Happy Birthday, Addison!

Today, thirteen years ago, the Babe and I became Grandparents. What a life altering experience! It’s been quite a ride, and I pray the next thirteen years is as memorable and filled with love. The day Addison was born, we made a trip up to Sioux Falls to attend a wedding shower. I was helping throw the shower for Dan’s niece, Michelle. We knew Tracy was experiencing something, but didn’t think anything would come of it. We arrived, set the tables up, and had to turn around and go home. We hoped to make it back in time, and figured we would. It was about three and a half hours to get there. Nothing was happening yet, she was in the L&D room, her mom Sandy and Aunt Sharon were there, along with Grandpa Randy and Grandma Peggy.

It so happened February 10 was also Grandma Sandy’s birthday. How fun to become a Grandma on your birthday! Sandy passed away ten years ago from lung cancer, but she enjoyed her grandkids so much in the short time she lived after they were born. Sandy and I became good friends, and talked a lot about her kids growing up. The Babe and I married when our kids were all adults, so I didn’t experience them growing up. Together we have five kids, and now four Grandkids.

It was a beautiful thing to hear Sandy and Dan talk about when they were expecting Blake all those years ago in Sioux Falls. They talked about how broke they were (we all were, back in the day), and the cradle the Babe made. He made two more, one for each of his grandkids. It was truly a labor of love. They were one couple who could get past the divorce stuff and be friends. I’m sure they took the long way around to get there, but it was a wonderful thing to see. We would all be very lucky to be in that mindset for our kids of divorce.

I waited until everyone else held Addison, and the room was packed with people. Grandma Sandy brought her over to me, and said, “You haven’t had your turn, yet.” She placed the little pink baby in my arms. The tears came for both of us, and it was a beautiful moment. I think of Sandy often when the kids do something funny or even naughty, and how we talked so much. And that moment I first held our girl.

“Being a teenager means you’re not a little kid anymore”- Addison, on turning thirteen.

Sandy was still working when Addison was born, and I was not. Luckily, I got to watch her when the sitter had something else to do, or later when she couldn’t go to daycare due to the sniffles. I had so much fun with her. I think we have a special bond, and it would be there even with all the other grandmas Addison has. Her family extends as far as she can see, and it’s awesome. When I made them all Christmas stockings, she asked if we could make one for her daddy’s sister’s baby. We did. She is generous, happy, knows her own mind, expresses herself in times of trouble, and isn’t afraid to tell the teacher(s) if someone is treating her or someone else badly. She just gets it. She’s always “in” to go for ice cream, too.

We have watched countless dance recitals, classes, demonstrations, and competitions. This girl loves to be on stage dancing a solo. It amazes us a kid can learn to do that. We didn’t have experience speaking in front of people until we became adults. Glad they teach kids that now. So when they’re not kids anymore, they’ll be comfortable dancing, giving a speech, directing their workforce, etc. Addison has a heart of gold, and I pray she always looks at life with the joy she does. She loves her family so much, and her cousins in Maryland and Minnesota.

Thanks for reading today. It’s my pleasure to see you here, where I’ll be tomorrow. Hope you are, too. Now, it’s back to the book rewrite. Have a blessed day.

The Day After

Today is a very cloudy, chilly day in Nebraska. The kind where naps all day would be great. A nice fluffy blanket, the fireplace, a good book, a dog to pet. All elements in what would be a nice scenario. Then you’d probably have insomnia all night tonight, so don’t do it! Be stronger than the lure of the fire, blankets, and all.

It has always amazed me how quickly Christmas is just over and nothing else (except post Christmas sales) is mentioned about it. In years past, I’ve just been glad it’s over, eager to celebrate with my dad and family on his birthday. Dad was the first New Year’s Baby in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924. For awhile, my mom’s whole family would come for a day of football, fun, and food. That was also the day Dad would unwrap and reveal his magnificent birthday cake. It was an honest to gosh home made fruit cake. And no joke about it, it was unbelievable how good it was. Mom mixed it up the day after Thanksgiving, and baked, cooled and wrapped in foil. Every week she would douse it with bourbon or brandy, and cover it back up. It was moist, chewy, and delicious. He loved it.

Those were the days. Cousins over to play, (I used to have to watch them, being the oldest girl), everyone was happy, celebrating the holiday and my dad. It was something I looked forward to every year.

We lost dad December 7, 1988. He was only sixty four years old. That’s all. Mom had to send back his first social security check. The fruit cake never saw the light of day again. The math is done in my head every year to calculate how old he would be by now, and I marvel at how I am older than he was when he died. How I wish he could have seen how his grandkids grew up, and that he has another little dolly in his life, great granddaughter Kayla. It is a thought, that’s all, and we all go back to doing our every day stuff. We have to.

One thing I’m working at is drawing a line where it’s healthy to think about the memories a person accumulates in life, and where it crosses the line into simply living in the past. That is a bad place to live. You will never be able to go forward. Life is not meant to be static. It is dynamic, ever changing. Just being alive requires our bodies to continue changing to function. Breaking down cells to do what they were designed to do, coordinating the work of the systems of the body to sustain our lives, and adjusting to the changes in the life of that body require that we be in the here and now, not back there in the past. Being safe is comforting but you must venture out into the living world. Into your life, and make the most of it.

About a year ago, I started to look at writing a book. I found some very supportive online groups on Facebook, and have really grown more towards that goal. Looking back to a goal from last summer, I wanted to get a blog up and running. You’re looking at it now. I have learned so much about blogging, and I need to learn more. So it will continue to be a part of my day, and I hope it’s part of yours. Every day something meaningful can happen, but writing about it all makes it worth doing. I’m proud to have met that goal. It all takes repetition and practice.

Next year, I’m adding some pages to my website. I need to honestly describe myself, talk about what I’ve done in life, and put it all down on my “About” page. That is very hard for me to do. It feels like bragging, which it isn’t, but being raised to be a compliant little girl who didn’t make waves puts me in a spot. I’m going to speak up from now on. I have to. I’m the one who will finish the book, and I have to be the one to market myself and sell the book. So I’m not bragging.

My goal for today is to start quilting the project I’ve put together for my friend. I want to be able to have it completed before New Year’s Eve, when we will see her and our friends for dinner at the VFW. Dinner, dancing, and live music will be the order of the evening. It’ll be fun.

Thank you for reading today. I hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are. And stop by again tomorrow. I will be here. See you then.