We’re Home!

Mike and I arrived home early last evening from ten days in the Midwest and, believe it or not, were greeted by the boys. We generally don’t come home with lots of gifts (there is already plenty of stuff in this house), so I know they didn’t bounce down the stairs expecting a load of goods. We did pick up coasters from the Lincoln Museum for them. I suggested they read them daily. I also bought one for myself hoping to inspire productivity. The well-trained boys offered the obligatory “Thank you.”

It was fun to be welcomed home by the grandchildren. We always get a warm welcome from ED and Jigga the dog who leaps with joy. There is no doubt that Jigga was happy, and ED, I believe, was sincere. The boys? I don’t know.

I do know that I was glad to see them.

Share with me: how are you greeted after a long absence?

Do You Miss Me?

Mike and I have been traveling the past week, visiting YD, C-boy and P-DiL in the midwest as well as “old” friends. It was great seeing a college roommate whom we haven’t seen in 45 years! Shout out to Washington, IL.

We have visited Presidential museums and libraries (highly recommended) and spent quality adult time in many venues. I have walked barefoot in soft grass (Arizona grass scratches your feet) and worn a jacket. 

But I still miss those boys! Yes, I miss ED too but have been catered to by some excellent cooks so the longing isn’t quite as sharp. But those boys, just knowing that I can’t hug them, tease them, listen to their adolescent logic.

I know when we return home I will look for moments of quiet, but now, I miss you Blue Boy and Mowgli!

Share with me: what do you miss most when away from home?

Where’s Grandma?

I sometimes wonder what this multigenerational arrangement will mean to the boys as they look back on it. Does familiarity breed complacency?

Sunday mornings find me providing piano music prior to worship at our church. ED and the boys enter the sanctuary and pass behind me within touching distance as they make their way to their seats.  Once a month I take the day off, often leaving town with Mike to “run away from home”.  On one of my Sundays off, in the middle of the service, Mowgli turned toward the organ and, dismayed to see the substitute, asked his mother “Where’s Grandma?” Perplexed, she reminded him that we had been gone for three days! Blue Boy remarked pensively that he had wondered where we were.  (We are sure to say good-bye before leaving.)

As a child I wanted the grandparents portrayed on TV and in books, although some of my friends who had grandparents seemed annoyed when they had to visit or entertain them. Living full-time with grandsons is the new norm for us and consequently, living full-time with grandparents is now the norm for the boys. Luckily, we all get along. I appreciate that we can live with them as grandparents and not, like many of our friends, as adoptive parents. We can hand the tough situations over to ED.

But I long for a relationship that is as special to each of the boys as it is to me.

I look forward to your comments on your relationship with grandparents or grandchildren. Does the storybook version of grandparents exist?

Friend or Family?

Blue Boy turns 14 this week!  How did that happen?! Yesterday ED hosted the “family” party, consisting mostly of friends. Our family has always blurred the lines between family and friend. Basically, if you hang out with us enough and are comfortable, you are family.

My mother actually started this. If someone needed a place to go on a holiday, they were invited. As we kids married, in-laws were adopted.  Although I have three siblings, the supper table often included friends, and vacations found us traveling with extra bodies. My best friend growing up (you know who you are), occasionally told her mother she was running away from home and came to our house.

Currently the boys climb over the back wall on their way home from school. Often the neighbor kids join them, walking through the house to save time. One of them stops to use the bathroom and help herself to ice cream. I don’t even notice it any more.

If you do come to our house for an event, you will be shown around and then you are on your own. The result of this is lots of activity!

I am finding, though, as I get older, the noise tires me more than previously. I hit the wall and disappear into my bedroom, enjoying the laughter from afar.

I would love to hear comments from you. Do you come from a family that observes “bloodlines” strictly or are the boundaries blurred? How about you, yourself?



Family Movie Night

Yesterday, following wine tasting at Total Wines, ED and I were feeling sufficiently relaxed to declare a family movie night. This doesn’t happen often. Maybe it was surviving the first week of school, but members of the clan appeared hospitable so we ordered pizzas and settled in. ED and I chose the movie ahead of time since getting a consensus would take several hours and probably result in dissolution of the event. We chose the 2008 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth.

The movie technology has come a long way since 2008 and this movie provided us with plenty of entertainment. Blue Boy the budding scientist enjoyed making fun of the discrepancies in geology. Mowgli was content to agree and laugh (always out loud) at the physically impossible antics. Mike, of course, pointed out 1000 more inconsistencies. Can a person really carry 600 feet or more of sturdy rope in a backpack?

As I listened to them I recalled a time when we were watching television with our then teenage girls and their friends. I enjoyed listening as they revealed their reactions to events, people, behavior. It occurred to me that I could learn who these kids are. Are the girls obsessed with the body images  or impressed by the independence of the characters. Do the boys relish the violence or critique the science? Do they laugh at the underdog or express dislike with the character who abuses those around him?

It is easy as parents to overlook opportunities to learn about our kids – life is hectic and more so now than 30 years ago. It is nice to be a grandparent and able to enjoy these moments completely. Very nice to realize that your grandkids are great!


Amazingly quiet this morning

When we first moved into this house together, the boys were 9 and 7. Mowgli can be quite the talker and not very quiet about it. He is also the early riser. Mornings were crazy with constant noise from 5:30 or 6:00 until the boys left for school.

I have always been a morning person. At one time I was making myself stay in bed until 6:00 to get more rest. With the merger of the households, I found myself staying in bed until the boys left the house to avoid adding to the chaos. Now, I find myself staying in bed whether they are home or not.

I should add that Mike is a night person. Now that he is retired, he is enjoying staying up late and sleeping late. This encourages me to stay in bed.

So back to why it was quiet this morning. Blue Boy likes video games and youtube videos. Mowgli discovered the videos on his phone last year. As a result, they eat breakfast not with the noisy TV on but wired into their earphones.

I enjoy the quiet, but do miss Mowgli’s observations and pronouncements. Also, although 11, he still has the cutest voice.

So why was it quiet?  The boys are growing up.

What is this blogging?

When I was a child I kept a journal, loving to write my thoughts. Part of the joy was avoiding the chaos of the not so quiet family which included a non-stop talking mother, a gentle father, and old brother, younger sister and baby brother. We also had a large extended family although the closest I had to grandparents were elderly aunts and uncles, who were actually probably around my current age.

I only recently began to look at blogs and listening to podcasts, driven by being a little lost following retirement, both mine and my husband’s. We aren’t idle, but I will log some of the challenges we have faced in future blogs.

The hardest part: the technology!!! I am relatively computer savvy, but this is nuts! So the development of this site may be slow. So far the best part is putting my thoughts “on paper”. That was always a way to help me think things through.