The Next Generation
by Drenda Keesee
No preparation could really have prepared me to be a Grand-mama. Our firstborn, Amy, awarded me the tribute of being her maid of honor, and two and a half years later, she and Jason asked to deliver our first grandbaby in our home! I am no stranger to homebirths (another vintage approach), so I rejoiced that they had chosen this. What a special blessing to share our home for such a glorious occasion!
The day before Amy’s water broke, she said, “I want to go to Red Lobster for dinner.” Now that is my secret way to go into labor, and has been for years. It almost always worked. Sure enough, the following morning, Amy’s water had leaked so she and Jason came on over, just in case labor kicked in.
For Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, we had fun waiting—we laughed and told stories from the kids’ childhood days while Amy peacefully breathed through a contraction here or there, danced to her father’s piano music like we did when they were children, and visited and laughed with her sisters and brothers and me. There was peace, laughter, and no pressure.
Monday afternoon, we were all so grateful for the gift of time, to stop the busyness and be together before this life-changing event. Time stood still. I truly believe it was God’s reward to us for being about His Kingdom. He always gives us just what we need when we need it. Now, we were ready! Amy stood on the trampoline and gently rocked. We took walks, and even a drive. On the drive, Monday evening, Amy felt pressure! Yes, I knew what that meant. We headed back ready for the transition to push. Four and a half hours later, Journey Taylor was born. Beautiful, alert, a head full of dark hair, with her little hand up in the air over her ear—it was like looking at Amy all over again, and we were all filled with tears of joy!
Amy was amazing in her resolve, peace, and womanhood. She was changed, and so were we. The mutual respect we had for each other and friendship had gone to another level and continues as I watch Amy lay her life down to be such an amazing mother.
I lost track of days and nights over the next week, as we coddled Journey, adjusted, and learned the baby’s needs. As new daddy Jason said humorously, “We aren’t parents, yet. Parents mentor and train, but we’re the ones being trained by Journey.” We laughed. All the memories of sleepless nights, trying to settle Amy to nurse, and changing diapers came back. Jason and Amy went to their home, and we had to say good-bye and go back to busy lives again.
Then the moment I had been waiting for came. They came back over for a visit. Amy rested for three hours to recover from missed sleep, while I held little Miss Journey. She fell asleep in my arms, and I dared not move, so I sat with my iPhone in hand on reverse picture mode, capturing and watching her every movement—awake, asleep, yawn, asleep again. As Journey was waking up contentedly, she turned her head and looked into my eyes. We gazed at each other. I was spellbound. She smiled! Yes, she did, honestly. I have the picture to prove it. Actually, I have fifty to prove it!
I was in love all over again. I started thinking of buying an RV to take her to see the world, just as we had dreamed with our own children. More thoughts, more dreams, more plans. Being a grandparent doesn’t just change you; it gives you a rebirth, a revival!
On being a grandparent, Gary says, “My perspective in seeing a child is different today than from my chaotic days of just trying to survive when we had our own children. I didn’t understand the sheer joy and priority of a child. I am thankful our children have a better grasp on family life and understanding than we had. I am also thankful to get the opportunity to experience the gift of a child all over again from a different perspective.” If any- one tells you it’s great to be a grandparent, don’t believe them—it’s better than that!
Gary and I did buy that RV the year Journey was born with visions of us stealing away with our grandchildren, introducing them to the vast world of national parks and road travel as we did with our children. We’ve taken a few trips with two of the couples and a grandbaby, but hopefully the best discoveries will come when they are a little older. I bought a sign and hung it in the RV that says, “Grandparents, so easy to control even a small child can do it!” We’ve already bought into the idea that we will let the grandchildren have pretty much what they want, “if it’s OK with Mommy and Daddy.”
Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage and family. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.