Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Feast on the Memories


Tomorrow we are heading to our cabin where we will celebrate the 4th of July with all of our kids and grandkids. To say I'm excited would be a huge understatement!

This is our first time to all be together for nearly 3 years. One thing I've learned about being a Faraway Nana--any time together becomes monumental. Five of our eight grandchildren celebrate birthdays from June 11th to July 24th, so I've made a tradition of a group birthday party, and this year is no exception.

The theme will be red, white and blue. We've gone all out in buying decorations to spruce up the cabin and the guys will go shopping for the nighttime fireworks display. There will be a parade that I've arranged for our five Birthday grands to ride on the Chamber of Commerce float--a dream of theirs. We'll attend the local pig roast BBQ afterwards making this holiday one we'll not soon forget.

There was a day when the present would be overshadowed by the fast approaching good-byes of tomorrow, but not any longer. I've decided our presents are better than ever when we are together and the memories made provide enough joy to carry me until the next time.

When will you be together with your grands next? I pray it's soon. Until it comes
Feast on the memories. They are precious!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Happymess



My house is quiet after a full two weeks of visiting grandkids. Phoebe, our youngest granddaughter, hasn't been here since she started walking and I must say my house hasn't been so baby-proofed in a while. I followed her around the first day to see what would catch her attention. If it was breakable or dangerous it got put away. There were a few things that got broken I missed, but all in all our time together was great.

My favorite moment was when she discovered Nana's window seat all by herself. It's a passage that all my grandchildren have passed through, and the reason it was built in the first place.

My heart is full, my walls have been etched with more memories they would tell if they could speak, and my house is a happy mess--time to get to work "unbabyproofing" everything.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Friday


It is barely 6a. and I've already been awake an hour. After a night full of tossing and turning, I finally got up. 

My daughter texted me late last night to let me know they had decided Friday was the day. 

Friday. 

There was such a finality in this text, like many I've received before, but this time was certain.

Bauer is their precious dog, an 11 year old Australian Shepherd. He is named after Jack Bauer, the star of the hit TV drama, 24, played by Kiefer Sutherland.



Like Jack, Bauer managed to overcome every obstacle thrown his way: heart worms-requiring a year-long treatment program, an attack by ground wasps-where Seth had to rush him to the vet for an anti-sting treatment, lost for three days on the streets of Marietta-Tracy picked him up at the dog pound after having an ID chip placed under his skin, hit by a car-where he limped for days yet smiled bravely through it. And of course there was the fleas and ticks that would attack him from time to time bringing the pests inside the house with him. With each one I was told either by text or phone call. That's part of being The Faraway Nana, and it's good to be able to connect in good times and bad.

Through all of this, Bauer has watched his place as first in the home and heart of our daughter and son-in-love give way to second to Norah, then third to Bradley, fourth to Stella, and finally fifth to Brielle. He has gladly stepped aside with his added responsibility of guarding them all and herding them when he could. It was he who made them laugh for the first time as infants, and he who never lost his love of playing ball with Nana. 

Like most dogs, he has been faithful to be a "best friend" to all of us. 

But right before Christmas a tumor was discovered in his mouth. Bauer's gift of outwitting the impossible couldn't overcome this one as it has continued to grow and stifle his ability to eat and drink. It has taken his life away little by little until...

Friday.

{{tears}}


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bonding From A Distance



I have been blessed to have all of my faraway little people visit us in the past two months. We have had such a great time going to Disney, the beach and swimming in our pool. Lots of fun, food and memories to carry me until the next time we're together.



But what I want to share with you today, is a moment I won't soon forget. 

When grandchildren are born close by, you get to bond with them and be a part of their lives so there is no doubt who their Nana is. But when you live faraway, it's harder to bond especially when they're so little. This is why when this moment happened, it melted my heart to tears.

I was tucking my daughter's youngest little girl in bed. She is two. Brielle has only been to our home a few times, and this was the first time where she's really talking and expressing herself well. As I kissed her goodnight and sang her her favorite bedtime song--Tomorrow, from the musical Annie--she said something I didn't expect...


It was the sweetest moment as she looked in my eyes with such love.

So, distance doesn't prevent bonding from taking place. This little girl has a permanent fixture in my heart, and now I know, I have one in hers too. Thank you, God! 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Nana's Wall Of Love



I've had the idea for a long time, but it didn't happen until Tom took me to IKEA for a spontaneous shopping trip. It was right after our son and family had said their goodbyes to Orlando, leaving me once again with a sad heart. He knows me well and that it's always good to help me find a happy distraction--like the beach or a day date anywhere but in our quiet, empty home.

So here we were at this store on the other side of town that I hadn't been to in a while. He told me as we took the escalator UP that I could buy whatever I wanted. Wow! I knew his words (and wallet) had limits, but he didn't want to spoil my fun thinking of the possibilities.

It worked.

I loved looking at everything, thinking if I wanted this or that. If you've been there you know the winding path through every room imaginable takes time--lots of time. And Tom was in no hurry. We talked, we laughed, we thoroughly enjoyed just being together. Although I can never get used to their annoying shopping carts. Tom gladly took over that frustration for me too. :-)



And then I found it! The one thing, or should I say eight things, that I have wanted. Eight picture frames the size of a standard piece of printing paper (8 1/2" x 11"), with hinged doors that open on the front.

My adorable grandchildren love to draw me pictures--all the time. My refrigerator is full of their art work as well as a drawer marked "Nana's Treasures". Now I will have a place for me to display their masterpieces on a rotating basis where I can see them.



I took great delight in hanging them in my laundry room. I took a photo and sent it to my daughter and daughter-in-love, inviting them to tell my little people to start sending me their artwork. They squealed with delight! And I must admit, I did too.

The best part? It didn't cost Tom much at all--$4.99 for each frame, but the joy it brought my heart is priceless! I'm so glad that Papa loves Nana as much as Nana loves him. We make a great team.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I'm Back...

...and I must tell you this is the first time I didn't think in the back of my head about having to say goodbye at the end of the week. I was there in the moment and enjoyed every second. Well, except for the part when 3 year old Stella fell and broke her foot. :-( I didn't enjoy that at all. It's the first broken bone for one of our grandchildren, and she was a real trooper. I think she fared better than Mom and Nana. She was thrilled when the doctor offered her a glittery, purple cast. Thankfully, she'll only need it for four weeks. Tracy is happy too, she no longer has to carry her on her back "like a kangaroo" as Stella called it. "Hop, Mom!"



We managed to rally the gang for a much anticipated Easter photo. I say much anticipated--that was by me; the gang wasn't into it so much, but they made Nana happy.


The setting is our son's new backyard. I arrived in Atlanta on Monday and we left on Tuesday for Tennessee to visit with him and his family. I loved seeing the kids playing outside on what Ashley said was "the warmest day of the year so far." 

The laughter was contagious, everyone was so happy to be together. This was Brielle meeting her newest cousin, Phoebe for the first time. It was precious.

As I flew home I tucked away all the memories we made on this trip, grateful to have a family who wants to see me. Being a faraway nana may not have been my choice, but I'm discovering the times we share because of the distance are more precious than if we lived close to each other. If we did, I'm afraid we'd be tempted to take our abundance of time for granted and wouldn't even realize it.

So whether you're near or far from your grandchildren make the most of the time you've been given. It is a gift!



Brielle turned two





Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Perspective Matters


Next week I will once again get to be with all my grandchildren for a few days. I'm delivering the girls matching Easter dresses, spending time with my daughter while her husband travels for work, and hopefully going to see my son's new home that they're moving into this weekend. It will be fast, fun and full of photo opportunities. But always in the back of my mind and heart is the reality that I will have to say goodbye....again! 

Our pastor said something this past Sunday that helped me so much in embracing the distance.

"If my children grow up and live all over the map of the world, yet love God and are doing what He's called them to do, I will rejoice! That's the whole point of parenting--training our children to grow up and continue the race they've been called to run. It doesn't matter what their address is, it matters where their heart is!" - Aron Osborne, Metro Life Church

As I pack my bags this time I'm taking with me this perspective. 

It doesn't weigh anything, the TSA employees won't pull me aside to ask about it, but my heart will be lighter like the balloon in this cartoon as I won't be carrying the weight of regret and disappointment.

How has a changed perspective helped you adjust to saying goodbye?