Because of Jonathan's long sojourn's overseas, I often go for months on end without seeing him or spending any time with the grandchildren. For both of them, their first language is Spanish, but now that they are in school here in England, they have both become quite proficient in English and do understand instinctively that they must speak English with me.
I may never get over their British accents, and am grateful that they do seem to have acquired a nice, well-enunciated British accent. I noticed yesterday that Joshua, nearly five, was speaking to his dad in English rather than Spanish more. I asked Jonathan why. He answered, "Joshua doesn't think my Spanish is good enough!"
I really got tickled at that, but he's probably right. Anyone learning a different language past childhood will almost inevitably speak with some sort of an accent and probably make periodic grammatical mistakes. Adriana's English, while fluent, is deeply accented, and I really can't understand her well on the phone, although have no problem in person. Joshua has probably picked up that Jonathan, who didn't become really proficient at Spanish until after college, speaks it with a decided accent.
But, more to the point here: it has been hard for the children to get comfortable with me on our short visits. I was glad that they seemed to warm up quickly on this one, but still knew they had reservations about me.
This morning, Jonathan and Adriana needed to make their weekly grocery shopping trip. This is a huge deal because they rarely if ever eat out, everything is made fresh and cooked from scratch, and they use essentially no bread and pasta so meals are varieties of good meats, poultry and seafood and piles of vegetables, with soups made from scratch, and always with fresh fruit made available several times a day for snacks.
The children were given the choice of going to Costco with their parents or staying with Granny. They immediately decided on going, and I wasn't surprised. However, I mentioned that I was going to work in the garden all morning and would be digging in the dirt, and invited them to reconsider. The older one capitulated immediately and the younger a few seconds later.
We had a wonderful time together, cleaning out a neglected flower bed and getting dirty together. After a while, they wanted to come in and watch a video, and were only momentarily disappointed when I absolutely had no idea how to get the DVD to play (can't figure this out at my house either).
But, they played happily together inside, and I stayed out for a while, knowing that the doors were wide open and I could hear them if necessary.
They were absolute angels for me the entire time. What great joy for me. Can't help but to think of the constant invitation from God to quit being so shy about just spending time in that Holy Presence and just giving it a try. We are often so resistant to grace--and to Granny!!!