The Victory Dance

“Are my soccer cleats on the right feet?”

I took a quick look. “Yep. Let’s head for the game!”

A beautiful day. Sunshine on the field and in my soul. There to watch my grandson run up and down the soccer field. His parents were on a cruise. A wonderful opportunity for me to jump into his life for a week and witness moments that I usually only hear about on the phone.

The game was close. Parents on both sidelines clearly more competitive than the 5-year-olds out on the field. Moms and dads shouting instruction and correction. Pointing toward the ball and blasting commands. Hoping for a perfect pass. Aggressive defense. Or maybe – by some miracle - even a goal.

Only a few minutes left.

And then, remarkably, my grandson who was twirling around in some imaginary fight scene from the latest Disney movie received the soccer ball at his feet. He looked down in disbelief. Then raced for the nearest goal and kicked that ball with all his might.

Into his own team’s net.

The parents from the other team cheered. A score for them. I felt the eyes of the team parents and coach turn and look at me. Looking for my reaction. He belonged to me. Only one thing to do.

A victory dance.

As Mom I may have buried my head in my hands. A shake of the head. Perhaps a thought about getting him some private training.

But I’m Grandma.

My grandson raced up the field with hands held high. Sure that the roar of the crowd was for him. He looked for me and saw my celebration. High fiving me as he ran his victory lap.

As parents we wish for imaginary instruction manuals about raising kids, living the perfect life, and achieving expectations. Surely there are answers in the small print.

With grandparents there is no small print.

We simply love.

Grandparents don’t pretend that anything is perfect. We’ve learned over time that perfect doesn’t exist. It’s our job to testify of truths that we know from a life of living. We fiercely love this new generation of young ones … without worries of the future.

There is no time to micro-manage. Been there – done that.

I’ve raised four kids myself. Poured every ounce of energy into raising healthy, kind, productive children. Children who would grow up to be independent. Fly out of my nest with strong wings. My goal as a mom was essentially to work myself out of a job.

But I want to be a Grandma forever.

Four children and four grandchildren. What’s the difference? As I’ve pondered the two roles I think it comes down to one thing.

As grandparents, we are present.

Present. A beautifully simple, yet profound state of being.

As grandparents, life on the outside stops when those little hands wrap around our neck. With no agenda or list of what-ifs, we are fully engaged. Celebrating now. Living only in the present tense.

When we are present our hearts are soft. Our soul is open. It allows us to recognize small moments of life. Fleeting moments easily missed.

Winnie the Pooh said it best:

The difference is we are not on the front line.

Instead we’re on a walk. Feeding the ducks. Kissing a cheek. Comfortable to hold a small hand and simply be.

I believe that to be a Grandma is a gift. A gift to see these little ones with different eyes.

A gift to see them as He does.

Parents and grandparents. Our roles are different, but we are partners. There to complement each other. There to offer an additional layer of support.

Unconditional love.

To notice and quietly honor some of life’s smallest, yet most important details.

A kind deed. A smile. A beetle rescued from a window well. A pile of leaves.

Time is short.

Tiny voices are calling.

Time to celebrate with another victory dance.