Little Man…

It has been quite a while since I have written and even longer since I last wrote about Little Man.  Little Man is now seven.  Seems impossible, but he turned seven on Friday this past week.

Hubby and I traveled to see him and were able to spend time with him.  It was glorious!  I always come away with a lesson learned from him and this time was no exception.

Friday we spent a couple of hours with him in the pool.  It was a fun time with lots of laughter and splashing and rough-housing.  He showed us his jumps into the pool, his cannonball, his karate kick jump, and his vertical alligator jump.   All named appropriately, and each delivered with grace and style.  If they were to be judged by this Grammy, they would all be a 10.

We played cards, and Rock em, Sock em Robots.   It was a tie at the cards, but only because the game was interrupted by dinner and then forgotten for a bit.   I lost the battle of the robots, much to the glee of the seven year old.

The lesson I have learned this past weekend?  To live life with joy.  Embrace the fun that life holds.   Jump into the pool of life instead of gently lowering yourself into the tide and flow.  Most of all, hug, laugh and make funny noises when words fail you.

Happy Birthday Little Man, you will always have my heart as I learn from your example.

Thanks for stopping by today.   Cathi (DAF)

Reminders and Echoes…

This past week we celebrated Little Man’s fourth birthday here.  The pool was ready, the weather was wonderful and it was a great celebration.

Little Miss arrived before Little Man and the time with these two wonderful, lively human beings went much too fast.

Little Miss left just a few hours ago. The house is now quiet.  I have picked up the living room of the remaining things lying around.  Up the stairs went the books and balls and crayons and coloring books.  A few stuffed animals went up the stairs also.

I put the things carried up into the guest area upstairs.  I dared not go into the toy room, at least not yet.  I was in there earlier this morning with Little Miss and the echoes resounding in there were deafening.  The puzzle Little Man put together was still together on the floor.  The paper he was painting on still laying there where he put it.  The trucks are all crashed in disarray and there are puzzle pieces scattered throughout the room.  Little Miss was in there copying how she had seen her cousin playing earlier this week.  She was his shadow, mimicking everything he did.

They became cousins this week, I think.  They no longer just stared at one another.  She followed him closer than his shadow did.  She was under his feet studying his each move.  If he played with the ball, so did she.  Of course this led to the normal stance of most young cousins, throwing things, pushing each other and grabbing things out of each other’s hands.  It was delightful to see!  I could picture them in years to come, chasing one another, challenging each other and having talks that only cousins can have.  It made my heart swell and now, it brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

Yes, it is quieter without the grandchildren here.  We are lonely for them.  We dislike when they leave, our lives are just a bit duller and there is not enough laughter resounding between the two of us.

This visit, though, I realized it was not just the little kids that made leaving so hard.  I have missed ‘my’ kids.  My girls.  Tell-tale signs that they were home make me stop and wipe a tear from my eye.  Seeing towels put into the washer so I didn’t have to put them there.  Reading a note in my guest room guest book.  Seeing a guest room put back together and knowing she did it.  Seeing a favorite coffee cup out and being hesitant to put it away into the dishwasher, knowing that she was the last one to hold it.  Yes, all of these things make me wish for one more hug, one more laugh.

Times go by too fast.  Times that we mostly take for granted.  This week cemented in me that this house is a house we have dreamed of for years.  It is a place where my kids and their kids can let their hair down.  A place where they can relax and not worry about fingerprints on windows or sticky floors or bringing crayons into a livingroom.  It is a place where you can bounce a ball or yourself down the stairs while laughing and screaming ‘boom’ or ‘bump’.  A place to blow bubbles inside. This is the house I always wanted.  A place with a screen door that slams.  A place where there is adventure and fun.  A place to jump off the side of a pool or from the ladder.  This is home, this is where family come to be family, loud, noisy, laughing, talking, remembering and even being annoyed or frustrated.  I am so thankful for my girls and their families.  We may not be wealthy or have a pristine home, but, we are rich in being able to be a family.  I have waited too many years for this and at long last it feels like my dreams have come true.  A family that can come home, and relax. taking naps or finding a room to just sit and get caught up with one another.

I have had a great week.  I sit here a little more tired, and a lot more lonely, but my heart is full when I listen to the echoes that are still bouncing around the room.  My heart is full when I see remnants of toys and towels and floats for the pool.    So, thank you to my girls and their families making this Grammy a happy one, albeit a very teary-eyed one today.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF (Cathi)


I am excited!  In two days, Little Miss will be here.  I cannot wait to see their car pull into the driveway, knowing who is sitting in the backseat waiting to be freed from her car seat.   I will be anxious to scoop her up and know that after a long drive her mama will be ready to get out of the car herself.  As it most likely goes, Little Miss will be ready to be changed or sticky or drenched from pouring water on herself.  That is always the case with children, you prepare for them to be perfect to see their grandparents and then on the way reality strikes and the end product is never what you think and dream it will be.  (Speaking from experience here with two little girls that I always wanted to look ‘just so’ when seeing their grandparents for the first time of a visit.  I always looked like I just put my finger in a socket and they looked like  street hooligans who hadn’t been fed or bathed in six years of their four years of life.)

Little Miss is coming for a party.  Not a huge party, just a family celebration.  The celebration was moved here since Grampy is confined to small areas still.  He can go to local places to eat as long as he can put his leg up, but, he still cannot travel well.  So, we are having a family pool party at our home.  I am so excited!

The honoree for the party?  Why, that is Little Man!  He is going to be four years old.  Yes, that is right, he is no longer a toddler, but a little boy.  He will be arriving on Monday and I cannot wait to scoop him up and continue our ongoing conversation.   This conversation started four years ago and each time we see each other that conversation continues.

So, yes, the anticipation of having both Little Miss and Little Man here is killing me.  I keep wishing the time would pass more quickly.  I impatiently look at the hour and look outside wishing it was one day closer.  I know it will be a short visit for both of them, but, even spending a few hours with them is like Christmas morning for  me. The greatest gifts that have ever been given to me, wrapped up in little arms and hands and giggles.  Hearing stories and seeing their faces makes my heart full of health and well-being.

After these past few weeks hubby and I need a dose of healing and laughter.  We need a time to see these precious gifts and most of all we need a day to celebrate our Little Man, who has blessed our life with his.  His curiosity is boundless and his ability to carry on a conversation and ask wonderful questions gives us joy.  So, an early Happy Birthday Little Man.  I can’t believe you are four already.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF (Cathi)

Bucket List…

Our oldest daughter is staying with us while she is in transition to their new place.  We have had her and Little Miss with us for almost two weeks now.  It has been a wonderful visit.

The other day she mentioned my bucket list.  We had been talking about how I turned down seeing Barry Manilow in concert when hubby and I were in Vegas a few years ago.  I actually caught pneumonia on the first day of our visit there and spent almost the entire stay in the hotel room coughing and feeling like I was dying and getting upset because I did not die.  I felt that horrible.  Anyhow, trying to cheer me up, hubby offered to take me to see Barry Manilow.  I felt so horrible I turned him down and continued to hack my lungs out.   I then told my daughter that the following week in Vegas Paul McCartney and Elton John performed and I would have dragged myself to see them no matter what.  We continued to talk about how seeing at least one of the Beatles perform before I die is on my bucket list.

Since then I started to think about my bucket list.  I remember it used to be a long list.  Filled with many things.  Seeing the Kremlin was on the list, as was running a marathon (that will NEVER happen), going to Austria, seeing Ireland and Scotland.  Also on the list was writing that novel (hopefully that will happen), and speaking to conferences of women.

My bucket list now is something I do not think of.  I pondered on this fact on the way home from the grocery store today.  I wondered if I was just lazy and had no drive to do things.  I realized I was content.  Content with my world the way it is.  Yes, it would be wonderful to travel, seeing the sights I have only looked at in pictures.  It would be exhilerating to write that novel and have sell out conferences.  It would be such a blessing to know I had touched lives and possibly helped people make changes in their lives.

The one occurring sight in my mind while thinking of all of this is the feeling I have when I remember holding Little Man’s hand and Little Miss’ hand.  Having them lift thier arms for me to pick them up.  Reading to them books that rhyme and playing cars with them.  Seeing the beauty of my daughters reflected in their children’s faces.  That is contentment and joy.

I am certain the castles of Austria are breath taking.  I know the green of Ireland is something that my heart would rejoice in seeing.  I know having my feet land in Scotland where my grandfather walked would give me a peace I have never known.

But, if I never get there, my life will be fulfilled in knowing that I have laughed with my Little Man and Little Miss and that laughter will echo through eternity in my heart.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF……………

When Memories Echo…

Little Man left yesterday after a ten-day visit.  It was his first visit to our new home.  He was the first to play in the playroom we made for our grandchildren.

I wanted a room for the kids to be kids in.  The room that is made to run in, drive trucks in, play with trains and hot wheels.  The room that will eventually have dolls to play with and dress up.  The room that I hope keeps changing and growing along with the children.

They left around noon yesterday.  With hugs and kisses and many tears (on my part), they left to start their new life in Charleston.  They will be much closer, and I still cannot wrap my head around that fact.

Last night, after doing laundry and vacuuming, I walked into the playroom.  The puzzles were still put together on the floor.  The trucks were in varying stages of being wrecked.  Coloring books and crayons were in the same place on the floor.

My eyes teared up.  Although my heart was full of wonderful memories, the room echoed with footsteps running back and forth.  I could hear the giggles and the little voice telling Grammy what was going on next.

I turned around, closed the door and decided it was too soon to pick up the memories of a week well spent on my part.

Thanks for stopping by…   my next post will be by a guest blogger…  I know you will enjoy it!   DAF

Coming out from the Cobwebs….

When 2014 started, hubby and I both felt like this was going to be a year of change.  January was the month and it was a new year.  Fresh year.  Things were hard for us, but somehow 2014 dawned with a ray of bright hope.  We were encouraged and determined to see what great changes came this year.

This has been a year of change.  Good change, but change can be difficult.   Change is tiring.  Change can have you clinging to throne of Heaven praying for the year to be over.

Good things have happened this year.  Answers to things I have prayed for for years have come to completion.

And yes, there is a ‘but’  in that last statement.

But…  (see, told you!)  this year has been a year of strain.  Physical and emotional strain.

I came to a point in late July where my brain could not coherently sort it all out.   I could not think about writing.  I could no longer try to be positive in writing about things around me.   I was tired.

Tired from a summer of seeing my childhood flash before my eyes in a constant flash-back scenario.  Dealing with memories that I had forgotten decades ago and was glad to have them put away.

Weariness is an odd thing.  You aren’t depressed.  You aren’t angry.  You aren’t a whole list of things.  You are just weary.  The sky is blue and the clouds are gorgeous, but somehow the blue is a bit duller and the nuances of the clouds do not elicit the joy they usually do.

I had not expected this by-product of a year of change.  I thought I would go forth with vigor and excitement.  I saw myself flitting from one change to the other, gaining energy and endurance with each thing crossed of our list of ‘to do’s’ .

Last week hubby and I talked to one another.  We agreed we have been couch slugs since we returned home in late July.   We have continued to do things, but we have been slugs.  We have had our meals on the couch and had indulged in ice cream cones daily.   We made the decision that this would change.  We were going to rejoin the ranks of living.   We have.  We still have our ice cream cones, but not daily.  We have rediscovered our kitchen table and the fun of actually talking to one another while eating a meal.  I have completed several projects this week.

And, so , now I have come up from the cobwebs and read some of my favorite bloggers.  I have missed the joy I receive when reading these talented people’s writing.  I think, I am finally home from a long summer away.  It feels good.

Now, on to the next change that is coming soon.  A new granddaughter, a little lady to keep little man company.  A cousin for my little man.  She has already given us fits and starts and scares and with life.  She has already made a statement of what her personality will be, determined.  We should be able to meet her maybe next month, but hopefully she will be good and not come until she is supposed to in November.

So, thanks for stopping by.  I hope you haven’t forgotten me….  DAF

Happy 2nd Little Man….

In a couple of hours I will be going to a party.  This is a party I have looked forward to attending.  Little Man is two years old today.

My thoughts have gone back to two years ago often the past couple of days.  When he was carried into our lives and we saw him for the first time.  Time stopped in a way as we all gathered around and noticed each thing about him.  His little perfectly shaped head, his little mouth, his little fingers and toes.  Our hearts stopped  as we welcomed him to our family.  Our hearts stopped as this was a moment in time to notice.  A moment that could never be reproduced.  This was his moment to become ours.

He hasn’t stopped capturing our hearts these past twenty-four months.  Each conversation, each squeal of laughter, each smile grabs us by our hearts and squeezes more joy from us.  His little hand in ours is a reminder of the precious gift this child is.

He is our delight and our joy.  We celebrate him daily, but, today, we will celebrate him with presents and food and most importantly, cake!

Happy Birthday Little Man!  You are loved, Grammy (aka DAF)

Little Man in May

My Heart and Little Man…

It’s been almost two weeks since I left Little Man.  Almost two weeks of living with my heart somewhere else.  I have survived, but it is lonely.

My visit with L.M. went much too fast.  He is full of life.  He laughs often, talks even more than laughing, and sings.  His current favorites, “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “ABC’s” get new words and phrases thrown into them.  It is toddler skatting.  (Urban Dictionary defines skatting: To sing with no words. An old form of singing popular in the early part of the 20th century. )  If anyone joins in with him, he is enveloped with gales of laughter which is contagious.

Time since I flew home has quickly passed.  It’s just that type of season in my life.  I have been focused on events around me, but, lurking in the background is a shadow.  It is the reminder that I truly did leave my heart.  Not in San Francisco as the song goes, but, in D.C..

It will be another couple of months before I get to see him again, so, until then, I wait for more first hand stories and lessons from Little Man.

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

Adventures with Little Man…

Last week was one of the fastest moving weeks in my life.  I knew the time would pass quickly, but I didn’t know it would pass at the speed of light.  I truly think I was cheated out of at least four of the days last week.  I know I must have gone from Monday to Friday in one quick swoop.  It just wasn’t fair.

I had planned to do a series on Little Man.  I thought it would be fun and wonderful like the last visit I had with him.  Time to play, time to watch, time to write.  Well, I was correct on two of three accounts.  I did get to play with him and I did get to watch as he did his thing.  I just didn’t have time to write.

Little Man stole the rest of my heart.  Frankly, I have no idea how I am breathing and moving around, as I know this cute little fingers are holding onto my heart miles away.

He stole some of my heart when he was born.  Each visit he captures a few more sections of my heart.  Last Sunday when I walked into his apartment with my sister and niece, he was sitting in his high chair having a snack.  He looked at my sister and my niece with curiosity.  He then looked my way and squealed, “Grammy!”   That did it.  The rest of my heart was dislodged.  It no longer resides within me.  He completed his task and has completely stolen my heart.

I will try to remember all the adventures I had the last week.  They went by quickly, and this old Grammy brain needs to recapture the joy she lived the last week.  The words need to be written so that I don’t forget them.

But, for now, I am home and missing Little Man.  This morning while cleaning I caught myself singing ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’.  Of course it was the way Little Man sings that makes it so special.  Here are his words of his song, “Baa, baa black sheep, have you any Grammy?  Yes sir, yes sir she’s in my jammies.”  There are also verses for the other people in his life, but this verse is my favorite…  What a funny Little Man he is becoming.  I am blessed in knowing him  and am very sad in being back home now.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

Adventures with Little Man… snow piles, mud piles and trash trucks…

It has been six months since I was with Little Man.  He has grown so much!  He now runs everywhere and talks non stop.  He sings songs, and tells funny stories and is a joy to be with.

Yesterday, while Momma was at work, Little Man and I had some time together.  It was a pleasant day out and we went exploring.  This is a fancy way of saying we walked to the park.  The park was empty except for us, which suited me fine.  It was our kingdom to explore and have fun in.

In the corner of the park was a pile of leftover snow.  You know the kind, white underneath with a covering of black and gray sooty looking snow.  We headed that way, of course discovering the mud.  I knew Momma would not like us to play in mud, so I swooped up Little Man, watching where I stepped.  I put him on top of the leftover snow and I dug in deep to make a snowball.  I just had to do that.  I formed the snowball and handed it to my companion.  He threw the snowball and we laughed to see it explode upon hitting the ground.  “Make snowball Grammy.”  I was told.  Again, I dug deep into the pile and made another snowball.  Again we laughed at seeing it explode onto the ground.

We left the snow pile since I knew he would end up getting wet and cold soon.  We headed to the slide and tried to avoid the mud.

We talked about the mud and the snow and it was a wonderful conversation.

What caught our attention next was the trash truck picking up the garbage in the alley by the park.  I picked up Little Man and we watched as the garbage men threw the trash bags into the truck.  We watched as the trash churned in the truck.  His little eyes riveted on what was happening before him.  When the men finished their job, they waved to Little Man and told him to have a good day.  We thanked them and waved back.

Walking back to the apartment, I thought of the newness of the changing season.  To me, it was spring.  There is mud, there is leftover snow, there are the usual signs of a changing season.  I have seen it happen for years.  It is amazing to see flowers start to bloom and  grass start to green and mud dry up.  But, it is an ordinary changing from one season to the next.

I looked down at Little Man while thinking of this.  He was studying everything around him.  He was fascinated by everything he saw.  He pointed and he talked and he laughed.   This was an adventure.  This was new.

I learned that I need to look at the ordinary through new eyes.  Or, at least to see new things in the ordinary.   Little Man has reminded me, that although this may be just another birth of spring to me, and that it may be just another Monday trash pick up, to him, it is an adventure.  It was seeing for one of the first times how a trash truck works.  It was seeing how men can lob big bags filled with debris and have it land correctly in the truck.  It is feeling how mud can suck at your shoes, trying to gulp it down and keep you stuck.  It is seeing how underneath the black and gray sooty areas are places of pure white.

So, now I will have a refresher for the rest of the beginning of spring and longer.  I will remember to look at any job as a feat to carry out.  There is art in any job you attempt.  I will remember to not get sucked into situations that may look safe and steady and firm, but are actually soft and deep mud.  But most of all, I will remember that underneath the darkness and the dirty looking hard stuff, purity and softness can be found, and it is beautiful and fun.

So, thank you Little Man.  I know this week will go much too fast and I will miss the lessons you teach me each time we are together.

Thanks for stopping by today.  DAF