It is an honor to say, “I am an American.”


I had an interesting conversation with the young man who does my nails every month. “Tony” is from Vietnam. He came here with his family when he was sixteen, and he is almost twenty-one now. His parents immigrated so their seven children could have an education and be able to live above the poverty level of their country.

I commented on how well he spoke English and asked him if he took English as a second language course. He said he learned to speak English by going to High School and when he graduated and started working at his parents nail salon, he spoke with all his clients and much as he could. Many were kind enough to help him with his pronunciation and how to speak sentences correctly.

I asked him if he liked living in the United States and opened a flood gate about the US. He said that it was everyone’s dream to come to America. In Vietnam there was no freedom. Only the wealthy government people had enough food and money. In his home village few made it past what we would call middle school because it was so expensive to send children to school. The government determined who could and could not move forward. Everything was controlled by the government, including what a person would do for a living. There is a class system and if you are born in one class, you will grow old and die in that class. Tony took a deep breath.

In the US we are free. I can become anything I wish to become and there is no one saying I can’t be successful. If I work hard and study hard, I can learn anything. It is such a blessing to have freedom. I can say what I want without the police coming to put me in jail and my entire family for not thinking right. I am equal to everyone. He paused. I will be more equal once I am a citizen of the US. I will take my exam soon and hope to become a citizen before America votes in the next election. I have saved all the money for everything. I was a bit taken aback by his fervent desire to become a citizen.

I asked him why he wanted it to be before the election. He carefully looked over his shoulder and leaned closer to me. Then he really surprised me when spoke just above a whisper. “I want, he said, to vote for my hero, President Trump.” I smiled, because I am a Trump fan too.

I asked him what he liked about the President. H had a list of things he found admirable about President Trump. He said that the President didn’t just say what was popular, he spoke the truth. That when he made a promise to do something, he did it, and he didn’t do it for fame, he did it for the betterment of the entire country. He like the President because he spoke honest words, not fancy words designed to impress fancy people. He was a business man who understood money and how finance worked and he would always get the best outcome for the United States no matter who he had to deal with. He like the fact that the President wasn’t afraid to be wrong and admit it, but he wasn’t often wrong. Tony said. “Vietnamese people are loud and rude according to American ways, but the President speaks like we do.. We understand him.” I want to vote for him as one of the first things I do as an US citizen. I think my jaw gaped open, and I know I had tears in my eyes.

I asked him if his family felt the same way and he nodded, then he said,”All the people in my community feel the same. We admire and appreciate the President. We are so grateful for the Immigration that brought us out of poverty and gave us opportunity to be free to do what we want in life.” What else could I say other than I hoped he got his wish. The subject changed to every day topics, but I left there feeling as if I had been given a lesson in what America was all about. Freedom, independence, hard work, family, belief in the individual, and determination to become better than the last generation. That amazing young man is the exact kind of person we need to stand for the Constitution, the kind of man who is much like the original immigrants who came over on leaky wooden boats like the Mayflower. I was worried about the country’s future, but between young people like Tony and the young people I see here in Indian Country who blatantly wear their MAGA hats and rebel flag t-shirts, I think we just might make it as the country the founders meant us to be. As Tony said, “It is an honor to say, I am an American.” We often forget that.

Another Welcome Home


We live in a neighborhood with three streets. The families are made up of thirty something parents with children and older retired folks for the most part. It is a tight knit group of people who have known each other for years and everyone watches out for each other. In July we found a note on our door inviting us to a neighborhood block party. We thought it would be a good way to meet everyone and for Addie to have fun with her new friends.

There would be, according to the note, a bicycle parade for the kids, hot dogs with all the trimmings for everyone, swimming for the kids in one of the pools, and when it got dark, popcorn and a movie on the lawn for one and all to enjoy. Sounded like something out of the 1960’s when I was growing up.

You see, in our little neighborhood, it is very much like it was when I was growing up. All the kids run free from house to house riding bikes and playing games. Everyone keeps an eye on the kids, and the idea of something as artificial as a set play date is laughable. Kids just gather and play, swim, and have fun. The girls who took Addie into their group are great kids. Friendly, kind, and downright loving, Addie was welcomed and treated like she had lived here all her life. One particular girl, A.J., was Addie’s age, blond, wore glasses, and loved the same things Addie does. They were immediate best friends. It was everything a child could want out of summer break. And we were thrilled to see her so happy.

We all gathered, met and chatted with almost everyone, enjoyed the hot dogs and drinks, and had fun watching the kids ride their bikes. I counted 25 children between 18 months and young teens at the event. That is a lot of kids for three blocks, but a few of them came from areas around us who had either friends or family in our neighborhood. Addie had a great time, and the Mr. wore his outgoing personality hat. It was good to see him talking to everyone from young to old. I was exhausted from dialysis so I only stayed for a bit, but it was nice to see what child belonged to which family and to get to know folks who have lived here for ages. I went home early, but the Mr. and Addie stayed until the end of the movie.

They came wandering home well after her bedtime, and it took an hour for her wind down enough to get ready for bed. As I kissed her goodnight, she looked at me with a happy smile and said, “Nana, this was the BEST day EVER. I had so much fun I didn’t want it to end. I love this place!” That made the whole summer the best for me too. We moved here because we fell in love with our new home, we were simply blessed to move into a neighborhood filled with loving families who extend that love to strangers, welcoming us with kindness and acceptance. I guess that is part of living in a small town in the middle of the country in Oklahoma. Another welcome home that blesses us for moving here and gives us a feeling of peace.

Worry


I have met women from all over the world over the years. They came from different cultures, countries, religions, and spoke different languages. They were single, with or without children, married with or without children, elderly, and of various levels of education and walks of life. But we all have one thing in common, other than loving others; we worry.

We worry all day, or late at night, or both. We worry about our lives, our children, or careers or lack thereof, money, paying bills, and if that odd noise is something important breaking on the furnace, or someone breaking in.

We worry about meeting the love of our lives, or if we have, if we are letting our relationship get stale. We worry about our weight, our hair, our clothes, and our abilities. We worry about making decisions and if we have made one, if it is the right one. We worry about our parents, especially if they are elderly, and we worry about our health too.

Depending on where we live, we worry about feeding our children, making sure they get the medication they need, and if we are good mothers or not. We worry about our teenagers and the choices they make, and we worry about letting them make mistakes without rushing to rescue them. We worry about their grades in school, or how they are doing in their work – even if they are in their forties and long since on their own.

We worry about life, death, our pets, and what to do next. Even if the choices are clear and the road laid out before us, we still worry. Sometimes worry paralyzes us, keeping us from moving forward or backward, keeping us in a holding pattern until something forces us to make a decision.

Sometimes we worry because we have no regrets and wonder if we missed a step or not. Sometimes we worry when we look back and realize how happy we are, and wonder if we deserve to feel so good about our lives and our choices. All of us worry, even if we never show it, act like it, or share our worries with others. It is simply something we, as women, have coded into our DNA.

As we age, we worry about different things, but we often reach the conclusion that we need to pick and choose what we worry about because we can’t change what other’s choose to do, and we can’t change the past, we can only accept life is what it is and keep on moving forward. At my age, I can’t be bothered to worry too much or I would make myself even crazier than I already am. I simply learn what I can change by changing myself or my choices, or I can look forward to seeing the outcome of those choices in the future. Worry is a part of life, but it is my choice to allow it to consume or control me, or I learn to control its influence on me heart and mind.

To all the women in my life, take a deep breath and a step back from the worries and love yourself a little more before taking on the day. After all, the worry will still be there tomorrow, or something new will crop up to worry about, that is a given fact. Just don’t let the worry get in the way of unconditional love and joy. Give your friends a hug, and ask for one on the hard days. We all need to stand together in this world of worry.

Armchair Critic


Lately I have become addicted to cooking shows on the Food Network. I have learned a lot about food that I didn’t know, and I have become the armchair critic about how I would make a dish out of the contents of a basket or the crazy items from Guy’s Grocery Games. And, yes, I have made some of the recipes from various shows. They were pretty darned good too.
I have learned other things too:

For instance, never try to bake a cake of any kind in 30 minutes. The majority will not bake in time.
Never, EVER try to bake a bread pudding. You WILL NOT get it done 99.9% of the time and you will lose the game.
Do not make the mistake of using oils like Sesame oil or Truffle oil as a garnish or last minute sauce, it will over power the entire dish and you will lose the game.
Don’t get in front of the camera and brag that you KNOW your dish will win the game because nine times out of ten, the braggart ends up being the one chopped from the game. It happens all the time.
Do NOT be the cocky smart ass chef with a holier than thou attitude. The judges don’t like that at all, neither do the other contestants, get ready to lose the game in one or two rounds.
Learn to be humble and listen to the judges comments on your cooking without getting defensive and copping an attitude. It annoys everyone, including the audience. It makes me shout at the television to tell off the contestant even if it makes me look silly.
Work hard, or at least make it look that way, right up to the last second. Don’t get done early and stand there with nothing to do, you can always make an improvement. Just don’t use fancy oil to do it.
Learn plating techniques. Choosing the right plate is vital to serving a perfect dish.
Learn to make your plate or bowl pretty. The contents need to look like a magazine photo. The kind that makes a person drool and want to make your recipe.

Learn time management under pressure. Focus, focus, focus.
And most of all, don’t be a poor loser. After all it wasn’t the judges who cooked and plated the food, it was you. No pouting or bad mouthing the judges, it makes you look childish and petty.
Many people will watch you. They will know where you work and many will vote not to go there because you want to be a star and you are simply nothing more than a moon.
There are more things I learned about people who are in a cooking contest, some good, some make me want to reach through the television and smack the contestant cross eyed. But, at the end of the day, I learn more about cooking in every episode and that benefits my family because I have new and better ways to cook things that they like. Works for me, the armchair critic.

You’re WHERE?


Old people complain about how things have changed all the time. I used to let it go in one ear and out the other, never really registering what they were really complaining about. That is simply this, the loss of manners, traditions, and common sense values.

It used to be, when we got a chance to take a bathroom break, as soon as we sat down the darned phone would ring. Back in the day, the phone was on the wall in another room, so we figured whoever it was would call back if it was important. Then we got the phones we could carry around in the house and yard, and it would still ring on our bathroom break but it would have the phone number of the caller and we could call them back at our leisure.

Now we have cell phones. When they first came out, we didn’t take them into the bathroom, it was rude and tacky to talk on the phone while doing our business. We weren’t attached to the phone at the hip and many of us could actually not rush to answer it day and night as if our life depended on it. It was a tool, a convenient tool, but nothing more than that.

At this point, we have a second and third generation who grew up with cell phones in their hands. And God forbid they miss one second of phone activity. It is no longer unusual to hear a phone go off in a bathroom, even in a public place, and someone answer it. And the tacky part, they tell the caller they re in the bathroom. Instead of getting off the phone, they carry on a conversation as if they are sitting in the car or in their home. What the hell happened to manners and common sense values on phone etiquette? Since when is it imperative that the phone be answered or a text be sent immediately, no matter where we are or what we are doing?

Back in my day, (there is that awful phrase that makes the younger generations stop listening) no one wanted anyone to be aware they were in the bathroom, let alone what they were doing. It was rude, immodest, and well, gross. Those of us who were raised in that era of modesty and morals generally will not answer the phone while in the bathroom. Generally, because there are always exceptions to the rule. I won’t even answer my house phone while in the bathroom, nope, not happening.

Other than technology, what has changed to make even the most old fashioned manner driven people do something so low class? Is life so hectic and busy that the only time to talk on the phone is while you are in a compromising situation.? Is that the only time folks have time to simply talk on the phone? I don’t understand that sort of behavior.

It used to be that if we wanted privacy on the phone, we would stretch the cord as far as it would go and sit in a place with a door we could close. Generally it was a closet or a small room next to the phone, but it was never the bathroom while we were using it. I still spend more time searching for the house phone that I left in an obscure place when I need to answer it then I do talking on it. But you won’t see me running to answer any phone, I am not a good study for Pavlov’s theory. ( Go look it up kids, I imagine there is an App for that somewhere on your phone.)

A phone, to me, is a convenience, nothing more. I am not a slave to the darn thing, and most of the time they annoy me with all the ringing and such – especially phones with irritating songs as ring tones. To many of today’s younger people and to some old folks like me, they are a life line of some sort, like oxygen is to heart patients. Life cannot go on without their phones attached at the hand. And as such, folks are becoming slaves to the technology around them. I expect we will soon have tech built into our bodies from birth. But I still want to know why common sense is gone when it comes to private things like bathroom breaks. I don’t like how things have changed in this area. Not one bit. It makes me feel old and cranky about things.

Ever Wonder?


Ever have one of those days when you have a list of things to do, but by the time the day is over, nothing has been accomplished on the list?

Ever wish that things in your household chores acted like cartoon characters and did things like dishes jump in the dishwasher on their own, and books would pack themselves into the boxes, tape would run around the box with abandoned joy, and the pen would dance across the box and write on it for you? Then, just to top off the moment, the clothing would wash, dry, hang up and fold then put themselves away all the while singing and dancing in happiness.

Ever wonder why the pets just have to walk right where you need to be, or simply stand in front of you then get all huffy and offended when you tell them to move in an exasperated voice?

Ever wonder why you have to tell a kid the same thing, five times in a row with an even louder voice to get them to respond while they are watching television or on their phone– oh and that goes for the husband too?

Ever wonder why you can cook the same dish a million times and no one says a word about it, but you make it for the million and one time and everyone has a complaint?

Ever wonder why your favorite pair of jeans changes sizes on a regular basis even if you haven’t?

Ever wonder why your shoes move themselves in the night, just so you have to get on your hands and knees to look under the bed for them, then you find them sitting in the middle of the bathroom floor. (I know mine laugh at me every time I look under the bed.)

Ever wonder why you can see the last close in parking spot from across the entire parking lot, but in the twenty seconds it takes you to get there, five other cars are there first and the drivers are fighting for the spot?

Ever wonder why you can see an empty check out lane, but by the time you get there five seconds later, there is a line of ten other people with baskets filled to the brim and the only other check out lane has the slowest checker on earth with the most gossipy customers in their line?

Ever wonder why you always end up at the gas pump that always, always, ALWAYS takes the longest to fill up the car when it is either raining like mad, the wind is freezing cold, or it is so hot your shoes start sticking to the pavement?

Ever wonder why you always get the last of the ice cream and it has ice in it, but the person in front of you gets the good stuff?

Ever wonder why, when you have a complaint at the store, or want to return something, you always get the worker who doesn’t give a rat’s pattootie about it and makes you jump through hoops to do it. Then when you ask for the manager, they get all huffy and snarky?

Ever have those days when it is better just to go back to bed and say to heck with everything and find it better just to read a book instead?

Yeah, me too. Later people, the bed is calling my name.

Type A or Type B


I realized this morning that I literally had no idea what the date was. I used to be on top of things like that, I had to be with my full organizer and insane schedule of things to do and take care of in my hand. The more I thought about it, the more I realized something odd hand happened to the Type A, over achieving, overly committed, organized person I used to be. I was, heaven help me, turning into a Type B, laid back, unworried, unorganized, uncommitted person. The very kind of person that used to drive me crazy when I was the real me. How could I allow that to happen? How did I become such a slacker that I had no idea what the date was, even if I did know the day of the week? (As a Tuesday, I didn’t have dialysis, so I knew it was Tuesday – or a Thursday – or the weekend.) GASP!

When I was involved in Scouting, then in college, then working, I was always organized. I had things planned weeks and months in advance – all carefully written in my organizer and calendar. I had lists of things to do, lists of things to buy, lists of people to contact, and lists of when my lessons were due and papers needed to be turned in before exams were scheduled to be completed. I was never late to any event, and always prepared for my school work. I would sit down with each syllabus from each class and write everything down at the beginning of the semester. I would bookmark each and every story or article I had to read for each class – color coded no less – with the date written on each post it note. I was the champion of organization.

When it came to cleaning and organizing my house, I had a set schedule for each room and what had to be done when. I spring cleaned and fall cleaned every closet in every room in my home, every year without fail. I would shop for groceries once a month, and planned out every single meal I was going to cook ahead of time. I would have lists for those meals for the fresh things I would need every week, and I kept a running list of things I ran out of so I would always know what to buy at the grocery on those weekly trips. I knew, at one glance, what needed to be done next, and I kept the laundry just as organized and set up to be done efficiently and quickly. I was the one woman dynamo who kept my family just as organized. Until my boys became teenagers and I decided they just had to fend for themselves since they wouldn’t cooperate with my schedule. That worked too.

Yet, somehow, somewhere, over the past ten years, I lost my organizer, I quit working, I got sick, I got well, and I got old. I learned to stop over planning and allow life to happen on its own schedule. Then I realized that it didn’t matter if I was organized or not. Because I had no schedule, my closets would still be there to sort when I got healthy or determined enough to clear them out. I decided playing with the grandchildren was more fun than cleaning house or grocery shopping, or even cooking. And one day, BOOM, I became a Type B personality. It is shocking, it is hard to accept, but here I am, nonetheless. Now the only thing I schedule are doctor appointments and dialysis. In fact, if I didn’t have those things to go to, I would have NO social life at all. I guess I will learn to settle into my new normal eventually. It is a bit uncomfortable, like too tight jeans, right now, but I will stretch into the fit and learn to relax about everything as I continue to age.

Life is too important to do it at a full out run. I wonder how many things I missed because I was too busy looking ahead instead of enjoying the moment. I can’t go back and fix that, but I can change how I do the future. So this Type B, laid back, unorganized old woman is going to spend more time with my Mr., listen more to my children and grandchildren, and do more fun things like paint with my great granddaughter and write stories from my heart. And when I occasionally panic over losing the Type A part of myself, I will learn to laugh at myself and go do something totally unimportant, like have a cup of tea and a cookie.

Downsizing


We are getting ready to retire at the end of the year. Since we will be moving to a new home, we have started packing unnecessary things. We are constantly saying things like: What’s this? When did we get that? It’s not yours? I don’t know? Why would we need anything like that? I know, I didn’t buy it. Which kid did this belong to? Should we keep it, sell it, or toss it? Wow, this is cool! Does it still work? Who bought this stuff? Hey, that’s a keeper! I forgot all about this!

Downsizing is a new fangled word for getting rid of junk and clutter when preparing to moved. All of the above comments are the things we mutter while clearing out all the accumulated things every household seems to collect over the years of living in one place. None of it is planned, it simply happens as time rolls by and the family grows or shrinks, we redecorate rooms, or move things around and run out of space for items over time.

When we start going through everything we have collected, on purpose or through neglect, it is amazing the things we discover. So far, I have only started with my bookshelves and it is surprising the things I keep finding. It makes it really hard to get anything done when I keep stopping to read from books I forgot I had or haven’t read in years. If it is this hard to get through the bookshelves, I can only imagine what is going to happen when we get to the garage and attic.

Last weekend, I cleared out my closet like I do every year, twice a year, to get rid of things I haven not worn over the past season or two. I also cleared out the clothes I can no longer wear because they are too large. Some of the things were hard to let go because they have special meanings attached to them. For instance, the dress I wore when the Mr. and I went dancing at the Rainbow Room in New York City, and and the out fit I wore when we went sailing on The Flying Cloud in the Caribbean the first time. Both are many sizes too big, and I will never wear them again, but it was hard to let them go.

I noticed, today, I have many keepsakes in my craft room from our travels, from my children and grandchildren, and from my own penchant for collecting things that I am unsure we will have room for in the house we are retiring to in the new year. I don’t think I can get rid of them, especially the things from my boys and my grandchildren. I mean, how can I toss out the handmade paperweight my son made for me when he was a teenager, or the painting my budding artist granddaughter made for me when she was eight? I have no idea how people do things like that. I would sooner toss out my dishes. And that is just the stuff in my craft room. I have as much in my office, more in my bedroom, and even more in the living room – and that is not counting the art on the walls.

The Mr. and I are veteran collectors of everything from music, art, and books to gizmos, curiosities, and did I say books? All of that has found homes in various rooms in the house. We are also preppers, so that means our spare spaces are filled with all sorts of items in preparation for any disaster. The garage is filled with gear, including a generator and a multitude of tools and boxes of “just in case” items. Because we love to decorate for various holidays, our attic is stuffed with boxes and boxes of those decorations. I know I have sixteen boxes filled with Christmas decorations for inside and outside the house alone. Those are not going to be left behind or sold, because we will still want to decorate our house when we are retired and some of that stuff is impossible to replace since it came from abroad.

We are obviously stuck between a rock and a hard place. We have lived here for eleven years, longer than we have ever lived anywhere since we got married. I used to be an expert at moving, we did it on the average of every three years. I never collected anything bigger than a thimble. Now I have too much of everything, and a house big enough for all of it. The new place is almost as large, but configured far differently – with fewer, if larger, rooms. I guess I will have to bite the bullet and just learn to let go of things that don’t have an emotional connection. But I want to go on record stating that I hate downsizing. It, quite frankly, sucks.

Worrying


I saw a meme on social media that basically encouraged the reader to remember back to the days when they had no worries and simply played barefoot in the sunshine. I suddenly realized that I never had days like that as a child. In fact, I can’t remember when I didn’t worry about things in my life. It was, I think, a built in reflex, like breathing. I even worried in my sleep, come people call them nightmares. Now I wonder, is that normal, or is it something specific to me?

I can remember always worrying about being late for school, even though I don’t remember it ever happening. I was always afraid I would have to walk into a classroom late and draw attention to myself, making me open to ridicule and teasing from the other students – and heaven help me from the teacher. I worried about failing subjects, I worried about making a mistake, and I dreaded, above all, making myself a laughing stock. Nothing upset me more than for other kids and adults to laugh at me.

I worried about forgetting to do things, or doing things and messing it up. I worried about homework, chores, and taking care of things that were my responsibility. In fact, I still worry about those things. I worried about doing something or saying something that would upset other people. Even worse was trying to express myself and messing it up. So I just didn’t say anything to anyone most of the time, even if I did know the answer to a question, or had a different opinion than others. That has completely changed now, I say what I want, when I want no matter what others may think. But, back when, I was always self conscious and fearful of consequences, so I simply didn’t speak up.

I worried a lot as a young wife and mother. I worried that the Mr. would fall out of love with me and in love with someone smarter, prettier, sexier, and more interesting then that plain old boring girl from nowhere Oklahoma. I wanted to be everything he needed in a wife, but always felt insecure in my value as his wife. I was always aware that his parents never thought I was good enough for their son, and it made me both angry and frustrated. I always worried he would believe the gossip and idiotic nonsense spread around by those who didn’t want me in his life. But somehow, we found our way back to each other time after time.

I worried that I wasn’t a good mom to my boys, fearful that they would be bratty little monsters around others and fingers would be pointed at me for being a bad mom. I worried about their health, eating habits, and all the other things mothers worry about when trying to be a positive influence on their children. I worried when my oldest started driving and hanging out all night with his friends, I worried that my youngest would follow in his footsteps, but he never did. I always worried that I would lose one of my boys, and when we did, it nearly tore us apart.

So, no, I don’t remember playing in the sunshine without worries, because I have always been a worrier, and that hasn’t changed much over the years. Only now I worry about my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I worry about the Mr.’s health, I worry abut being becoming decrepit, I worry about my mother living on her own at her age. I worry about the state of the country and the America haters who wont’ live elsewhere, but still hate what we stand for as a country. I worry about money, health care, and getting old. And I still worry that the Mr. will find someone prettier, smarter, more interesting, and younger that he will fall for. Silly of me, but it is a bad habit left over from years of worry. Folks say, “Don’t borrow trouble.” I always look at worry as a way to be prepared for what ever might happen. Then I am prepared for the worse, but joyful for the positive things that happen, no matter how much worry I put into it.

I wonder, am I too old to play barefoot in the sunshine and learn to leave the worry behind for a few blessed moments in time? Now I will probably worry about that too.

Planning The Future


Addie wandered into my office holding her favorite baby doll. She needed help with the tiny buttons on the dress it was wearing. As I helped her we fell into conversation, as we always do.

Addie said, “Nana, when I grow up I want to have two girl babies.”

I said, “What about having a boy baby? It could happen you know.”

A: “Nope, I don’t want a boy baby, they are messy and loud. Besides, I don’t like boys.” (She is six.)

Me: “Well I had two boy babies, and I loved them very much. You might feel the same way.”

A: “No I won’t. I only want girl babies.”

M: “Keep in mind that you need a husband to have any babies. To do that, you will need to love him too. Just like I love your Papa.”

A: “Oh, yeah. I know that.” Long pause. “Well maybe just one boy baby, because my husband will probably want one since we will have two girls. But the Dad can take care of the boy, since I have no idea how to do that after they are little babies.”

M: “That would be a good compromise. But I bet you will love your boy baby as much as you will love your girls. Any baby is hard work, but it is worth every minute of your time and effort.”

A: “Oh I know that, Nana. You worked hard to raise my Grandpa Arron and Uncle Riley. and my Mommy, and now you work hard to raise me. I want to be just like you when I am a mommy.”

Me: Blinking back tears. “Oh Addie, I love you very much. I simply want you to be who you are and do what you want with your life.”

A: “I know, Nana. You will always love me all my life. So will Papa.”

With that, she wandered off to change her baby doll’s diaper. I heard her singing a song to rock it to sleep. In so many ways, I see her copy behavior she has seen from me and her Papa. It warms my heart and fills me with hope for the future, and she will eventually soften her attitude on boys. At six, all little girls find boys hard to understand. They are loud, dirty, and messy, but that is all part of being a boy learning to be a man. Just as she is a girl learning how to be a woman. Today she wants to be a mommy, tomorrow, she may want to be a unicorn or a fairy. Either way, we encourage her to discover her imagination, grow as she wants to grow, and love her no matter what. She is our angel baby, and one day, she will be a mommy who knows how to care for and love her children. She makes us proud every day.