Friday, September 30, 2011

You Can Do It!

Ready! Get set! Go! Gabby ran her fifth fun run. Her Grandma was volunteering for her seventh.

Each year the grades lines up beneath the flags. The volunteers stand at the line and mark each round when a child crosses. I'm pretty good at this after seven years. A lot of parents have come and gone as well as the students who go on to middle school.

"This is my first year to volunteer," said the woman next to me. She was tentative with her marker. You can tell a season veteran by the swiftness with which she marks the tags on the backs of the children who stop at her station.

The Macarena is playing. I sway with the music and yell at the kids, "Come on 4th Graders!!!!!" Next comes the Chicken Dance. I flap with the kids as they flap past the flags. 10.....11....12.... The laps were marked off and kids began to drag.

"Let's go 4th graders!" I yelled. "You can do it!"

Hm. None of the other five parents were yelling for the kids. No one else was cheering them on. And, I guess no one else wanted to do the chicken dance. My daughter, two people away from me, was probably disclaiming me.

When I yelled, the children picked up speed and smiled. I noticed more and more that the same kids came to me to be marked. I had hoped my enthusiasm would reach the other parents, but it didn't. I could have clammed up, I guess, but why start after seven years!?

Sometimes we pull back afraid to be different, to stand out from the crowd. For many parents, this just isn't their thing. For this grandma, it is a way to be involved.

"Grammy, it's time to dance like we did last year!" Gabby said at the end of the race. I thought maybe we should pass this year.

I will never be the Grandma who sits on the sidelines. Next year I will cheer on the 5th graders and mark up my last year of the Fun Run.

"I had a wonderful time," said the new volunteer. Maybe I can win volunteer cheerleaders over one at time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Needle and A Girl

The splinter was small. I couldn't even see it with my reading glasses. Yet firmly embedded in the end of my finger, it could not be ignored.

"I'll get it out for you, Grammy," Gabby offered. Without hesitation, I declined. A nurse, age nine, didn't seem like a solution to my problem.

I tried to ignore the irritating jab whenever the tip of my finger met with resistance. I pinched. I squeezed. I pulled. Nothing would budge the sliver.

"I got a splinter out for Mommy," Gabby casually mentioned. I gave her a 'good for you' then picked up the magnifying glass and needle. This was coming out if I had to remove the entire end of my finger!

After no success, I returned to the sofa sucking on the now red finger. Maybe I could just live with it. Eventually it would work its way out. Good in theory, but..... I began weighing my options. It seemed I had only one left.

Gabby and I made our way to the bathroom. She stood on the stool next to me with needle in hand. After a quick movement, the sliver was out. I had misjudged my granddaughter thinking that she was too young to handle the task. I was a little nervous about turning the needle over to her. Maybe there was a bit of apprehension as to how I would handle the pain inflicted by my granddaughter.

I learned a lesson, and I learned that my granddaughter is gentle and caring. Her eyesight is definitely 20/20. Perhaps I should have remembered that from the start. Perhaps I should have trusted first.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. Yep, I have it. It's not contagious. The symptoms are feelings of regret, yearning, disappointment and a real big 'darn it'.

"I wish I had been more adventuresome," my daughter said while watching a movie of a young woman traveling the world. Yep, she has the signs. This disease might actually be contagious.

My friend posted pictures of her trip to Indonesia. Exotic, exciting, pictures of a world I've never seen. Last summer she went kayaking and mountain climbing. She has posted pictures of her standing by a glacier and sitting by a native hut. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.

I can blame it on the fact that we didn't live in an atmosphere that promoted adventure. Women weren't really given those dreams when I was young. We were just starting to think that we might have more of a career than secretary and housewife. It was the 60's and time of change. I would never have gone out on my own. I didn't know how to do more than I was already doing. We didn't have money for adventures. We didn't have exposure to those doors that would encourage us to step into the world beyond. We could do service for our church. We could be missionaries. Only Lowell Thomas and National Geographic gave us that view of a world we couldn't see.

Perhaps I didn't expose my children to that world either. We didn't have money to travel, take trips around the world. Our vacations revolved around vacations back to Ohio and the farm. I was as ignorant to the opportunities for my children as I had been for myself. One first step beyond occurred when my son went to Chicago, away from home. Suddenly his world opened up in new ways.

I want more for my granddaughters. When we talk about what they can be someday, we talk about exciting careers, those that can make a difference in the world, those that fit their interests and natural talents. We encourage them to find themselves. We allow them to see a world beyond.

I think this might be the cure for Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda. Everyone has regrets, but maybe we can minimize the effects. Each time I send out something to be published, I erase one of those Couldas. Each time I do something on my own I eliminate a Woulda. And for all it is worth, I will not let a Shoulda add to my life. 

The world can only be better when we all find our natural path. I'm still working on mine.

Monday, September 26, 2011

There are Days

Ever have days when you were just tired. No energy. No umph, as my mother would say. Life is sometimes overwhelming and just needs a day to voice itself. Today is my day.

I strongly dislike getting older. I can embrace it and go with the flow, but I don't like it. I'm tired. I'm tired of losing loved ones. I'm tired of living on a shoestring. I'm tired of having no control over my life. My life is controlling me. I guess this all has come about with Gabby's birthday, my son's birthday and Christmas looming in the not so far distance.

I know I'm not alone in these feelings. Who can get older and not have moments of just wanting it all back and wanting things to be easier. I know I'm not alone. Sometimes the hole seems pretty deep. I don't want to sound depressed or to bring anyone down, but I do want to let you know that there are days when we all struggle to keep our chins up. There are times when the mountain of obstacles seems impossible. We seemed locked in a situation with no way out.

So what do we do? How do we break this feeling of despair? Well, take a walk. Call a friend. Write whatever pops into your mind. You don't need to be a writer to empty the pain. Call someone you haven't talked to for a very long time. Find a support group. If you are really floundering, please get counseling. We all have times when we hit bad times in our lives. It doesn't mean that those times rule us. There is no shame in asking for help. There is no shame in going to the food bank when food is scarce. There is no shame in going to family services asking for assistance. There is no shame in going to your minister and baring your soul. There is no shame.

Today I write. I took steps over the weekend to put my writing out there in order to bring more money into our household. I put a puzzle together and was brainless for several hours. Today I might even take a nap. I think it might start with putting on clean clothes, adding a little make up to my tired face and dog sitting for one of my favorite family members, one who gives me comfort. I don't need to worry about anything more than the now. It is all I can control.

Today I write that you might find hope and know you are not alone.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekends

A weekend! I find that no matter what age I have been, "weekend" is always something to look forward to. I'm not working, so I don't need the weekend reprieve. I have no plans, so what's the big deal?!

For one thing, my granddaughters will be home all weekend. When they go to their dad every other week, I miss them terribly. The quiet is nice. The adult TV is nice. I actually have time to write without interruption, but, oh, how I miss the girls. Perhaps I miss them more because I know the day is just around the corner when they will be gone. There is never enough time.

Stacey will do her thing with the girls. I will putts around and be involved in some of the activity, but this is mom and daughters time. I need to give that to them without my own agenda. Yet maybe by just being here, I am involved.

Not every grandparent has the opportunity to see their grandchildren every day. But that is no excuse for lack of contact and for being involved. An email note or picture sent to a grandchild brings on the widest smile. I know. I have seen it. A call time set on the weekends between grandparent and grandchild is cherished by both. There are ways to be involved on a regular basis. Do I feel it is important? Darn right. I know that grandparents are important. I have seen my children go to school on Grandparents' Day without a grandparent. I have been the child without the grandparents. I know of other children, other mothers, who call me Grandma because theirs are not involved. We are important.

No we can't do it all. Miles, obligations, appointments, health often set us apart. Yet a card sent to a child on Grandparents' Day at school is a gift from the hands of a loving grandparent. A distant grandparent may not be able to be involved physically, but they can be creative in finding ways to connect.

The weekend is here. The house will be a bit more cluttered. The noise level will go up a few notches. Two girls will be home. I love weekends.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No Holiday From Stress

This morning I woke up feeling less than perfect. Well, I have never been perfect, so I guess that I mean feeling less than imperfect. Anyway, I have a new ache. Well, it wasn't really new. I've had it before an knew what was happening. Are you confused? I am.

Stress can do a great deal to the body. We tuck it away thinking we are dealing with it, or we let it run rampant causing chaos wherever it finds a voice. I guess I am the former. I know that worrying doesn't get me anywhere and can be overwhelmingly depressing if I allow it to manifest. I know that I can't deal with anything if I am in panic mode. So I take on the new stress with the realization that life will go on whether I let it control me or not. I prefer to take life it as it comes, and not dwell on what I cannot change.

I know that I won't win the lottery. I know that a new bill will come in the mail. I know that I will get job rejections....as always. Yet, I know that I am rich in what I have, who I have in my life. I will not give it up as stress begs to settle in. Yes, my body might feel the effects. I can't make this stress go away. Yet I will not destroy what I have because of it.

I called my doc. "Here we go again," I said. She asks if I'm okay. I tell her the truth. She knows I have little control over my life right now. She listens and is on my side.

I wish I had answers to erase the stress that many of us share right now. I have none. I only know that talking to someone we trust helps. I know that keeping a positive attitude is imperative. Most of all, I pray. I know I am never alone.

Hey, stress, give me a break today!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trying Their Wings

"Grammy, I'm going to put on a show!" Gabby yelled from the yard. I sat on the swing watching. My granddaughter, age nine, began a cartwheeling across the yard. Her show also consisted of back bends, the splits and various other moves I'd not yet seen in my lifetime. She bounced. She flipped. She twisted in ways that made my bones ache. It was all as natural to her as breathing.

For the last couple of years we have talked about it. Gabby needed to be in gymnastics. This little girl who has so much energy that it oozes out of her. Fearless, graceful, agile and full of life, the mats, the bar, the floor should be hers. So I finally just took up the reins and called Oregon Gymnastics Academy. This is a big step for a family struggling financially, but we know that there is a calling that needs be answered. I made an appointment for skill evaluation.

"I'm nervous, Grammy," she said yesterday. I didn't want to tell her, but I was, too.

"Just pretend that you are performing for me in the front yard," I said. "You will have fun and do just fine."

I watched the little girl that came in the door with me. I knew she would not be the same one when we left. She held her chin high and focused on what the instructor asked of her. She didn't stop and wave at me every time she did something as she would have in the past. Instead she once in awhile looked up at me and smiled. My heart was in my throat. She had aged a few years in just a few moments.

When the evaluation was finished, her instructor informed us that Gabby had natural talent. She was everything that was needed to be a gymnast. She would not go into the beginning classes. Gabby would begin in Intermediate 1 and is expected to move to Intermediate 2 very quickly.

We grandparents, we parents need to look for the signs in our children of the gifts they possess. Perhaps we are financially strapped and cannot give them what they need. Yet, as I am finding, there is help if we look for it. There is a way if we are determined to give them the best. Gabby can potentially continue with gymnastics going on to gain college scholarships. She will gain pride in herself. She will gain confidence. She will take a step away from us into herself.

Her feet left the ground reaching for the sun. She bent over backwards as easily as sitting down. A smile lit her face as she felt her heart soar. An eagle must soar and a fish swim. A singer must sing and a dancer dance. God gave wings. Grandparents and parents can give their children the freedom to try them.

We got back into the car. "I'm very proud of you," I said.

"I know," she answered.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From There to Here

It's a short walk from here to there. Point A to Point B. Age One to Age Sixty. It's a short walk.

There are those nights when I lie in bed just wondering at the speed of light, the speed of sound and the speed of life. Well, maybe I don't stay awake over light and sound, but once in awhile the speed of life settles into my thoughts. Where did the time go?

My mother was leaving this life going to the next when she said, "It all went so fast." More and more I realize her words. I don't think I noticed until I was in my sixties that those ten-year, decade segments were just a speck of time. I have lived six of those segments that passed much too quickly.

I could get buried in the things lost, those things and people who are gone. I could get lost in the memories. But, this is the life progression. It happens while we live. So why not make the best of all that remains. Maybe we become aware of it at this age because it is important. We are important. Maybe we are aware because there are tales to be told and honor to be given. Perhaps we are aware because we have things to teach and things to learn. There is an awakening of the spirit, of the soul that finds us in the 'here' that started back 'there'.

Maybe it is these years that teach us that love comes in all ways and can be given in all ways. For me, it is a lesson in embracing the now and my family, my friends. It is the time to love the world one person at a time, starting with me.

The distance is short between then and now.

Monday, September 19, 2011

For Her Children

Sometimes we make mistakes in our lives that change the course of our future and that of our children. There are many women who have walked away from their marriages for one reason or another hoping for something better. More times than not it doesn't work that way. The lose financially because they don't expect more for themselves. They leave because they are in pain.

She knits with a flurry that even snowstorms cannot match. She does it for her children.

I remember coming out of my divorce full of hope for a better future. For awhile the future I sought was kind, then the economy changed and my hands began to fail me. My children are grown yet I am a worry to them. Now I try to find a way to take care of my kids so they don't worry.....writing for my children.

My daughter has had her struggles. She has faced the struggles of a single mom. She doesn't have a house to sell because she left hers. She doesn't have a retirement because she hasn't worked long....she only wanted to be a mom and wife. She tries hard to get ahead only to find barriers which constantly assail her. I watched this woman emerging from a safe cocoon into an unforgiving world trying to get a foothold on the future for her children.

In the waking hours when my daughter is not spending time with her beautiful daughters or working, she knits. She works hard trying to build up stock to sell at bazaars. Some of her work sells to friends as quickly as she can knit it. She is gifted. With each piece she makes, she adds a bit more to the coffers for her daughter. With each piece of her heart that she pours into each piece, she heals herself.

I am proud of this daughter of mine. She has learned much from this struggle just as did I. She has found new parts of herself. She is one of the bravest women I know. It is amazing what we mothers do for our children. We find strength to protect them and to provide for them. We find peace in knowing we give them the best parts of us. We learn about ourselves in this entire process giving our children a better mother.

She sits and knits. Her fingers twist and turn and create. She does it for her children.

Friday, September 16, 2011

For Tink

I am not writing today. I lost a dear cousin and cannot find my voice for the blog. I have written about him today at www.neffroad.com.

Thank you for your continued support of my blog. You give me a place to talk to friends. You give me a community who travel a same road. Thank you for coming to visit.

I hope you will check out www.grandparents.about.com/.

Thanks to Susan Adcox for recognizing my blog. Check out "Meet Grandparents".  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Looking for the Positive

I usually tuck the positive beneath my pillow at night knowing that I will look for it in the morning when I am still groggy and loving the warm nest I've slept in during the sleeping hours. I pull it on and head into the day.

This morning I took out the positive attitude. Everything seemed okay until I was up about an hour then I started feeling lousy. The attitude still sat lively, but the body was feeling less than perfect. Sometimes a positive attitude isn't enough.

This getting older seems difficult some days. I keep looking for that youthful, 50ish, energy to reappear, but it often goes into hiding. And, it returns with a bit of it missing. My love of late hours find my late hours appearing earlier. At the end of the day, my hands hurt beyond use and I am sad. I am discouraged.

I'm not complaining.....well, maybe a little. I want to have that energy back to go with the wisdom I've discovered as I've aged. I want hands that can type and not ache. I want energy to keep up with my grandchildren. But it isn't always there, is it?

I'm feeling a little under the weather. It won't slow me down. I'll keep up the pace, keep up the writing until the hands refuse to continue. I will keep the positive attitude I took from beneath my pillow this morning and cherish it, use it. Some days just are more difficult than other, but I celebrate what I have and what I can do with what I have. I celebrate that a smile is much easier than a frown. I embrace each day being thankful for what I have in my life.

Perhaps today is a lounging day. A day to slow down and pamper myself. We all have those days. Today is mine.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Joined at the Hip

We were best friend. "Joined at the hip," our parents would say. We knew one another as well as two friends could having grown up from babyhood to grannyhood. Joined at the hip.

This morning I watched a piece on conjoined twins who had been separated. Two babies joined in the womb when two cells failed to completely separate. Babies joined in a way that the rest of us cannot possibly understand.

Coincidentally, last night I finished the book Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. An absolutely wonderful book that I'm sure I will read again. A story of twins. Mr. Verghese captured not just the story of the twins but a story of relationships, those that change over time. Yes, I cried....no, I sobbed. I felt that I knew these two brothers by the time the book had ended. They had come to visit me and will stay.

A silent voice holds us all together. I think we fail to listen to it because we don't know it is there, or, perhaps we have too much noise in our lives. I seem to have gotten away from the daily surprises that life can bring. I forget to be amazed at life. I forget to see the miracles, the wonders around me. We are all joined at the hip passing through this lifetime. Of course, we aren't like the twins. But we are living together. Perhaps we go through life allowing our expectations to rule it.

I love to be surprised. I love it when I find a connection with a complete stranger. A connection that might only last for a few moment, stays in our hearts. I made a long journey with twin doctors. Their story took me in and kept me there. Two little boys who were joined at the hip added to me again this morning. Through residing on this globe, in our daily lives, in our hopes and our dreams, in our tragedy and pain, we are separate yet joined at the hip.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Another Time

"It was another time," the newscaster said. The words resonated. Oh, yes, it was another time. A difficult time. A time my children, younger generations cannot understand. The tapes of Jackie Kennedy have been released. She recounts her life in the White House, her life as the President's wife. It was the 60's. "She was told her views by her husband."

She was a wife of the times....my time. Men divided themselves from the women going off talking about whatever men talked about while women sat separated from topics that just might interest them. We didn't know it, but we were held back by the times. We didn't know it, but we had the power to change the world. Wait....there were some who knew that it was time for change and did it.

Perhaps I always knew that I wanted more for my mother. She was an intelligent woman who never had the chance to show what she could do. She fell into the path of her mother and stayed there until my father passed. I tried to fall into that path but internally fought it all the way. Work places back in the 60's did not consider wives important. We were not invited to gatherings. We were not included in travel. We were the ones who provided food for the cocktail parties then sat with the women while the men controlled our lives. It was the way of it.

I sometimes wonder what my life would be like had I been raised in this time when women have a voice, when they can fly on their own wings. I thrill that my granddaughters will have the wings we give them. I love that they will know their worth. Women fought for their rights for generations. Our generation stepped up the fight. The apron was burned along with the bras.

My children don't see it, but I do every time there is a group of people. The men and women no longer separate. They wouldn't think of it. Men visit with women. Women visit with men. The separation of the sexes is becoming a thing of the past here in these United States. We are no better, and, we are no worse than our counterparts, the men. The power both sexes possess is mighty when combined.

I don't always know what I think about a particular subject, but I love hearing all views. No one can tell me what I believe, my views. Yet my view can be expanded and just perhaps improved by the freedom to be included...included with men and women and children.

It was another time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Grammy's Still Got It

We sat under the tree waiting. Truly ninety degrees in the shade is no picnic. We sat beneath the tree waiting for Sydney's bus. Gabby's homework was almost done when we heard the bus arriving. We dashed to the car just as the girls stepped off the bus.

"Hi, Sydney. Hi, Faith," Gabby yelled. Neither girl answered. I got the point.

"Hey, how about we park on a side street where the car is in the shade?" I asked Syd. She looked at me and nodded.

Good job, Grams.

Yesterday a large science, word find puzzle sat before Sydney. "I don't think I'm going to like Science this years," she said.

I looked at the page covered with questions with one clue included. She read the instructions. Words would have at least one or more bends.

"I don't know any of these, Grams. We haven't had this stuff. How am I supposed to know." she said with an already defeated attitude.

"Part of Science is asking questions. Ask and I'll try to help. We can look up answers we don't know."

Clue: Letter C _ _ _ _ _

"Let's go back to that," I said after looking at the clue cluelessly.

One by one, Sydney found that her Grams really knew her science. Question....Uranium. Question.....Skeleton. Question.....Botany. On and on only looking up two out of the twenty+ questions.

"Letter C is Carbon," I finally concluded. "C is the symbol." Learning to think outside of the box.

"Grammy, you're pretty smart!"

Hm, Grammy's still got it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Before It's Too Late

"I truly love the place I am in my life now," I told the man sitting across the table from me. "Now I truly understand what in life is important."

I hadn't seen this man since he was a boy graduating from high school back 1983. I was only thirty-five. Now I looked at a married man, a father. He was looking at a taupe-haired senior citizen. Was it really that long ago?

The conversation I had with Dave really began a few days before. Well, it sorta began in my head. It was only now that I gave that conversation voice.

"My children never sit down and ask questions about my past, my memories. They just don't understand. They don't get it." I explained. "I didn't get it until my last parent died. Then it was too late."

I remember well the years of my life. Those years when we were involved with careers, marriage, children. I remember wanting to have cocktail parties and to wear the current fashion. I remember be immersed in pregnancy and raising children. I know that I did not give my parents' past a second thought. Heck, I grew up in that house. I knew all the stories. 

Well, that's really not true, is it? Age has taught me the most valuable lesson. What I own, what I have done, what dreams I accomplished are just that when we come down to the line. We adore our children, wrapping our lives around them. I forgot to adore my parents and do the same for them. I ask my granddaughters, "How was your day?" But I never asked my parents, "How was your life?" I missed so much.

"Do you still have your parents?" I asked.

"Yes."

 "Good for you. You are very fortunate. They are gone too quickly."

I write my history for my family, but it will not answer the questions that come up. It will not tell of a grandmother gruffly taking her frightened granddaughter to the dark chicken house to gather eggs. It will not tell of the thrill of riding on a tractor with the wind blowing my hair and our cocker spaniel at my feet. It will not tell of stealing black olives from the Christmas table or eating homemade ice cream at church socials. It will not tell of a grandfather who always wore a worn black sweater and smelled of pipe smoke.

I wish someone had told me what I now realize.....told me before it was too late.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Face Book

"I'm sad today," Sydney wrote. My heart ached to hear the words, yet I was glad that she could express them on Facebook. The safety settings are on our computers. No one outside of her 'friends' can read her words.

"I hate Facebook. I don't need to hear everyone's complaints," my friend said.

"I'm tired of people always preaching," said another.

Well, I love Facebook for many reasons:

#1  I have contact with people I haven't seen in decades.
#2  I can keep up with the lives of friends and family. My older nieces are part of my life because of it.
#3  Concerns are shared and prayers are sent.
#4  Miles dissolve. Those from Ireland to Oregon.
#5  For those ill or depressed, a community gives support.
#6  Feelings and fears, seem to be more easily express.

Yes, some people whine and complain. Sometimes the social network is used to preach. Personalities come alive on the computer screen.

Neighborhoods have grown because of FB. My online neighborhood is there to boost and support one another. I allow for those who decide to preach sometimes skipping their messages because I already know what will be said. Yet I keep them as a friend, because I want to have these people in my life. I allow people to complain and vent, because sometimes I feel the need to do the same. I love that people voice concerns that might just be mine, too. I am part of a neighborhood of different people with different views, with different lives, with different personalities.

My granddaughter and her friends write on FB. Each day I can see what has gone on in her life. Things she might not voice at home. I find out about her friends. I can still write on her page and not embarrass her. I have a window that I might not have otherwise that shows me the young woman my granddaughter is becoming. And, I am finding a wonderfully, well-spoken young lady with a heart as big as the world and compassion beyond her years.

Yes, I am a Facebooker. (Hm. I wonder if I just coined a new word.) I am part of a worldwide family drawn together in this way. The hard times in my life are easier, because I know I have a network of friends who care. The joyful times are richer because of the support I receive. My family is closer because the miles are erased.

My last entry on my Facebook page was written yesterday.

To all the kids going back to school: Have a great year! To all the parents of said kids: Hang in there. They grow up quickly. To all grandparents of said kids: Be involved.

Through FB, I am involved. Of course, it really is not a book, but it is an album of people from the past and present. Some whom I would not have were it not for this social network. The Face Book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

'rithmetic

First day of school. Off to a new grade, a new teacher and, more than likely another new math. I have butterflies.

The butterflies began on this 'first day' when I was a child facing a new year. Grades, friends, clothes, growing up. It would all be new for another year. I was leaving childhood behind in yearly increments moving on to adulthood and parenthood. Butterflies appeared again when my children walked into the school on those first days. All of my dreams for them sat on a fine edge of holding on and letting go. Now another first day has arrived for my granddaughters.

Schools have changed over the decades. For the parents, it is a game of keeping up. For the grandparents, it is a time to be involved. Sometimes we forget how important we are to the family. A friend read Harry Potter every night with her grandson who lived in San Diego. They took turns reading the books bridging the miles. She took over the very important time of day when the child needed to read. Her time with her grandson was about more than reading. With more time on our hands, we have a great deal to give.

I live with my grandchildren so am on call when needed.  It is difficult at times. Math seems to be all new each year. Friends come and go. Phrases repeat daily: Is your homework done? Did you read? How was your day? etc. Trying to get a comment versus a one word answers or a head nod seem impossible. My oldest grandchild doesn't like to talk after school. I wait each day until she decides to unload the events of the day. At first it threw me.

"How was your day?" I would ask.

"I don't wanna talk. I've talked all day," her usual reply.

I wait. She eventually decides to resume conversation. And, after several attempts, I've learned to never ask her how her day has been. We all learn.

Kids today are in a different world from that I knew and even that of their parents. Cursive has flown out the window with word processing. Calculators are used in grade school. The internet is handier than the library for instant answers and research. It is the same as always.....a game of 'keep up'.

I think this progression of education is good for all of us. We continue to learn and grow from our involvement with the children. We might even challenge ourselves to learn more about computers, phones and ebook readers. Of course, we can still hold on to the ways we learned. We can still sometimes use the old to explain the new. Perhaps when a child goes back to school, we go along bringing along a time remembered.

School days, school days, dear old golden rule days. Reading and writing and 'rithmetic. Taught to the tune of a hickory stick. You were my queen in calico. I was your bashful barefoot beau. When you wrote on my slate, I love you so."   When we were a couple of kids.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not Perfect But Good Enough

The room was a mess. Nothing was where it belonged. Every stuffed toy joined in chaos across the floor.

"What 'cha doin'?" I asked Gabby and her overnight guest.

"We're cleaning," they both answered.

I couldn't really complain. Sometimes when I clean, I get sidetracked with organization. My mess truly becomes a MESS. What was started as a simple task turned into 'spring cleaning'.

Perhaps this kind of housekeeping needs to happen in our lives. Perhaps it is important to look at the corners of our lives and see what mess we really need to 'clean up'.

Feelings can be hurt by a random comment. Family division can happen and be left to fester. We do a quick clean in our lives by closing doors, pushing aside feelings, jamming them in a closet already cluttered with worry and problems unresolved. We all have our 'housecleaning' to do.

I do not criticize but suggest that happiness comes with doing a little housekeeping. Clean out the closet, and you feel a whole lot better. We are not what we drag behind us, but it does affect who we are. I've been doing my personal housekeeping. There is a lot to be learned in this mess we sort through. Humility, compassion, truth, peace and love of self.

The little girls cleaned up their mess. Not everything was in its place or perfect, but it was good enough. I smiled and thought to myself, "Not perfect but good enough."