STRENGTH

My paternal grandmother, Grandma James, was a strong woman.

Due to her mother’s debilitating illness, Grandma, at the age of 10, assumed the role of homemaker for her household.

She raised her own eight children during the Great Depression.

My dad said that without her, his family would have starved.

Those eight children didn’t include her twin babies. Born prematurely, they were buried in tiny boxes in unmarked graves.

Hardship and loss were her companions through much of her life.

Grandma was resourceful and wasted nothing.

She planted and tended a huge garden and canned vegetables and fruit for her family to eat during the winter.

Half-rotted and bird-pecked peaches might have been thrown out by some homemakers. But Grandma salvaged every edible scrap and canned or dried them.

She canned more than just what her garden and orchard produced though. When she had an excess of eggs, she boiled and canned them. She canned fish and other meats.

She made clothes for herself and her children. With the scraps of fabric, she made quilts.

She did her laundry, winter and summer, using a wringer-style washing machine and a clothesline.

On washdays, she had her laundry hung on the line before she made breakfast for her family.

That breakfast was cooked on a cast iron, wood-burning stove.

She mended and ironed her family’s clothes, and she gave to other people in the community who had less.

When my sister and I were little girls, Grandma made dresses for our dolls.

Her yard was filled with beautiful flowers, watered with the rinse water from her weekly laundry.

She took in more than one aging relative and cared for them in her home.

Grandma was not a big talker. She enjoyed visiting with relatives and friends, but she didn’t gossip. Prolonged pauses in conversations did not bother her.

If someone did an odd thing, such as naming a new baby Crystalline, Grandma said of the event, “Well, that’s hers fer it.”

By this she meant the new mother could name her baby whatever she chose.

Sometimes Grandma told funny stories, often about her chickens.

As she told the story, she rocked harder in her chair, laughed, and said, “Law, law! You should’ve seen that old hen take off after that hawk!”

I am certain Grandma didn’t graduate from high school. She may not have finished the eighth grade.

But she knew much that I’ll never learn.

I loved my grandma and miss her. I have a taped recording of her voice, but I can’t listen to it.

People who are born into abundance may become strong.

People who are born into scarcity become strong or die.

My love for Grandma includes a deep respect for a woman who did what she had to do.

Pondering the unfairness of life would have used up time she didn’t have to spare.

 

BOOM! BOOM!

I was (am) a Baby Boomer, born in 1952.

The following is the first paragraph of Wikipedia’s entry for Baby Boomers:

Baby boomers (also known as boomers) are the demographic cohort following the Silent Generation and preceding Generation X. The Baby Boom generation is most often defined as those individuals born between 1946 and 1964.

Interesting charts listing characteristics of Boomers can be found at:

http://www.wmfc.org/uploads/GenerationalDifferencesChart.pdf

https://emilms.fema.gov/IS0020.18/groups/103.html

These charts also compare Boomers to the generations before and after us. You might enjoy scanning them.

I may or may not be a typical Baby Boomer, but I will share a few of my early experiences. Some will be unique to me; others will be like experiences of my fellow Boomers.

My dad was in the Air Force during the Korean War, but he did not fight. For a while, he was stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa in the East China Sea. He also spent time in Formosa, today known as Taiwan.

When he was stationed in the States, my mother and I (and eventually my sister) lived at times near Air Force Bases in Missouri and South Carolina, and at an Air Force Station near Texarkana.

When we could not live near where Dad was stationed, my mom, my sister and I lived with my mom’s parents in rural north Arkansas.

I look at that little house today and marvel that my two grandparents, their three teenage daughters, my mom, my sister, and I managed to live happy lives in such a tiny space. But we did. Those were wonderful days for me.

Eventually my dad left the Air Force and became a store owner and Postmaster in the tiny town of Elizabeth, Arkansas. My brother and another sister were soon born, and that is where I grew up.

That part of Arkansas is near enough to the deep south to be miserably hot and humid in the summer but far enough away to be cold and often snowy and icy in the winter.

Our family was certainly not wealthy, but for that part of the country at that time in history, we were more comfortable than many.

I knew for certain I was loved. I never went without food, clothes or a clean bed.

I had cousins and friends to play with. I liked school and made good grades. My parents set boundaries, which we stayed within.

I grumbled about having to sweep floors, wash dishes, carry in firewood and pick up toys from the yard before Dad mowed, but I was not overworked.

I was never afraid of anyone except the Russians.

Mom disciplined her kids with a switch broken off her forsythia bush. Dad disciplined us with a look that kept us on the straight and narrow for a good month.

Since we lived in a rural area, my siblings and I roamed freely. We had never heard the term, stranger danger.

We knew everyone.

We played hopscotch and jumped rope. We hula hooped. We played jacks and kids’ card games. (I was deadly at Authors.)

My sister and I constructed beautiful hollyhock dolls from the plant’s blossoms and buds.

 

Our lone brother shot his B.B. gun and climbed and fell out of trees. We still joke that he was fortunate enough always to land on his head, so he wasn’t badly injured.

We played Mumblety peg, which none of my Indiana friends have ever heard of. It involved using a knife, but no one ever got hurt. Google it.

In summer, we tied strings to the legs of June bugs and flew them like kites. We swam in a nearby creek.

We put our black walnuts in the road for cars to run over and peel off the yucky outer husks. We then cracked open the hard shells with a rock and ate the nutmeats, digging out stubborn pieces with bobby pins.

Most mornings, my young siblings and I watched Captain Kangaroo. We loved the antics of the Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, Tom Terrific, and Crabby Appleton. (He was rotten to the core.) We knew by heart the song, It’s Another Be Good to Mommy Day, that was featured on the show .

Our family owned one black-and-white television set, and since we lived in a rural area, we had access to only one TV station, KYTV in Springfield, Missouri. This was (is) an NBC affiliate.

No matter how hard we twisted the big metal antenna pole outside our living room window, we could not access any other station. I routinely watched Bonanza, My Three Sons, Fury, and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (in black and white).

The Beatles made their big debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. My neighbor, whose television antenna accessed a CBS station, let me watch the show in her living room.

Soon after, my parents allowed me to buy a pair of tennis shoes like these. (Today I found a pair for sale online for $475.)

Keeping with the theme of fashion, here is a photo of me wearing a pair of go-go boots in 1966. I was 14.

Ironically, one of the shows that made go-go boots popular, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In, was banned by my dad. Although it was an NBC program, it didn’t appear on our TV screen.

Dad also didn’t let us watch the part of the Dean Martin Show that featured the dancing Golddiggers.

Among my friends, not one of them had a dad who restricted their television watching. I felt deprived.

Speaking (again) of television, we watched the Huntley Brinkley Report almost every weeknight. As far as I knew, that news show would lead with heartbreaking pictures of the Viet Nam War for eternity.

At different times I had crushes on Richard Chamberlain (Dr. Kildare), Michael Landon (Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza) and Glen Campbell (singer).

We had party-line telephones and shared our line with two other families. Each family had its own phone number but could use the phone only if no party-line sharer was already using the line.

We could also listen in on phone conversations of our line sharers. We didn’t do much of this, because mostly they just talked about whether we were ever going to get any rain and what was happening on their soap operas.

In elementary school, I said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag every morning, read a passage of Scripture, and sometimes listened to my teachers pray.

I sweated on a hot school bus half the school year and felt my toes go numb with cold the other half.

In my teen years, girls wore their dresses short, and boys wore their hair long, if their parents tolerated it. Girls either wrapped their long wet hair around empty frozen orange juice cans to get big curls, or they spread their hair across ironing boards and ironed it to remove natural curls.

We went to church three times a week. Each summer, our church had a “gospel meeting.” A preacher from another area visited and preached every night for at least one week, sometimes two. Our family heard every sermon.

I attended Sunday school and Wednesday night Bible classes from the time I was a baby.

While going through some of my parents’ old papers a few years ago, I found a Sunday school assignment I completed. The photo isn’t clear, but it is a rough draft of a report on Queen Esther.

In junior high school my friends and I made gum-wrapper chains long as our arms. Mostly we worked on these chains while riding the school bus.

We made and wore out many paper fortune tellers like this one.

My fortune teller told me I would meet and marry a guy from Indiana. We would have two kids and four grandkids . . . just kidding.

Was I a happy kid? I never thought about it. Life was what it was. I didn’t do much evaluating of my circumstances. I didn’t have everything I wanted, but show me a kid who does.

I had parents (and grandparents) who were always nearby. They loved me, saw that I had everything I needed, set boundaries, and taught me about Jesus.

Paraphrasing King David’s words in Psalm 16:6: The boundary lines fell for me in pleasant places, and I enjoy a wonderful inheritance.

 

 

COMMON GOOF-UPS

All of us goof up.

I likely will blunder as many times today as I did yesterday. But I need not repeat the same missteps. If I am smart, I’ll learn the first time I goof-up not to do it again.

Here are common ways people goof up.

  • They goof up when they presume to pat or rub the baby bump of a woman they have never met.

  • They goof up when they violate someone else’s personal space, perhaps by standing too near in an uncrowded elevator. (People prefer a personal space of about 1.5 to 4 feet in all directions.)

 

  • Clerks goof up when they address adults over the age of 50 with terms like dearie, sweetie and honey.

 

  • Medical staff goof up when they ask a patient, “How are we feeling today?” Likewise, restaurant servers goof up by asking a patron, “What are we having today?”

 

  • A friend told me yesterday she once said happily to a woman, “Oh, Darla! I didn’t know you were pregnant!” Darla explained she was NOT pregnant, and my friend prayed to sink through the floor.

You may have goofed up when you told a parent he had a beautiful baby boy when the sweet little baldie was a girl. Avoid this goof-up by saying, “You have a beautiful baby!” Full stop.

Some people make a habit of goofing up (slightly different from goofing off) at work.

I stood in line at the customer service department in a big, we-have-everything store. The man in front of me asked the service clerk how to fix a problem he had with his TV.

The young female clerk never changed her expression.

“No idea,” she said.

The man elaborated.

“No idea,” the clerk said.

When my turn came, I too asked a question about an electronics purchase, and I received the same two-word response.

Was that the extent of her professional vocabulary?

The sign on the wall behind the girl read Customer Service Department. A misnomer, perhaps?

The goof-ups committed by people using their phones are numberless.

  • talking on the phone while transacting business
  • blocking a store aisle while talking or texting
  • playing Candy Crush while stopped at red lights
  • ignoring children and adults who need their attention

I have goofed up in embarrassing ways.

  • When I was a church secretary, I published an announcement that one of the church’s elderly members had died. She had not died. How do you construct a retraction to that goof-up?

 

  • A few weeks ago, I started out to take a walk. I took with me a bottle of icy water. I stuck my water bottle into a sock belonging to our six-year-old grandson, so my hand wouldn’t freeze. When I got home, Dan asked about the water bottle in the sock and I explained. He reached into a kitchen cabinet and pulled out an insulated cover for cans and bottles. “Why didn’t you just use one of these?” he asked. Why, indeed.

 

  • I have left buildings wearing someone else’s coat or carrying someone else’s purse. I have gotten into the wrong car in a parking lot. (I have yet to commit all three goof-ups in a single outing.)

 

  • I once argued with a player, telling her she needed five checkers in a row to win a game of Connect Four.

We all goof up when we speak and when we write.

A woman met her doctor in the grocery store. She had seen him dressed only in scrubs and blurted out, “Oh. I almost didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.”

A therapist noted in her patient’s chart: “The leg continued to improve daily, and by the end of the week, it was entirely gone.”

In the report of a car accident, the driver of the car wrote, “The old man wouldn’t stay in one place. I had to swerve all over the road before I finally hit him.”

Avoid using incorrect words and phrases like these:

  • For all intensive purposes (For all intents and purposes)
  • Nip it in the butt (Nip it in the bud)
  • Irregardless (Regardless)
  • A doggy-dog world (A dog-eat-dog world)
  • I could care less (I couldn’t care less)
  • Should of (Should have)
  • Less than 140 characters (Fewer than 140 characters)

Preachers and politicians goof up by talking longer than audiences will listen. And, alas, writers goof up by composing blog posts too long for their followers to read.

THE END

BACKWARDS

My family and friends know I am a fan of Neil Diamond’s music.

Whether I am a fan of Neil Diamond the man, I can’t say. I don’t know him.

But I know his music well. All his music. The lyrics to every  one of his  popular songs.

I can name that tune in three notes.

This morning I put five Neil Diamond CDs into my player so I could listen as I cleaned.

After listening to Play Me, I picked up the remote to press the back arrow and hear that favorite again.

What I heard was the beginning of Brooklyn Roads. A good song, but not the one I wanted.

I tried again.

I pressed the back arrow twice. This time I got Crunchy Granola Suite.

 What is wrong with this crazy thing? I thought.

After pressing the button more times and hearing the beginnings of several songs, I studied the remote in my hand.

I was holding it upside down.

Backward was forward; forward was backward.

When I was a little girl, I once watched my Uncle Jake drive home backwards.

He shifted his vehicle into reverse, used his mirrors, and backed all the way home, about a mile. We lived in the country where the dirt roads were crooked, rutted and hilly.

We could drive miles on that road and not meet another vehicle. That made his backward driving less risky, but still.

They say if you play a country song backward, the singer gets his house back, his wife back, his truck back and his dog back.

If you’re familiar with the writings of Shel Silverstein, you know he’d be bound to write a poem about backwards. Here it is, courtesy of www.poemhunter.com.

 

BACKWARD BILL

Backward Bill, Backward Bill,

He lives way up on Backward Hill,

Which is really a hole in the sandy ground

(But that’s a hill turned upside down.)

 

Backward Bill’s got a backward shack

With a big front porch that’s built out back.

You walk through the window and look out the door

And the cellar is up on the very top floor.

 

Backward Bill he rides like the wind

Don’t know where he’s going but sees where he’s been.

His spurs they go ‘neigh’ and his horse it goes ‘clang,’

And his six-gun goes ‘gnab,’ it never goes ‘bang.’

 

Backward Bill’s got a backward pup.

They eat their supper when the sun comes up,

And he’s got a wife named Backward Lil,

‘She’s my own true hate,’ says Backward Bill.

 

Backward Bill wears his hat on his toes

And puts on his underwear over his clothes.

And come every payday he pays his boss,

And rides off a-smilin’ a-carryin’ his hoss.

 

Living backward may work well for Bill, but it is a misery when practiced in one’s spiritual life.

A backward-living Christian tries hard to be good before she receives the Holy Spirit’s power to do good.

She demands to see a thing before she believes it, rather than believing by faith that she will see it.

She seeks to be first when Jesus assures her such groveling will cause her to be last.

She craves what her friends have instead of being thankful for her own blessings.

She determines to work her way to salvation when Jesus says, “The work is finished.”

DON’T SAY THAT!

Communication is as important to our lives as food and air. Every day you exchange ideas with other people. Sometimes the exchanges are spoken. At other times, they are written.

This information is important to you and/or to someone else.

But miscommunication is all too common.

Have you arrived at a doctor’s office and been told you have no appointment scheduled on that day?

Have you opened a package from Amazon expecting to find a size medium dress and finding instead a size small?

In both examples, someone miscommunicated.

We can avoid much miscommunication by following these rules.

  1. Know what it is you want to say.

As a speaker, you want to communicate clearly, politely and accurately.

Evaluate these sentences for clarity, politeness and accuracy.

  1. Charles said Tom left his book in the science lab.

 

  1. Your repairperson visited my office last week and spilled black toner on the carpet. What are you going to do about it?

 

  1. The Bible says cleanliness is next to godliness.

 

  • Sentence number one cannot be clearly understood. Whose book was left in the science lab? Was it Charles’s book or Tom’s book?

 

  • Sentence number two fails to meet the goal of being polite. It may be true that a repairperson created a stain on your carpet. But your tone is accusatory and offensive.

 

Your goal here should be to communicate a problem and request a solution. Consider this structure instead: After your repairperson left my office last week, I noticed some  spilled toner on the carpet. Will you please arrange to have the spot removed?

 

  • Sentence number three violates the most important rule of all. It is not accurate. Nowhere in the Bible will you read that cleanliness is next to godliness.

 

  1. Compose your sentence in your mind before you speak it or write it.

Have you begun a sentence and then stopped midway through it, suspecting you are about to make a grammar error?

This is embarrassing and can happen to anyone. Think before speaking.

 

  • Should you say, “Mom loves Aunt Sara more than me,” or “Mom loves Aunt Sara more than I?”

 

That depends upon the comparison you are making.

If you want to indicate your mom loves both you and Aunt Sara, but she loves Aunt Sara more, you will say, “Mom loves Aunt Sara more than me.” (more than she loves me)

If you want to indicate both you and your mom love Aunt Sara, but your mom’s love for Aunt Sara is greater than your love for her, you will say: “Mom loves Aunt Sarah more than I.” (more than I love her)

 

  • Which one of these sentence structures is correct? “Alex and myself cleaned the whiteboard,” or “Alex and I cleaned the whiteboard,” or “Me and Alex cleaned the whiteboard”?

The correct structure is, “Alex and I cleaned the whiteboard.”

You can master this rule by omitting the other person’s name and reading the sentence as if you are the only person involved.

Alex and I cleaned the whiteboard.”

You would say, “I cleaned the whiteboard.” The addition of another person’s name does not affect the pronoun you use to refer to yourself.

Here is another similar sentence. Would you say, “The teacher gave a world map to Anne and I,” or “The teacher gave a world map to Anne and me”?

Again, omit the other person’s name and read the sentence as if only you are involved. “The teacher gave a world map to Anne and me.”

You would say, “The teacher gave a world map to me.”

  1. Remember you can dodge difficult issues.

If you question the correct structure of a sentence, reword the sentence in another way more comfortable for you.

  • If you are uncertain about this sentence, “Rebecca and (I or me) are going to the concert,” choose to relay the information in a different way, one you know is correct.

I am going to the concert. Rebecca is also going.”

  • If you are uncertain about this sentence, “We are meeting at the (Jones’ or Jonses’) house,” say instead:

“We are meeting at the house where Mr. and Mrs. Jones live.”

Using the English language correctly is difficult. No one wants to be embarrassed by using it incorrectly. You can become more comfortable with our language by learning a few rules at a time.

If you determine what it is you want to say, compose your sentence in your mind before you say it, and remember you can dodge iffy situations, you will have made steps toward becoming more fluent in our English language.

AAH, NOW I GET IT 2!

A few months ago, I published a post titled Aah, Now I Get It!

In that post I asked and answered some questions, as I wanted to gain knowledge about topics I didn’t understand.

Today, I will ask and answer more questions you may or may not have.

Why is Caillou bald?

For anyone who does not watch kids’ animated television, I offer this background on Caillou. This comes via Wikipedia.

Caillou is a Canadian educational children’s television series that first aired on September 15, 1997. The series is based on the books by Hélène Desputeaux. It centers on a 4-year-old boy named Caillou, who is fascinated by the world around him.

Caillou lives in a blue house at 17 Pine Street with his mother, father, and his little sister, Rosie.

He attends a preschool taught by Miss Martin. His classmates include Leo, Clementine, Sarah, and other kids. Caillou has a grandma and grandpa.

One striking observation parents and other adults make when watching Caillou is the child’s lack of hair.

As in cue ball.

His parents, sister, grandparents, teacher and friends sport varying colors and styles of hair.

His hairless pate is not made an issue in the show. In each episode, Caillou interacts with his family and friends, learns new things, experiences different emotions, and acts like other four-year-old children who do have hair.

(Some adult viewers disagree. They believe Caillou acts like a spoiled brat.)

To the question of why Caillou has no hair, this answer is offered:

The TV series “Caillou” was actually based on a much younger character from an illustrated children’s book. In the story, Caillou was drawn as a nine-month-old baby. As he got older, publishers decided that giving the character hair would make him unrecognizable, so they decided to keep him bald.

“Caillou’s baldness may make him different, but we hope it helps children understand that being different isn’t just okay, it’s normal,” Chouette Publishing explained on their site.

 Additionally, the TV show’s website revealed that preschoolers watching the show often overlook this detail. “The fact that he is bald does not seem to bother preschoolers in the least,” the site reads. “Not only do they never mention it, but when asked to think about why Caillou has no hair, our focus groups just laughed and replied: ‘He just doesn’t have any hair!’”

What is the difference in meaning between the words ravel and unravel?

(I took this answer from https://www.allearsenglish.com.)

Ravel is a synonym AND antonym of unravel!

Basically, it means to untangle something OR to tangle something!

(I bring you that bit of clarifying information without charge. You’re welcome.)

Where does the expression salt of the earth come from and what does it mean?

People who are described as ‘the salt of the earth’ are those who are considered to be of great worth and reliability.

The phrase ‘the salt of the earth’ derives from the Bible, Matthew 5:13 (King James Version):

 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be todden under foot of men.

 The positivity towards salt in this phrase conflicts with many other uses of the word salt, which has also been used to express negative concepts; for example, in the Middle Ages, salt was spread on land to poison it, as a punishment to landowners who had transgressed against society in some way.

It seems that the ‘excellent’ meaning in the ‘salt of the earth’ was coined in reference to the value of salt. This is reflected in other old phrases too; for example, the aristocratic and powerful of the earth were ‘above the salt’ and valued workers were ‘worth their salt.’

‘The salt of the earth’ was first published in English in Chaucer’s Summoner’s Tale, circa 1386, although Chaucer undoubtedly took his lead from Latin versions of the Bible.

https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/salt-of-the-earth.html

Does hot water freeze faster than cold water?

Yes.

It’s a mystery that has puzzled thinkers since Aristotle: under the right circumstances, hot water can freeze more quickly than cold. Now, for the first time a team of Spanish physicists has worked out how and why this seeming paradox—known as the Mpemba effect—can occur.

You may want to read more about the Mpemba effect.  I tried reading more but was completely lost after the first paragraph (see above).

https://cosmosmagazine.com/physics/mystery-solved-why-hot-water-freezes-faster-than-cold

Since God created woman from a man’s rib do men have one fewer rib than women?

 One of the most persistent arguments used by many to “prove” the Bible is true is that women have more ribs than men. This “fact” is glibly repeated over coffee and donuts or innocently recited to children in Sunday School. After all, the Bible does say that woman was made from one of Adam’s ribs.

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man (Genesis 2:21-22 KJV).

These verses tell us how God made the first woman. But would women from that point have more ribs than men? No.

If someone accidentally cut off a finger or lost an arm or leg in an accident, would we expect children he had after the loss to be missing a finger, arm, or leg? If a man has an appendix or gall bladder removed, would his children be born without these organs? Of course, no one would even suggest such a thing. However, in the case of Adam and his rib, this unsupportable concept continues to be propagated.

Adam continued to have the genetic information for a complete set of ribs. This genetic information was passed on to his offspring, both male and female, Thus, his offspring should have had complete sets of ribs.

The most basic picture book of the human body shows even young children that women and men have the same number of ribs. Observations in the present world thus instantly disprove this anatomic legend. Since the rib fable is so readily refuted with simple anatomic facts, we wonder why many well-meaning Christians continue to spread it.

The rib fable is definitely an argument Christians should not use.

https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/women-have-more-ribs-than-men/

THIS GRANDMOTHER’S MISTAKES

When I learned I was to become a grandmother, I celebrated. My mind swirled with thoughts of booties, bibs and bassinets.

My daughter involved me in the pre-birth excitement. I helped decorate the nursery and discussed potential names for baby girls and boys.

News from every prenatal doctor visit thrilled me. I framed photos of ultrasound images.

My every plan for the upcoming year was made contingent upon my responsibilities as a grandmother.

And grand parenting has been every bit as wonderful as I expected. Each of my four grandchildren is a unique blessing.

Grand parenting is God’s way of compensating us for the things time takes away.

My goal was to be the best grandmother in the universe.

Ten years later, that is still my goal, but time has revealed misconceptions I once held about grand parenting.

Here are three.

I underestimated the limitations aging brings.

When my first granddaughter was born, I offered to babysit every workday for my daughter and her husband. Driving the 20 miles between their house and mine twice a day would be no problem.

In addition to nurturing my compliant infant granddaughter, I would also do the family’s laundry, clean their house and have dinner ready when her parents got home from work.

I would do this five days a week, every week.

And that is what I did.

For about three weeks.

Then, sanity returned, and I realized I could not keep up that pace.

Housework and laundry at my house went undone.  Takeout food and pizza for dinner three times a week wasn’t cutting it for my husband.

My back ached.

Worse, I didn’t look forward to seeing my granddaughter.

What gives? I wondered.

When my own kids were babies, I retrieved them from car seats, cribs or baby swings without grabbing my lower back.

When I knelt on the floor to wipe up strained peas, I stood up with no effort.

I survived on four hours of sleep a night.

Why was this so much harder?

Childcare is harder now because I am older.

When my kids were babies, I had to show my driver’s license to sit in Applebee’s bar. Now I show my driver’s license to get senior-citizen discounts at restaurants.

My body reminded me I was not the same woman at 56 I had been at 26.

I thought if my grandkids were with me, I needed to entertain them.

When my cooing infant grandbabies grew into speaking, playful toddlers, I recognized how much fun it was to play with them.

So, we played. In fact, I played whatever the grandkids wanted to play. When they were at my house, they owned me.

Peek-a-Boo, gave way to Ring-Around-the-Rosie and Duck-Duck-Goose. We graduated to board games and Play-Doh. We pinned towels to our backs and had Superhero exploits in the backyard.

We went on tricycle trips around the block. Many times, I carried the tricycle three-fourths of the way home.

Later I carried home a Big Wheel and then a scooter.

Finally, I had to call Grandpa to rescue me from carrying home a small bicycle with training wheels.

Every time the grandkids visited, I gave 100% of myself to their entertainment.

Then I collapsed on the couch before they and their parents left my driveway.

Grand parenting experts cautioned me against this. My kids urged me to “just say no.” My husband told me I was being ridiculous.

They were correct.

Retraining the grandkids to entertain themselves at Grandma’s house proved to be a gargantuan task.

This leads me to my third mistake.

I thought I would want my grandkids with me all the time.

Some of my long-time favorite activities are:

  • Reading and writing
  • Browsing bookstores
  • Doing Bible studies
  • Going to lunch and dinner with friends
  • Spending time alone with my husband

I can’t do those things with my grandchildren.

So, I need time without them.

Accepting that truth is hard.

I mean, what kind of grandmother doesn’t want her grandchildren 24/7?

Answer: The realistic kind.

Conclusion

I entered grandmother-hood with starry eyes and unrealistic expectations.

And being a grandmother is great!

But it turns out life is a long line of reality checks.

Almost every activity I undertake turns out to be harder than I expected. I don’t meet every goal I set. Often, I settle for Plan B.

That doesn’t mean I failed. It means some of my ideas and goals were unrealistic.

I am not the best grandmother in the world.

I can accept that, and my grandkids aren’t complaining.

It is what it is.

 

Visit these websites to read more articles about grandparenting.

https://www.aarp.org/relationships/grandparenting/info-11-2010/goyer_grandparenting_advice.html

https://www.scarymommy.com/10-tips-reasonable-%C2%ADlaw/

https://thestir.cafemom.com/being_a_mom/214038/parentsshare-worst-grandparent-mistakes

For friends who share common interests with me and enjoy reading lighthearted, inspirational, and entertaining articles, many with spiritual applications.