Category Archives: Stories and Values

Gotta Love Those Boys

Grandpa and I always counted ourselves fortunate that we enjoyed the many hours Lane, Dalton, and their friend, Derek spent with us as they grew up.  Summer visits began when the boys were around five or six years old. The older the boys got, the more weeks they spent with us. Once they hit their teen years, they got jobs shoveling manure for extra pocket money. Yes, they created a great deal of mischief along with lots of laughter. Always, without exception these young boys continued to be good kids.

Now, that the three older guys have hit their twenties, I continue to miss their visits. Fortunately, we now have three younger grandsons (not counting Baby Rhett) who fill the big guys’ shoes quite nicely. With Chandler on a camping trip, Aidan and Ellioitt invited Korben, a friend from school. The three boys started the evening playing pool, ping-pong, and air hockey. They also amazed us by walking on balance beams. We ate dinner at P Terry’s, which promised to give all money to the Austin American Statesman for families in need. Lane (the oldest grandchild) and his wife, Margie joined us. Continue reading

Building Family Memories

Although we only see the children who live out of town on rare occasions, the time with them feels sweet and special when we can be together. This Thanksgiving, we enjoyed time with Dina and her three children: Rylie (age 9), Ana (age 7), and Baby Rhett (age 1) who flew here from California.

It was a little over a year ago that I wrote about a very tiny, 3.5 pound, premature baby boy named Rhett. Today, at age one, he wears Toddler 2’s and 3’s. He manages to stay very active, moves with lightening speed, and remains totally curious. We had a good time with all three children as they played in our new home and went on short adventures with us. Rylie and Ana amazed us by going swimming! The water felt much too cool for all of us but those tough little CA girls plunged right into that November water. A trip to Windmill Park also provided fun for all of us.  Continue reading

Life — Too Strange to be True!

Life can sometimes be stranger than fiction. From September until the middle of November, we lived one of those life experiences.

In August, we bought a house with many attractions for grandchildren. However, a few small improvements seemed in order. Soon, we heard ourselves saying, “Well, if we mess up the living room by knocking down the pop-corn ceiling, we may as well clean up all the downstairs’ ceilings.

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How You Can Help Your Child Mourn

Jenny Wise has submitted another thoughtful article. Please read and consider her ideas about ways to help a child in grief.

It’s always devastating when someone you love dies. Whether it was a parent, spouse, or friend, the loss is heartbreaking — and it’s not going to suddenly disappear. Grief is a journey that everyone must take. Thankfully, you’re an adult and can find resources, friends, and help to get through this difficult time.

That’s why you need to be there when your child mourns. They don’t have the experience or skills to cope with the death like you can. While you cannot ignore your own needs, read on to learn more about helping your child get through the grieving process. Continue reading

This is What Parents of Children with Special Needs Can Do to Plan for the Future

An aspiring young writer, Jenny Wise asked to write an article for this blog.  In her writing, Jenny shares her compassion and understanding of children with severe disabilities.  I know you will appreciate what Jenny has to offer.  

Parents of children with special needs understand more than anyone else just how important it is to plan for the future. These parents cannot afford to put off creating a plan to ensure their children will be cared for when they no longer can do it themselves. You may not be able to care personally for your child forever, but you can make sure the right people do.

  1. Keep Detailed Records

Keep all of your special needs child’s records up-to-date. Create a file containing your child’s medical history, previous and current medications, surgeries and procedures, therapies, and doctor histories in a secure location in your home and in a safe deposit box or in your lawyer’s office.

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We Wanted A Bit of Magic

Sometimes the best-laid plans blow up all over us! Elaborate arrangements for a Labor Day weekend wedding in Corpus Christi began ebbing away when Hurricane Harvey first hit the Texas shores. Shortage of gasoline became the final blow to the couple’s wedding dreams. On Thursday evening when Joy called to tell me they had decided to cancel plans for a Saturday wedding in Corpus, she asked if they could get married in the gazebo behind our newly purchased home. Well of course! No problem! Yikes! Crawling into bed that evening, I asked Chris, “Can we pull this off?” “Of course we can,” he assured me.

 

So, with the first floor of our new home totally torn up for remodeling, downstairs toilets pulled, running water turned off, and only one day to prepare, we put a wedding together. Chris worked extremely hard cleaning the pool and balancing the PH levels. Our daughter Kirsten once again came through with brilliance and stamina. Todd helped with the delivery of tables and chairs and with wise suggestions. David, Melissa, Lane and Dalton joined the effort. We cleaned, swept, and moved tables and chairs. Continue reading

A Touching Story of Pure Love (or Maybe Not. . .)

On a hot summer day in August, I took Catherine, Aidan, Chandler, and Elliott to Altitude, a trampoline park. Because of a torn contact lens, Catherine had to stop jumping early and be delivered to an eye appointment. The agreement was that the three boys would keep jumping during the brief time I would be away.

Just before leaving with Catherine, I gathered the children for a water break. Elliott insisted that he did not need water; he needed candy. After touching his sweaty little body, I replied, “No, Elliott, you really need some liquid. No candy at this time.” A serious pout began.

As I prepared to leave, Aidan whispered, “Grandma, Elliott may really need some water. Would you leave some money with me just in case he needs something?” Well, of course I would. Off I drove with Catherine.

Upon my return, Aidan confessed, “Grandma, I got worried about Elliott. He wouldn’t jump; he wouldn’t drink anything. He just sat there pointing. So to take care of him, I bought some candy and made him share it with Chandler and me. That way, Elliott didn’t get too much sugar.” How thoughtful of Aidan. Looking at Elliott, I said, “Next time, let him pout.”

Hmmm. Perhaps from the beginning Aidan had a divinely conceived plan to get candy for everyone as soon as I left with Catherine. I ponder this remote possibility. . .

You have to love a kid who works from a master plan to manage the adults in his life. At age twelve, Aidan never misses a beat. Apparently, we adults totally lack the resources to keep up with his drumbeat. I find myself smiling. Oh — the possibilities for this kid.

To Heck With Being Sensible

Some of you may already know that Chris and I backed out of the offer we made on a cute little house. Today, I write about our latest (and final) house bid.  

I’m running out of time. No doubt about it. With my 80’s looming ahead in the not so distant future, I’d better take advantage of what’s left of my youthful 70’s. To heck with being sensible and sedate! Not that I have anything against practical shoes, a little help walking, or the luxury of peaceful naps. Searching for the proverbial gold in these golden years does not get easier. I’ve decided to go for it while I still have the eyesight to spot that golden glow.

And so, my husband, who is eight years my junior and I dumped our previous notion of downsizing. Actually, we had previously downsized all the way to life in a motor home. Yes, it was fun. Without a doubt, getting rid of superfluous stuff felt great. And yet, there were hazards to that downsizing movement.

In spite of providing the advantage of always being able to locate one another, the motor home left no space for a family that seems to insist on continual expansion. Those kids — the ones we assumed would grow up and move on with their lives have become rabbits. Constantly, they accumulate spouses and children, dogs, cats and even chinchillas. Don’t get me wrong. We love each and every one. While some senior citizens collect antique dolls, stamps, coins, or even books, my husband and I collect grandchildren.

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That Swinging Pendulum Can Pack a Punch!

Have you ever felt like life mimics the swinging pendulum on a grandfather clock? On one side, life presents the circumstances you prefer. The opposite direction propels you into dread and dissatisfaction.

I believe that if I can avoid wild, dramatic, herculean swings I can keep the pendulum gently swaying somewhere near center. As we all know, staying centered provides a path to contentment.

I also tell myself that just as I cannot control the motion of the clock pendulum, I do not control the variances of life. Faithfully, I remind myself (and anyone who will listen), that I can only control my reactions to life’s swings. Much of the time, I stay relatively close to center. In addition, most of the time my attitude remains stable in spite of worldly events. But not always. Below, I share two extreme swings of my personal pendulum. Continue reading

Poking Fun About a Serious Subject

At the risk of offending friends and family, I post this fictional and foolish letter. My intention, to poke fun at a serious topic, contains bits of ridiculous along with a significant truth. The underlying message suggests that grave responsibility accompanies sexual activities.

 Disclaimer: I do not have any grandsons named Billy Bob or Rex.

Dear Billy Bob and Rex,

After years of lectures, warnings, and suggestions about flossing, I feel my work on this subject now ends. However, rather than resting in peace, a new compulsion takes on importance. Billy Bob — it is now time — yea past time for a considered and intelligent conversation about sex. You know you have been anxiously waiting for many years. Now, the time has come and I owe it to all of you young, innocent males, with your under-developed frontal lobes, to tell you the truth about this important topic.

Here it is. Prevention falls squarely onto your young shoulders. You think the female members of the species would take the lead on this, with the 9-month thing and all, but alas, it falls to you. As much as females intend to take care of the issue — yes, I write about birth control — reliable evidence indicates that females frequently do not do so. Lurking in the back of our female brains, a vision of cuddling a cute, happy, dry baby persists. This syndrome creates a “yes, I took care of it” delusion. For example, “I thought I took the birth control pills…I only missed one tiny dose. . .that little ring thing just fell out. . . I heard the music but I lost the rhythm.” The list goes on and on. Of course, abstinence definitely works best and when used properly, it offers 100% certainty. However, abstinence presents a challenge. That means, you can apply abstinence 99 times out of 100. One “oops” cancels all previous hard work. Yep! That’s the one and only time! For obvious reasons, major surprises often accompany the abstinence method.

Even with the most responsible female, the responsibility, like the preverbal tennis ball, remains in your court. Any time you decide to engage in sexual activity, you enter a realm that could involve creating a new life, which we consider far too precious to take lightly. Truthfully, a shared responsibility indicates mutual maturity and responsibility.

I sign off as your grandmother wishing for great grandchildren in the far distant future. Sending Love and wisdom to you.

Grandma  (Written Oct. 2015)

Possible Reading

Herndon, Emily, M. Zieman. “New Contraceptive Options.” American Family Physician. Feb. 15, 2004.  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0215/p853.html

Partners In Health. “Contraception Health Centre.” Web MD. 2015.  http://www.webmd.boots.com/contraception/features/new-long-term-contraception-methods.