Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Season of Hope and Love

I am sorry I have not been writing with regularity. I hope after I am settle and the holidays are over that I will have more time.

Please continue to look at my Care List. I try to make changes as they happen. I would be happy to add your concerns to it as well. We are a united world and should all care for one another. Thank you. Missing my blog and my blog friends.

Happy Holidays to your and yours. May the new years be a year of love and understanding. Go forward with a heart that is compassionate and humble. You can make a difference in this old world. Together we can touch hearts and change anger into love, despair into hope. God bless you all. With much love this holiday season.....

Friday, November 22, 2013

In the Blink of an Eye

Emma grabbed my hand and began leading me away from the living room. Pretty quickly Nolan latched onto my other hand. We made a train. No one but Emma seemed to know where it was headed. In fact, I don't think she knew either, yet we followed faithfully like a couple of pups.

I enjoyed both of my granddaughters. Over the years we have maintained a closeness that I cherish. However, this experience of two babies at once has been a mind opener and sometimes mind boggling. Now the twins are 16 months, and I'm learning what it means to be a grandma knee deep in babies.

My son stood next to his son. I was sitting on the floor rolling cars to Nolan and Emma, making motor sounds and laughing along with them. I invited my son to join us. He was exhausted and busy with  laundry since Lisa was working. "I just don't feel like it right now," he said. It was okay, but I had to share something that I don't think all grandparents feel comfortable admitting.

"I'm going to tell you a secret," I said. "There are times that I don't feel like playing with them either." Most people believe that I am always up for grandchildren full of excitement and energy. We grandparents sometimes don't want to play. But we do, don't we. We settle into the role we love, realizing that each time with them is precious and gone too quickly.

Many the times when I was tired and had no energy. Sometimes I missed opportunities that I wish I had taken. My friend is bedridden. She cannot play with her only grandchild. Many grandparents live far away from their children. Sometimes those seldom visits make for unease between grandparent and grandchild. But time spent on the floor rolling a ball or a car, rocking a doll baby or sharing Cheerios is memory making.

My son sat on the floor. We rolled cars back and forth. The babies crawled on top of their daddy while he ticked them. Both children would be in bed before we knew it. Both would be grown up in the blink of an eye.

Thursday is Thanksgiving. A second for the twins. Last years they had bottles. This year they have turkey. I'm sure that Emma will take me for another walk. Nolan will grab my other hand and follow as well. Full of turkey and exhausted from moving. I will sit on the floor and play with my grandchildren. I am thankful for the children in my life. Those grown up, those not even related and those who call me Grammy. Each day is a blessing. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Down with adult bullies!

The woman sat in her usual chair in the corner of the room. Many months before she had come to live with her daughter and her family. It wasn't her choice to move in with her family. No, it was her circumstances that brought her to this place. Her daughter sat in the kitchen with her friends. "She is driving me crazy!" she told her friends. With that opening statement, she went on to tell of all the things that her mother did in the past and present that irritated the daughter. Both mother and daughter had conflicts in the past. Mom knew that she had made mistakes in raising this child and was hoping for change. It takes two to change. Bit by bit, the mother was losing her self-esteem and was heading into a depression. Perhaps her daughter thought it was payback.

The wife snapped at her husband one more time. He didn't need to call her every time he was in the car. Couldn't he just make decisions on his own without informing her each time? On a regular basis, she lambasted him about all the things that he did wrong. "She is so mean to him," her son-in-law confided. I personally would have liked to know where my husband was most of the time.

Bullies. Adult bullies. They are everywhere. They breed the bullies growing up in their homes. They hurt others with their actions and their words. No one punishes them. They are grown ups without an authority to send them to their rooms.

Every day I see bullies. They are on the roads, they are in homes and they are on the streets. The mother yells at her child often yanking on the small one's arm at the same time. The customer sits at a table berating a server. Customers come into a store irate over a discount that they didn't receive. Supervisors yell at the children on the playground and in the classroom. Bullies are everywhere. And, we wonder why kids bully. Respect for one another regardless of age or status seems to be in massive disrepair.

From my own experience, I can say that I have seem bullying in my home, at my work and in school. There seems to be no end to the people who constantly put you down and make you feel poorly about yourself. At least as adults, hopefully, we can look at the source and understand that their ramblings are their problems and not our own. I had a boss who loved to put people down. He talked about his employees to other employees. I learned early on that not all people are nice. As an adult, I learned that most bullying came from low self-esteem on the bully's part. Still that does not make it right.

I have no answers in how to eliminate adult bullies. My goal is to take them down with kindness. Doesn't always work, but I feel better about myself. Often it does work and the person finds a new way of looking at things. But what about the children who see this kind of behavior every day? They grow up mimicking the only life they know. How does that cycle change?

So many people feel intimidated by kids. Their comfort level is just not there. Well, stop it. We are the answer. The example we set on the street, in the home, in the school, in every facet of our lives is the answer. When working with kids, I found that they loved to have adult attention. Those who didn't have it at home just wanted someone to listen to them, to see them. A compliment, a word of kindness can make a dent in the protective armor these kids wear to prevent hurt from coming in. I find that when I happen to be in a place where teens are next to me, I try to connect by giving a compliment or even a smile and telling them to have a good day as I leave. We have the power to make a difference. We seem to think that only teachers can make that difference, but we have great opportunity to make change in our world and in that of others. With our neighbors, family, friends we have a chance to connect and show them that positive words make a difference.

I say, "Down with adult bullies!" Up with changing the world with kindness one person at a time. Each time it makes a difference. Sometimes it is passed on.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Argh!

"It's a pirate!" the little girl yelled.

All parents have experienced it. You know what I'm talking about. That time when the innocent child blurts out something that cannot be called back once it leaves those innocent lips.  I was at the airport, trying to get on a flight in O'Hare with about 400 other people. Half were waiting for their flight to load, while my half waited for our plane, sitting at the gate, waiting to unload. Needless to say, we were all weary travelers.

I was reading my book oblivious to the people around me when the little girl shouted, "It's a pirate!" I knew immediately what had happened. Next to me sat a very handsome, young man wearing a white turban. He had a small, waxed mustache that added more to his beauty. I noticed when I sat down that he was watching "The Big Bang Theory" on his computer. Until this moment, the gentleman and I had not spoken. Evidently, the little girl spied the turban and immediately related it to her early morning cartoons. The young man turned around and said, "Usually, its a genie."  I felt the need to apologize. "I'm sorry," I said.

"I've been called worse," he replied.

My children had blurted out words that could not be recalled. After such incidents, we would talk about it which in turn became a learning experience. Yet some children are just too young to understand. And, some things are said that are overheard from another source.

Why did I say I was sorry?  I had no control over the situation. I had done nothing wrong to this young man. Yet, I felt sadness when I heard his reply. I wanted to shake up a world that all too quickly judges others. I wanted to erase prejudice and hatred. My apology couldn't change the world. Heck, I can't change anyone. Here sat a young man who was a weary traveler the same as me. I was going to Portland. He was going home to Seattle. He dressed differently. But that was just what was on the outside. This was a man who was judged wherever he went because of his religion and dark skin. I was ashamed of those who judge. 

When I was a little girl in Sunday School, we sang a song about Jesus loving children who were red and yellow, black and white. All are indeed precious in His sight....even when they grow up. Yet in all societies there is prejudice. A friend of mine has a child who has a good friend who is Hispanic. During all of the years of growing up, the two children remained friends. Even so, the mother would not let her daughter spend the night at her friend's home. The mom had been to the other home. She knew the family. Yet prejudice colored the way her daughter was growing up.

We are a world of mixed religions and colors. I guess we fear what we don't understand. Instead of learning, we build walls. We Anglos think that this is our country when indeed it belongs to the Native Americans who resided here. Much of this land was in the hands of the Spaniards before we got here. Yet we consider this our land...our conquered land. What fools we be.

I sat next to this beautiful man and remembered all of the old TV movies with Douglas Fairbanks and those with Errol Flynn. I always thought the men in turbans were handsome and lived exciting lives. Mystery. Mystic. I see a world before us now that can be utterly destroyed by hate or can choose to embrace all people enjoying the differences, learning from one another.

As a grandparent, I want my children to know that I am who I say I am. I want to be honest in my way of dealing with others and accepting the differences. I want them to see in action what it is to be a caring person without prejudice. I can't change the world, but I have a chance to make a difference in my own home and community. I can choose not to gossip and judge. I can choose to think first from the heart.

I was looking for an Islamic quote. This was the first thing that came up on the Islamic Quote page: Mother Theresa said, "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

Perhaps I should have said confessed to the young man that I, too, was not a pirate. Argh.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Heads down

"Okay class, lay your heads down on your desks."

Close your eyes and remember what it was like to be a child in kindergarten. Lunch, recess, rest time. I remember peeking out over my arm looking at Vivian sitting next to me. She was looking back at me. Giggles. My arm smelled like little kid all hot and sweaty from recess. It was rest time. Time for the teacher to keep watch over us waiting until one of us cracked under the pressure of imposed inactivity. I think perhaps that is how I ended up in the corner. I'm sure it was Viv's fault.

"Do your preschoolers lay their heads down to rest?" I asked my niece Jobi, preschool teacher.

"No, they don't do that any more," she replied.

What do you mean 'they don't do that anymore'?! That was one of the perks of being a little kid. It was right up there with erasing the blackboard and pounding erasers. They surely don't do that anymore! When my granddaughter Gabby was in the lower grades, she was sometimes picked to go to the cafeteria with the class lunch count and to take the boxed lunches. So I guess there are still perks of grade school. But what happened to 'heads down'?!

Well, maybe it wasn't so special since I just thought about it after approximately forty plus years of not thinking about it. Maybe it just sounds pretty darn good now. That adult 'heads down and resting' that all of us need and sometimes crave. That yummy feeling when you are exhausted and just putting your feet up for a bit of time feels marvelous.

Workplace power naps are becoming more and more popular. Special chairs and rooms are furnished for employees. Productivity increases. I personally think the old method of 'heads down on your desk' would be more feasible, but who am I to complain. I take my book with me wherever I go away from home and make the best of 'feet up' wherever I land for a period of time.

A group of us met last night for dinner. The subject was brought up...by me, of course.  The women all remembered rest time fondly. The men all hated it. They didn't like the idea of staying immobile. Nature of the beast, I guess.

It has been a long time since 'heads down'. Still I think it does the body good.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grammy found her groove

The stuffed bear sat in the lap of my grandson. I pushed the paw, and Itsy Bitsy Spider began to play. This began my awareness of other songs their toys played. If You're Happy and You Know It, you still clap your hands. Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes are still in the same places, and Old McDonald still Has a Farm. Row, Row, Row Your Boat is still around; however, the babies are too young to sing in rounds. The Weasel still goes 'Pop', and of course, Pat a Cake remains a standard. Little piggies have been eased out by little puppies. No puppy goes hungry, and arf-arf-arfs replaced wee-wee-wees all the way home.

I have changed some of the words myself to be politically correct. One little, two little, three little monkeys. Four little, five little.....well, you get the point. I often get so bored with the same old songs and stories that I add new words and sounds. Someday these babies will have their own renditions via Grammy. Creative child rearing. Or maybe one goofy Grams.

I sat singing along with the music on the kids' musical farm toy. My daughter-in-law was trying to sing along but said she had never heard the song before. I guess when she was growing up no one worked on the railroad all the livelong day, and Dinah didn't blow her horn. I've been banned from rocking a baby in a tree top, because it plummets to the ground, baby and all.

Luckily, Sesame Street songs still capture the babies' attention. Singing about Sunny Days seems to lift my spirits. And, as I understand, It Isn't Easy Being Green. I don't Love Trash but do recycle. And  C really is for Cookie,  and that's a fact. See I did learn a lot from the show when my children were small. I think perhaps it had some affect on the woman who professes to be a completely ordinary grandma.

Nobody comes around the mountain any more. No one else I know picks up paw paws let alone puts them in their pocket. As far as I know, few people go to Alabama with banjo on their knee or comes from Louisiana their true love for to see. I remember the old song books from Fern Fourman's music class at Franklin Elementary School. I grew up with those songs from cradle to, well, I'm still working on it. I know that most are carryovers from when my parents were young.They probably were around for my grandparents.

Time passes and things change. Just tried to put my watch up to Emma's ear, so she could hear it tick. Oh, my, I have a long way to go.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A lot to learn

My mother made a statement that I have carried with me. She said it not long before she passed away. "It all went so fast." Yes, Mom, your words echo again and again. The twins turn one.

What have the twins learned in these twelve months? They have learned to lift their heads, turn over, crawl, stand and take first steps. They have learned to nurse, take a bottle, sip from a cup, eat from a spoon, pick up food and place it in their mouths, on the front of their shirts, on the floor and occasionally on me. They have gone from seeing a blurry view of the world to recognizing faces, watching squirrels scamper across the lawn, wave at passing cars. They have gone from tiny babies who could do no more than sleep and eat to wonderful toddlers who are constantly looking for adventure. A couple of tiny faces I kissed for the first time a year ago are now kissing me. One year has passed.

However, this is about more than babies learning. It is about the growing up of a grandma. I think perhaps that growing up is something we continue to do from birth until death. Oh, we do get set in our way, but in the last year, I've discovered that those ways can change. I am still growing up.

There is nothing gained by being stagnant. In fact, life is pretty boring. I began to notice how people, including myself, get their 'hackles' up when someone has an opposing opinion or makes a cutting comment.  Thus, I learned to step back and listen then decide if I need to make a comment or just appreciate that we are all different. Sometimes it is hard to step away instead of defend yourself. Now I step away and consider myself the winner. We are all different. I learned that I can have more energy despite my 'advanced years'. All it take is saying that I can instead of I can't. I have learned to watch and observe instead of being so busy that I miss what is important. I have learned that it is smarter to wait until someone asks for an opinion rather than dive in where my opinion is not needed. I have learned to let a baby fall on his or her bottom instead of always catching said bottom. I have learned that the best baby kisses come when least expected instead of saying, "Gotta a kiss for Grammy?" I have learned that spending quiet time with people is as important as conversation.

This last year has certainly been a busy one. Babysitting, working, spending time with family and friends. Time flies. When I was in Indiana with my sister, I found that the quiet times of just the two of us were the best. For two girls who grew up seven years apart, we have developed a wonderful friendship. The little things we take for granted are indeed those pieces of life that can mean the most.

The babies are at the beginning of what will be many years to come of the "Happy Birthday" song. My grandbabies will not remember me as the grandma who crawled on the floor with them. The one who tickles their toes and nibbled on little fingers. They will not remember me singing "Jingle Bells" to them whenever they were upset. They will not remember my arms wrapped around them, holding them close, memorizing the feel and smell of sweet little babies. They will not remember. But I will remember the lessons I've learned from them. I will remember the sweetness of this time of grandchildren. I hear my mother's words over and over again.

Mom, I heard what you said and am not wasting a moment of this sweet life. Yes, it goes quickly, and I still have a lot to learn.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The search is on

From the beginning of the new century, employment has not been kind to me. One boss died and the company folded. Another company was lost to the venture capital demons. The next two jobs were cut when marketing and public relations were phased out. Now I work for Hallmark and am seeing this job, too, come to an end.

This morning at breakfast my sister and I were talking about what kind of online job I could pursue. I listed my likes and my skills. I believe that we should follow the gifts we are given. I'm just not sure what my gifts are and where to apply these mysterious gifts. I need to find a job that suits this 66 year old age.

Wanted: A person who loves people, loves to talk and writes random things. Someone who has time on her/his hands and no money in same's pocket. A hidden background of loving antiques and the ability to seek out hidden treasures is a plus. Must be proficient on the computer and able to work from home in her jammies. Anyone fitting this description should apply immediately.

But, lo, there are no such ads. Wasn't retirement supposed to be fun? I always wanted to travel and do a grandparent's coffee table book. Requirements: Great camera and a backer to pay my expenses. Seems that isn't going to happen either.

What other dreams do I have that could be realized? Standing at Hallmark is killing my knees and back. I love taking care of my grandbabies and granddaughters as much as possible. I consider it my exercise program. I thought about writing a book on how to help grandchildren be more creative and grandparents more interactive with those aforementioned children.

What to do? For we women who stayed home with our children, the later years in life are not easy when there is no spouse. I don't regret the decision to stay home. It was a good decision. Well, at the time it was. Now it rather sucks that there is a wall that the aforementioned women must face. Aforementioned seems to be my word for the day.

Well, if any of you have any ideas about my next job. Let me know. My search is on.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

There are no goodbyes

We say goodbye in so many ways almost every day. Some are as casual as the wave of a hand. Some are much deeper as we say goodbye to slumbers end. Life is a series of goodbyes.

My trip to my roots is full of goodbyes. Of course, it started with leaving my family behind in Oregon for a month of visiting old friends and dear family in Ohio and Indiana. The main purpose of my trip is to stay with my sister. Yet I know with each hello there will be a time in just a couple of weeks as there has been in the past days of this trip where I will leave again. Those nasty goodbyes.

I tend to think that many people don't visit or  hold onto the past, because it hurts too much to say those bye words. There is so often a feeling of wanting to stay even as I say goodbye. I was last here two years ago and changes have taken place. But instead of looking at the changes that have taken place, I like to look at the beauty of what remains. No change takes away the memories. Time marches on but cannot remove the past. I know how precious is the present and embrace it more than ever before. I hug a little harder and enjoy much more.

On this trip I was happy to meet cousins I have not seen since I was a child some 55 years ago. Children who were shy way back then are eager to learn about one another. Memories flowed and questions piled one on top of another. One day we are strangers. Now we are friends. An uncles hand holding mine becomes a gift. A sweet cousin's hug and laughter warm my heart again and again. The cousin I stayed with the last visit has now a new home with the love of her life. She has grown into a happy woman living dreams she never knew she could possess. Each day of this trip is a treasure.

I know when I say goodbye that I will return again much sooner than last time. Time slips away as do those we love. I refuse to ignore saying good bye. I embrace that I can still say hello. Yes, I am missing my family. Missing those tiny toes and fingers. Those little wet kisses. When I return, the babies will be at their first birthday. I am missing my granddaughters who are on summer vacation. We need quality time this summer. All will be there when I return.

For today, I am the luckiest woman in the world. So I end this with saying hello for truly there are no goodbyes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Unnaturally Natural

"Grams, what natural disaster scares you the most?" asked Sydney my granddaughter, age fourteen. "I'm afraid of earthquakes and tsunamis." About this time Gabby my granddaughter, age eleven piped up. "I'm afraid of fire and robbers." Hm. Obviously there is a need for dialogue here.

I stood upstairs in my bedroom back the lane on Neff Road. I know it was in the late '60s. No one was home except for me. I was stopped in my tracks as an almost human moan shook our house. I looked out the window as a rain, white as milk, was falling. Dad had just pulled into the lane when the tornado passed over our house. The storm created an uprooted path through my grandfather's woods to the little town of Painters Creek where it wiped out Bud Wyan's auto service garage. I know about the violent side of nature. Its eerie voice stays with me still.

It seems that every week when I have my granddaughters, another disaster has affected the lives of children. I always try to talk to the girls, so they can give voice to their feelings. Grandmas should be a safe place to unload, and I'm about as safe as safe can be. We have talked about safe exit from their home should disaster strike. Newtown opened dialogue that should never need to take place. We watched the tsunami hit Japan. And, now again, we talk of bravery, wisdom and survival. Sydney was quick to point out that Gabby's choices were not natural disasters. Fires were usually manmade, er, womanmade, er, made by the hands of people. As to tsunamis, we have a very high Coastal Range between the Willamette Valley and the blue Pacific. We have only had couple of earthquakes that were hardly felt. The largest fault lies off the coast. I've only heard of two twisters with only one on the ground since before my move here in 1978. We did have a mountain blow. Luckily Mt. St. Helens is a few hours away. Once in a while we have a mudslide or two. But contrary to belief, we are not even in the top 100 cities for yearly amounts of rainfall and rarely have lightning and thunder. If Mt. Hood goes, we will have air quality issues depending on which way it blows, and our Bull Run water supply will probably be affected. Considering that it has never erupted, we don't really know for sure what would happen. We are not big on natural disasters here.

Still we talk about nature and man living together. We continue to investigate ways that we can do it better. Because of my grandchildren, I try to be informed and let them come to their own conclusions, not mine. Because of what happens in the world, we learn to dialogue and search for not only the solutions, but sometimes we look for the questions.

Maybe next time we will talk about peoplemade disasters. I think we'll start with robbers.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When I grow up

What do you want to be when you grow up? It didn't take much for me to answer that question when I was little. First of all, I wanted to be a mommy. Next I wanted to be a dancer. A close second was movie star followed by stewardess (that's what they were called back then).

So how close did I come to that target? Well, marriage was expected of young women in the 50's and 60's. Finding a man was important. A career wasn't even something we considered. I needed a husband. Men back then wanted a woman to cook, clean, wash his clothes, bear his children and to be available whenever he wanted a little lovin'. Women knew the job going to the altar. They really didn't think of much more. Of course, the sixties began a new way of thinking. Many women were working in the city. Some were tapping into the new world of computers. Some went off to college and didn't return to their hometowns. However, I was on that edge of what was expected and what was to come. I married and didn't do it well. I had been raised told what I could and couldn't do. I knew there was more. It took a roving husband to give me the boost I needed.

So back to the question. I came fairly close to some of my dreams. Mustering up my courage, I did pick up my love of acting. I found I had a skill at teaching others to act. I found that I had a knack with words and began writing. I wrote and produced plays on social issues for twelve years. And, I was a mommy. Instead of standing back wondering if I could do something, I decided that I'd never know if I didn't try. I needed to change with the times and find new dreams. Life was and is an adventure.

I remember when I took on my first job involving a computer. I was scared to death of the thing. Then I decided not be afraid. I ended up helping other when they had computer problems. I found a new adventure, one of discovery. Just recently I got and iphone. Another new adventure.

I went online to see what jobs children are wanting to pursue in their adulthood. My son pursued his career in theatre and music. My daughter wanted to be a veterinarian tech. Now kids want to be firemen, doctors, lawyers, pilots, actors, athletes, teachers, race car drivers. Hm. My granddaughter Sydney wants to be a teacher or maybe a nurse. Gabby wants to teach gymnastics. I continually try to open doors of new experiences for them. "Find your gifts," I tell them. "Do what you love." My grandbabies are nine months old now. I spend time showing them new things. With the warm summer weather we have been experiencing, I sit in the yard with them and show them flowers and plants. They hold a stick and watch a lady bug. They touch a leaf and learn that it is green. Opening doors. Sometimes I think that is the best job of all.

What do I want to be when I grow up? I'm still growing up, you know. I love new experiences. I love finding old friends on Facebook and learning to be friends all over again. I love that there are parts of my brain that have yet to be opened. For me, getting older means that I am aware of how important it is to make my life as full as possible. I want my children and grandchildren to know that old does not mean empty.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Well, when I am done growing up, I will be in Heaven.

Perhaps

Perhaps it is time to revisit my blog. Perhaps. Life is chaotic. Twin babies now nine months old. Babysitting and working. An every day trade off. Struggling with my living situation and wanting more in my life. Having my 66th birthday next month. Perhaps it is time for a revisit. Perhaps.

Friday, April 19, 2013

More than Prayers

There is no care list, list of people needing prayers, that can hold all of the pain and suffering happening now in our beloved American states. There are prayers for a world in pain. There are prayers. There are prayers for those experiencing loss of limb, loss of loved ones. There are prayers. Yet, there is more to do than bow a head.

We are raising our children and grandchildren in a time when life sits on a tenuous strand which  seems to swing and sway sometimes breaking. The peace and tranquility of country living is torn apart by an explosion. Instead of a victory at a finish line, the ground is covered with the blood of innocents. We are raising children. We are raising the future.

Our prayers should be our actions. We need to know our fellow neighbors. We need to hold dear those around us, embracing them in times of distress and celebrating their successes. We need to teach our children to be strong and look for hope when there seems to be none. We need to keep the lines of communication open. We need to learn to seek truth and understanding.

News commentators give us hours of coverage about terrorism. Why do we give terrorist the satisfaction of talking about them? Why do we give them 'prime' time? Americans fail to have a good reputation in many countries. Perhaps that fact alone should make us try harder to know the history and stories of our foreign neighbors. My friend's caregiver is from Kenya. He left a high ranking job in his home country to come to America, because his family thought he would find the streets paved with gold. I asked him why he doesn't go home. He told me that he cannot go home, because it would be a disgrace in the eyes of his family and community. So he works in a care center changing Depends and moving bodies that cannot move on their own. He works long hours for a low wage, so he can send money home. He is a success in the eyes of his family. A stranger in a foreign land.

We send up the prayers. God hears them and expects us to be his hands here on Earth. We are the tools of His trade.

When the bombs went off in Boston, I wanted to gather my family and put them all in a safe place. I wanted to see all of their faces and tell them how much I love them. I cannot change the world except for that of which I am a part. I have my family.....I have the family of God.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Thank You

Dear Readers,

In case you have wondered where I have been, I have been contemplating. My blogs began in July 2009. I think perhaps the blogs saved my sanity when I was struggling so much with unemployment and family problems. When your head is full of words, it helps to have a place to write them.

I have found over time that others have shared my feelings about grandparenting. We all seem to share basic concerns and feel our age even more when it comes to play time. I am been part of a community. One that means a great deal to me. I have followers who mean the world to me. You have been part of my life for these many months. Thank you for your support and for being my invisible friends.

So what am I saying? I'm not sure I have much to offer any more. I feel the well is dry and am left with fewer words of wisdom. I don't know that I will give up these pages as they are the days of my life. I will write on occasion, but don't wait for me. This has been my journal. This has been the life of my family. It is a journey that still I live.

I give one final wish for all of you. You are a power in the world. You have the power each day to change the life of another for the better. We all have a chance to share laughter and positive thoughts. Let's continue to make a difference.

My love and thanks to you,

Pam


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Conversation with the Twins

The babies laid on the play mat. I wanted so to hold both of them. At six months the job is impossible when alone. A wave of sadness washed over me. They may be six months old, but I am going to be sixty-six this year. When they are going on with their lives, I will be a very old grammy. It is evident now that the energy I had with my older granddaughters is less. I feel my age more and more.  I can fight the clock, but it will win in the end.

So as the babies laid there playing beneath their dangling toys, I told them how much I love them. I told them about Neff Road and their cousins. I told them about my dreams for them. I told them that I will try my best to keep up with them and their lives. I told them that my love for them would last for eternity, that I would always watch over them.

Tiny hands with palms as soft as silk. Little toes lined up like a string of pearls. I try to absorb each moment knowing that each will pass too quickly. I hope that somewhere in there little brains they imprint the woman I am now. I know that I have time ahead to make our relationships grow. Still these moments will be gone.

Life goes on. Those of us who are grandparents realize just how quickly it goes. Our families can't possibly know how much they mean to us. They can't possibly know that each smile, each touch, each sharing of our days is embedded in that place called heart. Truly I believe that when I am with my grandchildren, I am also with God. For my heart swells with a love that can only be given to me by a higher power.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Inner Barometer

Revelations come at the strangest times. Mine usually happen while I'm driving. Something happens that niggles in my brain. I'm not sure why it is hanging around, but evidently my brain refuses to give it up. So why not embrace it and check it out, which is what I do in the car.

My friend and I had a conversation about the problem with the Java download on computers. I heard a program on NPR that said that the Department of Homeland Security was asking people to remove Java from their computers. I went online to check it out. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/01/14/oracle-says-java-is-fixed-feds-maintain-warning/1834355/) Sure enough, it was true. When I told my friend, she flared up that it couldn't be true. Why she had just downloaded the newest version! She flew into this angry snit. When she had the snit, I got that clenching feeling in my stomach.

So while driving my car, I began analyzing this entire conversation fraught with feelings. First of all, I've come to understand that my body relays messages all the time. I don't always listen to them, but as I age, I know that I need to pay more attention. Her posturing and her comment immediately put my body into a "there's a problem" mode. I knew her reaction and words were not right by the way I felt. I didn't like her reaction. It put me on the defense as well as made me feel that she had just shot me down. I was casually mentioning something that I thought I should pass on, and she rebuffed it vehemently. So what was driving her response? My dear friend does not like to be told that something is different to her thinking. Instead of listening and having conversation, she goes into defensive mode. For some reason, she cannot see what she does to herself and others. She has a son who is difficult to handle...he is the shadow of his mother.

I know that a time will come when my friend and I can talk about it. Obviously, conversation and differences of opinions are something she needs to embrace. It is the only way we can learn and grow. Yet I see this same protective wall go up all around me by leaders and followers. That protective wall that wraps around a person and doesn't allow for growth and change. Sometimes I think the older generation is so steeped in opinion that new ideas, different ways of looking at things, become those things that separate people.

I wondered how my friend felt when she protested. I think perhaps she had that same clenching going on. But instead of just talking about it, she attacked it. Conversation, debate, change, cooperation. We are examples for others. We are the mirror of the past that made us who we are. For our families, we can become the future through peace and understanding. We don't all need to agree, but we certainly need to learn to care about one another enough to listen.

My inner barometer is usually right on. Wish I had learned to listened to it long ago.

Monday, January 14, 2013

On Thin Ice

My first skates were double bladed. Sturdy skates that would keep me upright on the ice. I learned to shuffles the skates back and forth not moving much at first then finally moving forward bit by bit. When I was a little older, I graduated to shoe skates. Each winter it took a little time for me to get that balance back and to race around the ice. A balancing act.

I learned a lot during those years of growing up on the ice back in the gravel pit on my grandfather's farm. I learned that I could fall and get up again. I learned to overcome my fear of being hurt. I learned that it took time to strengthen my wobbly ankles. I learned to beware of thin ice.

Our lives are full of life lessons. Learning to take steps is much like learning to ice skate. Learning to get up from failure and to find our footing again is something we deal with our entire lives. We learn. We do learn. In our learning, we find that we can help others through their similar struggles.

As a grandparent, I've learned that I might have the knowledge, but I do not need to be the answers. Our children and grandchildren are the skaters. They need to learn how to move forward, how to stand on their own two feet. They need to learn to fall and get up again.

I grew up learning how to fall down and how to get up once more. What have I learned? I learned that in dealing with my family I need to beware of thin ice.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Sharing Place

A Grandparent's Voice is for all ages. It is a place where I just talk about my concerns and observations hoping that perhaps I can help you, too, in your life. If you have something you would like to talk about, please make a comment or email me. Our world gets smaller all the time. You are my neighbor. I think that together we can move forward and make this old world better for everyone. So please, contact me and get the conversations going. No one can track you on this blog site. You do not need to add a name. In fact, it is a good time to make up a fun name.

Welcome to my neighborhood. Remember that it is yours, too.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Crying my heart out

Schedules. Babies need to be on schedules, especially when there are two. Man oh man, this sleep training sucks!!! I know it does not hurt them to cry. I know that they are okay. I know that they need to get on track, so they get enough sleep and enough quality play time. But in the meantime, they cry....they cry my heart out.

I truly believe that crying creates one of the strongest ties between parents and children. We find out how much we love the children when our hearts pour out to those big wet tears. I peek in at them. No one is tangled in the crib or has a face buried into the mattress. So why is this so difficult. It isn't the sound that bothers me as much as the urge for me to want to make it all right. I know in training them I am doing it the right way. Yet, it is heart wrenching.

The training never stops, does it. I think perhaps it is not just the training of the child but of the parents as well (and grandparents). When our adult children go through rough times, our hearts still break. We still carry that same yearning to make it better. We still want to dry tears and make the sadness go away. Yet we stand by and hope they will survive their hard times.

When I began this article, two babies were crying. They have not been napping as long as they need to. One hour was behind them. I was determined to get the second as well. At the end of the last paragraph, both babies went back to sleep. So we had success.

They cry my heart out. It flies to them each time a tear drop falls.

Check out my blog On Neff Road to read about The Death of Galoshes.