A title earned by those with grey hair and wrinkles which mark the passing of time. An honorary title bringing much joy and hopefully respect. A title given after the birth of a third generation. But what does it mean? Here are my thoughts.
To be Ouma is to fall in love.
She falls in love with the soft baby breath against her cheek. She falls in love with every grunt and contented baby sound he makes. She falls in love with his eyes, his hair, his mouth, his hands and feet his whole being. She falls in love with his smile which lights up the world. She falls in love with this bundle of potential and all the possibilities he brings with him.
To be Ouma is not to have the responsibility.
She doesn’t get up at night to soothe and feed a crying baby, only when and if she wants to. She doesn’t wipe spit and poo from places she thought it couldn’t be found. She doesn’t deal with late night fevers, teething screams and doctor’s visits. She doesn’t deal with terrible two tantrums and food fads. She leaves that part of parenting to mum and dad.
To be Ouma is to have fun.
She takes the grandchildren to play, to explore and discover whole new worlds. She gives them too much ice cream and treats to eat and do not have to deal with sore tummies at night. She allows them to get very very dirty, but don’t do the laundry. She bakes cookies with them and allows them to lick the dough from the mixing bowl. She teaches them to paint even if the cow is purple. She makes playdough, mud cakes and playhouses with sheets. She becomes young again and discovers the world through the eyes of a child.
To be Ouma is to bring wisdom to a young life.
She brings with her wisdom gained from many years of living life with all its good and bad experiences. She builds a relationship of trust with this new love in her life, only then does she earn the privilege to give counsel when she sees a life in trouble. She listens and speaks little allowing him to find his own way and his own solutions. She answers questions honestly and admits that she doesn’t have all the answers.
To be Ouma is to pray
She prays for this new life everyday. She prays for his safety. She prays for his health, his development, his whole being. She gives thanks for his life, which brought a whole new perspective to hers. She prays for his soul and spirit and gives his life into the hands of our heavenly Father. She prays that he will know that he is special and known to God even from before he was born.
She prays that one day he will agree with the psalmist who wrote in
Psalm 139 : 14 – 16
For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made, your works are wonderful. I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together on the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.