One year ago today our lives were forever changed when we entered the incredible world of grandparenting. We became Poppa and Mia, our carefully considered grandpa and grandma names. (Well, I carefully considered them anyway!) We, the parents of four daughters, held a baby boy who was our own flesh and blood for the first time. And we began to get an inkling of an idea how precious it would be to love our very own grandson.
On that day, one year ago, I had no way of knowing that we would be celebrating our little man's first birthday on separate continents. I'm so glad we didn't know that then. But I'm sure I never would have believed it anyway.
Today I am not going to focus on the sadness of being apart. I am going to celebrate the life of a little boy who has brought us so much joy. A little boy who makes us act like total and complete fools. A little boy we would do anything in the world for. Because we love him so very much.
Because of our experience, I have met many missionary and military grandparents over the internet. We all ask the same haunting question. How can I make sure I am remembered? We lie awake at nights worrying about what we can do to make sure our grandchildren never forget who we are and how much we love them. So as I thought hard about what to give Tyler for his first birthday present - that was the question I had in my mind.
I didn't want to just buy him a toy. Anyone could give him a toy.
Since it had to be mailed, it had to fit nicely inside a 12 inch by 12 inch by 6 inch high box.
I didn't want to send money . . . money doesn't mean much when you are one year old.
And then God gave me an idea.
Tyler always loved when I read to him. He loves books. How about if I made him a very personal book telling him our love story? The love story we share even though we are so many miles apart.
So I went to work. I bought a small photo album used for scrapbooking. I found lots of colorful paper and stickers. And I started printing photographs of us. Our whole family got into it and it became something we all enjoyed. Everyday the progress of our book was measured.
Finally, it was finished and I wrapped it up and put it in that very expensive package I mailed to Peru. It had a sticker on it that told my daughter - DON'T OPEN UNTIL MAY 19!!!
So today this is what my sweet little boy will be holding in his hands:
You can click on each picture to make it larger.
I can't believe he was ever this small!
His mama has always called him a little monkey so naturally he has lots of monkeys to play with! So naturally I had to use some monkey stickers.
Sweet Miss Ava Claire and Tyler spent lots of time together before he left. They still enjoy visiting over skype.
The first half of the book told about all the things we did before he left for Peru. The second half of the book tells him all the fun things we will do together when he comes home!
I LOVE Disneyland - and we always told our kids that when they have kids WE get to take them on Disneyland. They can go anywhere else they want to! I never imagined I would have the privilege of taking TWO grandbabies the same year! I CANNOT wait for this day!
What you can't see in this picture because of the glare - is the birthday cake we made for him. We had our own little party for Tyler - and then I mailed him the party hats and horns in the Peru box so he can use them too.
Today we will skype with our sweet boy and he will laugh and wave and reach at us through the computer. We will gaze at him, and tears will fall, and more than anything in the world we will long to hold him and kiss him and just feel him. We will read him his book over the computer and tell him how very much we love him and how glad we are that God blessed our lives with him.
And we will go to bed tonight looking at the same moon that will be shining down on our sweet boy in Peru and thank God for thinking so much of us that He would give us such a gift.