Grandma Challenge…

For the past few weeks I have seen my Facebook friends posting photos of their grandchildren with this explanation: Every day I select an image from a day in the life of being a grandma and post it without a single explanation.   In turn you are to nominate a friend to do the same.    Two days ago, a dear friend of mine nominated me.   I smiled and thought about it, as I usually do not share pictures of my grandchildren.  Only when I have the permission from their parents.   In this day and age, there is a fine line in sharing and over-sharing, but, I digress.

So, yesterday I shared a picture of Little Man and myself.   A sweet moment captured by my youngest and a photo that I love.  I can still remember the moment, the feel of his tiny body so comfortable, no squirming, no jiggling, just a tiny newborn with that fresh newborn smell.   Now he is all boy.   Lots of movement and noise and talking.  I wouldn’t have him any other way.  Of course, that newborn smell is long gone.

Today I posted a picture of Little Miss, curled up in her little bassinet, sound asleep.  Another precious picture.  I remember when that photo was taken, it was a warm San Diego day and she was only in a diaper with a little bamboo blanket on to keep the air off of her.  This morning I face-timed with Little Miss who, in her excitement for seeing us at Christmas had a list of thoughts she wanted to tell me in preparation for our visit.  I have laughed rethinking the conversation in my mind.  Gotta love a five year old with an active imagination.

The thing about this challenge, as they call it, is no explanation, how in the world does any grandmother not explain and tell a story about their grandchildren? That is literally impossible!

As I thought about this sharing of photos, I came to the realization that moments in a grandmother’s life is not only her grandchildren.  I thought of when I became a grammy for the first time.  Seven plus years ago, when Little Man was born, it was a hot July day and my life changed forever.  I saw my daughter and son-in-law walk in with this tiny bundle.  That moment is etched in my heart and mind.

The next time I felt that way was two years later, on another hot day, this one in October.  I stood with hubby outside a hospital room and heard the first cry of Little Miss.  Tears of joy welled up in my eyes.   A new life, a new child, a new little girl.

These moments bring to the realization that these lives, these two precious lives are ones that I won’t be a part of completely.  In conversations about your grandparents,  how many are in the present tense?  For most of us, words like, was, were, did, had are in the sentences.  Past tense words.  I remember,  a phrase commonly used in talking about grandparents.   That’s part of being a grandparent.  We strive to make memories so that when our sweet babies are grown, they, too, can say, I remember.

For me, grandma moments are not restricted to Little Man and Little Miss.  My moments are those when I channel my Mother-in-law without thinking and find myself reacting and saying things she did when my girls were small.  She is present in my heart and mind whenever I am with my grandchildren.  I know she would have loved her great grandchildren dearly.

Seeing my daughters and their husbands with their children also are some of my grandma moments.   Watching them interact, discipline, explain (for the umpteenth time) things to the kids, play games, build things, and laugh with them does my heart so much good.   Seeing a foundation built into my grandchildren by their parents is a visible reminder that there is a legacy being built.

I am blessed to have two more granddaughters.  Two beautiful girls (although one is grown now) who were gifted to me by my son-in-law.  Two girls I didn’t have the honor of seeing as infants, but feeling a bond with them I never imagined.   They bless my heart, hearing about their accomplishments and wishing I could wrap my arms around them often.

A grandma’s challenge is multi-faceted.  It reflects so much that goes unspoken.  Like a diamond catching the light, the heart of a grandma will flash a glimpse of laughter and surprise, it will reverberate with a pride that cannot be contained in the heart, but beams through facial expressions.  A grandma will hold out her arms waiting for a hug and hoping the child will absorb not only the hug, but deep love and emotion that is in the hug.  A grandma’s challenge is to plant deeply the roots of all she is into her grand-babies, so that in years to come, any and all conversations about her will bring to the foreground the love and comfort she put there.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.   Cathi (DAF)

Little Girls…

Little girls come into your life and they nuzzle up and reach in and steal your heart.  They do this easily and quickly.

I always wanted to have five boys.  That was my dream when I was young.  I wanted enough boys to have a pick up basketball team.  I always thought I would have a household full of boys.  They would grow up and look down on me and be in my home to eat all my food and make me laugh.  Yes, if you would have asked me in my early twenties, that is what I would have told you.

Then, near my mid twenties, our first daughter was born.  Suddenly, little girls were my world.  Lots of pink and ruffles and sweet little smiles.   A few years later her sister was born.  Again, lots of ruffles, but, lavender this time.

My girls carry my heart with them wherever they go.  I have gotten used to not having all my heart with me.   My girls, as they often do, grew up into beautiful women whom I am proud to know.  I am even more proud to be their Mom.

My youngest married first and she gifted me with a grandson, my Little Man.  He is a joy in himself, full of laughter and jokes and sly smiles.  He is a soccer man, and is improving all the time.  He loves his rock and roll music, and will talk about music all the time if you can keep up with him.  He makes my heart smile.

A couple of years after Little Man, our Little Miss came to us.   This little girl, this little gift.  She came a bit early and was really small.  Her size did not deter her personality though, as it was full grown and ready to be presented to the world.

Granddaughters are so much different than daughters.  They melt your heart even sooner than my daughters did.  I saw my husband melt within the first few hours after her birth.  It was different than with Little Man.  With Little Man, he was proud.  I could see his chest popping out in pride.  This was his Grandson.   In a moment he was in the future with him, working on cars and going fishing and doing all the guy stuff he had experienced when he was young.

When Little Miss was born, this man of mine became jello.  He held her and melted.  I watched him do it.  He looked at her and his heart was now in her little fingers.  It has remained so to this day.

Tomorrow, Little Miss turns five.  She is our Halloween pumpkin.  She is giggles and long stories.   She is a ballerina on her toes, leaping and in the next minute she is chasing her dogs and trying to hug them.   She is wanting to wear frilly dresses but not let her long locks be touched by a hairbrush.  She is a range of emotions like the range of the Appalachian mountains, it just goes on and on.

She is our precious little one.  The one who has her Mom take pictures of her in her church outfit so I can see how she looks.  She poses with one foot out, like a ballet position.  She is a true little girl, the sugar and spice, but also a measure of snips and snails and puppy dog tails…

Happy Birthday my Little Miss.  May your joy be complete and may this year be one filled with adventures and excitement.  You are loved.   Grammy.

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Thanks for stopping by today,  Cathi (DAF)

Stillness…

There are many nights where I do not fall asleep,  I lay there with a parade of thoughts marching through my mind.  Sometimes these thoughts are worries or fears, sometimes they are imagination, sometimes they are memories.  Needless to say, they keep me up.  This parade, without a brass band still make noises that keep me from sleep.

Sometimes, though, I stay awake and after the parade passes by, my thoughts are distilled into prayers.  Last night was such a night.   I lay there initially thinking of how my hip was bothering me and after trying different positions trying to get comfortable, my mind went on to other things.  I once more, mentally, worked on the opening lines for my book.  These opening lines have been written and rewritten several times over the course of my life.  I am finding that they are coming into a clear rhythm and I will write them down soon.  (This is an aside to my sister who has reminded me that she has yet to receive pages to edit).

After the success of mentally writing my first few paragraphs of my book, I thought about Little Man and Little Miss and their toy room here in our home.  With help from my youngest who was here last week, the toy room is undergoing a change from toddler toys to things that will hold their interest.  I hadn’t expected them to grow so quickly, I guess this Grammy just wanted them to stay small longer.

Finally, after the parade ended and like all parades the only thing left was a bit of clutter from the confetti of thoughts.  I mentally swept it up and came to the most important part of all of this, Prayer.

I prayed for friends, for their health, for their lives, for their finances, for their families, but, I knew there was more I had to do before sleep would come to me.   I got out of bed and quietly stepped out of the bedroom, hoping not to disturb my hubby.  I walked through the living room stopping to pick up the pictures on the table.  Two of my favorite pictures, they are of my oldest and her hubby on their wedding day.  The two of them holding on to each other on the beach.  The other is my youngest and her hubby, also on the beach, but posing with our precious puppy.

I took the photos and held on to them, hugging them as if I were hugging them in person.  I went to the guest room and opened up the curtains.  I held onto the pictures and prayed.  I thanked the Lord for the four of them and then looked, for the first time out the window.

It is sometimes in these quiet moments when you think you are doing something, that something else out of the blue happens.  This was the case last night.  Although the prayer for my kids was wonderful and touched my heart, the view from the guest room window was a gift in itself.

Last night the moon was full.  The light flooded our front yard that is filled with trees.  The light filtered through the leaves and the front yard was dappled in the moonlight.  I stood for several minutes looking at the scene.  Everything was still.  No wind, no breeze, just stillness.  Our gazebo, the trees and the ground painted by the Lord in moonlight.  Peace came over me and I knew without doubt, that all the thoughts and prayers that had gotten me to that point would be taken care of.

I walked through the house, looking through each window.  The views I pay attention to in the day were now dreamlike.   Quiet was everywhere, no birds singing, no tractors in the distance, nothing, just stillness.

In Mark chapter 4 in the Bible, a part of the scripture says that Jesus commanded the sea to be at peace, be still.   The seas obeyed Him.  Last night, after the parade in my mind, I looked out my windows and heard, “Peace, be still”.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

What is in a tree?

Last week while Little Man and his family were visiting due to being evacuated for Hurricane Dorian, we took little day trips.  He is a smart Little Man and is interested in a myriad of things.  So, with this in mind, we went to visit Cowpens Battlefield here in the area.

Having visited the battlefield once before, I knew there was a film that told about the battle in the visitor’s center.   We watched the film and at the end of the film there was a statement, “in the time it took to watch this film, the battle was over.”   I had forgotten that part.   The film was less than an hour long.   That statement started my mind going for the rest of the visit.

We walked along a trail through the battlefield, and my mind kept going back to the length of the battle.  Along the way were markers that talked about the battle, with sketches and diagrams as to where you were.

In each of the markers, with the sketches of the battle were what the background could have looked like.   There were saplings that were portrayed, and fields.  The saplings caught my eye, for where they were in the sketch, in reality there were large trees.  These trees, at least some of them, could have been there when this battle took place.

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This tree caught my eye, obviously, since I took a picture of it.  The bark on it was twisted and it was fascinating to look at.

The image of this tree has not left my mind since our visit.  If trees could talk, what would this one say?  Was it a sapling in 1781?  Or was it a sapling during the Civil War?   How many people have picnicked underneath it?   How many couples used this tree as a place to meet?  How many times has this tree been climbed? What has this tree heard in it’s lifetime?  Promises made, promises broken?  Epitaphs?  Declarations of love and or hate?  All of this has rumbled around my mind.

This battle, short as it was, made history.  This field, once a place used solely for cattle, is now a national place.  This field is honored, people come to this field to learn, to remember our history, to reflect how our country came about.  Yet, these silent sentinels remain where all can see.  These trees, at least some of them, witnessed the events we learn about in visits like these.

When I look at trees, and as you have guessed, I love trees, I think of wisdom.  Trees outlast us.  They put their roots deep into the ground.  They survive storms and winds, snow and hail.  They stand tall during rain, they soak up what they need.  They shed leaves, they bloom new ones.  They provide shade, they provide protection, they provide.

In short, I truly would like to be like a tree.  Someone who may look a little gnarled on the outside, but is full of wisdom, protection, and provision.  A place where people can come and unload, vent, or just sit quietly while being refreshed.

Thanks for stopping by today.   I appreciate you.  Cathi (DAF)

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)

Six years out…

Six years ago on the 28th of July, I wrote this blog post:

This will be short. I am busy watching my baby’s baby. He is absolutely gorgeous, all 8 lbs 1 oz and 21 inches long.

He coos, he squeals, he cries, and he is the proud owner of my heart. It no longer belongs to me, it is his. His little fingers have wrapped their way around my heart and there they will stay.

That’s it for now, I am busy reveling in the glory of our God in giving our family such a gift.

Yes, it was a short post, and it seems like yesterday that I wrote it.  But, it’s not.  It was six years ago.

Tomorrow Little Man turns six.  Can you believe that?  I know I can’t!  So many little stories I have written about him and when I re-read each one, it seems like it just happened.

It has been a while since I wrote anything about this precious little guy.  My heart is still his, like my heart is also his cousin’s.  Those little ones grab your heart with that first look and they do not let go of it, nor, would I want them to.

Little Man is now heading into the first grade.  He is an avid reader, reading much more above his grade level.  He is into dinosaurs currently, he still loves his legos, and his taste in music is incredible.  He can rock out with the best of us.

He makes me smile just with a glance and when it has been a while since I last saw him, my arms ache for a hug.

So much of what I took for granted while raising my daughters, like birthdays and interests, loose teeth, and advancing in school, is now of great interest to me.  I love hearing him tell me of his adventures, those  big and small.  These little things are so important to him, and to me.   He continues to teach me things I have long forgotten.  The joy of discovering a new trick on a scooter, the fun of wriggling a loose tooth, the information on dinosaurs and how they looked or what they ate.   These are important lessons to focus on.

I am still amazed at this Little Man.  He makes my heart smile. IMG_1760Happy Birthday six-year-old!  Grammy loves you.

 

 

Looking Back…

In November, I had great plans for writing about our Thanksgiving visit with Little Man and his folks.  I took pictures and I may still use them and write about them, but, somehow, time flew by and nothing was written.

I had a wonderful holiday season.  I was so busy making memories that I did not take time to write about them.  I would not change a thing.  Sometimes it is so much more important to live in the moment and catalog each giggle, each smile, each sigh in your heart than to think of how to express those deep feelings with words.

We spent Thanksgiving with Little Man, like I mentioned.  We stayed with some dear friends and we celebrated Hubby’s birthday all in the same week.  It was a week filled with hugs, kisses, old movies, mini golf, lots of food and the comfort of being with friends who are family and family .  It couldn’t have been better.

We drove home from Thanksgiving and I dove into decorating.  I took my time and I have to say that this year’s decorations were surprisingly beautiful.  My ideas of what I would like to see actually worked!  I was amazed.

We had a couple of parties at the house and the house echoed with laughter and conversations and of course, there was plenty of food.

Christmas saw Little Man and his family here.  From the greeting with my obnoxious ugly Christmas sweater (which Little Man loved) to the tearful parting and good-bye the day after Christmas, our home and hearts were filled to the brim.  Laughter rang out and there was music and old movies and new movies, legos, games, puzzles and old stories filling our home.  These all outshined the decorations.  When your home is filled with loved ones they are the perfect decoration and make the gifts and ribbons and bows pale in comparison.

Shortly after Christmas, Hubby and I traveled to Florida to see Little Miss and her folks.  We spent ten glorious days with them.  Again, the time spent with them was time that we will cherish.  Seeing Little Miss be herself, complete with singing, dancing around, playing with her dolls and her legos, made our hearts glad.  She is full of life and she reminds us how fun it is to be three…  we laughed for ten days straight.

Looking back on this holiday season fills me with such a peace.  I was hugged and kissed by two of the most important people in my life.  Their obvious love for hubby and I melt our hearts.  Being hugged by sometimes sticky hands is the absolute best feeling in the world.  I was spoiled this year with gifts, but the two gifts I cherish most are my grandchildren.  Their smiles, their laughter, their stories, they are the things that make anytime special.

So, Happy New Year!  I hope 2018 holds the best for you all.  My year ended and started in the best possible way,  I look forward to the coming months.

Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

 

Shelter in the Storm…

Many of us watched this week as Hurricane Matthew made his journey up the East Coast of this country.    My thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and property.  This has been a difficult week for many.

But, I confess, I was blessed by Matthew.  Matthew brought Little Man and his parents to me.  They came here when they evacuated Charleston.

Little Man was a bit concerned, which is expected.  A four-year old seeing his folks work around the house, pack up things not typically brought for a visit to Grammy and Grampy, and hearing news reports and conversations that he does not usually hear.

Being smart, his folks tried to lighten the mood by suggesting a new name for Hurricane Matthew.  A name less frightening for a four-year old.  It’s a classic name.

So, Hurricane Cupcake Pants, thank you for allowing a Category 5 whirlwind of giggles, laughter, tickles,  playing several rounds of ball, and going on adventures to a local park.  I loved my week, I haven’t smiled and laughed this much for a long while.  Little Man is growing and each visit brings great conversations with him.

Yes, I had a great week.  I know there are many people who haven’t.  I pray things will calm down for them.  Thanks for stopping by.  DAF(Cathi)

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)

Anticipation…

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)