Awwww Monday: Mom and me

When you become a parent, you finally appreciate and understand what your mother did.
~Julianne Moore

Last Saturday was my birthday and we took a day trip to Kansas City. While we were there, we stopped by to see the woman who birthed me all those many decades ago.

At 85, she is still kicking’ and lives independently with her husband in their own home. Good genes. May I be as fortunate when I get to be 85.

Like all mother/daughter dynamics, those teen and early adult years were all sorts of challenging. I remember giving my parents flowers on my 21st birthday with an “I’m sorry” card. A perfect child I was not.

Appreciate your mom. She’s wiser than you think and stronger than you know.
~Steve Maraboli

So fast forward to 2019, and I’ve come to realize just how difficult it is to parent young children…..as well as adult children. And, over the years, I’ve developed an appreciation for my mom’s back stories and the experiences she had as a young woman, wife and mother. Perspective is everything when you take yourself out of the center of attention.

I’ve also come to realize a child’s birthday is just as much a birth day for the mom as the child. Moms usually get lost in the hoopla of the child’s special day, surrounded by well wishers and gifts. For most moms, the joys of watching her children upstage the sacrifices she made physically, psychologically, emotionally and financially. Sacrifices many women will never begin to understand until they are mothers themselves.

So next time you have a birthday, enjoy the attention, say thank you for the gifts, and don’t forget to acknowledge the woman who made it possible.

Blog hopping today with Comedy Plus and Awwww Monday. 

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Awww Monday: Five year old spitfire

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.
~Dr. Seuss

In a few weeks, this little spitfire of a grand girl will celebrate her fifth birthday. It’s really hard to wrap my head around that fact. With a style all her own, she’ll take on kindergarten later this year and, no doubt, dazzle all her teachers. ūüôā No, I’m not the least bit biased.

She began a preschool program last fall and I must admit, it’s very quiet here every day without her. She is so far ahead of the rest of her class and the curriculum that Mama is thinking about pulling her out and giving her back to us for the rest of the school year. I suppose she could “graduate” from Nana and Papa Preschool in May. We’ll see. While we do miss her, Nana and Papa sort of like not being tied down to a preschool schedule!

One thing is for sure….there is definitely ¬†no one else like her!

Linking up a bit late today for Awww Monday over at Comedy Plus.

Photo Challenge: Feliz Navidad!

I missed PJ’s photo challenge last month so I wasn’t about to miss this one. After all, the theme is¬†Feliz Navidad! And, there’s no shortage of photos for this time of year. Shortage of time. Yes. Shortage of photos. No.

December is always a mixed bag of activities. This year, along with gift shopping, we also were getting ready for a much-needed family vacay to Mexico. Add to that, the usual Christmas season activities, and you get a very. busy. month.

So, here’s my Feliz Navidad five.

Feliz Navidad One
We hadn’t had a family vacay since 2016 due to Entrepreneur’s brain surgery and chemo regimen. His 90-day chemo holiday was coming to a close and he was very much looking forward to enjoying himself before the next set of scans. I’m conflicted about vacationing during the holidays. It seems to add that much more to an already busy schedule. But, it was now or nothing so we rolled the dice, booked it ¬†and, by the grace of God, were able to all be together for a week of sunshine and fun. We contacted the same photographer who took our family pics in 2015 for an updated one.

Feliz Navidad Two
For the past few years, I’ve taken a photo of Peanut and Twix in Santa hats under our tree. The days drag but the years seem to fly.

Feliz Navidad Three
After returning from the warmth of Mexico, we jumped into Twix’s Christmas program at preschool. Sporting Mexican braids, she fully embraced the performance, singing the loudest and overall enjoying herself, sort of oblivious to what was going on with the other children. I think her eyes were on Papa the entire time.

Feliz Navidad Four
Peanut’s 4th and 5th grade Honor Choir performances hit a week later with caroling visits to two businesses and a veterans home.

Feliz Navidad Five
It was nip and tuck, but we finally visited the jolly elf before he took off for the North Pole for his Christmas Eve ride. Peanut figured out Santa this year, but went along with everything so Josie could enjoy the magic. The look on Twix’s face is a precious reminder of the magic and wonder of the season.

There’s my five for PJ’s December photo challenge. This monthly photo challenge is very easy; PJ selects a theme, we take five pics during the month and post. That’s it! Won’t you join us in 2019?

I hope everyone’s holidays were merry and bright. Don’t forget to visit the others over at A ‘lil HooHaa for more of the month’s festivities.

The end of an era

I’m not going to cry. I’m not. I’m not. I’m not.

Okay, yes, I cried.

Today is the first day of Pre-K for Twix. And, I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit this is a bittersweet day for both Entrepreneur and me. She has been with us since the day she was born. We were at the hospital when she arrived three weeks early, one day ahead of a February snowstorm.

She came home to our house when our daughter and Peanut were living with us. We were right there with her Mama when there were concerns about health issues stemming from her premature birth.

After our daughter went back to work, I transitioned to working my job from home so she didn’t have to worry about child care. And so my journey ¬†with our second grand girl began.

Twix’s health issues improved and she flourished with so many caregivers watching over her. I made her baby food and¬†she went everywhere with me.¬†She took her first steps in our home and it was here she said her first words.

Even when they bought their own home and moved out, she continued to show up Monday through Friday at 7:30am while Mama went to work and Peanut went to school. We watched her grow from an infant into an inquisitive toddler…and now into a precocious preschooler.

I know she is, technically, not my daughter, but she has become such a part of me over these past four and a half years.

And now we have to let her go. As hard as this is for me, I believe it’s going to be doubly hard on Entrepreneur. She’s been his little shadow ever since she could walk, and a shining light in the middle of a very dark time for him.

She has her new backpack, new first day of school outfit, Nana-made quiet time blanket, pillow and small luvie. She is ready.

I’m just not sure I am.

Blog hopping with Happy Tuesday from Comedy Plus and Pictorial Tuesday from Peabea’s Photos ‘n Scribbles

Dear Granddaughter…..

In September, we celebrated Peanut’s 9th birthday. NINE! It’s hard to comprehend it was nine years ago I was promoted to being a Nana. A lot has been packed into those nine years…sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago she was placed in my arms, but at other times, nine years seems to have flown by at warp speed.

I put together Peanut’s school photos from Pre-K to her current 3rd grade shot. While they are not drastically different, the person behind the face has transformed in hundreds of ways in just nine short years.

Since time is a fleeting illusion, I want to take a few moments and pass on some Nana wisdom to my first grandbabykin.

Dear Peanut,

You have always been and always will be loved. I loved you before you were even put in my arms as a swaddled baby burrito. That is not to say you don’t do unloveable¬†things….and I may not like you at times….but I always love you and will always be here for you. You can bet on that and be sure to win every time.

To steal a line from the 2016 Cinderella remake, Be kind and have courage.¬†Both are difficult to do. Kindness may be becoming a lost art in our “me first” culture. It takes a lot of work to be kind to people, especially when you don’t like them, are mad at them, or see them as different from you. Extending kindness to family members is sometimes especially hard because there are times we make more of an effort to be nice to people outside our family and save the worst for those closest to us…who love us always!

Have courage. It’s scary to try new things. It’s scary to step out of our comfort zones in the way we think and act. I know this from experience. it was scary moving to a new house and school when I was in 3rd grade. It was scary to move to a new town after Papa and I got married….a town where I didn’t know anyone. It was scary when Papa and I moved to Columbia…a town where I didn’t know anyone either. It was really scary when Papa was told he had cancer.¬†It’s also scary to do the right thing when you think others will look at you differently or not like you anymore. This is especially hard when your friends are doing things you know aren’t right, but you want them to like you so you’re tempted to do those things anyway. Don’t. Have the courage to stand up for what’s right.

Keep your faith strong. So many people walk away from their beliefs when they get older, thinking faith is something only for children. Our culture doesn’t encourage strong faith in God. It does encourage strong faith in doing whatever we think will make us happy…or is convenient…or easy. Being an authentic Christian is hard work. It requires we believe and do the right things even when we don’t understand or see the reason. Many times you will be tempted to not make your faith a priority in your life. But, dearest Peanut, your faith will sustain you in those scary moments when the storms of life roll in and tear your life to pieces.

Trust. Trust those of us who love you that the things we do are to help grow you into someone others will respect; someone¬†YOU can respect. Growing up is hard, and there are many times when you’ll think you know what’s best….but you won’t. I ask you trust even when you don’t agree; even when you don’t understand. It’s related to believing and trusting God has a plan for your life….a good plan….even though many times you’ll feel like you don’t agree or don’t understand why things are happening the way they are.

Love yourself. Not in a narcissistic way, but love yourself as a person of worth. It’s easy to feel like we can never measure up to our culture’s ideas and expectations. I want you to always love who you are, flaws and all. That is NOT to say you shouldn’t try to change areas of your life that need improvement. And, this is not reason to excuse bad attitudes or behavior. You are a child of the King….who loves you unconditionally. If you can love your imperfect self, you can love others despite their imperfections too.

Peanut, you are strong-willed and incredibly talented in many areas. I encourage you to use that strong will and those talents in positive, constructive ways…and never be ashamed of the things you have accomplished and will accomplish in the future.

In the years to come, you will face many challenges and ride the roller coaster of emotions. I hope by keeping these things in mind, life will be a bit smoother….for everyone involved!

Love always,
Nana

 

Pardon me while I brag a bit

Caution: this post contains shameless and excessive grandparent bragging.

Last week we went to Peanut’s school for the end-of-semester awards ceremony. Now, normally, non-eduction types don’t voluntarily attend these ceremonies…unless given the heads up that their child is one of the recipients.

A little background info: Peanut started a new school this year after moving into their renovated house in August. She was filled with all the anxiety an 8 year old can feel about walking into the unknown. Peanut is not a fan of change and this was a major one in her young life. Slowly, she came out of her shell, made friends and did very well academically. Her teacher was a perfect match for what she needed this year.

Throughout the year, Peanut was recognized for a reading challenge where she read more than 600 pages in a week’s time. Last week, she was chosen as one of the Students of the 4th Quarter for academic excellence. She was also chosen to participate in a second grade STEM program.

 

So that’s the back story. Now, we’re sitting in the awards ceremony listening to all the 2nd and 3rd grade teachers announce their selections for various academic awards…..and Peanut’s name is not one of them. Okay, perhaps she’ll be recognized¬†for Citizenship, Art, Music or PE? Nope. I was beginning to think there’d been a mistake.

I scan the program to see if I missed a category but the only one left is something called the¬†Glory of Missouri.¬†This is a¬†proclamation from the Missouri State House of Representatives. The Glory of Missouri is awarded to 14 students in¬†participating schools, each student representing one of 14 virtues;¬†Knowledge, Liberty, Equality, Law, Justice, Fraternity,¬†Education, Progress, Honor, Truth, Virtue, Temperance, Enterprise, and Charity.¬†Peanut’s award was for Knowledge.¬†The virtues were engraved in the House of Representative Chamber between 1922 and 1924 when the capitol building was rebuilt due to a fire.

Surely not.

But I would have been surely incorrect! As her name was called to receive the award for Knowledge, it was one of those elusive Joy moments I’m trying to find in the middle of all the chaos of our lives. I honestly didn’t see this one coming. Her teacher said there was no question whose name she would be submitting.

Knowledge
Qualifications:  The student qualified for the Knowledge virtue is one whom exemplifies this definition.  The student who receives recognition for this award must not only be book smart, but be aware of the state of information.

Example:  A student who possesses intellectual capabilities beyond his or her years, a student who has demonstrated aware behavior such as a potential valedictorian or a strong student leader. 

We are all so thrilled Peanut seemed to assimilate seamlessly into her new school. And, evidently, she never missed a beat when it came to the love of learning.

And…..we now have a third grader on our hands!

Fiercely Independent Snuggle Bug

Twix monitoredYesterday, Twix turned THREE! Can you even believe it? To look at her now, you’d never know she was three weeks early. Today, she is a happy, healthy almost¬†preschooler who¬†teeters between fierce independence and being a big snuggle bug.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Twix is a precocious child that never ceases to amaze me. Her problem-solving skills¬†and¬†deductive reasoning are¬†almost scary. As smart as Peanut is, I believe Twix just might¬†supersede her.

She is perpetual motion from the time she hits the door at 7:50am. Except for (mercifully) her afternoon nap, our days are filled with continual conversation that mainly center around answering her “Why?” questions. She loves everything Dora and¬†putting¬†things together….from Legos to blocks to assembling geometric shapes into different forms. She is mastering preschool academic skills with¬†her Leapstart book and calls it her “laptop.”

twix-3yrs

Mama¬†(aka The Recruiter), Peanut, Nana and Papa are her world right now. We are here to support, comfort, encourage, teach and, yes, discipline during these years that have been filled with more than a few changes. From the anxious newborn nights when she slept on a bili blanket to her first toddler steps, she knew we were there. From those unsteady first steps, she’s growing¬†into a confident preschooler with a “there-is-no-place-I-can’t-climb-to” attitude. Really, nothing is safe. And don’t even think about leaving her alone for more than…oh, about two minutes.

Memories in the making. Our home is full of them. And their significance is not lost on us, even when the days seem¬†impossibly long waiting for The Recruiter to finish with work. Entrepreneur and I know we’re blessed to have this opportunity to be such an integral part of Peanut and Twix’s¬†lives. Nobody knows what the future holds, so we really try and take those good and not-so-good days and file them away under the heading of “thankful for every moment”….even the bad ones! With Entrepreneur’s cancer scare in 2014, we are keenly aware of how precious these moments are. I know it sounds fatalistic, but we are praying, if cancer returns, it won’t be until all our¬†grands are old enough to really remember just how special and strong this bond is between us.

So, Happy Birth Day Twix! May you¬†continue to become fiercely independent, yet always have a snuggle¬†bug heart. Nana and Papa love you to the moon….and back!