Remembering my grandparents

As I held and rocked one of the twins (9 month old boys!) today, I started feeling such strong love and emotion. These grandbabies, and my 3 year old granddaughter, are so very precious to me.

It brought back memories of my own grandparents, and what they did to have a relationship with us. It was back in the 60’s and 70’s and they lived 2000 miles away – no internet, no cell phones, no social media.

I was born in California, near San Francisco. My father’s parents lived about 40 miles away, in Sonoma, where he was raised. From what I gather, they were very involved with their three granddaughters. I was the middle sister, and when we were five, two, and six months old, my father’s company transferred him to Houston, Texas. This was in 1959. They packed us all up and drove us all that way. I imagine my older sister and I in the back seat, loose, and my mother holding the baby. Glad we all survived.

Anyway, looking at it from the grandparent’s view, it must have been pretty difficult. But it seems that they made the best of it.

Every summer we would meet them somewhere between here and there for a great camping vacation. The most memorable one for me was somewhere in Arizona, where we camped for a month and my father broke his leg.

When I was about 12, my parents went to Europe and Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard, as we called them, and their dog Mike, came and stayed with us for 6 weeks! When I think about that- wow, I’m impressed! They would have been in their early sixties, and took on us girls plus my then 4-year-old brother. I’m sure we drove them up the wall, but I have only good memories of that time. Except for having to eat boiled squash.  I am exhausted after 2 days with my granddaughter, so no doubt they were VERY happy to see my parents. I remember going to the airport to meet them. Good times.

Long distance phone calls weren’t cheap, but I think they called us about every month or so, and I remember the excitement of knowing that Grandma and Grandpa were on the phone. We’d take our turns on the extension in my parents bedroom and talk for maybe two minutes apiece. I have no idea what we talked about, but the memory of sitting on my parents’ bed talking to Grandma brings a sweet thrill of love to my heart.

They’d always send us presents for our birthdays and for Christmas. I still have a book they sent for my sixth birthday, Happiness is a Warm Puppy, with characters from the comic strip Peanuts. I treasure it now simply because it brings warm memories of my grandma.

They would come and visit us occasionally, too, in between camping trips. I think they did a lot of traveling around the country after Grandpa retired, and they pulled a travel trailer behind their car. At least once they parked it in our driveway and stayed awhile.

This picture was probably taken around the time of the trip to Europe. That’s me in the hideous blue glasses.

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Now that I’m a grandparent, I get it. It’s quite possible that I may experience long distance grandparenting in the future, and I know it will be much easier for me to keep in touch than it was for them. I am so glad they made the effort that they did. I hope Hazel, Hudson, and Sebastian (and any future grands) remember me as fondly as I remember Grandma Mae and Grandpa Howard.

 

A Day Off

Since quitting my full-time job in July, my life is my own. Or is it? What am I taking a day off from? (warning: this post evolved into total stream of consciousness!)

Starting from last Saturday, let’s take a look at my schedule for the past week, and most weeks. My 3 year old granddaughter stayed overnight with me Saturday, and again on Monday, while her mama worked. Thursday I spend with the now 6 month old twins. Tuesday evening is my Ayurvedic Spiritual Counseling course. I worked, albeit from home, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, for a total of 18 hours.

Today, Friday, is the only day this week that I have nothing on my calendar. Not even a yoga class. So there you have it, a day off.

I always think I am going to “accomplish” big things when a day like this comes along. But what does that mean, anyway? I have in mind to get all my homework done, do some painting, do some writing, cook a delicious meal, go for a long walk, do laundry, clean the bathroom. I doubt if I’ll do all that, and I may do other things. It just feels good to have an entire blank slate of a day.

Right now it is the middle of the day and Robert is fixing lunch, some kind of garden veggie burgers, and vegetables and grains and it smells delicious! I guess if I’m going to cook it will be dinner!

wp-1484932347137.pngI got up at 6:45 and meditated.  Then I went back to bed for a bit. Got up and had tea, wrote in my journal, did some Yoga with Adriene, my favorite youtube yoga teacher. Ate my favorite breakfast of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and stewed apples. Took a shower and washed my hair. Threw some paint on a canvas, almost literally!

And I’ve been sitting here on the couch writing between doing laundry. I started a new blog this week, The Cat’s Advice – just for fun, check it out!

While we are on that subject, I also started Finding Ayurveda. It’s purpose is mostly for me to put together what I’ve learned into content that makes sense to people who don’t know anything about Ayurveda.

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Now it is after lunch, which is just as delicious as I expected. I sit here writing with my phone propped against the screen  skyping the aforesaid granddaughter. Lately, we’ve been doing this more frequently, just “hanging out” so her mama can have 30 minutes to do some organizing or whatever.  Precious time, precious child. I don’t post pictures of her at her mother’s request.

wp-1484942917585.jpgIn a little while, I will drive down to the nature trail and take a walk. Today it is a balmy 77 degrees, a beautiful summer like day in the middle of January.  Yeah I’m doing that instead of watching the inauguration. You’ll never find anything political here.

Whatever you do today, may you be happy and look for the good. Remember, whatever you put your attention on grows and strengthens.

Thanks for reading my blog!

A lot can happen in a year.

I love Timehop. It would be so cool to have my whole life on it. Year by year, the journey unfolds. On Jan 3, I got the notification of what I wrote about 2015, and I thought wow, where has the time gone? So much has changed in the last few months that writing has been on the bottom of my list. But, here I am now!

New Year’s Eve, 2015: I was in a cottage in the country, drinking champagne and making intentions with my partner, Robert. I said I was going to leave behind “I can’t” and make having more compassion be my main intention. I believe I have been successful with the former and hope that I am making progress on the latter.

New Year’s Eve 2016: I was home, babysitting my three-year-old granddaughter while her now single mother worked. And Robert was also at work. Making intentions was the farthest thing from my mind. After the little one finally went to sleep, I was glad to just sit and watch a movie!

Caring for a young child twice weekly so her mother can make ends meet was not something I anticipated a year ago, or ever, for that matter. But, when circumstances change, what are you gonna do? Although at times it exhausts me, I am glad that I can be there for my daughter and have a special relationship with my granddaughter.

Speaking of grandchildren, 2016 brought me two more! The announcement came in early spring – my second oldest son and his wife were expecting twins! And they arrived, two healthy boys, in mid-July, right after I quit my job. And, with that freedom, I make a weekly 120 mile round trip across Houston to spend the day with them and give their parents a bit of a break. wp-1483928846636.jpg

In other very major news, Robert and I are now engaged! After three amazing years together, “in spite of it all and because of it all” (as he and I often say), we have taken this step of commitment. He asked me on November 29, on bent knees, and I said yes. I never thought I would want to marry again, but when I thought that, I hadn’t met Robert!wp-1484019838009.png

Then in early December, I got my birthday wish! I turned 60 and my deepest desire was to have all my children together. Robert threw me a wonderful party, and all seven of them were there,along with some of their spouses and all the grandchildren. It was quite a feat! My dear sister Ellen and her husband drove down to celebrate with us, and my closest friends were there as well. It was wonderful, marvelous, unforgettable!wp-1484019648440.pngwp-1484019669518.png

Biggest plan for 2017: we are going to move house. Going to go north of Houston, away from the city and the refineries I’ve lived by all my life. Going to where the air is cleaner, but close enough to the grandkids to continue the current relationships. It’s a leap of faith in many ways, but I’m ready for this next adventure!

I am continuing to study with New World Ayurveda, and applying what I know to my life and sharing with family and friends as much as they are interested and want to know. I  will finish this course in April and take another trip up to Maine for the final intensive. Robert is in this class too, so will travel with me. With the completion of the course, I will be qualified not only as an Ayurvedic Practitioner, but I will also be a Spiritual Counselor and meditation teacher. Since I am also certified and registered as a yoga teacher, I feel a sense of pride in accumulating these credentials over the last two years.

But since the priorities of my life have shifted unexpectedly, I haven’t started a practice as I had expected. And I feel ok about it, and whatever else may change. I am blessed to be able to work part-time from home doing medical reviews right now, because there’s just too much going on right now for me to start a business!

As I was readying the little one for bed tonight, and taking some time to hold and cuddle her, I was reminded that this is what is important. Just being, and loving, not always doing.

The message I have received in my spirit – my intention, my vision for this year and beyond:

 Whatever choices I make on the path of life, as long as love reigns over all, nothing else really matters.

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Cars and twins

The week started with my car overheating on Monday. Again.

Well, actually, it started with a yoga class at 9 am Monday morning. It was wonderful. And I’ve gone to four yoga classes this week, and definitely feel more balanced.

But back to my car situation…

wp-1469367557487.pngI’ve been driving a 1997 Chrysler Sebring for the last 3 1/2 years. My father bought it brand new when he was around 70, but when he was 85 decided he needed something new so I was blessed to get the car at a time that I really needed it, and it has been good to me. It only had 52,000 miles on it when I got it. I’ve doubled the mileage on it, and I think its got a few more on it, but decided it was enough for me.

wp-1469283408635.jpgSo Tuesday I bought a 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback with only 10,000 miles on it. I had rented one the last time my car was in the shop, loved it, researched it, and when I found this one I knew it was mine. I had been saving money every month in lieu of a car payment, so was able to pay cash, which was a great feeling! Now I have a reliable car to drive across Houston to see my grandchildren.

And just in time, since  twin boys arrived on Wednesday! wp-1469283351766.png

And babies make three grandchildren for me, all in the Houston area, but an hour across town.  I met them on Thursday, and they are adorable. I will be spending some time with them and their parents next week as they settle in at home. Doing the Grandma thing!

Through the eyes of a two year old

I spent some time with my granddaughter yesterday. She is at that age where she has started to think about things, but is not yet able to express all her ideas verbally. She is stringing words together, but most of what she says is delightfully unintelligible.

“Swing and slide?” she asked in her sweet baby voice. So I put her in her stroller with her baby doll and pushed her the mile to the park, a green patch in the city. I wonder what she thinks, as the cars swoosh by, and we pass random people. She puts out her hand to touch some hedges along the side walk. We stop to smell some flowers.

She got restless the last quarter mile or so, asking me questions I couldn’t understand, talking and occasionally singing. I was glad she was happy, and I would point out things along the way, telling her we were almost there. Finally, we were at the green, first passing the dog park, which brought on a stream of dog like sounds from baby, then there we were at the playground. There were a lot of other kids and parents out on this warm February day.

wp-1456191076862.jpegI helped her out of the stroller and she headed for the swings. All but one were occupied, so I lifted her up into it, and “swing, swing” she laughed and sang as I pushed her. She gazed in fascination at the little girl in the swing next to her. “Baby!” she chortled with delight.

I spent the next 45 minutes following her around the small play area, guarding her as she climbed ladders meant for older children, laughing with her as she slid down the numerous slides, pleased that she cooperated with other children. Often she would stop and just stare at another child, and I wondered what she was thinking. Another little girl around her age was not having a good day, and as my little sweetie observed her crying, she said “baby cry? night-night?” Good observation, I thought!

I was wearing out before she did, and, anticipating the trek back, coerced her back into the stroller with the promise of a snack and taking her shoes off. Thus settled, we made the journey home, with her chatter and singing delighting me. She tweeted with the birds, and, pointing out a squirrel, “get nuts?” she queried.

Arriving home, I took off my sandals and sat on the tub to wash my dusty achy feet, which turned into a bath for her!  We splashed and laughed and it was absolutely delightful!

It wasn’t until I was leaving that she had a meltdown. She was trying to communicate something to do with a toy car that looks like “Sassa’s car” and it seemed to be important that she take the car outside but since she was naked Mama and I were saying no. So she threw the car and quietly crumpled and threw herself around a bit. This is when parenting is hard. What is it going on in the mind of a two year old that is inexpressible and therefore frustrating? What is a grownup to do?

Fortunately, her mother practices gentle parenting, and spoke to her gently but firmly. She offered to put a diaper on her and take her outside, which was satisfactory. There was still something on baby girl’s mind, but she was less upset, and was happy to see my car, for whatever reason, and we kissed and hugged and I went on my way.

All this to say, a two year old lives moment to moment, joy and frustration being dealt with as it comes, and we grownups have lessons to learn from it. If you have a two year old, remember this the next time they throw a tantrum. They don’t have the words to express themselves yet, so it’s not a punishable offense. And you? Take life a little less seriously, and enjoy each beautiful moment.