Word Of The Day – Thankful

When my now 16-year-old grandson Mac was much younger, I tried to always remind him to say “thank you” whenever someone did him a service or a kindness. It seemed like I was reminding him every few minutes, every day. He once asked me why he had to do that EVERY TIME!!!! I said because he needed to learn how to be thankful.

But I wonder now if that really is what thankfulness is all about. It seems a little too easy – maybe a little too shallow. (Of course he was just a little boy!)

As we grow and mature, maybe our gratitude should grow with us. Or should I say deepen and spread out like roots and branches on a tree.

Being thankful is more than just quickly responding to things or words being handed to us usually because we request them. That is the tip top of the iceberg of gratitude.

Let’s start with being given life itself. Can we be thankful for being born, maybe in a family, maybe in a community or a village? How about friends, colleagues, buddies and coworkers? Do we not treasure our parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, teachers, mentors and heroes?

How do we express gratitude for all that has been given to us, that we don’t even deserve? Our physical, mental, emotional and psychological strengths that were handed to us at birth and molded by our experiences, the love, the support, the laughter, the discipline, the education we absorbed from our surroundings – where are the words to express the depth of gratitude we feel?

To be honest, there are not enough words in any language to fully say “thank you” for a true gift such as a whole life.

The big, the small . . . every gift has its importance. And each requires more than a nod or a handshake to be truly appreciated.

Thankfulness can be learned and taught . . . and should be! Mostly it is taught by the act of doing, as we elders know.

I think the first step to deep thankfulness is to treasure the gift. Give it honor. Don’t waste it.

Use the gift joyfully and to its fullest potential. Be proud of it.

Tell the giver how you are using the gift. Do this often. Communicate in any way possible.

Protect the gift. Don’t let others dishonor it, sully it, belittle it or steal it.

When it is time, share the gift with others. If possible, give the gift to a younger one and teach them to use it.

This is true thankfulness!! Pass it on!!

We All Need A New Saxophone

A couple months ago I told all of you sweeties about my darling teenage grandson Matt and his struggle with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. As you recall, he had made plans to end his life but luckily for all of us, he reached out for help. And he is receiving that help, in many glorious ways.

Several weeks ago Matt told me he wanted a new saxophone for Christmas. He currently is using the saxophone he has had since sixth grade. He plays in the High School Band and loves it. I think music and marching have been a big part of his healing process.

When Matt told me he wanted a new instrument, I burst into tears. It was so symbolic to me and meant so much, I was just overcome with joy and hope.

Wanting a new saxophone means he is looking forward to the future and making plans for the good.

Wanting a new saxophone means he is excited about his life.

Wanting a new saxophone means he is thinking and making decisions for his own wellbeing.

In fact, I think we all need the equivalent of a new saxophone in our lives. Something that gives us a reason to get up, get dressed, have fun, stay busy and productive. Maybe even give us a reason to live.

A new saxophone can be a wonderful hobby, like sewing and quilting are for me. It can be the perfect job or the best relationship. It can be a fresh idea or a new activity. Or maybe just a new musical instrument from Granny and Gramps.

A friend of mine has a granddaughter who is also dealing with suicidal thoughts. She is getting help and support from her family and village. Her personal saxophone is a budding modeling career.

No one can be too young or too old to get a new saxophone for Christmas. Rich or poor, male or female, city folk or country. We all need one.

Matt is getting his saxophone!

I’ve got my saxophone!

What’s your saxophone?!

When A Child Loses Hope

This pandemic has left it’s mark on everyone – some marks deeper than others. Some will be too frightened to go anywhere again. Some will wear a mask from now on. Some will have nothing more than bad memories. But the epidemic of hopelessness among teenagers seems most tragic to me.

According to a psychologist I know, children in their teen years have lost their will to live in unheard of numbers. Can you even imagine being 14 or 15 and seeing no future for yourself? I really couldn’t imagine that myself.

Or at least I couldn’t until I found out that my 16 yo grandson Matt had confided to his physician that he was having some suicidal thoughts. Then it all came crashing in. This is real! This is happening! My baby is in danger!

My poor sweet boy had not planned the date or time but had definitely planned the method to end his life. That’s how absolutely real it is to have no hope!

My first instinct was to get on a plane, fly two and half hours, go to Matt’s school and scoop him up in my arms like a baby. Then hug and kiss him all over, follow him around so no one could say or do anything hurtful to him. And if anyone tried, I would beat the snot out of them!

That was the Granny bear response in me. But first responses are often primal and not thought out very well.

So what did I really do? After some careful thought, I wrote my sweet darling boy a love letter.

I told him how much I loved him, how much Gramps loved him, how lovable he is in general.

I told him all the things I loved about him – his energy, his love of music, his sense of humor.

I told him how much I appreciated his love of astronomy, his joy of marching in the High School band, how well he plays his saxophone.

I told him how much I enjoyed being around him, the good memories I have of our vacation together and how well he can tell a joke. I ended the letter saying, “Remember you are my favorite!”, which is something I say to all my grandchildren. They all laugh, but it is true. They are ALL my favorite!

Of course, one letter is not a cure-all but lots of love and prayer can certainly tip the scales. And that’s what I have lots of – love and prayer.

Look out Matt! You’re about to be loved on and prayed for, Granny style!!!!!

“Grand” Things Kids Say

My soon-to-be 3yo GS received a great suit of armor for Christmas (he’s very into castles and knights), plastic, of course. He also received a lovely cape with his initial stitched on. One evening, he came downstairs dressed in full armor with the cape wrapped around him. At the bottom of the stairs, he announced, “I am a cold knight!” and then went on about his business! No further explanation needed!