Sunday, April 19, 2009

LA QUINCEAÑERA

Sara turned fifteen this week. It’s hard to believe my first grandbaby is a young lady already. In the Hispanic culture a girl’s fifteenth birthday is very special,—a “coming of age.” Many girls from Spanish families have a quinceañera. In Roman Catholic families this would include a ceremony at the church and then a sort of debutante ball or reception. The décor at the banquet hall or home resembles that of a wedding, the girl is dressed up in a beautiful gown, she has a “court” of attendants, and so on. The father dances the first dance with his daughter, and there are other customs associated with the girl becoming a woman, such as presenting her with her first high heels and make-up. The mother will sometimes make a ceremony of putting lipstick on her daughter. The quinceañera signifies that young men may now come a-courting.
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Sara wanted nothing to do with having a quinceañera, and of course, neither did her parents! Her Ecuadorian grandparents and other family members were disappointed, though. They are no longer Catholic and did not care about the religious ceremony, but they would have loved to celebrate Sara’s quinceañera in the manner of their culture. In the end, they gave her a surprise birthday party with only the family. They hired a Mariachi band to serenade her, and her older girl cousin took her out for a fun day beforehand so they could secretly get ready for the party. She and her friends styled Sara’s hair and “experimented” with a little make-up under the pretext of “just for fun.” Her other cousin, Christian, who is almost eighteen, took some phone calls during the party from some of his fiends who wanted to come to the party and meet his cousin, La Quinceañera. “No way!’ he told them. “She’s still a little girl and you’re not meeting her!” Good for Christian! I appreciate him being so protective of my granddaughter!
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I remember so well the day Sara was born. Laura and Fernando had invited me to be at the hospital with them for the baby’s birth. I was to be not only the proud new grandma, but also the videographer, standing in a corner of the room, near the head of the bed. (Laurie was very modest and didn’t want everything taped.) They had opted not to find out before Sara was born if it was a girl or a boy. I was betting on a girl, they were thinking it was a boy. I bought a little girl’s “going-home-from-the-hospital” outfit and they bought a little boy’s outfit. Whoever lost the bet could return their outfit to the store, while the “winner” had the privilege of seeing the baby all dressed up in their outfit. What a thrill when the doctor said “It’s a girl!” She was red-faced and squalling, her nose was a little flattened and her foot curved in from the birth (temporarily), but she was beautiful! She stole my heart from the very first moment!
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I finally left the hospital around dawn and headed for home. I remember driving on a back road as the sun was coming up and a feeling a sense of “heritage” come over me. It was a beautiful experience when I became a mother, but this was something very different. When my children were born, I was focused on our little family. Now, suddenly, I was looking into the future and the generations to come. Bob and I had started something great way back when, and now we would pass on our legacy to our grandchildren and, someday, to their children. Wow! It was so awesome to realize with the birth of that precious baby girl that our lives would continue on down through the generations.
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They’ve got our genes but none of our grandchildren really look like us. Laura’s kids are half Ecuadorian and Julie’s kids are one quarter El Salvadoran so they mostly have dark hair and some of them even have brown eyes. Joshua, though, in personality is a chip off his grandpa’s block. They both have only one mark on the volume dial—loud. He loves to roughhouse and would love to be an outdoorsman like Grandpa, as well. Several of the kids, especially Gabi and Benjamin, are more creative and artistic like me. It is interesting to see as they grow how the genes from the Griffiths and Pratts will emerge. I pray none of the genetic predispositions we have for certain diseases or conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, will ever rear their ugly heads in our grandchildren, but there are some things in our legacy that we will pass on, like it or not.
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We do have a choice, though, in other areas as to what our children and grandchildren will inherit from us. Material possessions, certainly, will include things like our wedding rings, our Bibles, my books, Bob’s mule deer George who hangs proudly on our dining room wall (can you tell I am saying that facetiously?), my piano, Bob’s shotguns, and a few other odds and ends. That’s about it. There will never be a great inheritance of wealth or property to pass on, I’m afraid.
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We have a choice also in the legacy we pass on that is far more valuable than our earthly possessions. Proverbs 13:22 says, “A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children.” I pray that our faith and love for the Lord will live on in our children and grandchildren and their descendants. We may live our lives as an example before them, but it is up to each of them to make the decision for themselves as to whether or not they will follow Jesus. I praise God that each one in our family who is able to understand that they need Jesus as their Savior has accepted Him. Matthew, of course, is too young still, and Katie has made a profession, but Laurie says she is not sure if Katie really understands yet. We are praying that they, too, will be saved when they can truly make that decision for themselves. Then there is Robbie who is mentally like a one or two year old. I truly believe he is safe in the Lord and we will see him whole and walking, leaping, dancing, singing and talking in Heaven someday!
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There are other spiritually valuable things I would like to pass on to those who follow in my footsteps, as well. I want them to know that a good reputation and their testimony for the Lord are precious. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches…” I want them to know that being responsible and trustworthy is important. I want them to be faithful, honest and loyal; generous and compassionate; wise in knowing and following the will of God. I pray that they will not only accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, but that they will also live for Him and serve Him as their Lord and Master. Someday as they look back on the influence Grandma and Grandpa had in their lives, I hope they will be able to say that they are thankful for the spiritual legacy we passed on to them.
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The Bible tells us to ”Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) and “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) We are instructed in Deuteronomy 6:6,7 “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” It is our responsibility to train and teach our children and grandchildren in the things of the Lord. He gives each of us free will, though, to choose to follow or not, and sometimes we are disappointed and heartbroken when they don’t follow. If we have faithfully taught them, though, I believe the Lord will bring them back to Himself someday. Psalm 103:17 says, “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children.”
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Sara is fifteen now. In just a few years she will be as old as I was when I became a mother at the young age of nineteen. I hope she will have the sense to wait a little longer than that, but nevertheless, suffice it to say, it won’t be too many more years until the next generation in our family will most likely begin. I had a vision on the day of her birth of the generations that would follow in our footsteps, and of the legacy that we would pass on to them. God has been so gracious in giving us the wonderful children and grandchildren we have. We could not ask for better, for each one of them has been a blessing and joy to us. Psalm 127:3 says “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Proverbs 17:6 tells us that “Children's children are the crown of old men” (and old women!) Our children and grandchildren are precious treasures to be cherished as gifts from the Lord. May we be faithful in guarding these treasures and leaving them the inheritance we have from Him that is far greater than earthly possessions and wealth!

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You may be interested in reading the following post, which goes well, I think with this one.

1 comment:

  1. Another fabulous blog! You inspire us all each week!

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