Dear sweet Beachy Beacher and Happy Asses,
God usually doesn’t give us all the details, he gives us a direction. ~ Bob Goff
I remember when I was younger and I would see an occasional grandmother raising their Grands I just thought it was so sad. I wondered what in the world happened that the grands were not with their birth parents. I thought that you have kids, they have kids, they bring them over you all have fun, share a meal and off they all go to their other home. I think I even said at one time,” I sure will not be raising my grandchildren.”
If you know me at all then you know that Jocelyn and Jett have been in my home off and on since they were 2 and 4 due to those very offspring that I wondered about all those years ago. I never saw this as my future but as God would have it I cannot imagine life without them. God knew when he sent them that it would be a two way street of love and care. Now 7 and 9 we are on a grand adventure that God has equipped us for as we go!!
Alcoholism and drugs have been part of my story and history like no other subject and it has brought more pain than any other. Just as an opposite is true I have seen the redemptive grace when people get sober. I have also seen the devastation when lives are lost forever and families change forever. At present I have two sober sons rebuilding their lives and helping others rebuild theirs.
I was interviewed today and found out in this interview that in bay County over 3,000 kids are living with someone other than their birth parents. It is no longer something that is a derivative lifestyle it is becoming commonplace. It is commonplace for grandmas to change from spoiling their grands to raising them in hopes that they will break the cycle that has been laid before them. It is now commonplace for parent figures to be sharing the football field with young parents half their age and being so thankful that you can keep up at all.
I am optimistic enough to believe that perhaps we can change this cycle. I am also thankful that I am able physically, mentally and financially to take care of these precious and resilient children.
I was asked if it is different this time around and you know it really is. Hugh and I had a comfortable rhythm with the kids as we had them more than not for several years but now it was full time all the time and we settled in as Grandparents/ Parents. Only 8 months after Hugh and I hugged in celebration of taking the kids full time into our home, God took him home. One more time I was faced with raising another set of kids without a husband and God trusted I could do it again, and I did and I am.
So much of raising kids again at a different age and phase in your life is about learning on the fly. I knew the direction but not all the details. I knew the one leading me but not sure of all the steps along the way. Somethings are the same such as, I am AWFUL just plain terrible at remembering to order school pictures. I still am not wild about birthday parties and all that goes with it, or themed days at school, or discipline that is so important for these young minds. Costumes, school projects, puberty, I really was not wild about it the first time around but God had a different plan.
This is what I know from raising Grandkids as a parent and not a fun loving rule busting Grandparent. You really have no idea from day to day you just trust that God loves you and them and you just pass it on. There are so many things thaI am not good at but God did design me to love and to be loved and that it seems is what kids need. They also need a safe place to land and to be who they were meant to grow up to be with scrapes and falls along the way. I think I can do that. I know I can do that. I have been able to do all the things needed because so many lovely humans have stepped in to be a village to love these precious babies. They have not missed one ounce of love and adoration so I think if we keep going in the direction we are heading, God has a good future for all of us.
With the deepest of gratitude for the surprise I didn’t know I needed,
Karen key Smith