Being a Grandparent school

School on my mind

Today I dropped my beautiful grandson off at his elementary school for the first time ever. My heart swelled as he instructed me where to stop and let him out and as I watched him walk with the other children to the front doors of the school. His backpack secure on his back, wearing new Nike shoes and a new outfit from Gap, he seemed ready to take on the world.

Yesterday I asked him what his favorite part of school was. He replied, “I don’t know.” “So you like everything?” I asked. “Yes!” You can’t get better than that. I hope that positive attitude stays with him. I pray it does. I pray he always has today’s confidence and spirit. As a former teacher, I pray he carries that love of learning and being with friends throughout his life.

Today was my precious granddaughter’s first day of school, her first day of kindergarten. She doesn’t attend the same school as my grandson does, and I wasn’t able to be there, but her mom and dad and little sister dropped her off this morning. I wasn’t needed anyway. I did receive photos of her wearing the new outfit I bought her that said “Ready to rock kindergarten.” She posed proudly with her new lunch box and backpack, and later I saw a photo of her sitting in her classroom talking with her teacher. I pray today will be a good one for her, and that she will love school like her cousin does.

I hope soon to be able to pick her up from school, or maybe even to drop her off. These sweet and beautiful children make this grandma proud. I just wish their Pop was here to see them, but I suppose he is watching from Heaven and is as proud of them as their Coco is.

I will be like Mary, the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) Time flies, and I don’t want to miss a thing.

Speaking of school, my heart goes out to all the teachers, administrators, school staff, parents, and students. You are doing the best you can in very difficult circumstances: the threat of Covid 19, increasing regulations, and increasing pressure from all sides. May this school year be as free as possible from high stress and overwhelming frustration, and full of satisfaction and success. You deserve it!


Alzheimer's Being a Grandparent Life Parkinson's Disease

You Never Know

Remember when you last spoke to a loved one who passed on? Did you realize at the time that it would be the last time?

Life is full of last times. I’m sure there are others but the earliest one I remember is my high school graduation. As we hugged and said goodbye to our friends, we even said that it might be the last time we ever see each other, but at 18 does anyone really take that phrase seriously? So many of my classmates from the Class of 1977 have passed on, and most of them I never saw again after that last time, on graduation day in May of 1977.

What an awful photo! So blurry. . .it wasn’t a digital world back then.

What about when you’re raising children and you can hardly wait for them to be able to dress themselves, brush their own teeth, use the bathroom on their own? Suddenly they are doing those things and you don’t remember exactly when the last time was.

My granddaughter used to sit on the edge of my bed and look at the tiny charms on the rag lampshade on the nightstand. I never even took a picture. I used to take my grandson to a place called The Coop, which was a neat and safe indoor play area for little kids, and then I would take him to the play area in the nearby library. I used to rock my smallest granddaughter to sleep. All these things are in the past. I never realized the last time I did them that it was the last time.

The same goes for my husband. He worked as a night zookeeper and would call me in the evening during his lunch break. He would greet me by saying, “Hey, Nutty, whatcha doing?” When was the last time he affectionately called me Nutty? The Alzheimer’s took the affection away. Heck, it took everything away.

My handsome night keeper. . .

There are so many things we used to do together, or things that he used to say, which faded away as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s stole him from me. I wish I had known when they were the last times, but maybe that would have been just too sad.

Happier times, during a rare snowfall in Texas.

Cherish your moments, the first times, the last times, and all the in-between times. You never know when they’ll never be again.


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

“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. . .”

“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.


Little “Miss Millie” all dressed up for the holidays.
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.

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.


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

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!