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….

 

Have A Mishmash In Your Head?

A mishmash of thoughts this Monday evening….

It has been five days since I made the vow to dump sensationalized social media. I am happy to report that I haven’t a clue as to what Trump is tweeting nor what Kim Kardashian is saying about her mother/sister/husband. It is refreshing.

I am watching the movie Gladiator. It is an epic production, but all the killing makes me sad. Oh, it’s only a movie, but it’s based on a truth. How many people have died in one war or another? And I’m not just talking about the United States. The Mongol Conquests took 34,641,016+; Spanish Conquest of the Aztec World, 24,300,000+, and back home, World War II, 36,696,798+. (statistics from Wikipedia.) There is no glory in war. When will the world learn this?

I have lost the buzz to write. Is it the weather? Is it that I’m tired when I get home from work? Have I given up? I would say this happens to everyone now and then, but at this moment, I don’t care. And that’s what’s not good. I’ve left my heroine on a parallel planet pregnant with the king’s child, not married, someone trying to kill her, and the edge of the world is crumbling. Why can’t I get going on this? 

I love my cats and like my dog, but I have been a crazy person lately babysitting my brother-in-law’s yappy dog. And over the weekend my son’s dog, too. I am feeling so anti-pet lately…is that because I’m getting old? Tired of dogs and cats sleeping on my bed so I can’t turn over? Tired of their meowing because they’re hungry or bored? I do admit my patience is thinning the older I get. Just trying to keep my cool. .

Do you go through grandparent withdrawal? Do you pace the floor and count the days until you can next get together? My heart hurts for those of you who live far from your grandbabies. Even if they’re in high school or college, they’re still your grandbabes. What wonderful, naughty, childish things you do when you are together! Sit on the floor (and can’t get up), ride a bike (better get a helmet and shin guards), play baseball (can’t catch but, oh well..), eat ice cream cones (one scoop or two?) I’m rested and ready.

Do you like the winter? The gentle sparkle of falling flakes, the laughter of children playing in the snow, fireplaces and hot chocolate, snuggles and cuddles and crisp cold air that brings a hard blush to your face?

I don’t either. Come on Spring!

 

Is There Soccer In Heaven?

Happy Saturday!

I just got home  from sweating my caboose off at my grandson’s soccer game. I remember going to every soccer game for both of my sons.  That turned out to be 13 years for one son and 11 for the other. I have sat in sweat, rain, wind, and frost. I have shouted “good job” or “move in! Move in!” more times than Bayer has aspirin. It has been a great run. And I love that I now have my oldest grandson (7) and someday his little brother (2) and maybe even their little sister or brother (2/18) to go and watch and yell “Move In!”

I wonder if they have soccer games in heaven.

And if they do, I wonder if it’s a perfect 65 degrees with a slight breeze from the south when I sit facing north, or a westerly wind when I’m watching the game from the east. I wonder if they’ll have cushioned seats instead of the sack chairs I’ve carried for the past 20 years.

Since time would be irrelevant in heaven, I’d be able to watch my sons and grandsons and great grandsons kick the ball back and forth over and over and over again. I could move from one soccer game to the next, no one ever getting tired, no one getting sunburn, no one getting soaked from the torrential downpour that started at kick off.

The fields would be enormous — large enough so that my ever-expanding family could picnic and play volleyball and drink  Piña Coladas without getting drunk. Each family member’s game would be at their own special separate time — no running from field to field to catch parts of each kid’s game.

In heaven I wouldn’t be chubby, giving in to sweating in all the wrong places as I cheer my grandkids and kids and great grandkids on. I’d be tall and thin and my flowing shift would match the kid’s uniforms. There would be more than enough treats and drinks for each team, everyone getting their favorite juice box and granola bar or Capri bag and bag of Cheetos. No arguing. No pouting.

If there are soccer games in heaven, there will be a balance of winners and losers. Except in heaven, there really is no losing, is there? There would be no obnoxious parents telling the ref he’s blind, no cheap shots at the goalie, no broken ankles or concussions from being t-boned on the field. No one will feel like a loser, because in heaven everybody is equal and happy and good natured.

Now there may be a question about which of your kids’ age groups you want to watch. I mean, I watched my youngest from kindergarten through high school. He was amazing all 13 years.  I watched my oldest almost as long. Do I want to watch my grandson at age 7 (now) or when he’s 10 or 15? I figure God will have figured that out by the time I get there. I mean, She’s/He’s omnipotent and all. And in heaven everything is possible.

My only dilemna is….what if 2/18 wants to play football?

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.

 

My Obligatory Kids and Kittens Blog

They say posts with kids and kittens get the most responses.

That’s because it’s easier to smile at laugh and kids and kittens when you’re not directly responsible for them.

I adore my grandkids. What grandparent doesn’t feel the same towards theirs? Yet mine exhaust me to the point of see-ya-later-maybe-much-later. Maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be, yet it does create a guilt trip in this bubble mind of mine.

I have been blessed in ways others have not. My GKs have always lived within an hour’s drive. I still talk to my son (although I sometimes think he think’s I AM the bubble head queen), and I love my daughter-in-law. It’s a win/win thing.

Yet when I get the kids overnight it’s like I’ve never moved or babysat in my life.

One is almost 6, and wants to run around outside, which is the best thing in the world for him. But he wants to cut vegetables, saw wood, drive the tractor, dig with the shovel — things way above his talent (and height). My husband encourages Mr. Little Farmer (it’s not a farm but we all call it that)  in other directions (often with adult supervision), yet lets him sit on his lap in the tractor driver’s seat and drive down our long country driveway.

Yikes.

The baby, 8 months old, can’t tell me if he prefers cereal or puffs or spaghetti or a bottle. So I give them all to him between his crawling adventures. He’s no longer in the “hold me on your lap” phase — he’s more into the “put me on the floor!” state of demand. Off he goes, crawling over the dog, the cat, picking up weird things that hide under the chairs…crabbing one minute, laughing the next.

Somehow I don’t remember my kids being this pumped up.

Of course, that was 30 years ago. I was 30 years younger. (Ack!! Don’t say that!) My view of the world and my place in it, was much different. Back then I thought I could make a difference. That I could have it all — great job, great kids, a house out of Architectural Digest — all the things that motivate young people to work hard and study hard.

Now, at the age of 60+, I’m in the job I’m going to be in for the long run, and Wall Street it isn’t. Nor is my house the ones dreams are made of. Nor is my beat up 2005 Sable or 2004 KIA van. I have succeeded with the great kid part, but I am still learning to let them live their own lives, too.

My energy level has wandered away down some long forgotten path, too. I’m working on finding that path again — I figured if I want to live long enough to see my GKs get married, I’d better start walking those paths again soon.

Babysitting the kids fits that bill of exercise, too. Not wanting to look like the old, falling apart granny, I do my best to climb the hills, dig the holes, and ride the bikes. That, too, I believe, keeps the Reaper away.

But dang, kids — my pace and yours is not nor ever will be the same.

Maybe that’s a good thing — after all, if I had all that energy, what would be left for my own kids have to do?

I Love Being Proved Wrong

cam01949-e1461204089526I love being proved wrong. Especially when I’m negatory on the subject.

Being in my early 60s, I like to think of myself as still perky, fun, wild, and all the positive adjectives that people who love life possess. I also like to come home from a busy crazy day and be a vegetable. I figure I’ve work enough years that I deserve to veg if I so choose.

Yesterday eve the boys all packed up their he-man duds and took off to turkey hunt for 4 days. Before Jr. left for turkeyland he mentioned that oh, since he wouldn’t be there to coach soccer practice on Wednesday, would his wife and mom mind taking his place?

I looked at him like, WHA?? Me and a dozen little 4 and 5 year olds? Kicking around a soccer ball?

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced little kids and soccer. Think of 12 fireworks going off in 12 different directions, some colored, some those loud bangers, some duds, some a fireworks-in-a-fireworks. Kids that age run around in knots, some wander off to go to the bathroom or chase their ball or talk to their mom or look at the birds flying by. Concentration is definitely not their middle name.

But it was my grandson’s team. And I’m Granny. And there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to help him learn about the world. But coaching 12 of him — boys and girls? I didn’t think I could handle the chaos. I looked to the sky — a chance of rain. Great. I checked the forecast every hour, hoping that the rain forecast for tonight made an early appearance. Guilt followed my every weather check, but I just really didn’t want to do this.

The rain never came. So my  daughter-in-law pappoosed her 7 month old onto her front, and she, my grandbaby, and I made our way out onto the soccer field.

And I had a ball.

I squealed and laughed and encouraged each and every one of those little dickens as they kicked their soccer ball all over the place. I experienced 12 different personalities, 12 different attitudes, and 12 different laughs. A couple other moms helped us, and we all found a way to have fun and teach soccer at the same time.

Why am I such a meathead? Why do I always judge what sort of time I’m going to have before I even get there? I seem to prejudge a lot of things these days. Movies, restaurants, people. I imagine the worst instead of at least mediocre.

I’m not saying that I shouldn’t follow my instinct. My intuition. Some people I just don’t like from the very moment I meet them. Some TV shows stink from the get-go. Second chances aren’t needed on a lot of things. But other things often prove to be 100% different than what I imagined. It’s that kind of pre-judging that makes me a meathead.

I am so much better in my expectations and anticipations than I used to be. I do have a Que Sera, Sera sort of attitude on most things. I strive to grow, to understand, yet know that some things I can never, or will never, change.

But I also know that there’s so much more left in this world to explore, and that I should just get off my dukkas and try them more often. Yes, this fiasco at the soccer park could have been a downer. It could have bugged me and irritated me and left me grumpier than Monday mornings.

But it didn’t.

I had a great time from the minute I walked from the car and onto the field. The kids laughed and asked me to watch as they ran around with the soccer cones on their heads. Their innocence was infectious. They were pure and raw and developing attitudes of their own.

And I almost missed it.

Don’t listen to those lazy buggars in your head. Go and do something new any chance you get. If it doesn’t work out, so be it.

If it does — it just might turn you into a soccer coach.

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.

 

One Flu at the Cukoo’s Nest

1-breathing-masksFlu season around my house landed yesterday.

Three out of four adults out for the count with temps around 101, urpy stomachs, achy muscles, and minus zero energy.

The weird thing about this is that it’s 70 degrees outside, a lovely Fall day. Gentle breeze, soft sunlight, gold and red and orange leaves dancing in the air.

How do you get the flu in weather like that?

Colds and flu and fevers and all that go along with being sick has no place in the annals of Fall. Illness is supposed to hit us in the depths of winter when there’s five feet of snow, or when it’s raining buckets. It’s supposed to hit when you don’t feel like going to work or when you didn’t finish your term paper or when you’re supposed to go visit your aunt who talks too much.

It’s not supposed to keep you home from work to take care of the two littlest ones who can’t take care of themselves.

Or is it?

I took off work so I could take care of my  littlest grandbaby, put him in a stroller and walked around outside and then sat and rocked him on the back porch swing, held him while he slept, then drove to Kindygarten and pick up grandbaby #2 so we could stop at McDs for an ice cream cone after school. Later the three of us sat around and watched the Lego Movie while the rest of the adults owwwwed and oohhhhed and slept on the sofa.

The adults will all be back on their feet tomorrow, a little sluggish, a little achy, but feeling much better than 24 hours earlier. And me?

I’ll be back at work too, great memories of rocking babies in the afternoon breeze,  and sneaking ice cream cones after school.

The flu’s not so bad after all.

At least until I get it tomorrow….

Another Chance

Hot Flashes and Cold FeetAs I’m always saying, the clock ticks eternally forward. While we all notice the seconds, no one feels it as much as one who has already spent a good deal of their life counting.

I’m not going to lie. I want to live forever. I don’t have a strong, religious faith in place, so I have no idea what’s in store once I close my eyes for good. I haven’t left a whole lot behind for posterity, except maybe a refinanced mortgage and a unicorn collection. I’ve made a few people smile with my writing through the years, but standing on the beach or walking through the woods or watching a funny TV show leaves a smile on their lips, too.

And sooner or later my name will blow away in the dust of time, as billions have before me. But I will have had an accomplishment that will keep its mark in me through the Great Barrier and beyond.

I’m a grandmother for the second time.

This time my grandbaby’s entrance was a little shaky. It’s amazing how something that seems so simple on the outside can be so complicated inside. Life is a miracle. There is no doubt. How we get from a spermy and eggy into a president or opera singer I will leave to the biology majors. But so many things can go wrong on the familiar path we all walk that you have to stop and think — and thank — something, someone, else for getting all parties through.

Second grandbaby is a boy, and he and mom are doing just fine now. It brought back memories of one of my past pregnancies — one where the outcome wasn’t so positive. But that was 35 years ago, and this is now, and fate has smiled on our family and friends and brought another soccer player into the family. His older sibling is starting kindergarten tomorrow, so what a better off-to-school treat than a baby brother.

How appropriate his arrival came after my last post about Getting On Track. About sometimes feeling like a loser because I go up to the cabin to write but I often do anything BUT write.  Half way through my retreat the Goddess and Buddha and whomever else had other plans for my idle time. And it wasn’t writing. Nor was it windchimes in the breeze or naps in the afternoon.

It was welcoming another being into the world.

It was being there for mom and dad and CJ and Papa and Nana and Great Grandpa Lyle and Great Grandma Katie as the new baby came wrinkled and breathless into this world.

It was preparing the world for a new chance to get it right. It was dreams of baseball and homework and trick-or-treating with yet another child of the world. Another chance to get it right. To make the world right.

You can’t ask for a better chance for an afterlife than that.

Growing Corn

“Granny…one day this corn will be bigger than me.”
“Yes, Bay Bay…one day it will be bigger than you. Bigger than your dad. Bigger than Grandpa.”
“Then what, Granny?”
“We cut it down, feed people and cows and deer and start all over again.”
“Oh. That’s okay. We can come back here again.”

Yes, my little man, we can do this again.

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I Want It All

a4d9a6e95ab9b4ddaac67a2adb860cb5Are you your own best friend?
Or are you your own worst enemy?
Have you found a way to balance the two?

I have the world’s best intentions — I really do. And sometimes I’m even able to carry them out. On the other hand, sometimes my intentions last as long as a thought. Big burst of emotion/intention, then big hit of sidetrack/misdirection.

Now that I’ve finally found the loves of my life (except from 9-5), I am finding it nearly impossible to balance it all without falling asleep at my desk.

Everything is temporary, I know. My kids living with me for a few months has been the greatest gift I ever could have received. I spend my day thinking of what my GB and I can do when I get home. He is a bundle of energy (vs my total lack of it), so I try and plan accordingly. I also plan time for him to be alone with his parents. After all, they all WOULD be alone together if it weren’t for me. First act of balancing.

But spending the 5 hours (ideally) between work and bedtime have drastically cut the time I have to spend on the other love of my life: writing. Specifically (at least at this moment) my blog(s).

I know there is no comparison between flesh and blood and words on a screen. No comparison between talking to my daughter-in-law and responding to posts online. This time will soon be gone, and I’ll have evenings to myself once again. Every day is a new experience, a new adventure. Who want to miss that?

But I am a Sagittarius, and I want the glory, the excitement, the magic NOW. I am an adventurer, even though I may fall flat half way through my trek. And I (like all of you) are multi-dimensional. I love creating, researching, building, perfecting whatever it is that sets my heart a flutter. My blog (especially the Art one) is quenching my thirst for personal satisfaction. It is something I can call MY OWN. Not hunting or fishing like the boys; not going back to school like friends; not raising children like my kids and friends kids. It’s something created out of my soul and warmed by the sun and fertilized by the moon. It’s something that has turned from a fad idea to a real pursuit of the extraordinary.

I think I suffer somewhat from the life-is-running-out syndrome, too. I’m getting older:  there are fewer years ahead of me than behind, and there’s tons of things I still want to do. I’ve given up dreams of visiting the museums of Rome or wandering through the moors of Scotland. Discovering the planet China is off my list, too. But I can still do things that make me happy, that make me proud. I’m just running out of time to do them.

My circadian rhythm is so out of whack I doubt I could get it back in line with a baseball bat. I get home, am awake, creative, love the evening, the sunset, the kids, the night. Then I can’t fall asleep. Midnight, 1, 2 a.m. and I’m still cruising through the galaxy. I get up at 6 so four hours of sleep isn’t doing it for me. I’ve tried everything to calm down at night. My fear is that I’ll have to give up everything creative if I want to sleep. Or clean my house. Or even make it to work on time.

I admit it. I want it all. I’m too young to retire, too poor to quit working. All of you creative sprites know how it is when you just start getting into your project and you look up at the clock and it’s midnight. Einstein’s time travel continuum has struck again.

So. I ask you. Any suggestions on how I can do it all?

In this lifetime??

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 —

 

Just Call Me Granny

thI 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 a soccer/baseball game; 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.

Is there a difference between being a parent and being a grandparent? Both are concerned for their welfare; both want to teach them right from wrong, A from K,  see them go to college, fall in love and marry (if that’s what they want), and produce many children/great grandchildren. 

Then why does it feel so different the second time around?

I am my kid’s worst nightmare. A granny with an unending source of patience and love and fun ideas. I am willing to go where no parent has gone before.

I laugh because I see my husband and I becoming my in-laws. When my youngest was born, it was a  struggle to let them take him for a night or a weekend. After all, they were crazy! They wanted to take my oldest to Kiddyland when he was barely two. My second was taken when he was not even a year old. They made me crazy!  They wanted my kids all the time — every chance they could. They took them to ranches and the restaurants that did stir fry on a table in front of them, and to Disneyworld and fishing up North. They stayed up late, played games and dug in the garden with their hands and taught them to play pinochle when they both were nine.  Who does that?

I am embarrassed now to admit I took offense at their unbridled desire to spoil my two kids. I was jealous of grandparents and aunties who had more free time and free money than I did. My grandparents died when I was young, so I had no idea what the grandparent “thing” was all about. My husband was very close with his grandparents, and reassured me that my kids would always be my kids.

Now I find myself repeating the actions, emotions, and enthusiasm of my in-laws. My grandson is three years old, and I find myself tripping over my feet to be with him. We learned to splash in puddles, fight with swords, and flip all the light switches in the house. I give him sips of the dreaded “Coca Cola”, slip him M&Ms, and dance in the rain whenever the opportunity shows itself. I want to buy him a whole wardrobe, take him to the zoo, and let him climb all over my dogs. And Disneyworld? If my kids take him they better book a room for granny too!

Being a grandparent is like getting a second lease on life. It is the ultimate in anarchy and love. Our grandkids are our doorway to finding our inner child. We do and say things that we can’t always do and say in the outside world. We keep their secrets, boost their fragile egos, and share tales of faeries, hunting, and family histories.  We show them the magic in the world without having to explain the physics of such.

There is a place for both parents and grandparents in this world. More people should open their arms and embrace both for the future children of the world. What harm is there in spoiling future generations? Our added attention won’t help them find a job or cure their diseases. But perhaps our crazy affection will encourage them to show affection towards others. Maybe our taking them to the park will encourage them to make time for their own kids. Maybe our blind devotion will give them strength to believe in the goodness of others in the world.

It’s a wonderful world we live in. Grandparents – step off the path. Keep it legal, keep it moral, but have fun. Take your grand kids to the movies or to an outdoor concert. Stay up late, dance to rock and roll in the living room, and look for elves in the woods. Teach them how to fish or sing songs Your grandkids will love you for it. And, if you’re lucky enough, they’ll never forget you for it.

I can’t say the same for your kids, though…

Trippin’ Right Along

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Gaelic Storm, Milwaukee Irishfest

One of the keys to surviving middle age is to balance your complaining with your freedom. People like to read about your older “boomer” adventures, but few have time to listen to a thousand words of whine. As a friend once said, things of a personal nature have a short shelf life, because people quickly confuse your madness with theirs.

I had a great time this past weekend. Went to the zoo with family, went to Irishfest Friday evening, then back to Irishfest all of Saturday with family and friends. The music lightened my soul, and walking and eating and talking with friends and family strengthened my heart.

That’s what people want to hear.

They don’t want to hear about my aching legs and feet, or my Alzheimer’s moment of leaving a tube of ointment in the bathroom stall, or the five dollars I lost by stashing it in a place that jiggles too much. No one wants to know that I took a tumble trying to step over a chain that was a wee bit too high for my short legs, or that the cause of my headaches was more likely from dehydration than stress.

People love to read that I took my grand-baby playing in the Irishfest park and that we walked to the lake and watched the boats and threw rocks in the water. They don’t want to read about the almost-twisted ankle I got because I climbed on rocks I had no business climbing on.

I wonder if I was this muddled 30 years ago? If I was as prone to forgetting and stumbling? Back then I’d get drunk and others thought it was funny and entertaining. If I’d do that now people would think it embarrassing and senile.  I’m sure I dripped food on my chest from the time I was 16; now, if I do it at 60, it looks like I’m feeble. I never was a jogger or a marathon runner, but having to stop and sit now and then makes me look like I’ve lost my get-up-and-go. Did I ever really have it, though? And did it ever matter?

Ah, but I don’t let that fear stop me from living. Neither should you. Once you get passed your bruised ego look at all the good things that come from it. I listened to music I loved; I played with my grand-baby and almost-grand-baby; I got a nice sun tan; I leaned to drink more water, I sang my favorite songs with the band; and walked so much my legs are ready to walk with the girls at break again.

I also learned that nothing is safe when hidden in places that jiggle alot.

Grow Up!

Most of the time children are great. Us “adults” try to raise them to be respectful, smart, and somewhat worldly. We teach them limits both to protect them and to give them a target to aim for as they go through life. Along with all the love they can handle, we do our best to bring them up as loving, tolerant human beings.

 Tolerant, you reiterate?

 Yes – tolerant. Not just patience and composure about the world around them, but for US. For when their parents become grandparents. For it is amazing how many rules and limits go right out of our heads when it comes to our grandkids.

 I can remember when my kids (now 28 and 22) were little. Grandma and Grandpa (and even Auntie Sandy) were relentless in their quest to “take the kids off our hands for a while.” The first time around I was hesitant to let my precious boy go – after all, wasn’t I the one who was the center of his world? By the time the second one came around I was more of the “Hey…want the kids?” sort of mom.

 I always thought my in-laws out of control. They took my kids to Kiddyland (starting at 1-1/2), bought them TVs for their room (waited until they were two), and fought to take them everywhere.  Grandpa taught my kids how to fish at two and how to play pinochle at 8. They spent the hours throwing “trickster” into the fan (their nickname for my youngest, although the trickster in question was a sock monkey).  They stayed up too late and were always off on an adventure somewhere. I swore that when I was a grandmother that I would act more civilized.

 Ha.

 My only grandson has two sets of grandparents ready, willing and able to take him places and teach him things. Not just your normal things like their numbers or their colors; we are ready to show him what “real” life is all about. I taught him to splash in puddles and take a finger of frosting and draw a line down someone’s cheek. Grandpa has already taken him fishing and we are set to do an Irish Jig at IrishFest this weekend. We throw stones in water and run around in the rain and eat drippy, sticky things.

What happens to us when we get a second chance to be a kid?  We are automatically careful not to injure anyone: watching for traffic as we cross the street or not eating plastic or not jumping out of windows are as automatic to us as itching a mosquito bite.  But what’s wrong with taking off our shoes and walking through the grass or a mud puddle? What’s wrong with playing catch with the dog with an apple or letting popsicles drool down our chin? 

I have noticed that there is a kid inside every one of us wanting to escape. Renaissance faires are prime examples of this. They bring out the strangest costumes, not because the people have a “thing” for Henry the VII gear, but because they get a chance to dress up. I’ve seen pirates, belly dancers, vampires, minstrels, space men – you name it – walking the aisles of turkey legs and amulets. Why do you think they do it? Because it’s FUN. It’s nonsense. It’s the one time they can do something out-of-the-box and get away with it.

 Same is true with grandparents. I insisted my kids get to bed at a normal time or ate regular dinner food or stayed out of the rain and snow.  Now I can’t wait to make a snowman with my two-year-old GBaby. I can’t wait to look for bugs (ohhh ick) so that he can look at them under a magnifier. I can’t wait to stay up till midnight watching stupid corny movies and have an ice cream sundae for breakfast. 

 Vitamins and the alphabet and school and keeping clean is their parents’ job. I’ve paid my dues. My tactics, my tolerance, allowed my kids to grow up happy, healthy, and a lot of fun to be with. They roll their eyes as we poke our fingers into the newly-frosted cake; they shake their heads when I let him pull everything out of my purse and drop it on the floor. They dutifully don’t allow him to drink soda, but don’t make a deal out of it if grandma sneaks him a sip or two.

 There is nothing better than acting young. It’s too bad a lot of us have to have a grandbaby (or three) to have an excuse to let loose. And it’s too bad we don’t see that there’s nothing wrong with acting like a kid now and then.  Perhaps the world would be a happier, more content place if more adults dug holes in the sand and buried a stone or rolled down a grass hill or put our toes in the cold lake water.

 And you don’t have to necessarily be a grandparent – how about being an “Auntie Sandy”? Or a crazy, fun “Uncle Bill”?  Anyone can jump into the foray. Paint your and your granddaughter’s/niece’s  toenails blue or yellow. Buy matching hats and go out for tea (thank you Jane!). You and the little guy play in the worm bucket. Both of you butter your toast with a spoon. Go for a walk through the woods (or a park) and look for fairies or gnomes.

 What would it hurt? Your grandkids will see a side of you that other’s often hide.  They will see that you are human — that you are alive and fun to be with.

 Now, if you all will excuse me, I have green foil shamrocks to sugar glue onto our cheeks before we go dance the jig at IrishFest.