We Were Given a Gift

jeannie bruenning

A few months ago Jeff and I were given a gift we never expected. If we had been asked three months ago if we wanted such a gift, we would most likely have laughed. 

The gift is a human. She’s 4’8”, but claims to be 4’9”. She’s lived less than a one-third our life span and is required to go to school every day. It’s been 16 years since we’ve had a 16-year-old in our home and when we stop to think of the reality of it, it makes our eyes twitch, heads shake and hands tremble. 

But she is our gift. She’s a beautiful soul that loves life and whose favorite word is “EXCITING!” She offers abundant hugs, is generous with her thank-you’s, and says, “Oh Hoppy!” at the appropriate times. 

We were awarded temporary custody of our grand-daughter because a lawyer and a judge felt she needed a break from home life. There are gaps. There are holes. There are missing pieces that Jeff and I get to fill – and fix – and help heal. Of anything we have ever done in our lives, this moment in time out shines them all.

We continue to hear comments about how wonderful it was that we were willing to take this precious, crazy, fun, life loving soul in. To which I have to ask, “Given the option, wouldn’t everyone do this?”

Three months ago Jeff and I were two old – but not that old – couple deciding what time to meet on the front porch. We were beginning to joke about senior moments, now we discuss 16-year-old adventures. Life used to be nice, but as the song says, “Nice is different than good.”

Today, life is good – which is different than nice. In fact, it’s way better. 

We are now grand-parenting to prepare, rather than parenting to protect. We get to be a part in preparing this human for life, for independence, for a future filled with possibilities.

A willing soul will find plenty of opportunity to impact lives. Scary opportunities can turn out abundantly rewarding.

Most of all,  good is so much better than nice.