Posts Tagged ‘grandparents’

Some things we hear stay with us for a long time. We might not understand them completely when we first hear them but we know they will come back at some point and we’ll understand completely.

Many years ago, one of my three brothers committed suicide. He left a wife and four children and then there were us, his siblings and parents. I won’t go into all of the feelings and thoughts that followed his death. That’s not where this story is going. At some point, not sure exactly when, I think it was about a month after his death, my sister-in-law started calling me in the mornings. We would chat about her feelings. I would let her talk and respond when appropriate. Sometimes we talked about silly things. There was always, as you can imagine, an underlying sadness to those calls. I soon learned that my brother used to call his wife at morning break every day and that was the time that they spent talking about the kids and feelings and stuff. It was their time with no kids around.

One of things that she was missing without him was the chance to tell him about what the kids were doing when he was at work. She said that it used to be that she could share the silly things the kids did that made her crack up and then things they did or said that made her proud. She said that as parents, they were the only ones that would understand those things. She could share the same things with other people but it would never be the same.

I thought about that a lot. I was a new mother then. My son wasn’t even a year old yet. I understood what she was saying because I used to fill my husband’s ears with all the things the baby did when he was at work. Every day he did something new and I shared that with him. Although I understood part of what my sister-in-law had said, I would understand it more and more as the years went by.

When my husband walked away from our family and turned the whole thing into a very hostile situation, I thought again about that conversation all those years before. I no longer had someone to share my day with and what the kids did and said or what they needed. He was out of the picture and inaccessible to me. It made me understand even more than before. Now, all these years after that original conversation in 1982, it has come right back to me.

For years, I used to talk to my mom on the phone and tell her all about the kids. When I moved far away, it became more important because we didn’t see her as often anymore. So the phone calls meant a lot. Then I moved further away and the grand kids arrived. For the last eleven years, many of our phone calls centered around sharing with her what my grandchildren were doing. How big they had grown, when they started school, and all those milestones, as well as the everyday silly things that happened involving the grandchildren. And that intensified four years ago when my only granddaughter arrived. She wanted to know all about her. She did meet her when Maya was about six months old. It was the only time she saw her. It was love at first sight…on both parts. After that visit, my mom wanted to know all about Maya. Was her hair getting darker? Was it curly or straight? How big was she? Was she talking? Walking? And because I didn’t have anyone to share those all important things with, I would not spare a detail. Sometimes I would call her just to tell her some silly thing the kids had done and we would laugh and laugh over it. It was the highlight of our conversations.

And then she died.

And now I miss that again. That’s one of the things that gets to me, almost every day since my mom died at the end of last August. I forget and I reach for the phone to tell her about Maya or about one of the boys and then it hits me. I can’t tell her. I can’t share that with her anymore. I don’t have anyone to share those moments with. I miss my mom. I miss that I can’t get in the car and go see her even thought it is a two day drive. I used to do it when I got to missing her a lot. I can’t anymore. I used to send my sister pictures of the kids by text and ask her to show them to my mom. I used to have pictures printed and mail them to her so she would have my grandchildren with her. I can’t anymore.

I miss her a lot. I miss her for many, many reasons and at so many different times but this is one of the things that gets to me almost every single day. There is something I want to tell her about the kids but she’s no longer here.

Sometimes it takes a long, long time to understand what we hear. Sometimes we don’t get it until we walk in other people’s shoes.

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The past three weeks have been different as we get used to a new routine. With the kids in full time daycare, I’m not needed as much. However, we haven’t gotten into a routine because things keep popping up. The kids now live in Vancouver, Washington. You may have heard that there is an outbreak of measles in Clark County. That’s the county that covers Vancouver. Over half of the exposure sites are within a couple of miles of where they live. The daycare classes that the kids are in have kids that attend one of the elementary schools with confirmed cases of measles. The boys have been vaccinated but Maya had not been. My daughter does not like to vaccinate with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)until after age three. Maya turned two over the weekend. So it became a challenge to keep her from possible exposure. She stayed home from daycare and I stayed with her. She finally was able to get an appointment to get vaccinated against the measles. Then we were told she would be considered “safe” after ten days. My daughter was between jobs so she stayed home for her for a week then she had to start her new job so I stayed with her. She’s finally safe, or as safe as can be with the first of the two vaccines. [There are two vaccines. The first is given between 9 and 15 months and the second between 15 months and 6 years. The first vaccine is 93% effective and the second bumps the immunity up to 97%.]

Then the weather changed just in time for me to go up there for Maya’s birthday and get snowed-in! So I was up there again for a couple of days. I’m home. I’m a little sad (depressed, actually) because I miss them.

So where’s the smile? Well, after not seeing me for a week and a half, I went up there for Maya’s birthday and got up there early so I went to get the kids from daycare. They weren’t expecting me. When the boys saw me, they did a double take. Then we walked over to get Maya. I didn’t even have to call her name. She heard the door open and looked in that direction. She saw me and she tore off running toward me faster than you would guess a 2 year old could run. With outstretched arms, she jumped into my arms and grabbed a hold of me around my neck with a death grip! She put her little head on my shoulder and just held on tight. THAT was my smile. She missed me that much.

As I sit here typing this, although I’ve been depressed these couple of days since I last saw her, this memory is bringing back more smiles and I’m pretty sure that when I see her again next Sunday, she’ll be just as happy to see me. I’ll be staying with the kids while their mom works and the school and daycare are both closed for Presidents’ Day. I’m looking forward to that.

What made YOU smile this week? Tell us about it in your own #WeeklySmile post and head over to Trent’s Blog to check out more smiles.

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I got a text from my daughter on Wednesday evening. Maya was sick. It didn’t surprise me because Anderson and Spencer had been sick. In fact, my daughter stayed home with them on Monday but couldn’t miss a second day of work so I went over early Tuesday and stayed with the boys (and Maya). I came home that evening and the boys went to school on Wednesday. So I figured Maya would be getting sick but was hoping it would be on the weekend. That didn’t happen. I drove over super early on Thursday (I had to leave at 5:15 am) and stayed with Maya. She was so sick she didn’t wake up until after ten that morning. But she was sick. Fever, runny nose, watery eyes, the whole thing. And while she could actually have gone to day care sick, we didn’t think that was a good idea. There is a measles epidemic where they live and she has not been vaccinated so we didn’t want her to be more susceptible to it or to spread it if in fact it turned out to be measles. She was happy to see me and she cuddled with me all day, except during her four naps! She usually takes only one but that was another sign that she wasn’t well. I stayed with her again on Friday and she was much better. Still sick but much better.

So where’s the smile? I smiled because I was in a position to go take care of her so she would be more comfortable at home and so my daughter would not have to stay home from work a second day in the same week. That’s a pretty neat position to be in. I’m close enough to them and able to help out. And the bonus is that Maya is so attached to me that she cuddles with me when she’s sick but not with anyone else, not even with her mom. She loves her Nana and feels comfortable and loved and special so that’s a pretty neat thing to smile about!

I won’t tell you who is home with a fever and sniffles and sore throat now! But that’s okay. The Maya Snuggles were worth it!

What made you smile this week? Head over to Trent’s blog for his weekly blog hop feature, The #Weekly Smile!


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This week, Spencer who is four and pretty much wants to be exactly like his big brother, came home from pre-school and I asked him for a hug. He shook his head. I asked please and he smiled and said  “no hug.” So I pretended to cry and said I was sad because I needed a hug and no one would give me one. He put down everything on his lap and in his hands, got off the couch and came to be and put his arms around my neck. He hugged me for a long, long time and he had the sweetest smile. That one made me smile enough for the whole week.

However, on Tuesday night, Anderson spent the night. When he sleeps over, he wants to sleep in my bed even though there is a twin bed in the spare room. So he was watching TV and I was reading when he asked me if he could have hot chocolate. As I struggled to get off the bed I said, “Nana’s getting old, Anderson.” To which he said, “Yeah that means you’re going to die soon because when people get old, they die.” I asked him what he would do when I die because I wouldn’t be here anymore and he couldn’t see me. He stopped and looked at me and his eyes got all teary and then he smiled and said, “I know! I’m going to make a wish that you will never ever die!”

Pretty neat smiles if you ask me!

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Today I took Anderson with me to drop off my ballot and that of my daughter’s. In Oregon, all voting is done by mail so there’s no going to the polls on election day. As my regular readers know, I homeschool Anderson who is in first grade. We’ve been talking about elections and the duties of the President and other government issues. With a first grader, it’s just a “brushing” of the subject, not at all in depth. It’s not in the curriculum but I wanted him to start getting the information; to start to be award of the world around him; to get the idea that voting and participating in his government is a duty.

I don’t know what he thought about it. We got to the drop off point (a library) before they opened so we waited outside along with a growing crowd. When we arrived there were about six other people waiting to turn in their ballot. By the time the doors opened about ten minutes later, there were at least forty people waiting with ballot in hand. I think he got the idea that it was something important. He had watched me fill out my ballot just minutes before we arrived at the library then he saw everyone waiting and then dropping their ballot in the box. His eyes were big. I think ge understood that it was an important thing to do.

That’s all I can do. I can talk to him. I can expose him to the process. His parents don’t watch TV news or discuss politics or even the process. I don’t think his father is even registered to vote. But I can show him; tell him; take him. And then I can hope that it takes!

(I don’t normally post twice in one day but this was on my mind and I figured I would put it out there to get it out of my mind.)

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​Last night,  I dropped off  Tina  and the boys but Spencer didn’t want to stay.  He kept saying “Too. Night night Nana room. Pease.”  I was beat so I hesitated and Tina distracted him so I could leave but he’s Sunday and realized what s going on so he came running  toward my car and tripped and fell. He didn’t want his mommy to pick him up. He wanted me. I picked him up and told Tina to go in and get his Pooh blanket and I bright him home. But he wouldn’t sleep.  He had my laptop, watching a movie (that’s how  he  falls asleep at home) and kept experimenting with the touch screen. Then he fit it off my bed and wandered around, looking at everything. He’s fascinated with electrical stuff and he found an old set of portable speakers I used to use did my iPod. Half an hour  later Tina texted to see if he was asleep and I texted back… 

“I tell you this child is going to go into something he can do with his hands.  He found little portable speakers so I showed him what they do by hooking them up to the laptop. Now he keeps plugging them in and unplugging them.  He’s fascinated and trying to figure out how they work.”

I finally gave  up and drove him home in just his diaper. It was pretty warm out and I was too tired to get him dressed. So today I’m exhausted. I’m going to spend the day reading a friend’s book project until I go  babysit at 8 tonight. 


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Those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile might remember that four years ago, when my first grandson was born, I was in the delivery room with his mom and dad and I cut the umbilical cord.  I was the first one of us to get a picture of him and the first one that he peed on!  He and I have had a special bond between us.  I see him every day.  He comes over to my house every day, not because he has to be babysat but because he asks to “go to Nana’s house”.  I can never say no so he’s over here every day.  A while back I was jotting down some thoughts that came to mind about Anderson (my grandson) and this is what came up:


His little hand in mine

his total trust

his head on my shoulder

daily visits from which he never wants to go home

he says he wants to live with Nana forever and ever

His giggle when I tickle him

his cry when he has to go home

his bright eyes when I show up to pick him up

I never get tired of him, even when I am dead tired

Somehow with him, my energy knows no bounds

and my love for him grows with each moment

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Tonight I am thinking about my grandson.  He’s 2 ½ and he starts school in the morning…pre-school but still.   I have a lot of mixed feelings about it.  I think he’s too young to be going.  He’ll only be going twice a week and it is only a half day each time.  The only good thing is that he needs the social skills because he doesn’t ever interact with other children so he doesn’t know what to do when there are other kids around.  When we go to the park, he won’t let go of my hand.  I let go of his but he grabs mine and won’t let go.  He’ll look at the other kids but he stays away from them and doesn’t talk to them when they try to talk to him.  Instead, he just looks up at me.  So he needs to be around other kids.  That part is good but I’m not so sure about the rest of it.  We’ll see how it goes.

The other day a friend on Facebook posted about how he was spending the day with his granddaughter’s which in and of itself wasn’t strange because he often posts about spending time with her and about all the things they do together like spend time in the garden and play and go places.  What made this particular day last week different was that it was her last day before starting school.  I kind of noticed a bit of a bittersweet tone in that Facebook post and I could empathize with that bittersweet feeling.

Today, on Anderson’s last day before starting pre-school, we took him out to eat and then took him for a long walk and visit to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.  He loved it.  He ran from one sign to the next and we had to read the type of plant the sign marked.  I tried to fool him and made up some gibberish and he seemed to know I was not really reading it.  He stayed at the marker, pointing to each letter until his mommy went over and read it to him.  Then he went on to the next marker and waited for it to be read to him.  The ducks and geese in the water were a real draw, too.  He wanted to go in the water with them but of course, he couldn’t.  We had to keep a sharp eye and a quick step after him to make sure he didn’t jump into the mucky fowl filled lake.  At one point, he chased the ducks from the grassy area back to the water, pointing at the ducks saying “go water duck”!  He picked wild strawberries and ate them.  He wanted to touch a goose but we had been warned that the goose had just bitten another patron so we had to pull him away crying.  He didn’t want to leave.  He kept walking ahead of us and at one point he looked back at us and said, “too much fun.”  That summed it up.

Of course the rest of the afternoon was not quite as fun because as he grew tired and his nap time approached, we had to keep him awake so he will sleep tonight and be able to get up early so he can be at school at 9 in the morning.  We took him to get new shoes that light up when he walks and he got a cake pop at Starbucks then went home to play before bed.

I got a text message from my daughter a little bit ago saying he was in bed and asleep so with luck, we’ll be able to get him up early for school.  Yes, I get to go with them to take him to school.  My daughter thinks that Anderson will be the only one with a posse there.  His mom and dad are both going, as am I!

I’m crossing my fingers that we can all keep it together tomorrow and that he’ll have a good day and like going to school.   I don’t know if I will like him going to school but as long as he likes it, I guess that’s all that counts.

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