Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Me

Small hands. Little toes. Eyes that quickly change from questioning to inquisitive. A kiss from a wet pucker. "Up, up", "Me" - all the things a grandparent cherishes. Each little look, each little sign that you are the one they want. Even the call to discipline takes you in and captures you. You are a grandparent doing exactly what a grandparent should be doing.

I discovered this week that Emma (one part of the twin duo) calls me "Me". We've had trouble understanding her words for me. At one time I was "Gaga" then it change to "Neenee". For Easter I gave the twins puzzles with sounds. One puzzle consists of vehicles. Emma pulls each one out and asks if I will take her on it. I know because she points to the puzzle piece then points to me. Then determinedly shakes her head that yes indeed we will go on that particular vehicle. She picked up the helicopter, pointed to herself then pointed to me and said "Me". "Me?" I asked. With a shake of her head, I discovered that I am Me. Not surprising since I say things like: Want me to get it? Want me to read a book?  So why wouldn't I be Me?! (I think I've confused myself.)

Discovery. I discover as much about them as they do about this world they have been dropped in to. It seems that every moment I spend with them is a surprise. At 21 month, they have become explorers and inventors. At 66, I have become more of Me.

Me. Just who is 'me'? After all these years, you would think I'd be on top of that subject, but I find that in reality, I am more and more aware of things I never knew about me. By being so involved with the children on a regular basis, I seem to be the cameras emotional eye that sees beyond the image. I see how precious those little toes and fingers are, because they will be all grown up and not so readily wanting to hold Me's hand. I see the little things that happen and surprise me. Emma's sense of humor. Nolan's love of music. I am awed on a regular basis.

Many times I felt that my parents were not supportive of me. I felt alone most of my life. My sisters were older. I grew up in an adult world. I was always wanting support and found it only came at a price. While watching my grandbabies this week, it suddenly hit me. Just as their parents don't have the time or the understanding to appreciate what I have with these babies, my parents were the same...maybe more so. When the farm didn't take up their time, the church did. The generation gap between my sisters and I was big enough but that with my parents was huge. They were busy living their lives as best they could, doing what they had been raised to do. Doing what they had to do to survive and provide. Our house was always bustling with young people and Mom babysitting for everyone in the area. They were living their lives. It could be that because of that loss of time with them that I realize the importance of what I have now. Not just for myself, but also for those who know me.

A man I know came into the store looking for cards. I asked Ed about his grandkids. He informed me that he couldn't stand to have them visit. They were noisy, uncontrolled and messed up his house. Never was he a man of warmth, but this startled me. A grandparent who didn't know what he had. A few months later, he lost his wife to cancer and he himself was diagnosed with terminal cancer. His loss. His loss of time with the precious ones he leaves behind. His loss of growing and changing despite his age. What legacy will he leave behind? Just what has he missed in receiving and giving?

Yes, I am Me. Me. A child who learned late in life exactly what it is to love without any expectations or needs. A woman who found that each person, once adorable little fingers and toes, is a precious adult. As a grandma who counts each and every blessing. Me. I think I like it. I'll just be Me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Doggone Love

We lost Sadie in 2003. She was a sweet schnauzer who captured our hearts nine years earlier when she was a fat little puppy. A dog had been part of our household since my children were small. The first schnauzer was named Pepper. We lost her when she got into a batch of chocolate candy. Getting a second dog was done with trepidation. Hearts get wrapped around a family pet regardless of the animal.

Dogs, cats, horse, calf, lambs, rabbits, I had them all as pets and none were allowed to live in the house. Having a pet in the house was a new, wonderful experience. I always looked forward to having Sadie greet me at the door when I came home from work. She was good at keeping watch over me as well as staying close when something sad came our way. My children loved her, and she adored them. This having an animal in the house was pretty cool.

There isn't a week that goes by that someone doesn't come into the store looking for a sympathy card for a friend who has lost a beloved pet. We stand by the cards and talk about our pets waiting to greet us again someday. There is a bond we share in the tears we have shed. And, those of us who have lost pets wonder if we can do it again.

We once took our dog with us on a visit to the farm. Of course, our house-raised pet was not about to stay outdoors. My kids wouldn't have stood for it....nor would their mother. At first, Dad and Mom were a bit gruff with Pepper. Yet seems many animals have a sense about we humans. They are pretty good at winning over the reluctant petter. Before long I noticed Dad lowering his hand and wiggling his fingers so the pup would go to him. It wasn't the way on the farm. Animals were supposed to stay outside. But a little bit of the indoor pet managed to take hold of the farmer.

It has been a long time since a pup came to reside with me. I miss having a dog but am not ready for the pain that will eventually come with the loss of  a loved pet. I mentioned my recent longing to my son.

Me: I think I need a puppy.
Him: You don't need a puppy.
Me: I could talk to it.
Him: Get a puppet.