Tuesday, January 19, 2016

If A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words, then...

...my heart is filled with volumes.

My daughter and daughter-in-love do an amazing job of helping me be a part of their daily lives. 

  • I get texts of quotes from my grandchildren that make me laugh-out-loud. 

  • I get close-up photos of little Phoebe's eyes, saying 'will they stay blue?' We pray so.

  • I get videos of Bradley shooting one of his first baskets during his Upwards Basketball game.
  • I get FaceTime calls from my nearly two-year old granddaughter who says she wants to call "Nina" and sing her Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.
  • I get videos of Brielle who at 22 months has the vocabulary of a three year old, trying to say 'cantaloupe."

  • I get to sit next to Norah via FaceTime as she shows me her very own iPod and what it can do. She even set me up on her desk so she could show me how she's improving her cart wheels. :-)
  • I get photos of beautiful coloring pages completed with love for Nana.

  • And I get to read to my oldest granddaughters who cling on every word of the story. Except for this last time when Norah was drawn away from listening because the sun was shining on an unusually warm January day in GA. She kept looking out the window, and I completely understood because if I had been there with her that's exactly what I would have done too.
It's true, our world became much smaller when the Internet and Social Media came along. But there's nothing that can replace the feel of snuggling a baby close to your chest or kissing the cheeks of a giggling toddler. Those times are reserved for our face to face gatherings. But I must admit I'm grateful for the pictures I carry in my heart each and every day.

If you are a Faraway Nana like me, I encourage you to connect as often as possible with your grandchildren in any way you can. The time goes by too fast to waste a moment or a tear or a laugh with them. And they need to know that even though miles separate us we carry them close in our hearts 24/7.

I'd love to hear your stories of making the distance more bearable.

(Book shelf photo credit: inafurniture.com)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Waiting For And Welcoming Phoebe Wren To Our Family

In October were privileged to stay in Tennessee for 3 weeks to wait for the birth of our 8th grandchild to our son and his wife. Phoebe Wren (their 4th) was due mid-October so we got there a week early hoping to have plenty of time to meet her, hold her and help as much as needed.

Tom found us a little cottage on Airbnb.com that turned out to be perfect in every way. It was on an 5th generation dairy farm in a little town called College Grove south of Franklin. With one bedroom, a tiny kitchen and an even tinier bathroom, we managed to make it our home for our time there.

Now for our Phoebe story. The plan was for us to go to Jason and Ashley's home when she went into labor and watch their three kids so they could go to the birthing center, located about 15 minutes North in Nashville.

Ashley passed her due date, so she started getting a daily gift from me to ease the disappointment. This is a fun tradition she has enjoyed from me because she has always been late. <sigh>   I also spent time writing Phoebe's very own song from Nana. This another tradition I started with Bristol and have continued doing with all of my grandchildren.

On Saturday night, October 24th at 11:20p. Jason texted to say Ashley's water had broken. Yay! And OH NO! We were 15 minutes south of their home. We managed to get in the car in 7 minutes flat! Amazing, but it wasn't good enough. Jason called again to say they couldn't wait--they were waking the kids up and taking them with them to the birthing center. We said we'd meet them there.

We arrived in the parking lot right behind them at midnight. Ashley had just been taken to the birthing room, the nurse was there, but the midwife had yet to show up. We walked into the dimly-lit lobby to find our half-asleep grandchildren looking bewildered and concerned for their mom. Tom and I figured we'd wait to make sure all was well with Ashley before loading them back up and taking them home to bed.

At 12:05a. the nurse came in the lobby to get some water. I asked her if she had any idea how long it would be? I'll  never forget her response...

"Oh, she's already delivered. Both are doing fine!"

What!? We couldn't believe how close she was to delivering Phoebe in the car. And we thanked God for making it there just in time. A few minutes later we were allowed in to meet her for the first time. It was an amazing moment to see Bristol (8), Willow (6) and Vito (2) meet their new sister, and she has won our hearts.

I must admit that leaving Nashville knowing that I wouldn't be there for all the newborn moments was difficult. I soaked up all the cuddles and snuggles I could to last me until the next time I would see her.

God is helping me let go of what I've always wanted to embrace what His plans are for us and for them, and it is good.

Happy New Year!