“Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth,
for your love is better than wine.”
Song of Songs 1:2
The Song of Songs, translated from Hebrew, means the greatest of songs. This poetic book is sometimes referred to as the Song of Solomon and is one of the books of Wisdom in the Old Testament. Embraced by both Jews and Catholics, it is read during Passover but has limited use elsewhere. The poems express mutual love of the Lord and his people.
When I first read this quote, I thought of a baby, learning to kiss with mouth wide open. The infant seems to almost inhale you and expresses such pleasure and joy experimenting with kisses. Babies truly are a gift from God, and none are more precious than grandchildren!
Today, July 26, is Grandparents Day. Although not a secular holiday, it is the Feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne, grandparents of Jesus. One of my favorite statues of St. Anne is at the Church of St. Louis King of France in downtown St. Paul. St. Anne, standing behind, has her hands on the shoulders of a young Mary. As a grandmother myself, I have a new devotion to St. Anne.
I remember when our eldest announced they were having a baby, and we would become grandparents for the first time. My husband, Jeff, did not embrace this new title very well. For him, Grandpa was a term that referred to an old man. After Evelyn was born, he softened. However, when someone would ask, “How’s Grandpa doing?” he would reply (and not always nicely), “there’s only one person who can call me that.”
Today, we have five and soon to be six grandchildren under the age of seven. Our house is known as “Grandpa House” with a steady supply of ice cream and cones. Grandpa Jeff embraces each and every encounter with his grandchildren.
The best encounter is when one child has a birthday. We have adopted the custom, that in lieu of presents, Jeff and I spend a day with the child and allow them to choose the activities. Whether exploring the zoo or a park, these adventures have awakened a new appreciation as we view the world through the eyes of a child.
Spending time with grandchildren is very different than raising your own children. Grandchildren can do no wrong. Even when naughty, they are wonderful. The love I feel for my grandchildren helps me to better understand God’s love for myself. Our grandchildren love us, and we love them – unconditionally. This mutual love mirrors the mutual love of the Lord and his people. Grandbabies’ kisses and their love are sweeter than wine and so too are God’s kisses.
Take a moment today to reflect on your relationship with your grandparents. What lessons did they teach you? Can you feel God’s love through their love?
If you have the joy of being a grandparent, think about what you are learning from your grandchildren and what memories you’d like them to have. Do you reflect God’s love to them?
Photo courtesy of Lucy Johnson
Wife, mother of 7, and grandmother of 5+. Pharmacist at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. Past President of the St. Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW).