Our grandson was only four when a policeman picked him up on the side of the highway. He said he was headed to Grandma’s house, about five miles (8 km) away.
It was the second time he had run away from the unhappiness at home, trying to get to me. Over the next few months, I came to realize that the responsibility of raising my grandson and his two younger sisters was probably going to fall on my shoulders—an idea I did not readily embrace.
My husband and I had done our best to raise our children with gospel principles, but they eventually rejected those principles. I was in my 50s and felt that I had finally earned the right to pursue my own interests. I cherished the goal my husband and I shared of serving a mission together when he retired. The notion of going grocery shopping with preschoolers, organizing mealtimes, doing thousands of loads of laundry, and someday again mothering teenagers reduced me to tears.
One afternoon, however, something changed my heart. A small thing had upset my grandson, so I took him onto my lap and wiped away his tears. As I held him, we talked about how much Jesus loved him. Nearby I had a wall calendar featuring paintings of the Savior, so we looked at those beautiful images one by one.
My grandson was especially interested in a depiction of the Savior sitting in a stone doorway with a small, brown-haired girl on His lap. In the painting, both the Savior and the child radiate peace. My grandson looked closely, pointed to the girl, and called her by his sister’s name.
“How can Katie sit on Jesus’s lap, Grandma?” he asked. “I want to sit on His lap too!”
“You can’t sit on Jesus’s lap now, sweetheart, but you can sit on my lap,” I said. “Jesus gives little children grandmas to love them and hold them and take care of them when they need it.”
Suddenly my heart embraced a future of loving—as the Savior would love—three beloved children who needed me. They were no longer a burden but a wonderful blessing and opportunity to serve our Lord.
I will be forever grateful for the tender mercy of the Lord given to me that afternoon. It changed my life and continues to strengthen and bless our home.