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The World's Most Perfect Grandchildren
By James Snyder

In a few months, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly will have our fifth grandchild. So far, they are all boys, except for one girl. We're not sure what the fifth one will be but this one thing I do know-it will be "Perfect," like the rest of the grandchildren.

For some reason, God has blessed us with the world's most perfect grandchildren. And I have the pictures to prove it.

I know some grandparents fallaciously brag about their grandchildren, and how perfect and beautiful they are, and bring out a wallet full of pictures to bore those of us who really do have perfect grandchildren. No brag here; just the facts, ma'am.

I must confess, when our children were growing up they showed no indication whatsoever of producing the world's most perfect grandchildren. If the truth were known, several times during their lives I did not think they would reach the grand old age of 20.

Children have a way of pushing buttons. Not just buttons on appliances in the home, but my buttons, driving me absolutely crazy. One thing I would like to know: who issues all those licenses to children enabling them to drive their parents crazy? It's about time they retired that person to some lonely island somewhere.

I well remember the day my wife and I brought our firstborn home from the hospital: a high watermark day in our life, I assure you. When children are first brought home, they are so adorable. Who knows what shenanigans lie hidden behind those beautiful eyes? Not new parents, for sure.

Somehow, and don't tell me how they do it, unborn children have developed an elaborate conspiracy against parents. The conspiracy goes something like this. The first child born is always a great delight. They usually sleep well at night and brighten up the home so much that, after a month or so, the parents look at each other and say, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a second baby?"

And this is exactly what children want parents to say.

The second child is vastly different from the first child. This second child does not sleep at night. They have their days and nights mixed up, or so they would have us believe. The fact is, the two children have an arrangement where one sleeps while the other one cries. Then when the one is tired of crying, it falls asleep; only to awaken the first baby who resumes the job of crying. The whole plan is to deprive parents of as much sleep as possible.

About this time, the parents get adjusted, to a certain degree. They look at each other again, and say, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a third baby?"

The first two children hear this and giggle, knowing their plan is working out quite nicely.

When the third child comes home, the parents discover he or she is vastly different from the first two. Now, with three children in the home they work in eight-hour shifts. Their purpose is to wear down those parents in preparation for the children's teenage years.

Every child knows that unless a parent's resistance is compromised in their infancy, its teenage years will be difficult, if not impossible. They will not be able to control those parents that brought them into the world, as well as bringing them everything else.

When parents bring those adorable babies home from the hospital, they have no idea that in 13 years their nerves will be so shot that they may even despair of life itself.

But then, miracle of miracles, one by one the children get married and move out of the home. Some parents refer to this as the "empty-nest syndrome."

At first, parents do not know what to do. They go to the refrigerator, expecting it to be empty, and to their surprise, it is just as it was when they looked the last time. Walking to the living room is a treat. No dirty socks hanging from a light shade, no shoes piled up in the middle of the floor, and no lights on when nobody is in the room. When the telephone rings, it is actually for them. This, at first, is a great shock to most parents and it takes about a year to adjust.

Then, something happens, changing the world for these parents and making up for all those years of torture, torment and trepidation.

The first child visits the "Empty-Nesters" with their spouse and makes a formal announcement that will eventually change their world: "Mom, Dad, we're expecting a baby."

The months following drag on for an eternity, but finally the blessed event comes. Oh, what a day that is for all concerned.

My one question is, how can children that have terrorized your life for 10 years produce the world's most perfect grandchildren?

Perhaps, and I'm only conjecturing here, the secret to the world's most perfect grandchildren lies with their grandparents. Be it far from me to take credit where credit is not due, but the facts are on my side.

These wonderful grandchildren get their "perfect genes" somewhere and it is certain they don't get them from their parents. The only logical conclusion for the thinking person is Grandparents.

It is my personal conviction that God gives grandchildren as an apology for children. One grandchild can cause any grandparent to forget 100 years of torture.

Even the Bible sings the praises of grandchildren. "Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers." (Proverbs 17:6 KJV)

If perfection is in the eyes of the beholder, I can't wait to hold her or him.

April 30th, 2005 - James Snyder
Rev. James Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals, including Guideposts. He has a knack for making fun of our daily frustrations and will increase your humor aptitude so that you too can discover that life is less stressful when you're laughing. Rev. Snyder has a number of e-books available through the FaithWriters' e-Book Store. If you would like to contact James, you can do so through the letters page of this magazine.