Archives for May 2017

Grandparenting: a Second Chance at Impact

I was blessed to birth five sons over a ten-year period. They each hung the moon for me. (I’m the former feminist who was never getting married or having children.) With the passing of time and my growing understanding of the power of parenting, I was passionately committed to seeing each one reach his destiny. Still am.

But I wasn’t really clued in on the whole grandparenting thing. The manic addiction some seemed to have with their kids’ kids was a mystery to me. I’ve known lots of grandparents, but never really understood them. I just didn’t get it.

And then, this.
Yes! They stole my heart.
Nothing is too hard: another storybook, another kiss, a nose to wipe, a diaper to change, another prayer, another hug, another flower to pick, just one more dance…they may call me what they like, play with my iPhone, break my stuff, eat my best snacks, trash my house, get crumbs in my bed…it’s all theirs.

The mission of my heart?
Love them.
Experience them.
Impart to them.
Befriend them.
Build a relationship with them.
Is it a job? No.
Is it work? Yes.
Is it tiring? Yes.
Do I ever get tired of it? No!
I’m laughing out loud! This is like dessert to my crazy, colorful, incredible (often stressful and somewhat bizarre) life journey. Being a grandma. Or, in my case, a Nana aka Nannie.

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Long Distance Mama Nana

I think about my kids and grandkids for the millionth time and ponder their whereabouts.
Lost in my head.
Wrestling with how to fix this seemingly unfixable dilemma of being way too far away.
I click on Facebook, Instagram…hoping to get a glimpse of them, but today….
737 miles of painful, dead, silence.
I’m alone and afraid.
Is everything ok?? My Mama-Nana heart tries not to be anxious.

Perusing my photo files, I’m reminded of how fast the little ones are growing up and I feel helpless, knowing I can’t freeze time until I get back to them. The oldest will have a new front tooth in place of her adorable toothless gap. The youngest will have gained at least 5 pounds on his itty bitty frame. The middle’s hair is growing so long; I’m afraid she won’t let me cuddle her for hours like she did 6 weeks ago. She’s fully embracing the twos and with that comes busy little feet wanting to move.
I’m trying to think positively, but…I’m losing time.
Missing out on so much.
Not available.
What to do.
I miss you. Every single one of you, oldest to youngest, 32 years worth of ever-increasing, ongoing infinite love.

I miss being there, just a few streets away. Even if you didn’t have time to see me for however long, it didn’t matter…I knew I was close by and available.
If I suddenly had a pile of veggies and pasta and I created a masterpiece – I had someone I loved to inspire me while I cooked, because I knew I could share it with you.
I especially miss spontaneous get togethers.
Nothing fancy.
Just an invite here or there that ended in relationship building.
Together time. Hearing your hearts. Praying for you.
There isn’t wine delicious enough, tennis exciting enough or sunshine bright enough to make up for my aching heart.

So far away
Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore
It would be so fine to see your face at my door
Doesn’t help to know you’re just time away

Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh, how I wish I could
But you’re so far away*

*Song by Carole King, Published by Sony

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The Sands of Time

Some of you reading this will be sending out birth announcements later this year. You’re only starry-eyed gazing into the future. Others of you are already in the thick of it; you’re the hovering mama with very few boundaries – and complete access – to those little people, 24/7. Your days may feel as if they have no beginning and no end because the noise and the needs roll on with very little pauseI’m here to remind you that one day, sooner than you know, you’ll be leaving little Junior a long distance voice mail on his birthday and you won’t be tripping over his toys in the middle of the night anymore. Sissy will be wearing a bra and heels and she won’t have time to bake cookies with you on the fly like she does now. How is it that I hardly had 90 seconds to put lotion on my legs for what seemed like two decades, and now I can spend an hour just sitting in a chair, thinking, if I choose to do so?! Life’s mysteries.

It’s as if the sands of time are flying through that hourglass at lightening speed when our children are busy growing up. And sometimes in this midlife season, I feel like a crazy woman, trying furiously in vain to grab the sand and put it back in the top of the hourglass as at times I mourn the bittersweet change in seasons. Can I have a do-over on that one? Just a few more days of yesterday, please?? Rewind to _____________________________???

Young mamas, resolve to live like you won’t see this day again, because you won’t. Someday you’re going to wish you could push that darlin’ in his swing or dig in the garden with that little one, but you just never had time for it. You’re going to wish you could read David and Goliath 20 times more to that hungry little heart, but guess what? Time’s up—door’s closed. That’s why we must live intentionally right where life has us living today! Time doesn’t wait. It runs ahead, a harsh taskmaster indeed. No one has lassoed time. It is like the grains of sand; it slips through our busy fingers.


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Who Is That Little One?


Born easily on a happy Friday evening 31 years ago today, he didn’t make a sound. Those big brown eyes brimming with wonder, scanned the room as if he’d come from another planet…hungry to know. Our second-born son, he grew up under the love and concern of his older brother; the strong, gifted leader and administrator who guarded him and showed him the way and bossed him about when necessary. 
His best buddy. He turned one, and mommy (that’s me) was expecting son number three. A busy season.

Quietly that little guy honed his musical gifts. He began, at an early age, to tap on everything with pencils – turning any available surface into a drum. When I could take no more audible rhythms, I would look his way and say, “thank you, honey, that’s enough now.” He obeyed quickly. I was then occupied with three little guys and didn’t realize who he was to become. No money for lessons, anyway. Music was just a hobby after all, right?
He was to be a gifted musician, songwriter, entertainer, whose art is reaching around the globe, being enjoyed thus far by tens of thousands, but I didn’t have a clue. 

Who is that little guy sleeping in his bed? Is he a doctor, a lawyer, a CEO, a trash collector, a manager, a pastor, a landlord? Who will he become? Where will he make his impact? Will he marry and have 8 children? Will he paint marvelous portraits?
Oh, the wonderful, magical surprises God has for that little one.

How would we live if we knew in advance, the wonderful things He has prepared for the sons and daughters born to us?
We would invest wisely.
We would carefully tend to their souls.
Our prayers would be genuine, costly and intent. Our covering, strong.

Who is that little one sleeping in his bed at your house tonight? How are you attending to his destiny?

Here’s a sample of what he’s created, (yes, in collaboration with his four brothers!) Happy Birthday, Benjamin! The best is yet to come.

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I’m Really Not That Great

My kids are so forgiving.

They treat me, speak of me and honor me as though I’m the Holy Mother.
I’m not. Believe me. And by the way, neither was she. Because she was human, too, and fraught with human frailties. Check out the interludes in scripture pertaining to how she was handling things with her rockstar Son, Jesus. Yes, the Christ. When she wanted his attention, when she wanted him to do what she wanted him to do. Even he had to put her in her place and remind her exactly who she was…and what she wasn’t.
But once again, kids are so forgiving. And it was her welfare that was his first concern and final dying wish when he was hanging on the bloody cross holding the whole universe on his shoulders, about to give up his last breath from his beaten, finished body.

“Take care of my Mama, John.”

Yep. Good ‘ol Mom. The Son’s perfect love covered and conquered any weaknesses she may have displayed to him over the years.

I have weaknesses, I do stupid stuff, I complicate things, talk too much, talk too loud, ask twice what you just said, overthink and annoy everyone with my obsessing behaviors. And that’s the short list.
But I keep showing up. And I keep trying.
And that’s the key, isn’t it?
To be there. To try. To continually make new efforts to do it better, to tweak my approach, to be willing to respond with adjustments my spirit says to make because that way isn’t working. To laugh instead of bitch. To bite my tongue instead of remind them…again. To pray silently instead of fretting aloud. To let things play out instead of controlling things to arrange my desired outcome. Little stuff like that.
It’s not hard to give grace instead of judgment to my kids because I need grace instead of judgment, too, and they never fail to express it to me.
Thanks, kids. You make me look so good.
This is your day, too. I’m so infinitely glad you’re mine.
Love, Mama

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