Category Archives: Children

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

~ William Barclay

I don’t feel old enough to have grand children. When I was younger it always seemed like grand-parents were these really “OLD” people and as I’m still in my 40’s I don’t exactly feel old, but I am still totally weirded out about having grand-kids.

The youngest grand-baby turned one a little over a week ago and my youngest daughter is holding the birthday party tomorrow. Because I cannot sit for long periods of time, the 352 mile drive north to see them and spend the weekend with family is impossible. I fervently wish it weren’t. I miss seeing everyone.

Yoda-hubby is; however, going up to see family today and will attend the party. At the moment I’m feeling a more than a bit lonely and a bit depressed. I attempted cleaning house to take my mind off things. No go. And listening to 90’s alternative music really isn’t helping matters. When you are down, Nirvana might not actually be the best choice, but then… I get Foo Fighters “Everlong.” I’m more than pleased, but it really is an odd auto-segue  because Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer. **Mind blown**

Now, let me get to the particular reason for this post. I hate the birthday song. No. That’s not a strong enough word. I despise the birthday song with a passion that mere mortal men cannot truly comprehend. You know the one… “Happy Birthday to you…blah, blah, blah freaking blah.”  This song is old. Really old. It dates back to the late 1800’s and appeared in print in about 1912. It’s been translated into so many different languages and (unfortunately) it’s the most recognized song in the world.

When I go to restaurants, I actually feel nauseous when I hear it. It makes me angry. And fortunately my family knows better than to have a bunch of strange people sing this freaking song to me in a restaurant – ever. I would seriously walk out in the middle of it because I not only hate the song, but I hate the forced singing by people who don’t even know me.  God help me if I someday end up in a nursing home and have to listen to this mindless musical drivel on a regular basis.

I actually have adopted my own birthday song, “Birthday” by the Beatles. (It’s on their 1968 “white album.” Great stuff on that album by the way.)  “Birthday” is a thunderous symphony of sound and motion. It’s a song that makes me say, “Hell, yes! It’s my birthday.” (And this is the song I would undoubtedly crank in the nursing home to ward off others more than anything else.)

So with all this said  for her first birthday (as it were)… Stella, this one is for you.

 Beatles – “Birthday”

 

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The Joy of Adult Parenting

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
~Anne Frank~

Sage-Corkscrew Swamp, Naples, FL
Sage-Corkscrew Swamp, Naples, FL

Anne Frank had it right. You can only give good advice and try to teach your children the path to walk down. While our children may inherit or mimic their parents actions, the one thing we have to remember is they are not us and will choose their own lives. But the “remembering” is not so easy and we often find ourselves with adult children who blow our minds with actions and decisions made that “we” would never do.

The first thing as a parent I have to consider as they are both adults, though still young, is sharing my wisdom (such as it is) and insights without being critical. I also have to now respect each of their differences. It’s truly a balancing act and I don’t know that I will ever have it down, but I do so try.

As I have a solid relationship with both of my daughters, I am and will be forever blessed. As they age, I’m learning  they will  (or is it still?) come to me if they need help during a “crisis” and that I need to keep clear of unsolicited advice.  But the discernment from “crisis” to “chronic” is murky at best sometimes – especially if chronic things have escalated into a crisis.

For example: The ongoing struggle between my sun and moon daughters over cleaning their apartment is a chronic situation that often turns into a small crisis filled with yelling and bitching. But learning to live with others and respecting each other’s choices as adults is something they have to do which means I struggle not to interfere unless called upon by one or both parties. I offer the requested advice and a shoulder, but as young adults, they must learn how to deal with “difficult” people. And each of them finds the other difficult and they have for years.

Again – the whole issue is about respect. They need to respect each other despite their obvious differences. Yoda and I have worked hard to show respect to them and to each other as a model for our lives. They each have to learn they are not the other and will choose their own paths. If they can respect that and respect each other, I believe that at the end of the day, the sun and the moon can come together to create something truly beautiful.

The path we all follow is not easy. It is a lifetime of learning and growing. But in choosing to be a counsellor and friend to my adult children instead of their coach or referee is a better option. In the end, they will each have their own strengths and their own character to be passed down to the next generation.

Sleep Deprivation… Not Just for a New Mom

And these children that you spit upon as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they are going through.

It’s been a wicked-busy few days. Yoda and I left the Metroplex about 2230 hours and arrived “home” in Amarillo about 0430 on Saturday morning. Necessitating this midnight run was the pending arrival of my first grandson. Jess went into labor about 0700 Saturday… (after we got a combined grain of sleep from the Sandman…) Baby J finally decided to stop loitering in my daughter’s womb and made his appearance at 2256 hours Sunday night.

I find Squishy-Face (Baby J) incredibly cute and healthy; Jess is home recovering as well. She’s a little, sometime a lot, sore and has the energy of a sloth.

Frankly, I too could use some recovery time. I’m exhausted. From last Thursday when I woke at 0900 until I went to bed Monday morning at 0100, I got about 17 total hours of sleep. Jess and Baby J are worth it, but it seems like since then all I have done for days is run errands and I’m a wee bit on edge.

This brings me to:
I have been up since 0500 today. (I only woke because the bladder apparently contained the contents of Niagara Falls.) However, Yoda and I are bunking with my other daughter, my eldest, as well as Jess, Baby J and Ryan, J’s boyfriend. 5 adults in a 2 bedroom apartment. I wanted to put this into perspective because I’m feeling homicidal at the moment. Oh? Indeed.

Eldest has to work today. I’m sharing a room with her as she has an additional twin bed in her room. For the love of all that is pure and holy, there was almost a brutal killing as her alarm went off at the butt-crack of dawn and she hit snooze 85 times. Not only did I have to listen to the opening bars of a Taylor Swift nightmare, she apparently programmed several other alarms to wake her in case THAT failed. As I didn’t know what time she actually has to be at work, I didn’t know whether I should kill her or dump water on her.

The reassuring constant is misery loves company. I’m sure Jess didn’t sleep long or well either as a new baby tends to have that affect on new parents. God willing, we shall get some much needed rest before long and commiserate over breakfast and snuggles with the latest addition to the family.

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Thoughts on Grandparenthood

“Calvin: Dad where do babies come from?
Dad: Well Calvin, you simply go to Sears, buy the kit and follow the assembly instructions.
Calvin: I came from Sears?
Dad: No you were a blue-light special at K-Mart – almost as good and a lot cheaper!”
Bill Watterson

6a00d83451f25369e200e54f14c7ca8833-800wi My baby is having a baby. It’s weird to say, even more bizarre to think about. J is due tomorrow, October 8th. I don’t know if the new arrival will come on time, early or be delayed because he needs a little longer to bake at 98.6 degrees.

One of mine was a few days early, the other was about a week late. I know that at this stage in pregnancy, there is nothing more miserable than the heat of summer and the readiness that comes with a child sitting on your bladder. There is a special feeling when you are kicked in the liver or spleen or when a foot / elbow lodges itself under your ribs. Yes, indeed. And those moments when your mammary glands leak at the most unsuspecting times or when you want to tie your shoes and you can’t find your feet are the stuff memories are made of. 

But through all of the discomfort, there is a little life inside that makes it all worthwhile. And my baby, my youngest, is about to experience the “joy” of motherhood for the first time. 

Pondering “advice” for months now, I can’t decide what to say, what to do. It’s her child, her life and I’ve offered some “suggestions” about the actual delivery. But as all grandparents before me, I figure I have to offer some words of sage advice when it comes to parenting. When my girls were born, my parents were fairly mute at the time and doled out advice through the years. I think this may be the safest and best course of action. 

The only advice I can safely give her and to all parents is to love that child with all of your heart. You will make mistakes and will grieve decisions you have to make and cannot change. Love will make it better, but never easier.  Love… the best advice I can give, the only thing TO give. 

Pre-Graduation Panic & Mayhem

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson – 
Yesterday, I thought the collective minds of my oldest daughter and myself were going to implode or explode – your choice. She had been working on a video presentation for the senior celebration at AACAL and the day of the celebration, it crashed. Then, to add insult to injury, 6 hours before the event, it decided to not only crash, but completely evaporate into the outer stratosphere. The whole thing – gone. Woosh! 

It was a lucky thing I had planned on coming home a little early to help with the crash. I ended up coming home a couple of hours earlier than that and started slamming together a PowerPoint presentation in an attempt to salvage what I could. For about 4 hours, I typed seniors’ achievements, schools and all of that jazz. When Eldest got home from school – she started throwing in the pictures parents had provided. 

I apologize to the seniors who were inadvertently missed or forgotten. There was some information that had been e-mailed or texted late to Eldest and I wasn’t privy to that information. I am very sorry if you were missed. It wasn’t my intention, nor was it hers. I do hope that you understand that bad things happen to good computers. 

Today, Eldest is going through a similar-feeling situation with trying to get stuff together for another, bigger banquet. She had a few things thrown at her toward the last minute, though I think a little of this is procrastination combined with a HEAVY workload. I will just be happy if she gets it done and wears clothing to the festivities tonight.  

But all in all, I think Emerson’s quote is rather fitting for the events of the past couple of days and in future days to come. It’s those moments of panic when we have to dig deep and find out what we are truly made of. Some people cave under the pressure while others come out okay. I’m hoping Eldest is the later. After the celebration presentation last night, I told her, “It’s over. There’s nothing more you can do now. Just breathe and move on to the next thing.” 

Isn’t that what we all have to do?