Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Butt Race into Old Age: Fighting Gravity

I realized something this morning. A couple of weeks ago, my youngest daughter purchased a shirt for me. I thanked her, and I wore it without giving it much thought. At the end of the day I took it off.

And then (shudder) I noticed something unusual about the shirt. Without thinking (that was my first mistake), I realized that I had taken from her a shirt that practically SCREAMED, "Old Lady!"

Was it true? Had I suddenly become an old lady? Was the slip into old age so subtle that I automatically slipped on an "old lady" shirt without giving any consideration whatsoever to the way I looked in the old lady shirt?

But what's worse is that she thought it would look good on me. Well, yeah, because you're old, she practically taunted me (without saying a word, but she spoke volumes with that shirt). 

What has become of me? Next thing you know, I'll be putting on flower-printed muu-muus, dying my hair pitch black, putting dark black eyebrow pencil on my eyebrows, and encircling my cheeks with rouge. 

And the fact that I called it rouge instead of blush further indicates my slip into old age.

Yes, that's exactly how it happens. We SLIP into old age, our bodies sagging into the ground in an attempt to slide six feet under before we are ready, and we drag our butts back up and say, NOT YET, fighting gravity with all our mights just to keep our bodies above ground.

No, Dylan Thomas, I WILL NOT GO GENTLY INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT! 

And so, it is with dignity and grace that I pull my jowls back up into my face, the flab back into my stomach and butt, and exercise the muscles that are racing to the floor.


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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Just Rub My Tummy


My four-year-old grandson, Zac, along with his brother, Kaden, and sister, Taylor, spent three nights with me last week. And every night, when it was time to go to sleep, Zac wanted to sleep with me. What "sleeping" with Zac entails is Grandma rubbing his tummy so he can fall asleep.

After the third night of being – first with 3 kids, then with 8 kids, then with 6 kids – 3 days in a row, I was exhausted, so on the third night of his stay, I told him, "Zac, Grandma is too tired to rub your tummy until you fall asleep.

Being the sweet gentleman he is, he offered me an option – "That's OK, you can just put you hand on my tummy."

He sure has grown. When he was two years old, he had to have his whole body resting on mine before he could fall asleep. I talk about that time in The Symbol of a Grandma's LoveYou'll see the symbol in this blog as well, though to get an explanation, you'll have to read the other blog.


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Hubby Talk

Thanks for the post from Rashad Townsend

I talked to my husband about getting some dish packages for the house so we could institute a family movie night which I think would be a good way for us to get together on a regular basis. I want to find a way to keep our kids in the house as much as possible so we can keep tabs on them since they’re getting into their teens and I don’t really love the crowd they’re hanging around with. I can only imagine what it’s like to have kids who are totally off the rocker but for us it’s all about keeping a bond with them while they still like us and I think this movie night is a good way to do that. The kids are going to get to choose the movies because I know if we make them watch stuff they don’t want to they’re going to revolt against movie night. I really wish we could just hold them in our arms until they grow up and become good adults!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Grandchildren Present a Christmas Song for Me

video

Only 5 of them participated, but thank you, Taylor, Kaden, Zac, Audrey, and Nolan

Baby Talk

video

I tried posting this video on Facebook, but after numerous attempts, gave up and decided to post it in this blog. Hopefully, it will show up here.

What you see is 8 of my grandchildren. Avery, my 3 month old granddaughter, talks to her grandma.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Audrey's Story July 2011

My granddaughter, Audrey, was six and a half years old when she wrote the following story. I promised her I would post it, but got interrupted. Here is the story she wrote last summer:

All she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth, her two front teeth, her two front teeth...
There was a little girl. Her name was Sarah. She was the worst baseball player ever, so she wanted to practice catching balls. She kept on missing. But then she got it. She caught it ten times in a row.

She practiced batting with her coach. She kept on missing, but then she hit a home run. So she wanted to play baseball.

She was outfield. She caught all of the balls. Then it was her turn to bat. She always hit a home run out of the park. She was turning into the best player ever. Everybody cheered for her.

The end. 

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Zac Remembers Being In The Womb

Zac and Kaden visiting their Dad in Virginia
My youngest granddaughter, Avery, was born a couple of months ago. When I discussed Avery's birth with Zac, who was still 3 at the time, I told him that Avery was no longer in her mommy's tummy.

"I know," Zac responded. "It was fun being in my mommy's tummy."

Playing along, I said, "You remember being in your mommy's tummy?"

"Yeah."

"What did you do in your mommy's tummy?" I wanted to know.

" I was a crazy psycho boy," Zac responded.

"A crazy psycho boy?" I laughed.

"Yeah, it was fun. It was like wrestling in a tent."

"Who were you wrestling with?"

"Myself."

Because he was an extremely active infant before he was born, I could find no argument with his memory of being a "crazy psycho boy" in his mommy's tummy, and when he added that it was, "like wrestling in a tent," I couldn't help but wonder how he related being wrapped in a tent and kicking his way out of it to being in his mommy's tummy.

I think his experience requires more investigation ;)


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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Secrets My Family Doesn't Want Me To Tell

Hidden in my head are thousands – you heard me – THOUSANDS of secrets I've been sworn not to tell ANYBODY.

Sometimes I sneak those little secrets into blogs  – disguised. But seriously, you have no idea how many times friends and family tell me things I am sworn NOT to tell.

Since my family doesn't read my blogs, I'd like to share one of those dirty little secrets here – in this blog – UNdisguised. My family doesn't read my blogs anyway (evil grin).

Yes, sad as it is to write it, and even more sad to actually admit it, my family doesn't read my blogs.

However, I should probably add that since I posted a title that's sure to arouse curiosity, some of them may actually read this one and then expel a huge sigh of relief when they realize I haven't divulged more than just one secret.

The secret? My family doesn't read my blogs. (I can hear the heart flutters easing as I write that last sentence.)

Though they will never admit to having read this blog, I have the satisfaction of knowing they probably did.

Light bulb moment: I think I've just discovered how to get my family to read my blogs!

Disclaimer: two of my family members sometimes (emphasis on sometimes) read my blogs and I'm sure they are breathing HUGE sighs of relief right now.


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mona Lisa Taylor – My Granddaughter's 1st Play – Watch Out Broadway!

My granddaughter, Taylor, just acted and sang in her first play, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, Jr., which I and my youngest daughter, Brittney, along with two of her children, Audrey and Nolan, got to see with Taylor's mom, grandma, and brothers, Kaden and Zac.

The original Flat Stanley project is a literacy program that allows children around the globe to "publish stories, describe local traditions and scenery, talk about Stanley's adventures, and post pictures" (from the Flat Stanley web site). 

In the case of the play though, Flat Stanley is a character who finds himself suddenly flat after being crushed in bed. The advantages of being flat are that he can place himself in an envelope and mail himself to all parts of the world. 

Taylor played the role of Mona Lisa, a painting at the Louvre that talked. She and the whole crew had practiced for so many hours over so many days, I shouldn't have been surprised that it ran as smoothly as it did. What a talented little group!

Taylor looked so comfortable on the stage, I saw Broadway lights flashing in my mind and I couldn't help but be proud of her for memorizing her lines and for playing the part of Mona Lisa so well. Her brother, Zac, couldn't help but blurt out her name every time he saw her either. His other grandma and I kept shushing him, but he had such a big wide grin on his face, I thought his little outbursts were really cute and I think Taylor thought so too. Zac was obviously happy to see his sister on stage.

The play was funny and cute, and I really enjoyed it, but the part I loved the best was at the very end, after all of the cast members had taken their bows – there was Taylor jumping up and down and clapping, because she was so happy. (I wonder if anybody caught her exhilaration on camera).

Great job, Mona Lisa Taylor.

By the way Flat Stanley has a Facebook page and you can follow Stanley with the Flat Stanley App (just click the links). 


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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mold and Musty Odors

Here we go again. If you have read any of my previous blogs, or if you know me, you know that once one problem surfaces, other underlying problems arise and my problems keep growing and growing and … (just keep going).

Anyway, last spring I discovered that my ceiling was leaking. I won't discuss any further the problems that resulted from having to get my ceiling repaired and then my vent caps replaced, nor will I whine about the resulting cost that included my ONE THOUSAND DOLLAR deductible. But I will discuss another problem that occurred simultaneously.

At about the same time my roof leaked, so too did my kitchen sink, and, because of my allergies and the mold problem that resulted from a leaky sink, and because I ended up in the hospital with an asthma attack and pneumonia, I had my son-in-law and my daughter-in-law's sister's boyfriend (sorry – I realize how complicated that sounds) install a new sink.

However, they didn't completely seal the area underneath the sink, so for the past several months, the sink had been leaking (unbeknown to me) and the floorboard under the sink was covered with mold. 

In my defense, I rarely visit the area beneath my sink, because I have my dish detergent ON my sink. My other cleaning supplies are located in the laundry room.

This past weekend one of my daughter's boyfriends tried to repair the broken sink, but could tighten only one side and will have to come back to repair the other in a couple of weeks because he had to go to the store to purchase something I didn't have and he didn't have time to stay. 

Now, when I need a plastic garbage bag, I open the cabinet under the sink, quickly grab a bag, and slam the door shut, because I still have a mold problem. 

UnfortunateIy I cannot destroy the hideous mold smell because the only company I know that handles musty odor removal is in Austin, and I live in Illinois – I'm going to have to devise another plan to remove the mold and musty odor from beneath my sink. Perhaps an exorcism would work.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Proud of My Kids

Even though my children are grown, I still marvel at the way they turned out. I don't give myself all the credit, but when situations like what I'm about to explain occur, I can't help but hope I had a little something to do with the kind of people they have become.

Earlier this week, my youngest daughter treated me to a Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino. While we were sitting at Barnes and Noble, I noticed a pair of sunglasses lying on the floor outside the cafe. I picked them up thinking they belonged to my granddaughter. When I brought them to the table, my daughter told me that no, they weren't my granddaughters; they belonged to somebody else. As she examined the glasses she noted that they were VERY expensive sunglasses.

Some people might have kept the sunglasses. Others might have left them on the table. My daughter turned them in to the lost and found. I'm a firm believer in, "what goes around comes around," and I hope her good deed will be reciprocated with a well-deserved reward, even if that reward is only the rewarding feeling that she did the right thing.

Moving to Savannah

Posted by Heriberto Fuentes

Two years ago my husband and I visited Savannah for the first time. I absolutely fell in love with the city and told him that I wanted to move there. It is such a romantic southern city. We walked along the river and listened to bands outside. We visited little candy shops and ate at delicious restaurants. We walked around downtown and looked at the historic monuments. We even went to the beach at Tybee Island, which was not very far away. We loved the city of Savannah so much that when we got home from our trip, we immediately started making arrangements for moving there. I did some research online to figure out what kind of utilities we would be using and found out that they have Wildblue service in Savannah GA for satellite internet. We found a townhouse that we will rent until we can find a house that we want to buy. We are still in that townhouse today, but I honestly love the location so much that I am not sure I want to buy a house.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Men Can't Always Pump Iron

They may be the stronger sex physically, but when it comes to the physical process of nursing a baby,  men can't always pump iron, as this little boy discovers.

(Photo is of my grandson, who, after finding his mother's breast pump, perhaps thought he could produce milk to feed his new baby sister.)

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Layla SeeSaw Midnight Snow Boots

When I was a little girl, I longed to have a cat or a small dog, but I never had any animals except for a few turtles that somehow kept dying on me. Well, not literally ON me, but mine kept dying, while my sisters' turtles thrived. I was never very good at caring for plants either. I heard that I might have some luck with air ferns, but even they died on me.

When I turned 19 and I was living on my own with my oldest daughter, I decided it was time I got a pet for us. I figured I would have better luck with animals. And I did.

What helped was that I LOVED cats. My first cat, Layla, was a beautiful black cat who perched herself on my lap frequently and allowed me to pet her while she purred contentedly. She was also a very smart cat.

When I sat on the floor one Christmas morning, picking up wrapping paper my daughter had scattered across the room, I rolled them into little balls and aimed them in the direction of the garbage can (missing more often than not – I was no Michael Jordan). As a result, most of the little balls landed on the floor next to the garbage can.

As I was rolling yet another ball, Layla brought one back to me. Looking into her eyes, I somehow knew that she wanted to play "catch" – WOW! my CAT wanted to play catch with me.

So I threw another little ball and she dutifully brought it back to me. Over and over again, I threw little paper balls and watched Layla retrieve them again and again. It became a daily game from that point on.

Thinking she was lonely, because my daughter and I were only human and she probably wanted something from her own species, and because we were not always home, I got Layla a little friend and allowed my 3-year-old daughter to name her. SeeSaw, a little fur ball of black, had some intellectual problems. She may have been taken from her mother a little too soon, because she slept wrapped around my head and I frequently awoke to her sucking on my neck.

Some landlords don't allow animals, and when I had to move, I couldn't bring my cats with me, so I gave them to some other animal lovers. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I found myself with new kittens again though. I couldn't NOT have a cat.

Midnight was a beautiful fully black cat. Snow was pure white and had beautiful ocean blue eyes. Like SeeSaw, Snow might have been a little on the slow side. Either that or she was ornery. No matter where I placed the litter box, she found a different corner of the CARPETED bathroom to use, even if the litter box had previously been in that corner. As much as I loved her, I had to find her another home where she could stay in an uncarpeted house – on a farm.

When Boots, our dog, arrived on the scene, Midnight found a new fun play partner. The two of them got along fabulously. I didn't know how fabulously until I came home from work during the Christmas season one evening to find Midnight INSIDE the Christmas tree batting off all the ornaments so Boots could scatter them around the floor and play with them. Broken glass shards were EVERYWHERE.

The landlord heard the commotion and when I arrived home from work I was told to find new homes for my pets – again.

Now, sadly I have no pets, but I can't have them anymore anyway because of my allergies – which is fine – I have my memories of Layla, SeeSaw, Midnight, Snow, and Boots.

I'd better get rid of my allergies though. Some of my grandchildren have pets and one of my grandsons (my oldest daughter's middle son) loves animals so much he wants to become a vet. For his birthday I might have to get him some veterinary technician scrubs just to get him in the mindset of a vet ;)

http://www.blueskyscrubs.com

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Wish I Was A Grownup

Zac asleep in Daddy's arms.
"I wish I was a grownup," my grandson Zac said, as he has been saying often lately. Zac will be four in November.

"I wanna be a grownup, so I can drive a car." Well, three is a little young to be thinking about driving, but I like the fact that he has goals.

"Guess what!" I responded. "In about 12 years you will be able to drive a car."

Zac wasn't impressed.

"And I wanna eat broccoli."

Well, that was unexpected.

"Do you like broccoli?"

"I hate broccoli. But when I be a grownup, I will like it."

Again, good to know he has goals.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moving Out of the City

Content by Sol Rosales

I decided that it was time for me to move out of the city and get myself a house a little outside of the city. Even though I have to drive in to work every day, I’m loving having space for my new puppy. That was my favorite part of having a new house. I knew that if I moved out of the city that I could get my own sweet little puppy. I decided on a Labrador retriever because I had one when I was growing up. Some people think that they’re too wild, but I knew that I would have a place for her to run. I named her “Pup,” which doesn’t really fit her anymore because she’s gotten so big! I’ve also gotten to do things like put up curtains, buy real furniture, and all of those ‘grown-up’ things. It’s also been an adjustment having to sign up for electricity (I compared atWWW.texaselectricityproviders.com/), water, and my cable company. Overall, I’ve loved having a new house, and am loving having all of this space!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mr. Sippy

Audrey and Nolan were on vacation with their Aunt Elaine and Uncle Ryan a couple of weeks ago. They traveled from central Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri, where their Uncle Ryan, who coached a girl's baseball team, had entered his team in a tournament.

Nolan was particularly excited to see Mr. Sippy – you know – that big river that runs from western Minnesota for 2,320 miles down to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico.

As you can see by the photo on the right, Audrey takes after her grandma's fashion sense. She wanted to dress herself that day, which I, her grandma, allowed, because I'm a believer in allowing children to express themselves. However, because of the way she was dressed, Audrey wasn't allowed out of the car at her mom's fashion consignment boutique ;) Hopefully she will develop her mother's sense of style before she gets much older.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Is Wrong With This Picture? BINGO! You Got It!



My grandchildren love playing games. Audrey especially enjoys Bingo games. I was playing Bingo with her a while ago and forgot to post this blog about the weirdest Bingo game I've ever played. Or should I say the weirdest Bingo game I ever noticed was weird.

Take a good long look at the cards and see if you can find the problem. Go ahead look at them very carefully. I'll wait.

Did you notice that on both cards a number appears twice in two separate columns?

When I was a kid, Bingo was numbered B, 1-15, I, 16-30, N, 31-45, G, 46-60, and O, 61-75. Obviously things have changed, because now 29 is both an "I" number and an "N" number, and 75 is a "G" number as well as an "O" number.

Wow!

I wonder if having two numbers in two separate columns increases or decreases your chances of winning. In my case I lost because out of the two cards I had, both of which are pictured above, I didn't have 29 or 75.

I guess it's time to update my game skills and start playing online Bingo. Maybe the online Bingo sites number their cards correctly!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Where Babies Come From

Dolls In Hospital Awaiting Birth

Audrey and Nolan Taking a Break from
Swimming on Living Room Floor
Audrey and Nolan are playing house right now where they have designated various parts of my house as different rooms, including a hospital where all of the babies that can be naked are naked (see photo) and are awaiting birth.

One of those babies is an American Girl doll (Addy or Addie – I'm not sure how to spell it). Yesterday Audrey's Aunt Laura took her to the American Girl store in Chicago and Aunt Laura brought along Audrey's new American Girl doll (courtesy of Aunt Laura) so Aunt Laura could purchase matching clothes Audrey could share with her new doll, which she named Cindy.

Right now Audrey and Nolan are taking a break after swimming in the living room pool (a layout of blankets). When I asked Audrey why she wasn't playing with both of her American Girl dolls, Audrey explained:

"Well, Addy (Addie) is still in the hospital because I'm not pregnant with her yet."

A little while later I heard her tell Nolan that she was pregnant and that she had to go to the hospital to get her baby. Now Cindy is part of their family.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

What is a Frooprup?

Zac drinking (probably) Diet Coke
My job as a grandmother is to be an interpreter for my younger grandchildren. I'm usually fairly good at interpreting words they say. But occasionally they trip me up, as you will note in the following conversation.

"Grandma, I'm hungry," Zac sighed with his yiddo (his word for little) puppy dog eyes.

"What do you want?" I asked him.

"Frooprup."

"What?"

"Frooprup."

By this time, I had figured out what he wanted but I wanted him to say it again. "Sorry, I still can't understand what you're saying."

Zac has experienced the frustration of knowing that people don't always understand him, but he knows how to get his point across and he knows how to make me laugh. He sighed again and instructed me to, "Say, Froop."

To which I responded, "Froop."

And Zac completed the instruction: "Rup. Frooprup. There ya go!"

I couldn't resist asking him one more time. "Say that again?"

"Frooprup."

And I got him is Fruit Rollup.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Wisdom of a 6 Year Old Regarding Old Age

Kaden with his younger brother, Zac, playing the Wii
Yesterday my grandson, Kaden, 6, looked at the calendar for a couple of seconds before he announced, "In a week and six days it's gonna be your birthday."

"Yeah, I know," I admitted, knowing that this year would be a landmark year for me. "This year is the year I become old."

Kaden raised his eyebrows and nodded his head up and down. "I know. You're going to be sixty."

"Yeah, that is old, isn't it?" I agreed.

"Yeah!" Kaden said, eyes wide open with amazement. "I'm surprised you're not dead."

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One Mom's First Love

As part of the Group Blogging Experience (GBE 2), each member is supposed to write a blog about whatever topic is given for the week. This week's topic is FIRST LOVE.

I could have written about romantic first love (like my crush on John when I was in the fifth grade), or my first love that involved one of the STILL most memorable kisses I've ever received (thank you, Jim), but I'm choosing instead to write about the first time I felt the kind of nurturing love that comes from being a mother.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant (believe it or not, the second it happened, I KNEW I was pregnant, but I didn't find out for sure until three months later), I fell in love with the baby growing inside me.

The first time I felt movement, I was in my Senior English class (yes, I was still in high school), and I was so excited to feel her move inside me that I had to tell somebody. I chose to tell the girl who sat next to me. Though I didn't know it at the time, she too was pregnant.

At around 8 p.m. the night my daughter was born, my husband's mother drove my husband and me to the hospital. Because I was 6 days short of my 18th birthday, and because this was my first baby, the nurses assumed I would be there for several hours, so, after prepping me for delivery, they threw me into a room with my husband – and left, assuring him that we would both have a looooong wait.

Less than four hours later, my (ex – for the past 40 or so years) husband removed my deeply embedded fingernails from his arm and went in search of help for his bloody arm – just kidding – he was concerned that I might actually be delivering NOW!

Keeley was born at 11:57 p.m. weighing in at 6 lbs. 3 oz. I couldn't wait to see her, but when the nurse brought her toward my face, she said, "Aw, look. She has a cute little pug nose, just like her mother." Because of the drugs they administered to me, all I saw was her nose. The focus on her nose created a kind of cloud-like apparition that blurred everything else on her face.

The next day when they brought her to me, I didn't recognize her, because even her nose, surrounded by the rest of her face, looked different when it was actually connected to a face. So, for the first time, I got to see the rest of her – a dark-skinned baby girl with black, curly hair.

Though I would have loved this baby as much as I would have loved my own, I objected to the hospital staff bringing me the wrong baby; mine, after all, was white. They assured me that this baby was my baby and that she WAS white.

When they brought me the birth certificate, I pointed out to them that they had written the wrong date. They assured me that the date was the only thing about which they were sure. The clock in the hospital delivery room had read 12:57. Surely they were wrong about the date. According to the nurse, hospitals don't change clocks to accommodate daylight savings time (wonder if this affects astrological data).

Despite my confusion about this tiny infant's heritage and date of birth, the moment I held her in my arms, I felt the deepest, most loving, and protective rush of love, that I thought my heart, already swollen with wonder and joy, would explode in an effort to allow her entry. I couldn't hold her close enough, and I couldn't bear to be too far away from her.

When the black curls grew out, blond hair sprouted underneath, which was also surprising since my hair color was off-black and I assumed my dark hair genes would override her father's light hair genes. Still, she was a little beauty, and I marveled at her first smile, her first step, her first word, her first everything.

I didn't have much money – I spent every last penny I had paying the doctor and hospital bill, so we didn't have many things, and when she was three years old, after having been read the same books over and over again, Keeley learned how to memorize them. People who met her for the first time thought she was a genius; she turned the pages at exactly the right moment.

Her little spirit was a joy to be around, because she was extremely inquisitive and very funny. If blogging had been around back then, she would have given her mommy so much material, I'd have never been at a loss for what to write. Her father and I divorced when she was still an infant. Keeley and I became very close, and for 11 years, Keeley was my only child. She was also a source of delight and inspiration. How could I ever love anybody as much as I loved her?

My mother once told me that before my sisters were born, she wondered how she could ever love a baby as much as she loved her firstborn (me). And then she had two more children. My mom discovered what I and other mothers discover when they have their second child – your heart grows with the birth of each child and you find you have as much love for your second and third (etc.) child as you did for your first.

My oldest baby, my first love as a mom, will celebrate her 42nd birthday in less than a month.  She is still bright and funny and a source of delight and inspiration (as are her brother and sisters and all my grandchildren and great grandchildren).

I think that what amazes me more than anything is that from the moment you experience your first love, you realize that your heart is capable of accommodating all of the loves in your life. You can love someone with all your heart and then discover that you can love others with all your heart as well. Your first love will always hold a special place in your heart, but she will have opened your heart to make room for more loves.

(I would have liked to have posted a photo of Keeley when she was a little girl, but Blogger wouldn't allow it today for some reason.)



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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How Would YOU Like It?

That red bump on his head did NOT
come from me throwing a shirt at him.
Also, that gift he received on his birthday,
a little fan, was his favorite gift.

Short blog today, but something I don't want to forget:

My grandson, Nolan, turned 4 this month. Every time he opens his mouth lately, I am surprised by what comes out of it.

Just this morning, for example, I pulled out some clothes for him to wear for the day. I thought I was playing with him when, as he sat down on the floor to put on his pants, I flung a shirt in his direction, and it landed on his head.

He got very serious and looked up at me as he straightened his hair with his hands. "How would you like it if somebody threw something on your head? Was that a nice thing to do?"

I was probably supposed to react with the same serious tone as he had, but instead I laughed (sorry, Nolan, I couldn't help it), and then immediately apologized because I saw that this had become a very serious issue for him.

He does NOT like anybody touching his hair, apparently even with a shirt. And he is learning proper manners, something he probably feels I "mussed" still learn.

Stay tuned. With so many grandchildren, somebody is always saying something that makes my blogs.


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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Why I Never Became a Nurse

Growing up Catholic in the 1950s and 1960s, I was steered toward one of three professions – teaching, nursing, or becoming a nun. For a while I considered nursing as an option. For one reason, I hate shopping for clothes so being a nurse appealed to my (lack of) fashion sense.

Then one day as my younger sisters and I were playing in an area where we shouldn't have been playing (several blocks from our home), my youngest sister, Kathy (who actually is a nurse now), stepped on a nail. I raced to the scene and pulled from her foot the board with a nail stuck in it. My other sister, Cindy, grabbed the shoe and threw it somewhere across the construction site as I screamed, "SOMEBODY HELP ME CARRY HER HOME!"

In a state of panic I grabbed her by her arm pits expecting somebody else – anybody else – to grab her bloody foot and drag her home with me – six blocks away. My friend, Diane, stood calmly by and suggested, "Why don't you just put her on the back of your bike?"

Why didn't I think of that?

Kathy hobbled over to the bike, crying, and I rode her home, watching the blood hit the pavement about every three inches. When we got to the front of our house, I got off the bike and told Kathy, who was trying to balance herself on the back of the bike I had now vacated, to stand still – I would be right back with mom.

Is it apparent to anybody else why I couldn't be a nurse? No, the only one in my family who makes a great nurse in uniform, is my sister, Kathy, who probably would have healed me on the spot if I had been the one with the nail in my foot.

http://www.blueskyscrubs.com/categories/Scrubs/Scrubs-for-Men/


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Issues of Control



My 4-year-old grandson, Nolan, a couple of weeks before he turned 4, asked me, "Does God have a controller that makes us walk and talk?" (I discuss that conversation in the blog, God's Control, which you can read by clicking the link.)

Inadvertently, because of that question, he became the catalyst for this week's Group Blogging Experience (GBE 2) blog, because when I learned that the topic for this week was "control," I couldn't help but blog about Nolan's comment.

Nolan was not quite 4 when he asked if God controlled his every move, and I couldn't help but wonder how many adults thought the same way.

At times I have felt that my life was so out of control that somebody else had to be pulling the strings. As a marionette in somebody else's puppet show, I complained about how everything kept happening TO me and about how my circumstances were so out of my control I could do nothing to change them.

My response to Nolan's question, by the way (in case you didn't read the blog), was that WE control our lives by the choices we make. And I firmly believe that to be true, though after I thought about my response, I realized that our choices don't always result in outcomes we anticipated.

That we have a choice helps us feel some measure of control – God did, after all, provide us with Free Will – but despite knowing we control certain aspects of our lives through our choices, we often feel that nothing we do and no choice we make will ever change the negative circumstances of our lives.

And the younger we are the less likely we are to believe that anything good will come out of destructive influences. We see no end to unhappiness. We don't believe that a light exists at the end of the tunnel. We sometimes feel stuck in our current situation, afraid to move forward, and that sense of losing control feels paralyzing. How many of us wish we could press rewind?

To have had the option of pressing rewind on my own personal controller would have prevented words I didn't mean to say from spewing out of my mouth. And pressing fast forward could have prevented me from attending events I didn't want to attend, working at tasks (jobs) I didn't want to perform, or developing relationships with people who disappointed me.

Without the benefit of knowing every possible outcome of each choice I made (though some outcomes should have been obvious), I soon discovered that my choices affected other people, people whose responses to the choices I made I also could not control.

An unplanned pregnancy at the age of 17, for example, turned the lives of everyone around me upside down. I had no idea how many people would be affected by my choice to engage in an activity that would bring forth a child. I could have chosen to not have my baby or to not keep her, but I wouldn't have been able to live with the feelings that accompanied a choice to either abort her or give her up for adoption. Keeping the baby presented problems too, though – mostly financial.

I don't regret having her, but I wish I had been thinking more of her than of myself when I decided to get pregnant.

Words I didn't mean to say, events I didn't want to attend, jobs I didn't want to perform, and relationships that disappointed me, though I thought at the time they "ruined my life," actually contributed to building my character. I am who I am today as a result of all of those words, events, jobs, and relationships.

After a while I learned that I couldn't control my situations, but I could control my reaction to those situations. That lesson – controlling my reaction to situations – took me years to figure out.

"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans" (John Lennon), and that is exactly what happens to all of us. Though we work incessantly to control our lives with plans to live here, to work there, to visit this place and that, life interrupts our plans, and we have to learn to adjust.

We also have to learn how to give up that need to control, because while we are busy controlling and planning the events in our lives, the world around us changes and those changes transform us – sometimes dramatically – tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes, for example. Anyone who has been personally affected by one of those catastrophes feels control slipping away from them like snow in an avalanche.

Other events make us feel as if the Earth has flipped on its axis too. Death, divorce, job loss, rape, and all kinds of destructive forces contribute to our feeling that we have lost control of our environment and of our lives. We experience our own personal tsunamis as we watch our lives crumble around us.

We learn that we can control nature no more than we can control other people. We can, however, control the way we handle out-of-control situations. Devastation challenges us to become stronger, to weather the storms, and to move on.

Through our choices, we come to realize that we have created our own chaos because of our responses to outside influences. We feel lost and hopeless. But total annihilation presents us with an opportunity for reconstruction, regeneration, and rebirth. That old saying, "When one door closes, another opens" is true if we open our eyes to see the opportunities that await us.

Unplanned teenage pregnancies, failed marriages, poverty, illness, and all kinds of destructive occurrences test our resolve. Like the Phoenix who rises from the ashes, we must pull ourselves out of our despair and rise above our circumstances. We may have lost control of our lives, but we haven't lost our lives.

Every choice we make results in a consequence or a reward. As we mature, we realize that the consequences of our decisions sometimes become rewards – that unplanned pregnancy could bring into our lives a baby that will bring us more love and joy than we ever thought possible. That child might result in grandchildren – more people to love.

I'm not condoning unplanned teenage pregnancy. I think MTV is doing a great job promoting teenage pregnancy all by itself with its "16 and Pregnant" television series. I wonder how many teenagers, even after witnessing the struggles involved in becoming a pregnant 16-year-old, would like to be part of that reality program? But that's another blog.

In the nearly 60 years I have been living, I have learned that as much as I would like to control other people, I cannot, because they make their own decisions. Whether they are my family or my friends, I have no control over their decisions – I have control only over my own.

And so I allow my personal controller to sit on "play." As the events in my life unfold, I deal with them, sometimes not well, but I deal with them.

Would I really want to control my life so much that I had the ability to fast-forward through my life? No, because I would miss valuable lessons that taught me how to become "me". To "know myself" takes time. When disruptive events cause me to feel I've lost control of my life, I discover who I am by how I handle those events.

If I could press rewind, knowing what I know now, I might discover that I would still marry the men I married, because they gave me the children I love. That pervert who took advantage of me at one of my former jobs benefited me, because I learned – eventually – how to stand up for myself and for others because of him.

Every challenge I've experienced teaches me who I am through the way I handle it. I might hold the controller in my hand, but the only things I can control are the choices I make.

So I will continue to press "play" until one day God or life itself presses "stop."



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