Categories
Being a Grandparent COVID 19 glamping holidays home decor Life Parkinson's Disease

“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. . .”

from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” 1960’s

“It’s the best time of the year. I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer. . .” And so the song goes, courtesy of the late great Burl Ives. Remember the snowman on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” animated special? I was seven years old when I saw it for the first time. It was magical. Now I can’t even get my grandkids interested. The old claymation specials have nothing on today’s computer graphics animation. Ah, but they were magical, at least to my generation.

I got distracted. Sorry about that. I have decided to have a holly jolly Christmas at my house. I don’t care if a pandemic is raging, threatening my family and friends, threatening retailers and restauranteurs, threatening the traditions we all hold dear. Maybe the pandemic is a good thing.

Our Living Room Christmas Tree

What? What did you say? I said, maybe it’s a good thing. It’s changing our priorities. We are focusing more on loved ones, and not things. We are finding out that the most valuable things in life are not things at all. The things we miss are not things, either. Hugging a friend or relative, shaking hands, whispering in someone’s ear, getting close enough to detect a special cologne, gathering in groups at holiday parties, sharing a toast, kids sitting on Santa’s lap, being able to breathe without fogging up your glasses, last-minute shopping in a crowded store. Need I go on?

We have given up much this year because of Covid-19. But look at what we’ve gained: a new appreciation of freedom, gathering with friends, going shopping and dining wherever we want, gathering with family at holidays and special occasions, going to church and fellowship with fellow churchgoers. Boy, do I miss that.

My precious granddaughters enjoying the season.

I’m going to make it a holly jolly Christmas, though. I’m going to:

  1. Enjoy small things like the lights on my beautiful tree.
  2. Behold the wonder in my granddaughters’ eyes as they look at all the decorations.
  3. Experience the delight in the two-year-old’s smile as she touches an LED C9 bulb and finds out that it’s cool to the touch.
  4. Note the pride in the five-year-old’s stance as she finishes decorating the little silver tree for my camper.
  5. Enjoy the taste of pumpkin spice in my morning coffee.
  6. Relish drinking from my special Christmas coffee mugs.
  7. Cozy up to my dog next to me in my chair while wearing comfy pajamas.
  8. Relish a morning when I get to sleep just a little bit later.
  9. Wrap each and every gift with love.
  10. Give thanks for online ordering when I can’t get to a store.
Can you see the silver tree hidden in the tinsel garland? I left it just as she decorated it.

Get the picture? There is a host of ways to make it a holly jolly Christmas. Even as my days are consumed with caregiving and my nights with intermittent sleep between calls from hubby, I choose to focus on the good. Yes, I have days, even weeks, when I wonder how this is all going to turn out–the pandemic, my husband’s disease progression, the next presidential administration, life in general. But I rest in this: my God knows it all, and holds it all, in His almighty hands.

So. . . Merry Christmas. May all your days be holly jolly.

XOXO

Little “Miss Millie” all dressed up for the holidays.
Categories
Being a Grandparent

When Grandparenting isn’t Fun

Impossible, you say. Everyone knows that being a grandparent is a barrel of fun. And yes, it is, until someone gets sick.

http://nypost.com/2016/02/24/campus-norovirus-outbreak-sickens-200-college-students/
The Evil Norovirus attacked my granddaughters and me with a vengeance this week, and it took no prisoners. My daughter called me Tuesday and asked me if I could come help her because the baby was sick. Being the loving mother and grandmother I am, I of course went to give her some time to rest and clean and run to the grocery store. Three-year-old granddaughter entertained me and we played while the little one slept. 
Asleep on the “Coco-pedic.” As much as I hate for them to be sick, I do love the cuddling.
The next morning I got word that TYO was now sick. Before I raced to the rescue I noticed that my stomach was a little off but I told myself it was nothing. At D’s house I held towels next to my sweet G’s mouths as they vomited and held them when they cried. I helped D clean up around the house when I could. Just after lunch my own tummy announced its displeasure. I made the wise decision to go on home, not wanting to leave the girls but afraid of what might happen if I didn’t. Turns out I made the right choice.
They stayed here all day.  So not normal.

My tummy had my north and south poles revolting all night long and into the next morning, leaving me weak and five pounds lighter. (That last part didn’t last!) Yep, all that grandma loving left me wide open for some norovirus love. And if that’s love, I’d hate to see the hate!

Too sick to play with the new Play-doh set Mommy got her.

My daughter sent me some information she found on Reddit, which said in essence that the way the norovirus spreads is by being spewed forth in bodily fluid eruptions from the body. The virus causes fluid to be drawn from all over the body to provide a medium for itself. Horrible. All I need to convince me to wash my hands and disinfect all contacted surfaces. Another interesting tidbit? The usual disinfectants won’t kill the norovirus, so she ordered special wipes from Amazon. You can get them here, as well as other products that will kill viruses.

Baby during a burst of energy before bed.

It’s been six days, and still the girls don’t feel like themselves. TYO is still lying on the couch, but she is at least eating and playing a bit.  Baby eats well and plays, but tires easily and is fussy.  This old coot sprang back after two days, and even went to work yesterday. 

Happier days. . .

It’s hard to see my sweet grandbabies not feeling well. I’d give anything to chase them around outside, even while sweating in the 95-degree heat. I want to hear them giggling, whining, and even fighting with each other. They are the sunshine of this granny’s life, and I pray there’ll be many more sunny days ahead. Please God, make my babies feel good again.

XOXO

#norovirus #virus #stomachflu #illness #grandparenting #grandchildren

Categories
Being a Grandparent

It’s a Toddler’s World

According to the toddler, that is.  Toddlers are unique creatures.  My fellow teachers and I used to say that about freshmen, but that is another blog post.  I’m sticking to toddlers today.  If you happen to live with one, my heart goes out to you.  If you are a stay-at-home mom with one, you deserve a medal.  If you keep toddlers in daycare or preschool, or you are the mother of twins or more, you deserve a Nobel peace prize.  It’s not an easy task being responsible for the care and nurturing of a one-t(w)o-three-year old.  I know this because I am experiencing it firsthand.  Again.

Thirty years ago, God blessed me and my husband with toddlers, but time has a way of smoothing out the rough edges in our memories. All I remember are the sweet sticky kisses, the cute outfits, the chubby smiles, the little hands in mine, the occasional tantrums.  Photos of my two sweet babies can bring tears to my eyes.  Those moments can never be recaptured.

Fast forward to last December.  My son and his wife invited me on a week-long vacation with them to help with my then two-year-old grandson.  It was a bucket-list trip to a tropical locale I would never have seen otherwise.  “Wake up, Coco!”  These were his cheery words at 6:30 in the mornings.  At least Mom or Dad would have the coffee ready.

Never idle, he loved to give his Coco a heart attack by jumping fearlessly into the pool whether he remembered how to swim or not.  But after a wave surprised him at the beach, my daring little grandson became terrified of the ocean and preferred to play in the sand.  Loving grandma that I am, I stayed out of the inviting blue water and built castles in the sand so he could kick them down.  Laughter is preferable to crying any day.

Me and my two-year-old grandson

These fears may seem irrational but we have to remember how small these tots are in this great big world.  Recently I took my daughter, her two-year-old, and her newborn to the hospital for the baby’s PKU test.  My two-year-old granddaughter has a fear of her doctor’s office across town with good reason, but when she saw the hospital she freaked out.  Changing my original plan to drop my daughter and newborn off at the door, I parked in the parking garage and we all got out to make the trek across the street to the hospital.  An attendant driving a golf cart offered us a complimentary ride to the hospital but Toddler screamed until we declined the ride and walked a good quarter mile in misty rain to the door.  Great for a newborn.  Toddler was upset the entire time we waited in the lobby for her momma.  There was no way she would have gotten on the elevator.  We tried that once before.  Irrational?  Maybe.  But it is a big scary world when you’re only two feet tall and don’t get to make your own choices.

Hubby with our two-year-old granddaughter

Even at that, it’s a toddler’s world, because their objections to our choices for them can make us reconsider in a heartbeat.  I changed my plans several times just that day.  As a grandparent, I get to do that as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.  Unlike parents, I get to leave and go home to a quiet house.  I’ve done my time.  But I would gladly do it again, and will continue to coax, coddle, and cuddle my grands for the short time they will let me.  Years tend to fly these days.

Do you have toddlers in your life?  Please share!

XOXO

Categories
Being a Grandparent

Another One on the Way!

This is a repost of a blog post I wrote just before my first granddaughter was born.  Now we are anxiously awaiting the birth of my second granddaughter!  I can’t wait!  Of course, the photos have changed, but the wishes are the same.  Dedicated to my sweet granddaughter who I cannot wait to meet…



My daughter is having a daughter, and it seems like it hasn’t been any time since I first learned she was expecting!  Of course, it doesn’t to her.  She is in her last trimester and the baby can’t make its debut fast enough.  I can’t wait to meet her.  She is our second grandchild and the first child for my daughter and son-in-law.  There are some things I would like her to know.


Our little granddaughter


Dearest Granddaughter:

You are almost here and we are beside ourselves with excitement!  Your mother and daddy and Pop and I cannot wait to meet you!  We have seen you moving around in your ultrasound pictures but we are looking forward to seeing what you actually look like.  Who will you look like?  Will you inherit Coker traits, Nunn traits, Wells traits, or McClure traits?  Probably a mix of all!  We are wondering how much you will weigh and how long you will be, and what day and time you will make your appearance.  What we do know is this:  you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and God created your inmost being and knit you together in your mother’s womb.  (Psalm 139:13).

Daughter Natalie with husband Bryan

You should know that you are being born to parents who are already in love with you and are eagerly fixing up your room and committed to providing for your every need and probably much of what you will want!  Your mother has taken good care of herself and you, and your father has worked very hard to make your home as comfortable as possible.

There are a few things you should remember.  I hope your parents will read you these words when you are old enough to understand, and then I hope you will read them when you are able to read and understand.

First of all, the world is a big place and you may feel small.  Just remember this:  God has created you for a specific purpose in this life, and there is no one else who can fulfill that purpose.  You are unique and there is no one in the world like you.  There never has been, and there never will be.  You are the only you. . .ever!  Isn’t that amazing?  When you feel like you are just a face in the crowd, remember that!

Me with daughter Natalie in 1989.


Another thing:  never forget that you are loved.  Sometimes in this life others may make you feel like you are unloved and that no one cares for you.  This couldn’t be further from the truth!  No matter what you do or where you go, remember that your parents and your grandparents love you.  In fact, your great-grandparents love you, as well as your aunts and uncles!  If, by the time you read this, you have a sister or brother, they love you as well.  More importantly, God loves you.  You will always be loved, no matter what.

Another thing:  you don’t have to be like anyone else.  There is a lot of pressure in our society to be athletic or thin or wear certain clothes or hairstyles or makeup.  You don’t have to be those things.  The only thing you have to do is be yourself.  People will be drawn to a person who is authentic and not pretending or trying to be someone or something they are not.  You are the only you, so be yourself.

Don’t forget to have fun on your journey through life.  You can have a big time without hurting people or breaking the law.  You can be joyful and happy without depending on others to provide joy and happiness.  There is a secret to joy and happiness, and it lies within yourself and your relationship to God.  Loving and serving God brings a joy and happiness that others will find attractive.  You don’t have to be the prettiest or the most athletic or the richest.  You will draw others to you because God’s love will shine through you.



Finally, my dear, sweet little granddaughter, be whatever you want to be, but try lots of things before you decide.  Adults will tell you that you can do anything you want to do, but that isn’t completely true.  For instance, you have to have a mathematical and scientific mind to become a doctor.  You need a pleasing voice to become a professional singer.  You have to be a certain height and weight to be a model.  Different careers require different abilities and aptitudes.  Try many different things while you are growing up to find out what you are good at and enjoy doing.  Then you can choose with confidence.

34 weeks!


Our family is already so blessed to have you in it, even now before we have seen you in person!  We love you already.  I look forward to the day I can hold you in my arms and look into your eyes.  Will they be blue, brown, green, or hazel?  I love you, sweet darling Evie.  Now and forever, “to infinity and beyond!”  (Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story)

Just waiting for baby!


XOXO

Coco

Categories
Being a Grandparent

Blacelets, Coineys, and Oscar the Grouch


My two-year-old granddaughter has a language all her own, and it’s a delight to be around her.  As her “Coco,” I get to be around her at least two days a week, sometimes more.  With her baby sister arriving in a few weeks, I’m sure we’ll be spending even more time together.  She is a little tomboy who loves being outside and investigating all kinds of leaves, flowers, and bugs—could that be due to her biology teacher grandma? 

Observing nature from Peepaw’s trailer


But she is also all girl.  As soon as she was able to grab things, she zeroed in on my jewelry, and now she demands that I give her my “blacelets” when I am wearing my bangle bracelets. She likes to loop them on her wrists and ankles.  It’s what I call “blingage.”
Trying on Meemaw’s bracelets

Another of her favorite activities is playing with her Peepaw’s (my dad’s) coins from a little box on his chest of drawers.  She picks up the “coineys,” sorts and counts them, and then throws them.  That’s when they go back into the box and we find something else to do.

When “Tootie” is tired of trekking the acres of my parents and our adjoining property and playing with blacelets and coineys, it is time to settle in for an afternoon nap.  That’s when she wants me to read “How to be a Grouch” by Oscar the Grouch of “Sesame Street.” 
B0006YPT9W How to be a grouch, by Oscar the Grouch: Featuring Jim Hensons Mupp
Between Oscar’s antics, blacelets, and coineys, staying at Coco and Pop’s makes for a tired toddler indeed.  Nighty night.

XOXO