One of our three eldest granddaughters is 16, and two are 17. To say that they are growing up fast seems an understatement. That "in between time" between childhood and adulthood is a tender, precious time.
I wrote about one of them recently in a post entitled, A Little Adventure. It was during that very adventure, while Tori and I were driving to Owen Sound to pick up her new pet rats, that I noticed she had the sniffles and offered her a purse sized package of Kleenex. She was so thrilled with the Kleenex package that I told her to keep it, and the next time the family all got together for Sunday lunch, I had an assortment of several little fancy Kleenex packages; from my bulk Costco pack; for each of the girls. I watched them pick out the patterns that appealed to their individual taste and saw I'd guessed correctly when I thought I knew which ones they'd each choose: the camouflage print drew Tippy, the teal green print was Tori's, and K went for the bright pink and orange print.
A few weeks later when we were at Montana's celebrating Tippy's 17th birthday, Tori said, "Omie, we are so popular at school with our Kleenex."
"Yes," said Tippy, "Everyone thinks they are so cool!"
Who would have guessed that popularity comes in the shape of Kleenex? :)
Another joy is shared pleasures. Tori and I were having breakfast together a few weeks ago when she told me about a movie she'd enjoyed, starring Bill Murray. One of my all time favourite movies starred Bill Murray: the 1991, What About Bob .
"Would you like to see it?" I asked her.
"Sure!" she said,
I couldn't wait to order it online; it was less than $4; and that's how she came to spend Saturday afternoon with her grandparents, all three of us laughing till our stomachs hurt, at a very old but very funny movie.
It was Good Friday when the family gathered next at our place for dinner after church. After the meal, the dishwasher hummed away with its first load and some of us were relaxing in La Z Boy chairs in the big living room, too pleasantly full to move far. I mentioned something to my daughter-in-law, Sue, about the situation in the world, which isn't good. Tippy, who had been quietly sketching, looked up and said, her eyes filled with concern, "What is going on in the world, what do you mean?"
Where to start and what to say to this sensitive one?
Events of the day before were weighing on my heart so I told her that in Kenya, 150 students not so much older than she is, had gone to bed on Wednesday not imagining the horror that they would wake up to on Thursday morning. I told her that a militant Islamist group; Al- Shabaab; had gone through the dorms demanding to know which students were Christian, which then became their death sentence.
I was torn as I told her. Was I burdening her with something she did not need to know? Yet she had asked a serious question and it deserved an answer.
Tippy's brow furrowed, but her words were not what I expected.
"At least they stood for what they believed," she said.
It was a message of hope beyond this life; a reminder that I needed. A young person in Canada was honouring the courage of peers in Kenya who did not deny their faith in the face of what could only have been unspeakable terror. In doing so she showed me who she is becoming. And if it were remotely possible to love her even more, in that moment, I did.
They and their cousin K are teens; they are tender; and they are vulnerable. But there is also sprouting strength.