Stability

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A grandfather is someone with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. ~Author Unknown

My first grandson arrived on the scene a week early to expectant arms and smiling faces. We eagerly drove up to wait for his birth and then stayed a few days to make sure mom and dad got some sleep and a routine going while we cooked, took shifts, and loved us some Cameron baby. Cameron is definitely a game changer for us.

Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild. —Welsh Proverb

As I looked at him and declared blessing over him and watched my husband begin to prophesy over him I asked the Lord, “What is the answer for the question I am searching for?” The word stability came immediately to mind.

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One of the most powerful handclasps is that of a new grandbaby around the finger of a grandfather. —Joy Hargrove

For us, we need to be the steady hand for both he and his parents. The rock on which the three of them can land when needed. If there are any unresolved parenting issues or stability issues within us they need to be resolved now before we hit the road on this new adventure. We aren’t learning as we go, we better have some meat in our storehouse if you will, on which to draw from when needed. We can’t be still trying to figure it out anymore. This family needs an established home as they establish their new normal even if they have been married for five years now, it’s all new now.

Grandma always made you feel she had been waiting to see just you all day and now the day was complete. —Marcy DeMaree

There needs to be vision. What does stability look like for a grandparent? It means I better know my role isn’t as a parent to him. He has two very capable and loving parents and to take that away from them in any form would be to leave them feeling less than adequate something we don’t want to do. No, a grandparent’s arms need to be Switzerland. Neutral, loving, and protective of its boundaries. It’s not an us vs parents relationship instead it’s a us and parent relationship.

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It’s amazing how grandparents seem so young once you become one. —Author Unknown

My husband bought him his first fishing pole. Even though it will be years before we use it, it spoke to lessons that will be taught, conversations that will be had, examples that will be set, and patience that will have to be learned at the hands of a sage no longer in a hurry. Yes, Cameron will find that he has allies and strong support here in the kingdom of Nana and Papa but his kingdom will be established in the home of his parents.

To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” ~Robert Brault

Everyone tells you that the love you feel for a grandchild supersedes all other love. You don’t know it until you know it. I thought when I looked at my newborns and held them in my arms that love was revealed and understood fully. The world came into focus and life had profound meaning.  Holding Cameron took love to another level. There wasn’t that nervousness that surrounds a mother with him. I didn’t question whether I could be a good mother, I already am. I didn’t question whether I could be a good grandmother, I already am. Simply put there was stability that comes with wisdom and knowledge.

What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies. ~Rudy Giuliani

To Be

IMG_7689I was talking to a mom of two and she said before she had children she had all kinds of opinions and thoughts on raising children. She  said she discovered that you don’t know a thing about raising children until you have your own and you are actually in the trenches.

That. Is. So. True.

These two beautiful people showed me the greatest, deepest, part of myself. We made a life together and we made precious memories that taught me sustaining lessons. We gathered for the baby shower this past weekend. Our next generation is about to enter the world in the next four weeks. Anthony will be a father for the first time and Casey will be an aunt.

Perhaps it is that fact that has me emotional these days. We are entering a new season. I can’t help but think that time flies by in a minute. That these two beautiful beings are truly good people. They live by a code of ethics embedded in love. They each were raised to be their own person, to go out and make a life for themselves, and they did. They were taught to be observers, leaders, people of character, hard-working, fun loving, independent, wise, and giving. They are going to do their own thing, no one will sway them into decisions. Not even me. I am blessed to still run into my children’s friends and be called, “Casey’s Mom” or “Anthony’s Mom”. I never felt I was just a mom and that my identity needed to be elsewhere. It’s a badge I proudly wear. That I could be entwined in their lives is a honor and it always will be.

I watched them this weekend with awe. They gathered together to celebrate upcoming new life.  I played Disney music in the background and just as my daughter-in-love, Frances began to open her gifts, the song Casey sang as a three-year-old came on, we locked eyes, and she smiled at me and said, “I know”.  Ugh, I wanted to cry right there. It was as if The Lord himself was connecting us to a time to show us both a sweet memory together. Then my mom gave the baby a gift, wrapped in a keepsake box that said, “You are my Sunshine”, the first song Anthony learned to sing. Memories, so many memories came flooding in that day. My heart is full. My babies aren’t babies anymore, and this thought brings a sense of well-being to my soul, a bittersweet feeling to my heart, and an anticipation of the future. Life is Grand.

Frances Martinez

You first met her here

I found the beginning of this post from four years ago as I was editing my drafts. If you ever wonder about my writing sometimes they are finished years after they are started. 

Sitting at our breakfast table last week eating with my son and daughter-in-love the conversation went like this:

Frances: “They have kittens at the shelter and they have a sale going on.”

Anthony: “Umm humm”

Me: “Lucy would do better with a friend. You should get one.”

Frances: “They have an orange one.”

Anthony: “You’ve been wanting an orange one.”

Frances: “What do you think?”

Anthony: “Well, in a few years, we’re going to have a couple of kids, a dog and two cats. I’ll be at work, you’ll be home, so what do you think?”

Frances: “It sounds a little overwhelming.”

Anthony: “Ummm hummm”

Could I have any better joy than to have a daughter-in-love who is working out the plan of her life with her husband in such a special way? She has a career and goals and a thoughtful process of proceeding.

Cut to today. 

Our oldest children have made a major move across the state and are expecting our first grandchild. I can hardly wait. Those dreams sitting at the table four years ago are coming true. God’s timing is always perfect.

Never settle for now. Pray, dream, plan, execute. Living your dream should be a goal!

Oh and the second kitten came. This means the dog and second baby are on the way!

All Over Again

 

 

 

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My son Anthony and my daughter-in-love Frances arrived on Saturday night for a visit. They are expecting their first child in May. Frances tells my husband that she bought him a book And hands him this one called How To Babysit A Grandpa. He laughed and said thank you then went to sit in his recliner and joyfully opened his book. You see, we’re about to be grandparents to our very first grandchild.

I watched him read the book and chuckle as he turned the pages. His smile filled his eyes, “Listen to this”, he exclaimed, “Snacks for a grandpa, ice cream topped with cookies, olives served on fingertips, anything dipped in ketchup, cookies topped with ice cream.”

When I posted on Facebook the cover of the new book my husband had been given, he wrote, “I can’t wait to meet my babysitter.”

I fell in love with him all over again. 

Here’s to our new adventures in this next season.

I wonder if Lulu the Wonder Dog will love the baby as much as we do? I am sure she’ll appreciate the clean up when he begins eating solids.

Estranged

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I got the call today I didn’t want to hear but I knew that it would come

It came by way of text. My father had passed away. When you are estranged no one calls you when they are sick, or in the hospital, or dying, or dead, or buried, and truthfully you can’t expect it because that is what estranged means. It means you’re alienated.

He made it to 80 and like his daughter he lived his life his way. Many broken pieces, a mother he called formally, Doña Julia, so you kind of get the picture just in this sentence alone of what his childhood must have been like although he never spoke of it. Then off to a war in Korea at the age of 17 where the United States Army taught him to be a paratrooper. You didn’t dare sneak up on him while he was sleeping or you risked being hit. He’d wake with such a fright, swinging and yelling. One can only imagine what his mind carried.

I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes

My mother called him a Disneyland dad. He took us on crazy adventures and didn’t make me comb my hair and I loved him for that. I ended up in a hospital in Mazatlán at the age of 9 or 10. I had been given money to have a good day while my dad worked in our hotel room. I was told under no circumstances was I to eat off a street vendor, I was to come back to the hotel to eat. I didn’t listen and ended up violently ill with scary high fever.  He taught me to not respond to men’s whistles because I was not a dog to be fetched. He taught me to value myself and when I didn’t he was deeply disappointed and said so in no uncertain terms, and when he was exasperated with me or disappointed he called me, “Doña Julia”, so, there you go, another piece of the puzzle. He also taught me to respect others and to argue a point without taking it personally. Politics was a forefront of discussion and he was a die-hard Democrat. When my son was two he nicknamed him Gaddafi because he said he was a dictator and we were all subjects.

The more I know, the less I understand,
All the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again

We loved each other like a dad and a daughter do and I can rest assured in that fact. We made up our own dance moves to The Hustle back in the day. We sang at the top of our lungs to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin songs as we drove down a winding mountain road at night, and then for fun turned off the lights to the car so that it was pitch black to see how we would make it down the hill “one way or the other”. He was into teaching his children no fear and no tears. We would squeal with laughter and we were taught to be brave. We ate McDonalds in the back of a Piper while he taught us to fly. I fell in love with Kiss in 6th grade so when they came to the LA Coliseum he took me as he was cool like that. He didn’t even make a scene when the drugs were being passed down the aisle, it was the 70’s and there was still a sense of community. He just shouted for me to pass it on down, and to not be scared or bothered. He made me realize that I could set myself apart but I would have to choose. He taught me I had control of my world and I could run it as I wanted. He held me accountable to that for sure and it broke my heart to bits when I disappointed him.

I’ve been tryin’ to get down
To the heart of the matter                                                                                                                                       But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter    

Somehow I knew this day was coming. I got a nudge this past summer. “If you’re going to go and see your dad you should go now.” However, I didn’t. What is passed is past and the freedom that comes in forgiveness allows you to walk away not without a sense of loss but with a peace that it is what it is and life isn’t always a fairytale with a neatly wrapped bow at Christmas and you honor people’s decisions.

But I think it’s about forgiveness                                                                                                                                  

Today as I wrap up the Christmas shopping and do a few last minute things at work, there are tears and there is a sense of deep deep loss. He would hate the tears but love the fact that I feel a loss. It would serve his sense of justice and because I am cut of the same cloth it serves mine as well. My mother said not to think too much. She said he also had a responsibility to mend a fence but  I know that broken people don’t and stubborn people don’t and somehow I have to figure out which one I am because we are all in process to the end.

There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
‘Cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger
It’ll eat you up inside baby

Thanks Don Henley for putting it in perspective.

 

God is God

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“Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭46:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I have to tell you yesterday’s church service second service lingers on my heart. Praise and worship with our pastor singing that last song, a powerful message, and that altar call….

This week I had a powerful conversation with one of my children. One that made me extremely proud and one that I had prayed quietly and fiercely for for years. I openly welled up with tears over the resolution to this dilemma. It brought such incredible hope and such powerful faith. I am grateful for reminders daily and especially with our gathering each Sunday.  I get home, put my pajamas on and realize that no matter what, my Father is still on the throne and He is still surprising me daily with the details he takes care of.

There isn’t a single prayer you pray that The Lord is not working out. I pray peace over your situation and resolution over your worries today. May this message bring you immense hope.

I Wasn’t Raising A Boy

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How often did you hear me say, “I’m not raising a boy. I’m raising a man. There is a difference.” You’d roll your eyes but you’d move in the direction of a man.

I remember when you were little and I would cuddle and snuggle you and kiss you fiercely and you’d squeal with laughter then run and put on a football helmet and want to play tackle football. I’d tell you girls didn’t play tackle football and you’d say, “Girls are BOR-ING”.

I remember you’d spray “Monster Spray” all around the house so that we’d be safe.

I remember when you’d wear your He-Man sword tucked in the back of your shirt everywhere we’d go and what a hassle you’d give me in the car seat because you had to have it at hand. I remember the time you reached for that sword on the way to the car because you’d spotted a dangerous bullfrog. You took your left hand like a traffic cop and said in a low almost 4 year-old voice, “Stop right there mommy until I tell you to move.” You moved your sword into position and stood between the bullfrog and me and said, “Ok, pass behind me. I’ll protect you.” I ran and squealed, and you said, “Aren’t you glad I’m your Superhero?”

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I could have been impatient as I usually was, but I wasn’t raising a boy, I was raising a man.

I remember when I’d tell you to help your sister up the stairs so she wouldn’t fall and how you would very seriously take that task and the others I gave you as you grew. Things like opening doors, walking on the outside, being aware of your surroundings, being polite and respectful.

I remember when you were 15 and had a learner’s permit and were so willing to drive me to the grocery store. You ran out ahead of me, jumped in the car and started the engine. I stopped at the car door and you yelled, “Get in!”, and I didn’t move.

“You have to come and open the door for me”.

“You’re not my girlfriend.”

“No, I’m your mom and that’s more important.”

“ARGH, OK”

It would have been easier to give you a pass and laugh it off but I wasn’t raising a boy. I was raising a man.

You came and opened the door and to this day it delights my soul to see you open the car door for your wife. It isn’t the big accomplishments that make me proud to be your momma. It’s the little things that make you a gentleman, a godly man, a good man that make me proud to be your momma.

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The conversation, just you and me, at Ryan’s went like this:

“You’re going off to college and you have four years to figure out your passion. Find out who you are and what you want to do because I will not be the mother who receives the phone call that you’re just not happy with your life, a wife and two kids later. At that point my allegiance will have to switch to your wife and your children and it will break my heart but I will have to do it.”

So when I read Ann Voskamp’s blog on recent events in the media, I have to be honest and say I cried. I cried because we still say ignorant things like, “That’s how men are”. The fact of the matter is no, that’s how we allow them to be. Teach them to be godly, how to treat women, teach them to be guided by Jesus.

Click Here to read. Her blog is meant to be read and digested. It is well written and it is right on.