Kindness Is NOT A Muscle!


Since we have had a four year old with us all summer, I have had the television on a channel she loves called Sprout during rest time after lunch. (We no longer call it nap time… melt down will ensue.) They have a theme going this summer about kindness.

Basically a good idea to teach about kindness. But they have the jingle they keep using that drives me nuts. “Kindness is a muscle.” Now, anyone who has raised young children know that between the ages of two to about six, everything they hear is taken literally. Sprout is designed for that age group. It didn’t take long for Addie to ask me which muscle on her body was her kindness muscle. (Picture me banging my head on the keyboard.)

So, I had to sit down with her and explain that there isn’t a muscle that makes you kind. Kindness is an act or a behavior that is brought on by compassion, love, and the way you are taught to treat others. It is something that is in your brain and emotions. Some people say from the heart, but that is even more confusing, so we left that for later. She got the concept, after several attempts to explain the kindness muscle.

Then the oddest thing happened, she decided that Sprout was lying to her, and that really ticked her off because she knows that lying is a VERY bad thing. It is unkind, and mean. (Okay, we are really strong about honesty in our house, deal with it.) It was good that she was able to grab the concept of kindness, and it was good that she was able to have an out let for her anger. When she hears that jingle, she gets in front of the television and shouts, “Kindness is NOT a muscles. You nitwit, Kindness is an ACTION!” (Nitwit is an acceptable word in our home too.)

Why an organization like Sprout, who is supposed to understand children who see the world literally would promote an out right lie is beyond me. That means parents who give a flip have to undo the confusion and help kids understand that to some people it isn’t a lie because they see an action as using some sort of muscle. Then explaining that you don’t know why they would say something so wrong, but that people are different and see the world differently. Not two to six year old kids, the world is literal, black and white, and straight forward.

Sprout shows are now recorded, after all, what would life be without Topsy and Time, Sarah and Duck, and Noddy? At least we can fast forward past the inane commercials and PSA nonsense. Back in the dark ages of television, we had Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans to explain our complicated world (rabbit is still a carrot stealing rascal). Life was so much easier then. No complex issues past learning to share and being good to others. I am so glad our little Addie Rose would rather read a book, paint a picture, or just play tea party, than sit in front of the television.

We only have her for one more week before we go back to seeing her every other weekend. I think we will just play all week long, to heck with television and nap… ahem… REST time!

 

Brain Drain


I found the Mr. standing in the middle of the kitchen staring into space. Like many of us, he forgot why he came into the room once he got there. This made me start thinking about how long I had been doing the same thing as I had a niggling worry deep inside about going senile. And I think I nailed down the problem that leads us to forgetting things.

Children.

Think about it. Before kids, we generally cruise along in life fighting the battled of becoming an adult. Sure, we forget to do things now and then, but the majority of the time we are sailing along just fine. Then it hits women first when they get pregnant. Baby brain slowly creeps in but we cope with it, after all baby will come along soon and it will all change. Our husbands, partners, whatever, get upset with our baby brain moments, but generally just laugh at us.

Then baby comes along. And so does a complete lack of sleep, organization, and ability to think. New parents are so tired that sleep is more important than showers, food, or even sex. That is when true forgetfulness strikes both parents hard. The slow unraveling begins. Even after the baby sleeps through the night, starts walking, potty trains, and talks, the brain begins to drop bit and pieces everywhere.

OK, kids get old enough to go to school, most folks have several by then, and are pretty oblivious to the brain drain taking place. Mom and dad start making notes and keeping calendars to stay on track, Kids have school, sports, play dates (as silly as that sounds), and there are a multitude of other activities from school plays to family dinners. And the brain just keeps dripping cells everywhere.

By now the parents are in their forties. Kids are driving themselves and creating a life of their own, soon they will be off to college or working (hopefully), and the house gets less hectic. The only calendar kept is one for doctor appointments and such. Until, one day, the house is empty and a couple is alone again. And that is when the final event hits, the memory wall.

We forget what we were saying mid conversation. We forget where we put our glasses Every. Single. Day. We forget our car keys, our wallets, and where we took off our shoes. We double check to see if we fed the dog and if we left water out for the cat. We have to go see if we locked the car door, and we always have to make sure where we put the credit card after using it. But mostly, we can’t go from one room to the next without forgetting what we were going to do when we got there.

Sometimes, we stare in the refrigerator thinking that’s why we are in the kitchen. Or, we go into a room four times before we get what we came for, because we get distracted by something else, and walk out of the room without the one thing we needed.

By the time we get to retirement age, we start reminding each other about things before going out the door. We do a check list, wallet, keys, glasses, hat, sunglasses, cell phone, and most importantly the list of things to get done or for shopping. Oh, and don’t forget each other while you are out.

So, yep, it is all because we have kids. Those that don’t have kids, have extended family, friends, and pets to help drain our brains as we age. Therefore, it doesn’t help not to have kids.

Next time you are standing in the middle of a room and forget why you are standing there, remember to blame it on the kids. And watch your own kids start down the same road with their kids and laugh. Then spoil your grandchildren and sent them home, just to get even.

Twenty Senior Moment Thoughts


  1. The moments after you wake up and nothing hurts, and suddenly you think you might be dead.
  2. You can’t argue with someone who doesn’t have on his hear aids.
  3. Telling your grandchildren how things used to work in your world compared to their world leaves them thinking you are either a liar, or crazy.
  4. Food isn’t nearly as interesting as it used to be, especially if you have to do the cooking.
  5. Getting to the the bathroom and back in the middle of the night without hurting yourself, tripping on a pet or shoes, or stubbing your toe on the bed frame is considered a victory.
  6. Taking a shower without someone else in the house to help if you fall is a daring thing.
  7. Running is not an option. Don’t care how big and scary it is. Not happening.
  8. No one cares if you suck in your stomach, because people actually look at your face to see if you can their read lips.
  9. You can say anything you want, no one dares take on the ticked off old lady.
  10. If you have your walker with you, people let you go to the front of the line. Really. They do.
  11. You can tell other people’s bratty kids to stop behaving like a brat. It scares the crap out of the kids, and embarrasses the parents.
  12. When someone young complains about how hard life is, you can mock them by telling them, “Child, you have NO idea how hard life can really be.”
  13. Going out means going to the grocery or out to eat so you don’t starve. Otherwise, why bother.
  14. Music from your era is now elevator music. Scary to hear “Taking Care of Business” played with violins and muted horns. Very scary.
  15. It is easier to relate to old people. I mean really old people, like your parents old.
  16. It is harder to relate to your grandchildren or great grandchildren because, well, they just don’t get interpersonal relationships. They have techno friends instead.
  17. Language doesn’t mean what it used to mean. Slang has evolved into everyday speech, and proper English has disappeared in conversations.
  18. Try explaining how short cut words and TEXT speech are impossible to say out loud, do it often enough that it drives kids nuts. R U does not spell ARE YOU. Really, it doesn’t.
  19. It no longer matters if you wear pajamas all day long. It is just practice for the day you are in a nursing home or left at the funny farm.
  20. Being grumpy and ticked off is the best way to get your daily aerobic exercise for your heart. Less sweaty too.

I Will NOT Feel Guilty About Christmas Gifts.


I saw a meme on Facebook today that left me speechless, for all of four seconds, then I was totally ticked off. I do NOT like it when people try to manipulate me in any way, and this was exactly what the meme was trying to do.

Basically, it calls people on the carpet for buying nice gifts for their children and labeling them from Santa Claus. Because, after all, some other child might not get anything as nice as a laptop or phone, they may only get gloves and a scarf or something less expensive from the man in red. Therefore, those of us who give our kids something from ‘Santa’ that is more expensive will cause hurt feelings if they share what they got with those less fortunate. In other words, we have to limit what we spend on our kids, or we are guilty of flaunting our wealth, and that makes us evil people.

Quite frankly, that is a load of bull$*(*#!!! If you have kids young enough to believe in Santa, they won’t give a flip how expensive the gift is, because it will be from Santa! That is all that matters. If they are old enough to know the cruel truth of who bought them the gift, then they won’t be upset because it will be from you no matter what name is on the package. Sometimes the logic of the knee jerk emotional response people baffles me. No, the logic of such people always baffles me.

Why would it be my responsibility how your child reacts to what my child receives for Christmas or any other time a gift is offered? I don’t expect you to buy your children’s gifts based on my income or what my child might want. It is utterly ludicrous to suppose that anyone should be involved in gift giving between myself, my children or grandchildren but us.

Everyone knows Christmas comes around every December 25th. Everyone knows that we give gifts to one another in remembrance of the gift we received from God in the Savior, and in the gifts the Magi gave to the Christ child. We know it is coming all year long. I do not understand why everyone waits until the last possible minute to recognize the expense, whether in dollars or time and effort, that will be added to the budget. So let me explain how we do things.

In January, I take my empty Christmas money jar, and start putting back as much as I can from my budget. Some months it is more, some less. I have a goal of one hundred dollars per child or grandchild, a bit less for the babies as they are happy with wrapping paper and boxes until about the age if two. I also factor in things like baking goods, baskets, and wrapping paper to the fund. As I save each month, I start a file from each kid or grandchild about the things that they are interested or would like to have. It gives me a bare bones budget from which to work.

Around the end of October, I start shopping in earnest. I look for sales, coupons, two for one sales, any way to save money and still buy them what they want. It doesn’t matter if it comes from Santa or me, each gift is carefully chosen and paid for with CASH. No debt here, thank you very much. By Christmas, I have spent my savings, prepared goodie baskets for my friends and neighbors, wrapped all the gifts, and have everything set for a family dinner.

Even on a limited income, this can work as long as you are diligent about saving and keeping the funds for Christmas. The trick is to be determined not to waste the funds on other things. If it is in the Christmas jar, nothing short of a life and death situation will get it out of the jar before Christmas. My point is, that anyone can give their children nice things, if they want to work hard enough for it.

Sure I will go without other things, and maybe I won’t have that extra whatever I wanted, but at the end of the day, did I really need it? How many pairs of shoes, or handbags, or goodies does one need to be healthy? Not too many. I would rather see my granddaughter’s face light up with joy at her “Santa” present, or have a heart felt hug from my son for the item he has wanted for a long time, but didn’t want to spend money on with a family to feed.

So, back to the meme, get over it people. No one is responsible for your family but you. My family comes first, and what I have left over, I share willingly and for as far as I can stretch it. Maybe it will only be a basket of Christmas cookies and muffins, but it is given with love and appreciation to my friends and family.

Don’t try to manipulate or guilt people into shame for doing well, working hard, and giving generously, be it from “Santa” or from Nana and Papa. It makes you look inept, immature, and impractical. It used to be people stood up for themselves, they didn’t expect everyone else to feel sorry for them and make life easy. Be honest with your children. They aren’t stupid, they know if you are wealthy or if you are barely making it. So, work hard, save hard, give with love, and teach your children to do the same.

How Did I Get So Old So Darned Fast?


Today I turned 62 years old. I think that qualifies me as older than dirt. I know it qualifies me as a senior citizen. What I want to know is how it happened so darned fast. Just a few weeks ago, I swear I was trying to figure out the whole concept of being an adult.

When I turned nine, I remember it well, because my parents gave me a copy of Huckleberry Finn. The first real book I remember ever getting. I still have it. And I took time to re-read it not too long ago. When I turned 17, I was a married woman of a whole three months. I remember thinking I had it all, and knew it all, and wasn’t afraid to face everything life would throw at me. I was a grown woman, and by heaven I knew it all. Arrogance knows no bounds to a 17 year old.

When I turned 20, I had a three month old son, he was taking me down a peg or two in arrogance, and teaching me that being a grown woman was harder than it looked. Being a mother certainly was harder. Little did I know that by the time I turned 22, I would have a second baby boy and life was set on fast forward for the next twenty years or so.

I don’t remember many spectacular birthdays. They seem to blend together. However, I remember when I turned 30, my two best friends kidnapped me, drove me all over Harrison, Arkansas for a few hours, then took me out to eat at a steak place. When I walked in, almost the entire church ward, most of my Boy Scout Leader friends, and many others turned up for a surprise party. I was totally shocked. Not a clue slipped out from anyone. Back then, there were no cell phones, so no one was able to tip me about the kidnapping or anything. It was great! I was fully embarrassed, but it was the slickest thing anyone has ever pulled on me. Candy, and Edie Mae , I have not forgotten, and I will get even one day.

The best gifts my husband gave to me are: The Elton John Concert in Hong Kong, The Michael Buble concert in Memphis, and my beautiful blue Honda Del Sol sports car, I call Posh. Treasured memories, and one of the most fun toys I have EVER had.

Once our boys moved out and on with their lives, and we got custody of Crystal, we decided to move to Europe, and then around the world, using employment opportunities to set off on our next adventure. When it was time to move on to the next new home, it was always on my birthday. We were either moving into a place, or packing to move out of a place – or in accommodations between places. Since it was either a sad time, or an exciting time, there was never time to pay much attention to celebration. One exception, however, was when we were living in Hong Kong. The other moms with children Crystal’s age who attended the same international school as Crystal took me to lunch. It was a fabulous time, and each gift is still something I use today, or wear today. They are part of my treasure horde. Of course, tea in the plaza after school every day was special too. Sigh, I miss you all.

I guess I was busy having a life, and simply didn’t notice time sneaking past at such a rapid rate. Technology has overtaken the simple pleasures, and I miss that. I miss being the mom of growing boys (before teenage hell set in). I miss the summers at the swimming hole with Edie Mae and her girls, and Candy and her boys along with me and my kids. I miss the Plaza with the ladies there and their kids, I miss the women in London and Nottingham, and I miss the dear friends in New Zealand, especially Leah who was more than willing to give me a kick in the attitude when I needed one most. I miss being young and strong physically even if I am old and stronger emotionally and have more wisdom.

The older I get, the less it matters if we celebrate my birthday or not. It is a day I do a lot of reflection on my life. Since it is so close to Christmas, and the anniversary of my baptismal date this month, there always seems to be more important things to focus on. Especially, for me, spiritual matters.

But I still don’t understand how I got from 22 to 62 so darned fast! The upside, is now I have grandchildren, and great grandchildren to love and spoil. I have a husband of 45 years, who has grown up and old with me. And who can still carry on a conversation and debate over all sorts of interesting topics with me, Who still, after all this time, wants to have adventures with me. So, I guess the real trade off of getting old, is that I have had a great life, get to do so much more, and know that life is still full of adventures.

Why We Need A Two Year Old At Christmas


1. It is a good excuse to watch Christmas movies all day long.

 

2. You can sing Christmas songs at the top of your lungs and the kid thinks it is GREAT!

3. Tape takes on a whole new dimension when left in the hands of a little kid.

4. Baking cookies can be a daily activity, and so can eating them, cookies are a healthy snack if Nana makes them.

5. It is cool to be excited by Christmas lights, and we can say inane things to a the child, like “Oh Look! A Reindeer!” without other adults looking at us like we are on cog shy of a gear.

6. We can go shopping with the child, and no one bats an eye when we spend half an hour in the toy department playing with the toys. Gotta know if it is age appropriate after all.

7. We can say, in public, “If you aren’t going to behave, I am going to call Santa RIGHT NOW and have him put you on the naughty list.”

8. We can decorate the house and yard as garishly as we want, because children love all that sparkle and glitter, giving us the excuse to be over the top all we want.

9. We get to eat. A lot. Because children need to eat, and we need to test the food to make sure it is safe and healthy for them. Doesn’t matter if it is all the goodies we can get our hands on, someone has to be the taste tester.

10. We can read “The Night Before Christmas” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and the story of the birth of the Christ Child every single night, or day, at home or in the car, and no one thinks it is weird.

11. We can go see the newest movies for kids, and not feel like everyone thinks we are some sort of weirdo sitting in a theater full of kids.

12. We get to do fun stuff, like make Christmas ornaments from glue, paper, felt, paint, and the occasional crying fit.

13. We can make a mess every single day, and it is just fine to leave it until the child goes home. Unless, of course, it is spilled sugar – that has to be cleared up so it doesn’t feel like sand is all over the floor. Besides, a two year old might just decide to lick it off the floor (true story) for fun.

14. Wrapping paper can be more fun than the gift we are trying to wrap. Especially when combined with excuse number three.

15. We can play with all the toys that the kid got for Christmas, BEFORE the kid gets to. Someone has to put them together (some assembly required, my …. or how to bring out the Grinch in the old man on Christmas Eve).

16. Going to Walmart with cookie dough and flour down the front of your sweat shirt is OK. After all, the two year old has it in his/her hair, down the front, and in his/her shoes too.

17. Helping the child to dress the dog up to be a reindeer isn’t all that crazy and idea. But, I wouldn’t advise trying to do the same to a cat. Really. Not. Smart.

18. There is nothing wrong with having the child’s stuffed tiger in the manger for the baby Jesus. It works. And it saves on the requisite fight over the dolly that takes place between the angel and Mary after the play is over.

19. It is perfectly fine to sing different words to songs like Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town – as long as you keep them clean. Kids love that sort of silliness – and as long as there is a kid around, no one thinks you are two cogs short of a gear.

20. Stay up late night takes on a whole new meaning with an excited two year old who is waiting for Santa. But once the child is asleep, Papa Santa gets to eat the cookies and milk, and Nana Santa gets to eat the carrots and celery left out for the man in red and his reindeer, leaving behind enough crumbs to prove someone ate them. Then the “some assembly required” commences, leaving two very grumpy elves to find their way to bed way past their bedtime.

“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”


“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people my age tend to simply stop. They stop doing fun things, they stop being involved, they stop thinking and growing intellectually. They just stop. Then they sit about and complain about how boring life is, how hard it is to do things they used to do, how much they wish they had done such and such before they got too old. They are failing to thrive in the late years of their lives. And there is no excuse for that- period.

I know, things are a bit harder to do when knees hurt,backs don’t want to bend, and the body gets tired much easier than it did at the age of forty. We all have to slow down,but that doesn’t mean we have to stop. It may take longer, but there is no reason not to at least try.

Years ago there was a movie entitled Cocoon followed by another, Cocoon Returns. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest watching them at least once. It starred a lot of “stars” who were getting quite elderly. All stuck in a nursing home, waiting to die, fussing at one another, etc. Until things change due to a visit from the aliens. Look, I know it is really a sappy story, but what I loved about it was the willingness of almost all of the elderly folks to embrace that which was different. If their youth didn’t return, their joy for life certainly did. And, at the end of the day, their inaction became action, and their lives infinitely better.

Another movie I loved was Driving Miss Daisy, a stellar performance by one and all. Again, another character that defies the tendency to just sit down and stop. Fried Green Tomatoes is a fantastic film. Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy were great together and the flashback between Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson is equally dynamic. At the end of the day, we are still not sure which woman Jessica Tandy was as the elderly friend of Kathy Bates. Ambiguity saturates the film, while turning Katy Bates’ character from a meek doormat into a woman filled with confidence. And, of course, the character played by Shirley Mclaine in Steel Magnolias is just like I want to be when I get old.

I see many older folks off and doing things all over the world. They travel, explore, serve missions of compassion – regardless of sore knees and aching backs. They move, act, and they live every minute of every day. That is what I want to do too.

When our youngest son went off to college, my husband and I decided to work our way around the world. Eight years later, we finally returned to the US. As we were raising our granddaughter, she went right along with us. We lived in London, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, and only came back to the US due to health issues and the awful Socialized Medical care in NZ. We traveled all over each region and were enriched many times over by our experiences.

But I was in my forty’s when we did that. Now I am sixty, and it is going to become more difficult to do some of the things we did. So, we chose other things to do so we could travel. A cruise or four, a road trip across the US, and our big adventure this year is to travel across country by train. I don’t hike for miles any longer, but I sure can sit and enjoy the view from the train.

So there is no excuse not to thrive, people. Just get up, take a few steps, find a hobby that fulfills you, volunteer as a surrogate grandmother to rock babies at the hospital. Volunteer at the schools or libraries to help kids with their reading skills. Go help out a nursing home if you have a talent like playing the piano. There are a multitude of things you can do to overcome the lack of inertia and sedentary inaction. For me, being with my grandchildren is one of my greatest motivators. I write, I hang out on social media sites, I keep up with friends and work on my family history, and I am planning on taking art lessons. I have always wanted to learn how to paint. That will be so much fun!

So, you are old, so what? Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. Just because your body is starting to creak and moan, it doesn’t mean your brain isn’t functioning. (Unless you have a serious condition, of course.) With all the medical miracles out today, most of us will live well into our eighties or nineties.

I have a friend who is ninety-eight. For the several decades, she has traveled the world following the performances of the operas of Wagner. All on her own, she would jump on a plane and off she would go to Italy, France, Germany, or any place in the world that the operas were being performed. What an amazing lady

who just kept on going like an Eveready Battery. She is running down now, but she is still in control of her life and decided to go home until the end of her days. It is heartbreaking, but at the same time, what a life she has had! Even now, she keeps busy with doing her family history and chatting with her friends and family.

Even if you are homebound, unable to walk, unable to drive, so what? There are a million things you can do to keep your brain healthy and busy. Never just stop and wait to die. We all have a finite amount of time here in this life. I could spend it worrying about death, or I can just get on with living while I am still here.

The more we let inaction rule our lives, the less likely we are to live a long life. Not just because our bodies need to move to function well, but because our brains atrophy at an alarming rate. Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. But it is only you that can take that first step. I can’t wait to become a feisty old woman who says exactly what she wants to say about everything.

Come on people, get up, find a cause, reason, purpose, or passion to fill your life. Go on!

 

Brown Eyed Boy


arron_6yrs“Well, hello little man,” The new mother said when she first held her baby boy. He looked at her with his big brown eyes and cried. She cuddled him close and told him not to cry because she would always hold her brown eyed boy in her arms.

“Look at you, you’re walking!” The mommy said as her brown eyed boy took his first steps across the room on his own. He looked at her and smiled a drooling smile as he took his first steps away from her.

“Hurry! We’re late! You don’t want to miss the bus on the first day of school” she said, as she rushed him out the door and down the street to the bus stop. The big yellow bus pulled up and he climbed on with all the other children in his neighborhood. His mommy stood on the curb and smiled at him as the bus moved away. He didn’t see her cry as her brown eyed boy took his first ride away from her.

“Here’s your uniform, you need to change so we can get to the meeting on time. Tonight, you get to move up from a Bear Cub to Webelos in scouting” his mother said, as she rushed from one task to another. When he walked across that bridge to move up to his next rank, she applauded and smiled while he grinned with pride at his accomplishment. He didn’t see her cry as her brown eyed boy took one more step toward the future.

“What have you done!” The mother whispered in a quiet voice, as he was rolled into the emergency room. “We won!” He shouted as they gave him medicine so they could set his collar bone. He didn’t see her cry as he drifted off. But he knew she was right there by his side. She prayed for her brown eyed boy.

“Where have you been!” His mother shouted at him when he stumbled in at daybreak. He knew she had been waiting up for him all night, afraid he wouldn’t come home, afraid he was hurt. “Mom, we were out night fishing. Don’t worry, I’m almost a teenager I can take care of myself. Then he wandered off to bed. He didn’t see his mom cry in relief he was fine, and in sorrow that her brown eyed was one step further away.

“What is this?” His mother asked. He knew she knew what it was as he tried to think of an excuse or a reason he had it in his room. “It’s just pot mom. It isn’t going to hurt me.” He said it with a tone of contempt for her. She threw it away, and he was punished, but it didn’t bother him ’cause he knew where to get more. She knew he knew, and when he left she cried at the dullness and sullenness in the brown eyes of her boy.

“Get Out!” His mother shouted in anger and frustration. “Live by our rules, or live somewhere else.” He grabbed his pack, threw on his boots, and stomped out of the house. He was tired of being treated like a kid, and he would show her that he didn’t need her at all. He didn’t hear the painful sobbing of his mother as her brown eyed boy walked away in rage.

“Mom! It’s a girl.” He sang down the phone in joy when his baby was born. He was overjoyed and so was she. When she got to the hospital, he hugged his mommy tight and whispered, “I never knew, I never knew, how much a parent loves their child until now.” He had tears in his eyes as he held his daughter in his arms. “Well, hello there, little angel baby.” She looked at him with wise brown eyes, and sighed with content.

“Hey Mom! Merry Christmas!” he shouted over the popping phone line! He was, he said, doing great. He had a great woman, a beautiful daughter, a good job, and that is really all a man needed to be happy. “Mom….. Mom…. I’m losing you. I love you,” he shouted just before the line dropped the call. He didn’t hear her say “I love you, too, or see her cry because he missed it, and she deeply missed her brown eyed boy.

“He’s dead! He’s dead!” came over the phone in the deepest part of the night. His mother and father rushed back home to find it was true. It was… it was – inexplicably painful, horrific in every moment of pain. She went to the morgue to identify him. When she started to leave him, she turned back, and gently closed his eyes. He didn’t see her cry as she walked away from him, knowing she wouldn’t see her brown eyed boy until she joined him on the other side one day.

“Nana, can I play my daddy video again?” Her little voice asked. “Of course,” and she put the video on.” She didn’t she her Nana cry as she walked down the hall, knowing her brown eyed girl was getting to know her daddy the only way she could. She didn’t see her smile as her Nana stood still and listened – remembering her brown eyed boy.

Forever Young


On September 11, 2014, my first born will be 40 years old. For many people that requires a birthday party with black balloons and silly “Over The Hill” banners. It has been almost 19 years since he moved on, and still we miss him every day. But my son, you see, is forever young. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E6-AYce-_M

If he were here, physically, he would be a proud father of his baby girl, and an even more proud grandfather to her baby girl. He would hug his girl, and spoil her girl, and still be a strong man to lean on when they needed him the most.

I don’t know what he would be doing as a profession, but I know it would be something outdoors. He hated being cooped up inside, no matter the weather. If it was hot, he would be off somewhere playing or fishing in the water. If it was cold, he would get up to all manner of things that required slipping, sliding, and general mayhem, with a bit of danger mixed in for spice.

I don’t know what his political bent would be, but I expect it would be about as conservative and his parents and brother tend to be. I don’t know if he would be religious, but I know he would be spiritual. I don’t know if he would like all the modern gizmos and technology, but I know he could master all of them quickly. I don’t know what kind of vehicle he would drive, but I know he would own a Harley.

But, I don’t need to know, because my son, you see, is forever young.

He would still like boxing, and loud music. Music that ranged from classical to heavy metal met his approval. He would still like reading and learning on his own, in his own way. He would still love to sit and talk with the elderly and people who captured his interest. He would still love to tinker with motors, even if they frustrated him every time he worked on one. He would still love his family, his friends, and impress strangers with his knowledge about all sorts of things. He would still give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, and make sure that you had something to eat if you were hungry. He would still support the Viet Nam Veterans, and give them all the honor they deserve. He would still want to hang out with his brother, and probably torment him as only a big brother can. He would still be our Arron. Because he knew that growing up didn’t mean becoming someone else, it just meant being more who you are. He was philosophical that way.

He would still get into fist fights, but maybe not as much. He would still stand up for the underdog, but he might not lose his temper over misjustice so easily. He would still protect his mother, wife, daughter, niece, or any other female in his life, but he wouldn’t put up with drama trauma from any female. Like most guys, it either made him uncomfortable, annoyed, or confused. He would still love his beer on a hot day, and his whisky on a cold night, and he would still sneak bites of dinner as it is being cooked.

He would still like to go shirtless while working outdoors, and he would still wear those motorcycle boots, no matter how hot it was. He would still wear 501 button down Levi jeans, Harley shirts, and the occasional button down with the sleeves torn out of it. He would still have his silver front teeth instead of changing the caps out for something like everyone else. And he would still have long hair, a beard, and wear an ear ring, even though he knows it bugs me.

He would still have his cheeky, wicked grin that told me he was up to something he shouldn’t be. He would still make me laugh at his irreverent humor, tell me that I looked like a dumpling, and tease me about everything I do, just to get me riled. He would still walk to the beat of his own drummer, follow his dreams, and fly his kite just the way he wanted to.

Yes, he would do those things, and he probably is doing just that where he is. Because, you see, my son is forever twenty-one.

Happy Birthday Arron. Welcome to the old fart club. I love you. Mom.

Forever Young.  Arron Glen Combs  September 1974 - Jan 1996.
Forever Young. Arron Glen Combs September 1974 – Jan 1996.

 

No Tech Christmas


It occurred to me, oh, several months ago, as I was organizing my Christmas list, that I wanted to give my grandchildren vintage toys. Well, remakes of vintage toys, the originals are far too pricey. I wanted them to have a Christmas where nothing they received from my husband and I needed a battery, cable, or plug in. It seems that we have overwhelmed our kids with things that beep, flash, talk, and require constant attention. It was time to get back to basics.

For my nine year old grandson, there were a set of stilts, modern and better made, but stilts, nonetheless. A honest to goodness wooden yoyo along with a trick book just like they had in the 1950’s, along with crazy straws, paddle balls, a board game, several joke books, and the Dangerous Book for Boys. I added a science project about gross things, and treats. Not one thing required any sort of power except boy power. He loved everything, and was working to master the yoyo when they went home.

For my six year old granddaughter, we got an art set. A real, honest to goodness set with everything from paints to pencils and everything to go with it. She is really into drawing and such. Several coloring books joined the set, along with lots and lots of paper. She also go the crazy straws and paddle balls, but girl stuff too, like a pair of shoes and an out fit. She got the Daring Book for Girls, that matched Nick’s for boys. And hair pretties along with a grooming kit. Nothing needed power other than the power of a girl. She was over the moon, and spent hours drawing.

And our little Addie? Her favorite toys is a small felt dolly I picked up for a buck at the dollar store. Who would have though!? We also got her a tent to play in, and to help corral her when we need to have our hands free for something. She loves that too, along with the drum, and soft toys she got. She was really having more fun with with the paper and boxes than anything.

It is easy to go on line and pick out things that beep and buzz for kids. It is much harder to think of the way their minds work and come up with innovative ways to entertain them. It is easy to let a machine entertain them, but it is, in my opinion, to encourage them to explore, invent, create, and study the world around them. Making them the center of the play, not the machine, will stretch their minds, help them create, and encourage exploration in all manners of topics.

Next year is going to be a challenge, but I am already doing research, and I expect something will come to mind. Like Jax and a jump rope for Bella, and some sort of cool science experiment for Nick. I’m thinking mad scientist, cool stuff. Addie will be easy, everything from toys to clothes . . . and boxes and paper.

I love being a Nana.