Stuck in an empty-nest syndrome, I wondered how to redefine my role now that the kids are on their own. Then my mother, who lives directly behind me, pulled my late grandfather's garden umbrella out of storage, and I turned a corner.
To Mum's dismay, mice had chewed up Grandpa's umbrella fringe. When I swept my deck a few days later, I discovered some of the tassels on the back step. The next day I found more. When my father came over, I asked him, "Do you suppose it's the mice again?"
"No," he answered, "it's the birds." We both looked up and there, in the jungle of wisteria, was a robin's nest with bits of fringe tucked into the twigs!
"How pleased he'd be," exclaimed Dad, "to see the birds make use of his fringe."
Growing up, I'd been proud to be my grandfather's granddaughter. He was a godly man, generous and kind to all. Looking up at his umbrella fringe, I realized I didn't need to redefine myself. I was a granddaughter long before I became a mother. Grandpa taught me about who I am, especially two things: I am precious, and Jesus loves me.
The baby robins hatched, thrived and flew away, but I'm not feeling lonely. I have Grandpa's umbrella fringe: I am still his precious granddaughter, and Jesus loves me.
adapted from "Daily Guidpost", 2002