Archive for the ‘grandchildren’ Tag

11/29/2021 X-mas 2021   Leave a comment

I’ve written many postings about the Christmas season over the years and as I recently read back through them, they appeared varied, somewhat interesting, and some even boring. I hate to admit that I was ever boring but there are times when Christmas can be a huge pain in the butt. I just don’t get the “buzz” like I did when I was a kid and it still amazes me that some people (without kids) turn into Christmas fanatics and go wild over it. I loved Christmas as a young child but each year I lost a little of the holiday magic everyone seems to be searching for. It saddens me a little but “it is what it is”. The only real enjoyment for me now is when the young grandchildren are running through the house wearing Christmas apparel and having a grand old time. I thoroughly enjoy living vicariously through them.

After my last two years of medical problems, I didn’t feel things would ever be getting any better. The years, 2019 and 2020, drained away what little fun I had left in me. If not for my better-half and a few other close family members I might not have survived to enjoy Christmas 2021, for that I am eternally grateful.

All of that being said, it’s time to prepare for the holidays once again. With the pandemic still gumming up the works I’m not sure what direction to take. Now that I’m cancer free you’d think I’d be ready to celebrate the hell out of just about anything. After the experiences of the last two years I’ve entered a phase in my life that was totally unexpected. I’ve become calmer, more thoughtful, and seriously introspective.

The grandchildren are no longer toddlers and are becoming actual people. They now can speak their minds and voice their feelings like never before. While I find that refreshing it makes my preparations for the holiday a little more troublesome. My education continues but now they are the teachers and I’m the student.

I now know more about Pokémon and the thousands of cards involved with that experience. It’s supposed to be a game but I have no idea what the rules are. I think he’s just messing with me because he seems to win every game. Which cards are rare and which ones are crappy, who knows?

I’ve seen the Alvin & the Chipmunks movie a hundred times and have been hearing that theme song in my head for five years. I find myself humming it at the oddest times, in the shower and while I’m cutting grass. Don’t even get me started about “Lady and the Tramp”.

I’ll bet you any amount of money that I know more about the cartoon “Larva” than anyone you know over the age of 15. I actually found myself purchasing a “Larva” tee shirt three years ago that the grandson wanted to give to his grandmother. Apparently, it was a bigger hit than I anticipated since she still wears it occasionally in odd moments.

I’ve also been coerced into becoming a soccer fan. I’ve hated soccer with a passion and have avoided it for most of my life. Not anymore unfortunately. Both grandsons have decided that soccer is a great game but it’s always much more fun when family members come to the games to cheer them on. So, my newest job is the official family sports photographer. I get to sit and watch groups of five-six-seven-eight-year-old boys and girls playing “at” soccer. Just shoot me now. It’s finally improving this year since they’ve added a real game to their curriculum, baseball. This I actually enjoy watching.

I guess I should be happy. Those boys have enough energy for us all and I think it’s rubbing off on me a little. They now have me looking forward to a Christmas I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to celebrate.

HO! HO! HO! ONCE AGAIN

7/15/2021 My Continuing Education   1 comment

I’m now considered by most people that I know to be an older citizen (fart) that should be respected and taken care of. Of all the things I’ve had to adjust to that is the hardest. I understand that kind of pity is accompanied by a lot of love and caring since I went through the same thing when my parents reached their platinum years. That’s right, PLATINUM.  The golden years end at 70 and then the platinum years kick in.

I’m not complaining but just stating the obvious.  The biggest blessing that I’ve discovered in my platinum years is my continuing education supplied to me by my grandchildren.  They see me so much differently than their parents and sometimes it makes me laugh out loud and other time brings tears to my eyes.

During my year of hell with surgeries and chemotherapy I made sure to keep the oldest grandson (age 5 at the time) aware of what was happening.  He examined my stitches and staples and was more than a little interested in the chemotherapy and all the tubes and pumps I was required to wear.  I didn’t want him to be frightened by all of it and he paid very close attention and asked a million questions.  Towards the end of the chemo I was feeling extremely sorry for myself and was bitching and complaining about my horrible life.  He brought a shot of reality into the conversation very quickly. He lightly touched my hand and simply stated “All of this is better than dead grampa.”  From the mouths of babes.

His younger brother missed out on most of that but has since brought his own way of seeing things to my attention. He is quite the artist which pleases me so much. We have something in common which is a great place to begin a real relationship. I’m sure the fun with him has just begun,

Then comes grandson number three who is all of 1 1/2 years old now. I was worried how I’d be able to connect with him since I  only met him for two days when he was a new born. His arrival had me a little apprehensive since he lives in California and is someone I won’t get to see all that often. 

I don’t know why I was so worried.  He arrived with his parents and stole the show. He isn’t talking much but he gets his message across very quickly. I was a little standoffish at first but he was having none of that.  He kept smiling at me every chance our eyes met and he teased me along until I loosened up a little.  On his last day here he walked over to my chair and indicated he wanted to come up.  I picked him up, he laid down his head, and went to sleep.  I held him for two hours and I was in heaven.  My education continues….. lucky me.

08-02-2016 Journal – Adventures in Babysitting!   1 comment

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Have you ever had the pleasure of watching the movie, Adventures in Babysitting?  I’ve loved that movie for years but living through the actual thing isn’t quite as satisfying. This past week has been an adventure for sure.

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I’m officially awarding my better-half my version of the Medal of Honor.  She was the main caregiver for two short and lovable little terrorists. I was involved as well but to a lesser degree and thank God for that. Just picture the situation. Both parents left on vacation and were off to LA LA Land. It was the first time that the two boys aged 1 and 3 were separated from their parents and someone had to pay and it was us, the grandparents. OMG!

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My better-half may need a week or more to recuperate because they absolutely wore her out, took a short nap, and then wore her out again. She has the patience of a saint but I do not. She made a point of getting me involved as much as she possibly could and I’ll never let her hear the end of that. They drove me to the edge and when I wasn’t looking they kicked me into the abyss.

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Diapers, noise, fighting, throwing stuff, and that was on the good days. I never thought I’d see the day when a one year old maniac would bean me with a toy truck as I sat and watched Alvin and the Chipmunks with his big brother for the umpteenth time. I know it’ll take weeks to get that damn theme song out of my head again.

 I never realized that walking from my bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night could be so treacherous.  It was like trying to tiptoe through a Lego minefield. I’m sure the pain in my foot will fade in a few weeks and I really do believe I look pretty cool walking with a slight limp.

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Thank God their parents returned home last night and my better-half did what could be called a family drive-by.  Drive to their home, dump the kids, jump back into the car and escape. I had a cold beer waiting for her and our living room had been cleared of most of the debris left in their wake.  Two huge sighs of relief and a much needed moment of silence to thank the Gods this week was over.

We slept in this morning, had our delicious cups of coffee, and paused to enjoy the quiet.  All in all the week was a success with no injuries, sicknesses, or fatalities.  I saw my cat this morning and unfortunately he may have been traumatized permanently.  We’ll have to wait and see about that.

IT WAS A GREAT WEEK

11-14-15 Journal – Pre-Christmas Blues!   Leave a comment

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I’m already on my third cup of coffee this morning and that good old caffeine buzz I’ve come to rely on has yet to rev my engines.  I have a lot of errands to run today and need some serious motivation to get them all completed.  The blessing is that my better-half is working which will keep her out of my hair (what little I have left) to prepare for her birthday dinner tonight.  It’s difficult to get anything secret done around here and over the years she’s forced me to become even sneakier  than usual.

She loves being surprised and each year that goes by it get tougher and tougher to come up with fresh ideas.  I’ve purchased her a few gifts which I’m sure she’ll like because I am “The Man” when it comes to giving great gifts.  As much as she likes being surprised I like doing the surprising.  I can’t go into too many details because she reads this blog looking for clues.  I’ve learned to be very careful in keeping important information as secret as possible.

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She’s been feeling a little depressed coming into the holidays since it’s the first ones since the passing of her Mom.  She’s usually a Christmas fanatic going totally bonkers with decorations and general X-mas silliness. She needs something to get her into the holiday spirit and I’m hoping we’ll  have our first snowfall soon. That’s always been a kick-start for me and I think it will be for her as well.  She’s also a shopping machine and quite possibly a few hours out in the crowds on Black Friday will help too.

I understand how she feels because I went through the loss of both my parents in the last eight years.  My mother was a Christmas lunatic too and it’s still difficult to have Christmas and not think of her and my dad and Christmases past.

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The saving grace this year will be the grandsons.  Christmas has always been for the children and once the tree gets decorated and the kids come to visit, chattering on and on about Santa and reindeer, she’ll be just fine.  They own her completely and a few smiles from them will make all the difference in the world. Then she’ll go crazy the last week before Christmas trying to make up for lost time which is what I’m hoping for.

Truthfully I’ve been a real Grinch for many years about Christmas but having the boys in our life is changing all that. I hope we both can find the holiday spirit once again.  I’d love to have that feeling on Christmas morning like I did when I was eight years old.

It can’t get much better than that.

04-29-2014 Journal Entry – Life in the Vault!   1 comment

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I mention my better-half in this blog often.  With Mother’s Day approaching I thought a salute to her would be appropriate.  She’s raised her three children, seen them graduate from college, and watched as they moved on with their lives.  She is and should be proud of such a major accomplishment.  Now since her nest has emptied it was time for the next stage of her life with me to begin.  It was time for both of us to readjust to a new and different style of living.

As I’ve gotten older I find myself looking back and reminiscing at odd times.  I have many wonderful memories that I reflect on occasionally and that was always part of my master plan.  Growing up I decided early on to build an archive of memories that I could enjoy after I was too old to create new ones.  I always pictured myself sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of my home looking back at all the fun I’d had in my life.  I looked forward to the day I could mentally relove any number of women and remember them as being even better than they actually were.

My normal approach to living was if something looked interesting I just jumped right in and tried to experience it.  Why not? I was slowly filling up my mental filing cabinet for use after my retirement. It made for a pretty cool life all in all but there were many bumps in the road as well. That was to be expected and those not-so-great memories also made their way into my mental “vault”, to lamely quote from a few Seinfeld episodes.

As a young and middle aged man I saw life in my sixties as something totally different from what it actually turned into.  When I was thirty I felt twenty, in my forties I felt twenty-five, and in my fifties I felt thirty-five.  It was in my mid-fifties when I first met my better-half.  I’d heard the term “better-half” used for years by others but I just thought it was something people said to convince themselves they’d found that elusive soulmate we all search so diligently for. Little did I know that I would all of a sudden become a real believer.  One can never know when that thunderbolt will hit but OMG when it does, it really hits hard. Things haven’t been the same since we met and I’m all the luckier for it. I felt like I was sixteen again both mentally and physically which was more than just a little scary at first.  But I adjusted.

I was forced into retirement much earlier than I ever thought possible thanks to the downsizing of the state government here in Maine.  I was afraid my master plan had been seriously compromised. Now I’m sitting on that famous porch of mine with my better-half, my cat, her grandson, his parents, and all of the new memories we’ve been creating over the last decade. The vault is full to overflowing, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I see many more terrific years ahead of us.

Of course, I’m writing this to brag a little but also to let all of you know that life can be good regardless of your age.  My fantasy now is to sit on that infamous porch when I’m In my nineties and hopefully remember the things I’m experiencing today, tomorrow, next week, and next year.  I imagine I’ll be feeling like a man in my sixties then which should be a weird and amazing turn of events. It’s incredible how our minds work  to help us to adjust to these constant life changes.

It will happen to you too . . . . . . .  Wait for it!

AND A HUGE HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO MY BETTER-HALF.

05-12-2013   2 comments

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone and for the first time in my life I have no mother to celebrate with.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about that but when you have no choice you just muddle your way through.  I guess Mother’s Day has now become for me more a day of remembrance rather than a holiday.

I chatted briefly with my sister but I suspect she’s feeling the same way. Our actual feelings went unspoken during our conversation but we were both thinking the same thing.  Fortunately she has her daughter and two grandchildren to help her through this day.

Since my better-half’s sons both live out-of-state I knew I’d need to be there for her because I know how much she misses them. Fortunately her daughter and grandson live nearby and visited last evening to celebrate with her.  It was a nice night because it was her daughter’s very first official Mother’s Day and she was really excited about it.  One thing nicer than seeing the grandson growing up so fast is also seeing his mom turning into quite the woman and mother.

My better-half had to work today so I left the house early to do a little shopping.  I picked up two huge and beautiful steaks, a little wine, a very pretty potted flower, and a Mother’s Day card.  I know, she’s not my mother but that’s not really the point.  Being a Mom has always been the most important thing to her and her close relationship with her kids is everything. I don’t want her dwelling on the fact that they’re not able to be here so I need to do something a little special.

She arrived home to a cold drink, a big kiss, her flowers and my mushy choice of a card.  I did good!  I then took those two big beautiful steaks to the grill and turned them into something special.  Two inches thick and melt in your mouth wonderful.  Baked potatoes and fresh salad followed along with her favorite desert, a chocolate Nutty Buddy.  It can’t get much better than that for either of us.

Our day is winding down now, she’s talked to her Mom and her other siblings, and now she can relax and prepare for her two days off.  Good days are sometimes hard to find but not this one. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mother’s out there, male and female alike.

04-11-2013   Leave a comment

It’s raining here in Maine this morning and I’m hoping it’s Mother Nature’s last and final gasp of the winter.  Listening to the weather forecasts for the last few days was too depressing for words.  They were calling for sleet and a few inches of snow this morning but thankfully they were mistaken.  A light coating of sleet that melted away almost immediately is something I can live with.

My better-half was up early to deliver her son to the bus station.  He visited us for three days but now is on his way to somewhere in NY state for the wedding of one of his friends and then back to Los Angeles.

I was wondering to myself before his arrival just how he’d react to the new grand baby.  It was fun watching the transformation from being my better-half’s son to the uncle of his younger sister’s baby boy.  Babies have that special ability to take you out of yourself and your everyday worries and to really enjoy the moment you’re having with them.  He was totally disarmed by the whole experience and found himself swept away by the baby and the new relationship they had begun to build.  It showed a side of him I’d never seen before and I was glad to see it emerge. He was able to spend a lot of time with the baby and the bond between them was strongly made.

Things should quickly get back to what we call normal around here.  Getting ready for Spring and the garden are at the top of our To Do List for the next few weeks.  I’ll be off to Lowes to purchase paint and primer this week and hopefully the new room will done by midweek next week.  If I time things just right I should be able to put the finishing touches to the room and then immediately move outside and get busy with the yard cleanup and garden prep.

We’ve already started talking about a few weekend photography trips to the northern part of the state.  The Attagash region is a few hours north of here and is truly a beautiful place to visit.  Hundreds of lakes, small and large, surrounded by thick and dense forests.  Wildlife is plentiful with a million opportunities for excellent photographs.  I love getting away from all the trouble with the economy, politics, TV, talking heads, cell phones, and any other BS you can think of.  Peace, quiet, wilderness, and calm.  It beats any kind of drug you can find anywhere.

04-09-2013   Leave a comment

It’s been quite a week for me.  My better-half’s new grandson has visited us three times this week.  It’s due primarily to the visit of her oldest son who is meeting the little guy for the first time.  The more time I spend around the baby the more amazed I become with just how quickly he’s developing.  He’s almost six months old and is already showing signs of his personality and attitudes.

I’ve never had much exposure to infants or newborns in my life for any number of crazy reasons.  My ex-wife was unable to have children and even though we tried for many years we were unsuccessful.  I’d like to have a dollar for every time I had sex with that infamous plastic cup and the stacks of really bad porn magazines supplied by the fertility clinic.  Many years and many dollars later we finally decided to give up and began to explore the adoption possibilities.

The adoption process was the most grueling thing I’ve ever been involved with.  After being told a three or four year wait was the best case scenario if we wanted a newborn, we were forced to rethink our adoption requirements.  We then joined a program established through the State of Massachusetts that began the process of adopting an older child.  We went through the required twelve months of meetings, psychologists, group therapy, and mental anguish.  We committed to the program one hundred percent and worked our way through it until we were finally approved.  It was exhausting but necessary.

Once approved we were given albums full of photographs of kids in the system who had been abandoned for one reason or another and for many other reasons I won’t talk about here.  It was the most heart wrenching thing I’ve ever been involved with.  To make this long story short more than a year later we were finally permitted to meet and adopt our new twelve year old son.  It was the greatest moment of our lives. Now many years later he’s a married man with his own son and another child on the way.  He survived a childhood most of us could never imagine.

But back to my original point.  I never had an opportunity to see my son grow and develop as I now have with my better-half’s grandson.  I finally understand what people have been trying to explain to me for years.  I guess "better late than never" now has much more meaning than in the past.

I fully intend to enjoy this experience with this little guy and possibly any brothers or sisters that may arrive in the next few years.  It’s more than a little bit amazing to see that  little smile and the twinkle in his eye when he laughs.  It pure, unspoiled, and maybe the most sincere and honest thing I’ve ever experienced.

The next few years are going to a lot of fun

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