Monday, August 31, 2009

Just Gotta Look

Yesterday I took my granddaughters on a hike through our nature center. The girls love the trails.

We had just started down a trail when we noticed a woman and boy bent down looking through the trees. Of course, I had to ask what they were watching. She pointed out a large screech owl sitting about 8' into the woods. It watched us quite unconcerned with our gawking. I was concerned that perhaps it wasn't well since it was around 4pm and the owl was nocturnal. But it seemed quite well and happy. The kids took it as a sign.

With reluctance, we pulled ourselves away from this rare sight deciding to continue our walk. I pointed out plants I recognized. We talked about moss and the north side of trees, about ferns and types of trees. The kids showed me things of interest to them. After a point, Sydney asked if we could just sit for awhile. Before we knew it, Gabby spotted a baby chipmunk who to check us out.

Feet were tired and tummies were hungry when we finally headed back. We had seen an owl, visited with a chipmunk, looked at lichen and moss. But most of all we had a quite time with each other.

I noticed as I walked between the girls that each would take my hand. No matter when we stopped or what we did, the hands ended up holding once more. We spent time connecting with nature, and in turn, nature spent time connecting us.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pictures Colored With Crayon

As you descended the stairway to the basement, you were surrounded by a gallery of art ranging from the simplest scratched lines of a toddler to the neatly colored pages of an older child. Even teens would enjoy a step back in time to color another page for the gallery they had visited in younger years. Each page was a treasure to her. No piece was ever tossed away. Eventually, each found its way into her coloring notebooks. Saved for the child? I think not. I believe they were treasures from these children she loved. She understood that even a simple line was an effort to be recognized.

He stood alone at her casket with his arms at his sides. Connor was the youngest great grandchild before Sydney joined the pack. I knelt down to comfort him and saw the tears streaming down his face, dripping from his chin. I hugged him a moment before he disappeared into the “family” room where he stayed most of the day. It was almost time to leave when I walked to the casket one more time. There atop the soft, cream coverlet laid a picture Connor had spent the day drawing for Grandma. Following his example, each of the great grandchildren lovingly drew a picture to accompany Mom on her journey. Sydney’s consisted of a few scribbled lines and her handprint, a baby’s signature.

My mother knew that even the simplest effort deserves recognition. Be it large or small, success of failure, between the lines of freestyle, it is worth praise.

We are a variety of people who dress differently, who think differently, who have different histories. We are each unique yet reside in the same notebook.

I looked at the flowers surrounding my mother and thought, “They should all have been pictures colored with crayon.”

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Saturday, August 29, 2009


I believe in princesses. I've never been the queen mother but my niece, Jobi, was the first princess to come into my life. She was 3 and won my heart the first moment I saw her.

My daughter was the next princess to come into my family. She was indeed the most beautiful child I'd ever seen. I knew she was royalty the moment I held her in my arms. And, over the years I have loved her even.

Then after I thought I could love no more strongly than than I already had, two little girls came into my life. Perhaps that is when I became the queen mother for with them I feel like a queen. Or perhaps we just enjoy ourselves as paupers laughing, painting, hugging trees and dressing up. How fun my life has become because of Gabrielle and Sydney.

It is difficult this being a mother. I did so many things wrong and most times didn't realize it. Can I do better this time? I try.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

She is One

It was her birthday. One year old. How could the time fly so quickly? In one year she had gone from a small bundle totally dependent on the hands that held her to a child who picked up her food and fed herself (or the cat), she knew that her shoe went on her foot but despite all efforts, she couldn't seem to get it in place. She said a handful of words that only a loving parent coud understand. When she wanted more, she signed. When she didn't want something, she tossed it onto the floor. Her crawling on all fours had advanced to movement much like a walking wind-up toy. She was still dependent for most everything but ruled with determination. Dislikes: sleeping. Likes: Rock n’ Roll Elmo. Favorite pastime: Reading the same book over and over and over again until both the reader and listener knew it by heart. My granddaughter, Sydney, had turned one.

Somehow I don’t think birthdays should be for the person who is born. I truly believe that they should be for the parents of the child. For this is the day they are blessed with a miracle and a love they will never experience in any other way.

So what is the point, you ask? The point is that in the beginning we are loved by a parent or parents who love us in a way that no one else will ever love us. We are born into their lives. Parents watch every little thing about us from the first moment they saw us until the last time they we met. They have worried for us, cried for us, laughed with us and laughed at us. They hurt when we hurt and reveled at the good things in our lives.

A child’s birthday gives a gift to parents that means more every year. They are loved more deeply as they age and carry that love with forever.
Sydney had turned one.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

First Steps

I’ll never forget when my dauthter and oldest child, Stacey, took her first steps. She wobbled, she swayed, she tentatively placed one foot in front of the other. For her it must have seemed and eternity between steps. For me it was seconds that changed our relationship forever.

She and Joel just purchased their first home, another first step into their future together with their children and those first steps.
Looking back I realize how difficult it must have been for my parents to see me slip off into adulthood and even farther from Ohio to Oregon from marriage to divorce. Each step increasing the distance. Even as Mom watched her daughters take another step in losing a parent, losing Dad, she must have felt that same protectiveness holding out her arms to cusion our journey into unchartered territory.
My children have taken many first steps. As a parent it has been difficult standing back watching the falls and hard knocks. Seeing their determination and resilience makes my first steps at walking away a bit easier.

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Is there anything that hurts more than when your children hurt? I think not. From their birth we try to protect them and to rear them to be responsible, happy adults. Then we have grandchildren.

When the grandkids come, we find a new part of ourselves that we had no idea existed. I know this because I looked for this part before grandkids (BG) and could not find it. Sydney is born and all of a sudden I am locked in the jaws of this incredible love for a helpless little bundle. When I'm sure that I have felt the supreme amount of love one could have for another, I have granddaughter #2 capture my heart. Gabby was good at it.

The lucky thing is that at the age I am now I have actually leaned a few things. I learned that I cannot make my children learn my lessons. I learned that I can put myself aside and find more of myself in the children I now watch grow. I rather like being 'older'. Responsibility has been given back to those who own it. There are secret places in my brain I am just discovering. And best, of all, I have learned that I am ageless.

It's difficult to see your children hurting and even harder to watch the grandchildren. We hope that their parents will have knowledge to help their children, and we hope that somewhere over the years we passed off good lessons that will assist in this challenge of growing up.

I'm still growing up. I like the journey. Now I supply bandaids and an occasional word of advice. I listen to little ones. Not only by what they say but very often by what they don't.

Ouch. Growing up is not easy. But I intend to do the best I can.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009


This is a piece I wrote a few years ago. I hope you enjoy it.

I was listening to the radio regarding an astronomical happening which is, so far, considered the brightest, biggest explosion known within the universe. Had this happened nearer the earth, our atmosphere would have been saturated with enough laughing gas for two years.

Think of the ramifications. Laugh lines would reign. Dentists would no longer need laughing gas. All jokes would be a great success. The saying ‘this is no laughing matter’ would be meaningless. No longer would you shed tears at sad movies. Everyone would be the life of the party. Depressants would be passé. Wouldn’t need to say “smile for the camera”. Sex, well, probably shouldn’t go there.

What if doomsday really meant that a world of pain and sadness would be changed into a world of laughter! Wow! The mind wonders…and sometimes wanders.

Find laughter in your life and you will have found the fountain of youth.

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