Life is Love and Love is Life

I am going to be away for a few days…running away with my hubby and my grandkids. So sorry, but there will be little time to post or read or think about this world I have created.

I will be busy fishing, throwing rocks into the lake, picking out t-shirts, and watching Spaceballs. I will be eating corn dogs, french fries, and watermelon. I will be hugging and kissing and laughing.

I will be living like never before.

Ruth Goode said it best:

Grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends — and hardly ever our own grown children. ~Ruth Goode

Find someone and love them to death. Someone who totally accepts you for YOU. Children are preferable, but they can also be family members, dogs and cats, or good friends.

Hope you find as much love as I will this weekend….

 

Make the Love

I had a wonderful weekend. We celebrated both grandkids’ birthdays. We laughed, spoiled, loved, gossiped, and enjoyed the company of parents, grandparents, great grandparents (grandpa is 90 next month!) my grandkids, friends with their kids and grandkids, plus a couple of dogs thrown in.

Today I read the following column at Ask Amy (http://tiny.cc/za2wmy)….

DEAR AMY: I have four adult children and three grandchildren. They all live 2.5 hours away and have very successful, fulfilling lives. My husband and I couldn’t be prouder. They usually call every week or so and I send an occasional text or email. The problem is our daughter-in-law, who wants nothing to do with us. She is the mother of our only grandchildren. She refuses to visit, especially on the holidays. When we visit, she is pleasant but seems to barely tolerate us.

We want to see more of our grandsons but we are not permitted to babysit, and if I ask to take them to the park, etc., she ignores me, hoping I will let it go (which I do to keep the peace).

I have spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what I have done to her and cannot think of a thing. Honestly, in the 10 years they have been married I have never said a mean word or offered advice, even with new babies.

I say nothing to my son. I know he sees her treatment of us and feels guilty, but fighting about it isn’t worth it to him. The boys love to see us and I have heard the oldest asking if he can go home with Grandma and Grandpa and Mom always says no!

This made me very sad.

I don’t know the daughter’s side, I don’t know the grandparents’ side. But to keep grandparents from enjoying the best time of their entire lives —

What happens to families?

I know I take for granted the love and affection I share with my two sons and their kids. Love, friendship, all come naturally for us. We’re not all like two peas in a pod all the time, mind you, but we enjoy each other’s company and get together whenever we can.

Grandparents are the old souls, the old angels, leading the innocent young angels through the mess we call life. We try and lighten their burdens, play their games, listen to their secrets. We give them a safe space their parents can’t, just because they’re parents.

It’s a parent’s job to protect, guide, and teach their precious packages to ensure they make it through life with a good head on their shoulders.

It’s a grandparent’s job to spoil, cuddle, play and dream with those same packages, ensuring they make it through life with good dreams in their heads.

I look at Dear Amy’s question and my heart breaks for everyone involved. The grandkids will never have that close relationship with two people who love them so much; the mother will never find peace with the mother and father of her husband; and the grandparents will have to deal with empty arms and empty dreams.

Like I said. I don’t know the whole story — I never will. There is nothing I can do to change that family and their sorrows.

But what I can do is share this story so that you will go home tonight and hug your kids and grandkids and when you see your friends or your sister hug their kids and grandkids. Play catch or Chinese checkers with them. Tell them a story of when you were a kid.

Don’t just take the love — MAKE the love.

 

 

 

Hot Moms at the Playground

The first thing I have to say is the truth. I am Jealous. Envious. Covetous. Wanton. Wistful.

Okay. Now that that’s over…I took my grand kids to the park Saturday morning to encourage their Adrenalin dispersion. So here is granny, an average-looking 64-year-old, scrubbed, puffed, a touch of makeup, a decent pair of Capri’s and fun t-shirt, feeling good, feelin’ hip, keepin’ up with swings and slides and Jungle Jims. There were two baseball games going on in the background, middle-school types, lots of cheering and hoho’s. Then I looked around at the other mothers.

These women were knockouts. I figured these moms were leftovers from the games, watching their toddlers on the swings and slides and Jungle Jims. Now, I live in a small town. A college town. I’m not saying we don’t have attractive people here, but to have the playground filled with them is an eye-opening experience.

They hung out in pairs and trios, the same short-shorts, long hair, small waistlines, all tossing their hair as they bowed their heads down to read their cellphones, watching their precocious kids talk about their magic beads or ninja moves or playing zombie tag.  One of the moms was pregnant, and even her awkward bundle looked great in her top and Capri’s.

Now you must wonder why I chose the word ‘jealous’ to describe my feelings at the time. I mean, there was a time when ~I~ was a young mom taking my kids to the park with ~my~ girlfriends. My friends and I laughed and talked about the kids, our husbands, going out on Saturday night. We’d party at each other’s houses, spend a weekend shopping and stay the night in a hotel, drinking and eating and confessing our secrets to each other. Our kids played together, our husbands told stories together. It was a wonderful circle.

But that seems so long ago.

I think I’m jealous because I remember looking like that. Thinner, thicker hair, clearer complexion. I’m also jealous because these girls have theirwhole life ahead of them. They still can be executives and fashion designers and doctors. Their kids are still little, with soccer and baseball games and field trips and prom still to come. Their children still worship them, still love sharing snuggles and hugs and cuddles.

I know the best medicine for this unreasonable bout of jealousy is to share the snuggles and hugs and cuddles of my own kids and grand kids. To go watch their baseball and soccer games and take them camping and shopping and stay up late. I can touch the memories of days gone by by making new memories today.

I’ll always wonder, though, how I made it through all those younger days without a cell phone.

 

Text Me Any Time

I love texting. Text me any time.

That’s a joke.

I love the idea of being able to instantly sending your thoughts, instructions, and requests immediately to someone else.  But instant thoughts often demand instant responses. And sometimes it’s text before you think.

 

Son (1:21 pm):  You have any plans for tonight?

Mom: (1:22 p.m.) Oh sure. Washing some dishes, throwing the ball for the dog, catching up on Deadliest Catch.  Nope. Why?

Mom always knows that when son #1 calls it  has something to to with the grand kids. His dad gets the friendship calls on the way home from work, fishing story calls, all that. But mom…

Mom (2:35 p.m.) An hour later…

He texted me over an HOUR ago! Does he want me to come over for dinner? Take the grandkids for the weekend? Take me out to dinner?  WHAT???

Son (3:00 p.m.) Sorry, I get busy. Can you watch the kids at the park while we clean my office?

No. Never. WHAT DO YOU THINK I’D SAY?

Mom (3:02 p.m.). Sure! Let’s make plans!

 

I never have a problem with last minute plans for watching my grandkids. They are fun, smart, goofy, and mine. I’d change most any plans to catch an hour or two with them.

I was never this generous with my own kids. Although they have fond memories of their grandparents on my husband’s side, my inlaws had to use a crowbar to pry the first out of my insecure mommy hands. By the time the second one came around 5 years later, my grip was less maddening. I let them take both kids with wild abandon.

Now I feel what my inlaws must have felt:

Give me those babies! What does it matter if we play at the park for 3 hours and jump in every puddle or go to the ice cream store and order an extra large fudge sundae or I take them to Kiddyland? I can take them to the zoo and the farm and the fire station and ride on the train and and and…

Now I am even goofier than my inlaws were. I jump at the chance to have them out to our house (we call it the farm but it’s really just a lot of land) or the cabin (my late father-in-law’s small house up North) or to the park (any park will do).

I know the joy of spending time with someone who thinks the world of you. Whose idea of fun is anything done with Granny. The innocence of youth and the lack of prejudice is enough to swell any adult’s heart.

I only hope I can instill some life values and love values that will grow inside of them as they grow. To value life, friendship, family, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

But my son is going to have to text a little faster. Otherwise one day I will assume that’s what he wants and will show up at his house before he gets home.

 

 

 

Be A Good Grandparent

There’s so much of the world I don’t understand. A lot of it I don’t want to understand. A lot more than I should understand but I don’t.

I started this blog earlier, but it got so preachy and moralistic I couldn’t tell who really wrote it. So I wanted to try one more time.

I went to a Grandparents Day at my grandson’s school last Friday. It was a blast — there were soooo many grandparents there! We all were great moral support for the K through 5 group. Being on two different ends of the age spectrum, I couldn’t help but be invigorated by the enthusiasm and innocence and goofiness of those 50 years younger.

And I wondered.

Where does all this innocence and enthusiasm go?

We all are inundated with the madness of the world: politics, gangs, superstars, billionaires, mass murderers. The list goes on.

And I wondered.

Were these people ever innocent? Were they ever caring, giving, loving?

When did they take the wrong turn in the road?

I look at my own sons. They are different from each other yet they are the same. One is a controller, one works for a restaurant. One is single, one is married. They both have pasts I’m not 100% ready to know (as -I- have one they don’t want to know).  But they made it through high school and college, not much worse for the wear, and we still communicate.

I look at my grandsons. Will they buckle under the pressure? There are a lot of mean kids out there. All sizes, colors, ages and classes. It doesn’t take much to be mean; you can be merely spoiled or off center or just picked on yourself. Everyone goes through the ups and downs of puberty, but some get turned around so much that they never come out the same.

Women have unrealistic expectations thrust at them when it comes to looks and families and men are pressured by salaries and careers and showing up for their kid’s baseball games. We don’t make the rules — we just hear them from other people. We all are pressured to be more, do more, make more, live more.

What happens when more is not enough?

I looked at the innocence of the kids at school and envied them for the moment. For their moment would soon change. It has to change in order to deal with the madness grownups have created.

There are rewards to being older, of course. We know our way through the world, more-or-less know what we want from life, and eventually realize that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. Some of us get there at 30…some at 60. Some never get there, always worried about what others will think or say.

I hope my grandkids are spared most of that mind chatter. I hope all of the grandkids on Grandparents Day are raised in a stronger, more accepting world. Help when you can, don’t make bad choices, forgive and move on.

I never had a Grandparents Day — I never knew my grandparents, period.

I wonder if that would have made all the difference in the world. It did with my husband. His grandparents were heroes in his eyes. And no doubt they adored him back.

I hope I have the same effect on my grandkids.

 

Granny the Enabler

th-1Did you survive?

Did you eat too much? Drink too much? Get up too early to shop on Black Friday?

I did two of the three — and survived.

I admit my feet gave up before the second store…maybe I should have stopped and bought shoes, too. Actually, the crowds weren’t too bad. Yet I fear I was one of those shoppers everyone else hates to be around.

I let my 1.4 year old grandson run around the store.

What’s wrong with me?

My husband always calls me the enabler. He’s probably right. I’m the one who ventures forth where no one has gone lately. Grandbaby was crabby. Who wants to sit in a shopping cart when everyone around you is running around filling theirs? There are so many pretty sparkles up and down every aisle — surely there’s no harm in letting baby go check out a few while mom and dad slip away a couple of aisles down.

Enabler.

So here I go, toddling after the toddler, pulling him away from one thing, tempting him with the next. It’s amazing what interests a toddler.

The tags than hang under the merchandise, boxes that were way too big to pick up, emoji pillows, dog pull toys, duck tape, all were temptations the babe couldn’t resist. Nor could I pull him away from. After a few dramatic stretches on the floor, mom or dad would come back and place him gently in the cart or in the carrier.

Enabler Bad Granny.

Grandbaby was pitching a fit at Taco Bell for breakfast…wet diaper, hungry tummy. Nothing would satisfy the moment. So Granny gave him a few sips of her Pepsi through the straw. No sugar or caffeine for grandbaby.

Enabler Bad Granny.

What’s my problem? Am I that out of control?

Maybe it’s the holidays. Maybe it’s my second childhood. Maybe it’s my own kids all over again. What Grandparent says no? I mean, I do draw the line with dangerous things, with car seats and baby gates and no peanuts and diaper rash. I never endanger my kids, my grandkids.

Having said that, what’s wrong with a little exploration through the jogging pants at Kohls? What’s a sip of Pepsi here or french fry there? Life is full of sneak peeks. Of chocolate before bed and staying up to watch movies when the parents aren’t around. What’s wrong with playing soldiers with a 6 year old or dancing in the rain, getting all wet and silly?

Grandparents are supposed to do these kinds of things. The kind of things that parents smile and shake their head about. These are the treats, the perks, the golden magic between two generations that has skipped the one in the middle. It is the secret space that all grandparents hide in with their grandkids. The private tricks they play on all-knowing parents.

My inlaws did it to us: my kids were taken on more trips to Kiddyland, more staying up lates, more homemade cookie baking and animal farms than I ever thought about. At the time I was a little miffed; why were my kids’ grandparents trying to steal the show?

Now older, hopefully wiser, I see what really went on. I didn’t have grandparents to spoil me; my husband did. And my husband’s love for his grandma and grandpa is something he still talks about today.

So it is with my kids; hopefully it will be so with theirs. I hope when I am long gone I will be the star in the stories my grandkids tell again and again.

Granny. THE enabler.

 

Holding On While Sleepy

6009A strange combination of emotions has struck the Goddess’s circle this evening.

I’m sure you all go through the ups and downs of life, the reality of which thickens or thins, depending upon your mood.

My kids and their kids have moved out, finding their own slice of paradise, finally free of bubbling-over grannies and know-it-all grandpas. We love our kids, and I know they love us. But it was time for the baby birds to fly, leaving behind a mix of sadness and relief. I can now go back to being the granny who makes root beer floats with her grandkids at 10 o’clock at night and dances in the summer rain and splashes in all the puddles and gets her grandkids full of mud. I know mom and dad’s expectations, and can now go back and dance around them whenever we get with the grandbabies.

I am sad my 5-year-old grandson isn’t here to play Unicorns and Dragons with me; he isn’t here to read Pete the Cat to or to watch the Lego Movie for the 30th time. Part of my youth has moved out with him.

But I’m also relieved that I can come home from a hard day at work and chill and write and watch TV and watch scary movies or bloody movies. That I don’t have to get up at 2 a.m. with grandbaby #2 or figure a way to entertain him for more than a few hours.

There is a reason 63-year-olds aren’t first-time parents.

But back to the strange combinations.

Like pickles and ice cream, wants and needs are often at odds in my little world. I suffer from insomnia, and it sometimes affects my day job. Having said that, now that the kids are gone I can go to bed (even though I can’t sleep) at an early hour and practice the routines that everyone has insisted bring on sleep.

We’ll see about that.

For the kids’ moving out is just at the wee-beginnings of Spring, fostering a yearning for something new and fresh in my life. The birds and their melodies, the frogs in the ponds, the breeze through the pine trees, all are promising me the beginnings of yet another wonderful year. A year full of confusion, joy, laughter….and writing.

Of course.

With all the promises the Spring Cleaning Lady offers, I need to do some Spring Cleaning of my own. To stop being a slug when it comes to moving forward to the higher aspirations of things like getting published. Or increasing my readership.

Do you feel the turn of the tide when the seasons change?

The onset of autumn, or winter, both with their silent and sparkling worlds; summer, hot and sticky and full of jazzy clothes and music; burrowing in or digging out.

I need to listen to my Muse. She’s bugging me to leave the two novels I cherish behind and get into something fresh and new. And she is right. I love the things I have written, but they are of a different tint, and the Spring seems to nudge me towards something fresh and exciting. I am thinking about new worlds, alternate worlds, mystery and fantasy in this world.

Which leads me back to the insomnia.

This is where the paths cross — crisscross — back and forth. The excitement of writing something new, of research and experimentation and new characters, are at direct odds with my erratic sleeping schedule.

I am a firm believer that YOU CAN’T WRITE ANYTHING FRESH IF YOU ARE STALE.

If you struggle during the day to stay awake, your faux burst of energy at night won’t take you far. If your moods swing like a tire swing, you won’t be able to stay on task very long. If you are pushing yourself to the limit, you won’t have much left in you for romance or adventure.

And your characters will suffer.

Writing can be methodical. Writing can be spontaneous. Writing can come crawling in the front door or spring out on the patio. Inspiration, too, ebbs and flows. Just like our bodies.

Learn to work with the swings of your own psyche. Don’t push it when you know you can’t. Feel the glow when you can. Find time to dance in the inspiration of your own words. But get enough rest first.

For there’s nothing worse than your character falling down…and they can’t get up.

 

8 (more) Granny Rules

CAM00835 (2)I want to start this off by saying how lucky — and I mean lucky — I am to have my oldest son, his pregnant wife, and my 4-year-old grandbaby living with us for a few months. I will never have this opportunity again, so I don’t want to blow it.

Having said that, I have found that when family stays with you (even if it’s for a week or two), the rules as a Granny change. I find I’m not as freebird-ish as I want to be. I have learned that, much to MY chagrin, you have to be respectful of the parents’ wishes, thoughts, and actions.

So for you other present or future grannies and grandpas, here are some rules you should think about.

1.  Bed Time is Bed Time.

Oh, you may be able to squeeze an extra hour out on the weekends, but during the week, there is no watching TV in bed with Granny while eating an ice cream bar or jumping on the bed with the dogs. They need to calm down before sleep time. (So do you!)

2. Bed Time Snacks Are Different.

No more chips and soda before bed; no more cheese sticks and slices of salami, no more Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch cocktails. Pull that apple out from the back of the frig shelf, or pour a bowl of cereal. Act responsible. (Leave the ice cream bars for before YOU go to bed..)

3.  Ask your Mom/Dad

My grandson used to come over and get just about anything he wanted any time he wanted. Now that he’s under closer supervision, I can’t sneak him string cheese or pretzels and peanut butter  instead of dinner. I find myself saying, “Ask your Mother.” I feel like I’m shirking my Granny duties, but it’s better if the stomach aches come from them, not me.

4.  Kids and Pets

I tend to yell at my 3 stupid dogs a lot. I now have to clean up my language and not sound like a truck driver every time the dog pees or poops inside or wraps the leash around my ankle. My grandbaby adds to the furor by picking up my cats around the neck and parading around with them. When the cats have finally had enough, he takes it personally and starts to antagonize them. My language AND my reprimands are a little stronger now days. Not the Granny Way.

5.  Play Age-Approriate Games

Teaching a grandbaby how to use an axe to cut the string on firewood or mowing the lawn with a riding tractor (although grandpa rode on the tractor too) is not what a mother wants to hear. I am always honest with her — much to HER chagrin. While riding down the little hill on a Big Wheels looks as scary as a runaway train, a vigilant grandparent will be there every step of the way. Trust me — past times like coloring and playing with cars don’t hold a candle to a big squirt gun fight.

6.  Give your kids and grandkids space.

It’s fairly easy to trip over each other in one household. Fortunately my husband is gone in the evening and I’m gone during the day, so our 25 minutes of shared daylight doesn’t get in anyone’s way. But once grandpa is gone and I’m home alone with everybody, I tend to start feeling like a sticky note. I believe that evening times are Dad and Mom times, with a little Granny sprinkled in now and then for color. I usually wind up going into my room and writing/watch TV/fold laundry anyway, giving them plenty of time to cuddle as a threesome and talk about me if they want.

7.  No Hands.

And who better to teach a 4-year-old no hands on the roller coaster? Momma and I get sick just looking at them; then there’s Grandpa. And Dad. But Grandpa is the Instigator who looks fear in the eye and laughs at it. (He has a great laugh). If trying something off-center, try and pull one of the parents into it. It’s easier in the long run.

8.  Be honest.

Grannies are always honest…it just doesn’t always seem like it. Most times we are relegated to seeing our grandkids every other weekend, or, sadly, every month or every year. We have to make the most of our time together; after all, we don’t want our grandkids to forget about us once we’re gone. That’s why I tell my grandbaby (and my kids, but to a lesser degree), how much I love them, how much I miss them when they’re gone, how much I can’t wait to see them the next time. We plan things that might not come to fruition, but it’s the fun and love in planning that makes the difference.  I wear my love on my sleeve. And don’t regret the shredded mess at all.

 

We’re going to have another addition to our family in a few months. I have found as a mother myself that it’s easier to let go (to grandparents) by the time the second one comes along. Parents realize that their parents aren’t one step from the looney bin, they’re not Charles Manson followers, and the craziness that occurs is more in the mind than in reality.

Soon we will have TWO kids to spoil. My kids won’t be living with us by then.

Momma — watch out. Granny’s coming —

 

Go Granny Go Granny Go Granny Go!

thOn my way to other things —

A happy post over at Retirement and Good Living about being a Granny. I love it. You will too!

 

I always thought I was a good mom. I attended every teacher/parent conference; endured freezing cold, blistering hot, and life-threatening thunderstorms just to watch soccer/baseball games; stayed up all hours of the night finishing last-minute (they said) homework projects; and did all other ups and downs a parent is supposed to do.  I adored my kids (still do), and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for them. But I find that is nothing compared to what I wouldn’t do for my grandson……

Read the rest….

http://retirementandgoodliving.com/go-granny-go/