Love At First Sight

A good friend of mine just became a grandmother for the first time. She is so excited and I’m so excited for her! Her comment the very first day was, “I love being a grandmother!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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I know exactly how she feels. I remember the very first time I saw my first grandchild, newly born, sort of ugly really, but the most beautiful thing I had seen since the birth of my own children. I was instantly in love. There was a bond at that second that has remained throughout the years.

I knew in one second I was not only in love with that baby but I was in love with being a grandparent. How is that even possible after so short a time? I’m not sure how, but I know it is a true, sure thing.

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I knew I would not only be willing to die to protect him, but I would be willing to do almost anything to keep him happy, strong, engaged, learning, laughing and healthy. And I knew all this in an instant.

It was as if I could see all the future times of playing with him, talking with him, sharing meals with him, laughing with him, walking with him in that one moment. Our lives together were very clear to me even though he was still only minutes old, we hadn’t touched and I had just seen him being whisked away to be measured and weighed.

In one moment I fell in love for ever. A unique love affair to be sure. A love that was very one-sided in the beginning, but still very satisfying. What he gave in return may not have been love, but it spoke to the depths of my heart.

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Now, of course, it is a very mutual love. We speak it, we show it, we are aware of it. In the beginning, he absorbed all the love he could get as if it were due him, which I felt it was. As his grandmother, I felt obligated and most willing to give him everything in the world I thought was good for him, starting with my unconditional devotion.

As the years passed, I have had the same reaction with every grandchild that has come into my life – instant love, instant unconditional caring and devotion for life.

How I wish every child came into this world with a guarantee of instantaneous love.

How I wish every grandparent felt love and exaltation at the birth of every grandchild, and would know instantly how wonderful that child was.

How I wish every grandparent and grandchild had an unbreakable, life-long, love relationship they could both rely upon and cherish.

How I wish . . . . .

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Good Night, Granny!

Gramps and I just had our 9 year old grandson Mac spend the night with us. We do different things – play outside, go to a movie, play board games. We eat different meals – pizza, hamburgers or Mac’s favorite meal of salmon and broccoli. Sometimes we’re very active and sometimes we’re very quiet, but one thing always stays the same – the bedtime routine.

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Getting ready for bed starts with Mac taking a warm shower. He feels very independent doing it on his own. I clean his ears, clip his nails and try to corral his hair with its many cowlicks. We go through the same jokes and conversations each time. How can they still be funny after all these years?

Next is tooth brushing. Mac likes to drag this procedure out for as long as possible for some reason. Maybe it’s because he likes to chat and keeps taking the toothbrush out of his mouth.

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Then it’s off to pick out the three books for Gramps and Mac to read. The two of them sit on the couch and giggle and point and laugh and read out loud together. Mac can read very well, but Gramps does better voices and sound effects. This step would go on for hours if Granny didn’t finally say, “It’s time to go to bed please.”

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After hugs and kisses all around, Mac jumps (yes, he literally jumps!) into bed. Now this is my favorite part! I lay down next to him for a few minutes while we have a nice quiet chat. We talk about the day we just had, the day coming up, funny things, odd things, ordinary things.

Last night’s talk:

Mac – “So how many baby teeth do people have?”

Granny – “I don’t know Mac. Let’s find out tomorrow.”

Mac – “OK”

What a great conversation is that! I love getting kids ready for bed with a quiet routine full of love and interaction. It is very soothing for me and my precious one.

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P.S. We have 20 baby teeth. Who knew?!

The Joy Of A Good Brrr!

Here we are in Texas having one of the colder winters in memory. Trying to stay warm has become a full-time job for most of us, Gramps and Granny included. There is whining and sniveling going on in all corners and everyone seems to be wishing for summer to come now, not later.

Granted, we are not shoveling our way out of mounds of packed snow or dealing with subzero temperatures, but a little ice and sleet go a long way here in the new Old West. And believe me, we can complain about the weather better than most.

Joy ChooseBut in the midst of all this misery, I have tried to see the joy and wonder of it all. Most of the time I feel as though I’m swimming upstream by myself, but I am determined to make this my year of joy.

So I share with you the happiness of cold that I have discovered.

1 – The joy of winter clothes. I love the feel of sweaters and sweatshirts. Adding scarves is very fashionable now. Fancy socks have become my new passion and joy. Wearing my fuzzy slippers around the house is a real hoot!

2 – The joy of winter foods. I love soups and chili and stews with bread and wine. I love pot roast. I love holiday fare with warm pie ala mode. I love hot apple cider.

3 – The joy of fires in the fireplace. Gramps and I have one every evening on these cold days. Very cozy and romantic! And our new house has a gas starter, which makes it so easy for Gramps.

4 – The joy of Winter Olympics. Love the skating, the skiing, the snowboarding, the luge. Love the whole thing – all of it – from the opening flame lighting to the closing ceremony.

5 – The joy of the cat. I adore having our new kitten Oreo sleep on my lap, purring and providing lots of furry warmth on a cold day. We even take naps together! How wonderful is that!!

6 – The joy of cuddling. Gramps and I tend to sit closer together on a wintery day. We hold hands to keep warm when walking outdoors. And who can say no to a warm snuggly hug?

7 – The joy of candlelight. With these early sunsets and more darkness in the evenings, I use candles more often. I love the look, the feel and the aroma of candles. Sometimes we turn out all the electric lights and just use the fireplace and some candles. What ambience!

8 – The joy of indoors. When grandkids come over and it is too cold for outside fun, we must rely on inside activities. We love board games, puzzles, reading, old movies, new 3D movies, cooking and crafts. Indoors can be as fun as outdoors.

9 – The joy of sightseeing. How about a family slide show or movie night? Or a road trip without getting out of the car? Can’t be beat, really.Joy Oh

So no more whining and moaning for me. I’m having a grand time in this chilly month. I’m finding the joy in the cold! Brrr!!!!

Flat Shawn Goes To Texas

A few weeks ago Gramps and I got a letter from our grandson Shawn. He said his teacher had just read a great book called “Flat Stanley”, about a fictitious boy named Stanley who was flattened one night by his bulletin board. He becomes only half an inch thick.

In the book, Stanley’s parents mail him to his friend for a vacation because they can’t afford to pay for a plane or train ticket.

Shawn further wrote that he needed our help with a class project related to Flat Stanley. He had enclosed a laminated mini Shawn and asked if we would please take it to several exciting places in our city and take pictures of Flat Shawn enjoying himself, then return the pictures when we were done.

Well, Gramps and I were thrilled to do this for Shawn. We took Flat Shawn everywhere with us for several weeks and took pictures of some great adventures. I wrote a story of all the places and fun times Flat Shawn had. Here it is for you to enjoy.

Flat Shawn Goes To Texas

Flat Shawn lives in Arizona. His grandparents, Granny and Gramps, live in Texas. Flat Shawn decided to visit Granny and Gramps, so he jumped into an envelope and was mailed to Texas. It only took three days to get there, but Flat Shawn was very glad to get out of the envelope and stretch his legs.

Granny and Gramps were so happy to see Flat Shawn. They loved him a lot and wanted him to meet all their friends.

Flat Matt Haircut

First Flat Shawn had to get a haircut and get cleaned up. He wanted to look good for all his new adventures in Texas.

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Then Granny and Gramps took Flat Shawn out to dinner and a movie. He had a cheeseburger, french fries and a soda, his favorite meal. The movie was animated in 3D, so Flat Shawn wore special glasses so he could see everything. Everyone had a wonderful time.

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The next morning Flat Shawn went with Gramps in the car. Gramps let Flat Shawn help steer the car out of the driveway. That was so much fun!

IMG_0927 The two of them went to the car shop to get a new battery. Flat Shawn picked the one he liked the best – the green one. Then he helped Gramps put it in the car.

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While he was at the car shop, Flat Shawn found a truck door someone had left leaning against the wall. Guess what? He fit right inside! How funny was that? Flat Shawn thought it was funny too!

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The next day Granny and Gramps took Flat Shawn with them to their Bible Study Class. Everyone was so happy to meet Flat Shawn. They all smiled and laughed and gathered around him to make him feel welcome. They even showed him a book in the Bible that had his same middle name – Matthew. How about that?

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Gramps wanted to show Flat Shawn all around his yard and garden. While the two of them were pulling weeds they found some mushrooms that had sprouted up overnight. Flat Shawn had fun pretending they were tables and he was ordering food. He and Gramps laughed and laughed.

Flat Matt & Mason

That evening, Flat Shawn’s cousin Mac came over to visit. He and Flat Shawn are good friends.They were surprised to see that they had the same color shirts on – red! They both played with the Legos and then sat together in the big blue recliner to watch some cartoons. They both liked the “Tom and Jerry” cartoons the best.

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Granny and Gramps love to sing and belong to the church choir. Flat Shawn had a great time with them at choir practice. He especially liked helping Miss Kitty play the organ. She used her fingers and Flat Shawn used his feet. What a team they made!

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After awhile, Flat Shawn wanted to play the piano tool He wasn’t supposed to do that because Miss Kitty was not there. But Flat Shawn thought he could do it by himself. Uh oh! Watch out! The piano lid fell right on Flat Shawn.

No worry! He wasn’t hurt because he’s already flat. Granny and Gramps got him out safe and all was well. That was close! Flat Shawn didn’t play with the piano again after that.

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The next day Gramps and Flat Shawn went looking for a new tractor. Flat Shawn picked his favorite again – the green one! Flat Shawn likes green.

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When they got home, Granny was decorating the house for Halloween. Flat Shawn wanted to help. He put out pumpkins, carved Jack-o-lanterns, made ghosts out of sheets, and hung a skeleton by the front door. The house was all set for Trick or Treaters.

Flat Shawn had so much fun visiting Granny and Gramps. He had lots of memories to take with him back home to Arizona. But right as he was about to jump back in his envelope, Gramps had one more surprise for him – a pet to take home! A gecko named Flat Gary. What a nice going away present is that!

Now Flat Shawn will have company in his envelope on his trip home. Won’t his parents be surprised when he arrives with Flat Gary?

Granny and Gramps hope Flat Shawn comes to Texas again for a visit soon.

What A Lovely Surprise!

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Well, wasn’t I stunned when I received a sweet note from Jess at Little Girl Story. She very kindly nominated me for The Lovely Blog Award. What a Sweetie she is and I thank her so much for the honor.

Rules For Accepting This Award

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post. (Right click and copy the logo and post in your own blog)
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Nominate 7 or so bloggers you admire.
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know.

Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me

  1. Gramps and I will be married 45 years the end of this month. That number seems so enormous to me and yet . . .. It is such an odd feeling being with one person for a huge portion of my life and still putting forth effort every day to be a good wife, companion, home provider, confidant and advisor.
  2. I eat American cheese with my apple pie, just like my Daddy did.
  3. I love amusement parks! However, Gramps and I are not compatible riders. He likes up and down, i.e. roller coasters and I like around and around, i.e. Tilt-a-Whirls.
  4. I was secretly addicted to “The Real Housewives of NYC” and watched every episode. I don’t know why, but I was fascinated.
  5. I once had a white rabbit named Hutch and a black cat named Starsky. The vet thought it was pretty funny!
  6. My favorite color is blue. I live in a predominately blue and white world, to which my family will attest. If only dirt came in blue . . . my life would be so much easier.
  7. I am attracted to miniatures of all kinds. I am intrigued with small people, small pieces of art, doll houses and furniture, tiny replicas of almost anything. My little Norman Rockwell Christmas Village is one of my favorite holiday decorations

Hello All My Sweeties!

I started my blog two years ago to share all my feelings about being the matriarch, the oldest female of my family. I wanted to inspire, validate and uplift other women in my same situation in life. I also hoped to speak to younger mothers with a message of hope, that aging is to be embraced and not feared.

I adore being a grandmother. I feel that everything I have done and learned in my life has prepared me for this unique job of grannyhood. And it is a job! I’m sure many people think that when they reach a certain age (you know when you get there!), they should just sit back in the rocking chair, wait for room service and watch the world pass by.

I believe just the opposite. Well-seasoned people should be living, vibrant examples of all they have learned and experienced. They are the teachers and leaders of the family. They are the advisors, the historians, the confidants. Who else can connect all the generations, tell the stories and teach the lessons of life? No one else has the wisdom and experience except the elders.

Becoming an elder and grandmother has been very fulfilling. I can see my family circle becoming stronger because of each person. From the youngest (age 4 years), to the oldest, me.

I don’t really think of myself as a writer . . . more of a storyteller. Hope you enjoy the stories I have to tell, the pictures I try to paint with words, and the feelings I hope to convey. Feel free to share your comments and responses. I would love to hear from all of you.

Check out these blogs. I love them and I think you will too.

http://www.thehouseofsmiths.com

http://honeywerehome.blogspot.com

http://www.athoughtfulplaceblog.com

http://kate1975.wordpress.com

http://scitascienda.com

http://livelifeincrescendo.wordpress.com

http://www.olderandwisor.blogspot.com

What A Laugh!

A few days ago, I was in line to check out of a store. While waiting, a woman passed by with a baby in her arms, maybe about ten months old. He was a real cutie, chubby, blond hair, round face, bright eyes and being carried like a bag of groceries on his mother’s hip. His arms and legs were free to move, wiggle and wave about. He seemed a happy little fellow in general, with a wide smile and frequent bouts of giggling.

baby laughingThis idyllic little scene had my full attention and I was just starting to remember the feeling of holding a bundle of sweet smelling joy, when the baby’s much older brother (by about seven or eight years) ran up and with both hands, tickled the baby’s tummy. The laugh that emerged from the little body was immense. It started in the round baby belly, bubbled up out of the happiest face ever and ended with arms and legs waving in spasmodic glee. I can’t remember the last time I saw a full body laugh like that. And every time the big brother came at the baby with those tickling fingers, it happened again . . . . . and again . . . . . and again.

When does laughing like that stop? Why does laughing like that stop? One of thelaughing-cute-baby consequences of getting older, I suppose, but what a shame. It’s a laugh like no other and we outgrow it?! Oh please tell me I can get it back. Please tell me I can laugh with my whole body when I am so happy I can’t hold it in. Please tell me the joy I saw in that baby is still available, still attainable. Please.

I think I do still have it in me! Deep down there somewhere, from my childhood, just waiting to be resurrected. I’m going to give it a try! The next time something strikes my funny bone, the next time I hear the best third grade joke ever or the next time someone tickles my tummy, I’m going to respond with a great big body laugh.

woman-laughingFrom the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I will exude glee and joy. My face will have glowing eyes and a broad smile. My Granny tummy will be chuckling and gurgling with the most infectious sound ever heard. My arms and legs will literally be dancing with delight.

This may not be a pretty sight but it sure will feel good. I can hardly wait! Come on, somebody say something funny! I gotta laugh!

Overnight At Granny’s

“Finally”, my 7 year old grandson Mac says. “Finally, I get to spend the night at your new house.”

“I know”, says I. “Why has it taken so long?”

“I don’t know.” he replies. “I just don’t know.”

Well, I’m not quite sure either, but it probably has something to do with not being able to find sheets for the bed, not having a functional kitchen for months and not being able to walk through the house due to towering columns of boxes. You know, moving issues! We’ve had them for several months. Yuck!

But now, things seem to be improving. I have a stove! Yeah! The washer and dryer work! Yeah! There are pathways throughout the house! Yeah! So I’m ready for grandchildren to come for sleepovers! Yeah!

Having a kiddo spend the night is so much fun for Gramps and me. We love spending one-on-one time with each child. The conversations, the sharing, the snuggling, it’s all special and unique with each child each time.

When Mac comes over, he first makes all the requisite visits with Gramps to the camper, the truck, the garage, the backyard – all the boy places. The two of them have imaginary games they play each time in each area. For example – while in the truck, they pretend they are driving to an imaginary town they have named “Noodle, Texas”. They talk about what they see, the road they are on, who will be there when they arrive. They laugh and carry on like two old friends. Then it’s off to the camper for the imaginary camping and fishing time. And on and on until all the familiar places have been visited and enjoyed. It’s all great fun! It happens every time! And no girls allowed!

We always try to spend some time outside with Mac when possible. That can be construction work in the sand box, gardening (he has his own tools!) or simply walking around the neighborhood observing whatever might be happening.

Mac loves to cook, so he is a big helper in the kitchen. Of course, we try to have his favorites for dinner and he always sets the table for us. What a sweet boy!

After dinner is LEGO time or maybe a board game. Whatever it is, we are usually on the floor with Mac – lots of touching, giggling, smiling and high fives!

Before going to bed, there’s shower, brushing teeth, PJs and don’t forget, reading time. Gramps has read to Mac at bedtime since he was a baby and even though he can now read for himself, he still loves being read to. So three books, four funny voices and two snuggly bodies later, it’s off to bed.

First thing next morning, Mac and Gramps are in the kitchen together, in their pajamas, making applesauce pancakes. It’s a longstanding tradition, not to be broken. Usually, they make more than enough pancakes, so we eat them all day long!

Having all these special activities , special foods and special routines is what makes sleepovers so fun. These things only happen at our house with us and become special because of their rarity and uniqueness.

Gramps and I adore these times because we have the kiddo’s full attention and desire to be with us. The conversations can be amazing! The cuddling is heavenly! And we are all relaxed. No one is leaving in an hour. We have lots of time to just “be” together. That’s the best of all!

Why I Love Growing Old

This world, this country, this culture is based on the young. Not me. I’m glad I was young when I was, but you couldn’t pay me to do it again, now, at my age! I’ve earned my golden years and I plan to enjoy them. I love my age. I love having wisdom. I love being a Granny!

I find, with experience, that life is less stressful. After working at a career for 40 years, being happily married with children and grandchildren, I no longer worry about these areas of my life. There is a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. I can say I feel more emotionally stable and content than I did in my 20’s and 30’s. It’s as if I can exhale completely and relax, where as years ago there was a constant state of anxiety to a degree. I love this feeling!

Through the years of decision-making and problem-solving, these processes have become easier. It seems to me the older brain can spot a pattern it has seen before a little quicker than a young brain that is seeing that pattern for the first time. In other words – experience shows! I’ve been through a lot, done a lot, seen a lot. I don’t have to think everything through. I know how it will end and I will tell you so! Maybe this is why so many judges and presidents tend to be middle-aged or older, and why Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was able to land that airplane on the Hudson River. I love being able to rely on my older brain to make the right call!

I know who I am. I know what I like. I know why I’m here. When I turned 60, my seniority became very clear to me. Before, I may have been tentative about many things, but now I have a voice and most important, I have the confidence to use it. I’ve fallen many times and I know how to get up, so taking a risk is less frightening. I’ve also discovered over the years that learning new things keeps my brain and my life sharp. I’m having more fun than ever!

The fashion police no longer care what I wear! And I couldn’t be happier! I don’t have to wobble on pointy-toed spiked high heels anymore!  Or pore, prod and poke myself into skin tight pants one more time!  Or model strapless, backless, frontless, bottomless dresses ever again! If I want to wear bunny slippers with a baggy T-shirt, I can, or a muumuu with a pair of orthopedic sandals, I can. I’m not sure I would, but I COULD! The only thing adding to my longevity is moving – when, where, and how I can. I love knowing my inner beauty shines through no matter what, if anything, I have on!

You would think toward the end of your life, you would worry about time – the lack of it. But actually, I find I have more time available for the things I enjoy and want to do. I also have the time to share what I have learned through volunteer work. Time is everything. Time is precious. I love having it!

Finally, I have to say the best thing – the very, very best thing about growing old, is grandchildren. They can’t be beat! They make everything worthwhile. They make the air smell fresher. They make food taste better. They make jokes funnier. What else can I say? If you don’t have any, get some. I love my grandchildren! All 9 of them!

Everyone gets older but not everyone ages well. Everyone has experiences but not everyone gains wisdom. Everyone remembers but not everyone learns. Gaining in years can only be positive if we allow it. I love my life, with the confidence and wisdom of experience. I embrace growing older, gaining happiness, contentment, comfortable clothes, disposable time and the ultimate joy of grandchildren. I can’t think of a way to spend my life that is more satisfying.

“You can’t learn from remembering. You can’t learn from guessing. You can learn only from moving forward at the rate you are moved, as brightness, into brightness.”   Sarah Manguso

Things Children Learn Without Being Told

No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.

When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.

If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back; they always catch the second person.

Never ask your three-year-old brother to hold a tomato.

You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.

Reading what people write on desks can teach you a lot.

Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.

Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a tic-tac.

Potatoes really can’t grow in your ears, no matter how dirty they get.

Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.

School lunches stick to the wall.

You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.

The best place to be when you are sad is in Granny’s lap.

Oh Boy, More Boys!

Let me tell you about my “boys”. I have one grandson 6yo who lives nearby. He is the only child of my daughter and her husband.

My niece and her husband, who live in Arizona, have 5 sons ranging in age from 21 to 6yo. (They also have a daughter age 4, but I’m only talking about boys here!) They are my “spiritual” grandsons. I adopted them “in spirit” about 2 1/2 years ago, when my niece asked Gramps and me to be her Mom and Dad. She broke away from her abusive birth family and asked to become a part of ours. We were delighted! And she brought us 6 grandchildren in the bargain.

These last 2 1/2 years have been exciting and different, to say the least. I may have thought I knew all about having grandsons from the first little one, but I’m learning all about having grandsons now! They keep me on my toes for sure!

Grandsons are energetic, playful and very funny. They are honest to a fault. They tell you straight out if anything smells bad, looks weird or doesn’t suit their fancy. They ask for what they want and complain when they don’t get it. They are angelic when asleep, hunger when awake and never have enough toys that fit into their pockets. Little boys believe they can do anything and try to do everything and that’s just before lunch! They are lovable one at a time or in groups. I can’t get enough hugs and kisses from grandsons, even if they are disguised as pokes and handshakes.

I didn’t think life could be any better, until I got the best news from my son. He is getting married next summer to a great gal he has known since high school. And guess what? She has 2 boys!! We’re getting 2 more grandsons, ages 6 and 3. Yippee Skippee! Yahoo! Whoopee!

That will be 8, count them 8, grandsons in total! That’s a big number. But I am so ready! I love grandchildren any way they come to me – any shape, size, age or gender. I do, however, seem to attract boys, whether homegrown, prepackaged or delivered long distance.

One thing I know – these grandsons of mine, my “boys”, fill my heart and fill my life. There’s always plenty of room, plenty of love, plenty of Granny to go around. And there always will be!