than my brothers too. The gate opener was required to wait for the car to pass through and shut the gate behind it – but then she (or he) was free to smack the trunk, toss a jaunty wave to the passengers and take off across the front two acres in a direct route to the house – first to the prize: bear hugs from Grandma and Granddad.
As enchanting as the ranch was - and believe you me, month-old cow patties, shale cliffs and yards of Spanish moss make for a fairy kingdom - without my grandparents it would all have been tasteless cornflakes. For to grandparents lies the charge of unconditional love - and both sets of my grandparents created that for me.
Remembering my childhood (and re-living some of it as a parent watching her mini-me relate to grandparents) has kickstarted a genuine praise - how great a God we serve! The family structure provides children with parents, who are given the responsibility to love, train, correct, and raise up children - so that when our kids have children we can grandparent them. By which I simply mean, grandparents weave so tight a web of affection and care that their grandchild are cocooned in loving security - "grandparented." My life has been enriched by my grandparents, and is continued to be enriched by this new set of grandparents - my parents & Joshua's.
My cornflake bowl runneth over.