Tuesday, December 18, 2018

An Empty-Nester's Christmas Poem

‘Twas days before Christmas
And all through our house
No children were stirring
It was quiet as a mouse.
The stockings were packed
With our suitcases and gifts
In the hopes that our road trip
Would be free from all glitches.
We FaceTimed our grandkids
Before they went to bed
Telling them we’d see them
"In a few sleeps," we said.
I bought a winter hat
And Papa a coat
We knew we must dress warm
Now that we’re older folks.
Our home is still festive
Though only for our eyes
I am determined that Christmas
Is celebrated and won't die.
Though no baking has happened
Nor candy canes on our tree
The lights and the garland
Bring comfort to me.
Gone are the days of
Anticipation and fun
But a new set of traditions
Are being sought out and won.
It’s true that the distance
Can bring heartache and pain
But we’re choosing to focus
On the good without shame.
For no matter how far
From our home they may move
In our hearts they’re as close
As these words are to you.
And each time we’re together
We hug with merry cheer
Grateful that God has blessed us
With another full year.
When the time comes once again
To say our good-byes
I'll hold them all close
Wiping tears from my eyes.
I've learned that each tear
Is precious to God
For He keeps them in His bottle
They represent how well we love.
So if this Christmas you find
That everything has changed
We pray you'll discover the strength
To begin new once again.
Merry Christmas from our empty-nest to yours!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

It's Been Too Long, But There's A Good Reason

Photos by Sierra Blanco Photography

I was shocked to realize I haven't posted anything for almost a year. But when I think about all that has happened it makes perfect sense.

Our daughter got engaged in July of last year and married in January. She also moved to another state faraway where we had to make two separate trips by car to help move her things. I am hoping they will return to Florida before starting their family, but I've learned to hold my hopes in this department loosely.

My grandkids are getting older and range from age 2 to almost 11. My Nana's Newsletter is not as regular these days either, I'm sad to say, but I know that the next one is going out soon.

Today I want to share with you something our daughter did at her wedding reception. She has two grandfathers and wanted to honor them on her special day. She decided to surprise them with a special dance where she began with one and ended with the other. Her paternal grandfather has always lived faraway, so connecting on a regular basis has been difficult. Especially since she became an adult. This moment brought tears to my eyes as I realized being faraway doesn't mean far at heart. She holds them both close and cherishes any time she has with them. Sadly two of her grandmothers are no longer here, but she honored them with photos on a table declaring her eternal love for them.

This fuels my passion to connect with my faraway grandchildren. They need to know no matter the distance my heart couldn't love them more. They are precious to me.

Do you remember your grandparents? How can your relationship with them help you cultivate your relationship with your grandchildren?

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


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


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. 


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...



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.