My Dear Child…

Years ago, I came across a poem that I wanted to keep, as it expressed so many things about aging that have helped me as I deal with my father. I don’t know where I saw it, or how long I have had it. I only know that it has been in a file on my desk for years. This morning as I went through my desk stack, I found it again and thought that I should share it. So, here it is.

The original text was in Spanish by Guillermo Peña. It was translated to English by Sergio Cadena.

My dear child. The day you see I am getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say, “You said the same thing a minute ago.” Just listen, please. Try to remember the times you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.

When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and please don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a child.

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things, like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I am going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing is for me to be with you.

And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand, the same way I offered you mine when you were first walked. When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling daughter, my handsome son, my beloved grandchildren.

I hope this touches your heart, as much as it did mine.


Time passes…

Each morning I wake up. The sun has illuminated the sky from behind the horizon. It will rise soon, an hour earlier (according to timekeeping devices only) starting tomorrow (yuck!) . I lay in bed and thank Yahuah/Yahweh/the LORD/the Creator, that I am alive and have another day to bring joy to him, to hopefully make a difference in the lives I come into contact with throughout the day. I pet the cats, get dressed, fill water bottles for the day, read the newspaper comics section while I eat, then start my day.

Pandemic or no, life has continued with minor changes. I wake up, I do what I do, I go to bed, and start the process the next day after (hopefully) a good night of sleep. My hair continues to get grayer… and thinner… and straighter. I continue to have days when I am happy with my hair, and days when I think it looks old, I should do something different. I just don’t have the mental energy to find a new look, or figure out how to get my old look with new hair. Or, maybe it’s not lack of energy, but a lack of motivation? After all, working in our dusty garage organizing, or out in the garden, my long hair is usually pulled up and out of my face and off my neck for comfort. It’s rare that I have an occasion to look nice. But then, I feel bad that my husband has to see the grungy or freshly showered with wet hair me when he gets home every night. Last night I used a lot of hairspray and curled my tresses for him.

Our grandchildren continued to grow and mature during these unprecedented times too. Yikes! Our oldest is almost my full 5’8” height at 13 years old! What a strange feeling. I don’t remember feeling that weird when our son passed my height. Didn’t have to with our daughter, she is a couple inches shorter than I am. Will they all pass me up in height? Maybe just my sons two oldest? Genetics fascinate me.

Plants continued to grow this year too. Voles continued to create dirt mounds in the lawn area. They even decided to eat the roots of one of my young apple trees this winter. Sad, but true. I found it laying on the ground after some wind. I know it wasn’t the wind, because it wasn’t uprooted, and there were the tell tale mounds of dirt at the base of the tree. Yah willing, they won’t get find the other three tree’s roots as tasty. Maybe I should plant insects in the ground for them so they leave the plants alone. Sigh.

Babies were born last year and are now crawling or walking, eating mush and gooing and cooing to imitate talk. Just like in the past. Cars racked up miles as they were driven. Just like in the past. Businesses stayed open, some closed, some new ones opened. Just like in the past. Trees produced flowers, then pollen (gesundheit!), then leaves, provided shade, the leaves turned colors then fell to the earth. Just like in the past.

Time has passed, and continues to pass. At my age, 55, it sometimes seems to be an alarming rate. I almost feel like 2020 didn’t really happen, but all the signs show it did. Yes, many things changed, masks were worn, telecommuting become common for way more people, less people traveled, etc. But, time continued, each day happened, the changes were just a little more dramatic than we are used to.

I want to be sure not to let the things that did change be my focus. The details of life are always in flux, changing from day to day. Governments change, ways of life change, people change. But, time continues to pass, life continues. As humans, we need hope, something to look forward to. I can be sad because I can’t travel to where part of my family is, or I can be thankful for video calls with said family. I can be angry with governmental changes I don’t agree with, or I can be thankful I don’t live in a war torn nation in Africa. I can be bummed that food prices seem to have doubled overnight, or be thankful I have food and pray for those who don’t. It’s all about perspective.

A card I recently bought.

I wish for this world, an attitude of gratitude. That people could learn to be content with life, with the sun rising and setting each day. To be able to look past the struggle and find something, no matter how small, to be thankful for. Maybe if we all practiced this, this world would be a better place. Maybe.

Beautiful moments…

When your grown son reaches his arm over your shoulder during a visit and says, “Love you mom”.

When your grown daughter texts and says, “Can we call? Your grandson has something he wants to show you”.

The moment your husband stops you on a walk, puts his arm around your waist and points out the beautiful sunset.

Receiving a handwritten note in the mail. Even nicer when it is on a sweet, colorful notecard.

The first moment my head hits the cool pillow and my body knows it can finally relax.

The first lusciously creamy spoonful of raspberry mousse.

The varied sounds of the killdeer birds in our presently dirt and rock yard.

Visits from the neighbor’s affectionate Tom cats around sunset. Head butts, sharp claws kneading on your thigh when they are in the lap, when they come running to see you.

Seeing the straw wrapper on my dashboard that came whizzing by my shoulder the other day, compliments of my ten year old grandson, and remembering the laughter that ensued.

Enjoying a day of card making with our twelve year old granddaughter.

Hearing our four year old grandson tell me a story about the ‘Shamberries’ they grow.

When your daughter in law sits and chats with you, and really enjoys it.

Finding out there is another grandchild on the way into this world.

Coffee and a drive with a friend who has a day off of work, who is really more family.

The sweet, juiciness of a home grown strawberry.

Realizing God’s ever protective presence when a car pulls across a road in front of you and you miss them by inches. Or that your open pant leg was just over an active yellow jacket nest, and you were spared any bites.

Those rare talks with a distant sibling.

When something goes right in the building process, and a weight is lifted from your mind and figurative shoulders.

These are a few of the many things that I find beautiful. That bring me joy. That bring me to my knees in prayer and thankfulness to our Creator. Take a moment in the insanity of your day, close your eyes, and bring to remembrance those little things that bring you joy. Your beautiful moments.

My Birthday!

Today is my birthday! I am turning 54 years young. When I am asked what I would like for my birthday, my answer is always, spend time with me. Take me to coffee, come over for a visit, invite us for dinner. I think it was sometime in my mid forties that I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want people buying me things. I want relationship with those I love. This world has become so anti relationship with hectic schedules, everyone working overtime, gobs of homework, civic commitments and more. I just want to slow down and sit (or walk) with family and friends, face to face. Ask questions, listen, learn and love.

Maybe it’s because as we age, we begin to see our own mortality looming on the hopefully far horizon. Maybe it is because the death of a loved one has clarified what is truly important in life. Whatever the reason, I got to have dinner at a local burger joint with my son’s family on Friday, and I get to have brunch with two dear friends this morning, maybe followed by a walk downtown to visit a local coffee shop and take in the beautiful fall foliage.

What does your perfect birthday celebration look like?


Hugs and hellos. A month of giggles, whines and tickles. Bedtime bottles, early morning conversation over the necessary cup of coffee. Special Grammi breakfasts of coffee cake, Dutch babies, and croissants with lemon blueberry cream cheese spread. Exasperations, exuberations, tired eyes, lack of sleep. Squeals of delight, cries of “I want!”. Love tanks filled to overflowing. Spoiling a grown daughter. Spoiling her kids. Selfies, sprinklers in the sandbox, walking to the park. Dinners out, days at the beach, shopping. Doing touristy things in the town we live in. Falling behind with the garden, barely staying on track with the building. A long drive with pleasant conversation. Memories remembered, new ones made. Pictures taken, funny faces, family and lifelong friends. Goodbye hugs, lots of tears, the wave goodbye, as they disappeared into the airport masses. Deep breaths, sighs and smiles. Still tired, catching up, cleaning up, naps. Smiles when remembering. Sad but happy at the same time.

Beautiful chaos…

That pretty much describes my life this past week. Our daughters family arrived from overseas to visit, our other grands came to spend time with their cousins. I have been called upon to watch the youngest, ages 3 and 9 months almost daily. All the while, our cat is trying to recover from surgery, which means broken sleep for me. The cone hits a wall, or the headboard and I am awake. Add to all that the inspections I have to attend on our property, paperwork I need to stay on top of and being the contractor’s go-fer, and I feel like an octopus with every leg being pulled in a different direction.

It has been hard to settle down and just enjoy things. For instance, we were invited to a concert in the park, and I found myself not wanting to go because I had too much I could be doing at home. It took about a half hour for me to settle in and enjoy. But, I am reminding myself to take time to play with the visiting grands, and not to resent their need for love. And I am enjoying every giggle, growl, smile, “Gwammi” I hear. This will have to sustain me for the next year once they go home.

Back to work…

I have always had a healthy respect for working women, but it has deepened over the last month with me having to be very hands on with the building process.

There is a Christian saying, “My life is not my own” that I am experiencing in a different fashion. Today I have to call and cancel an oil change appointment, a chiropractic appointment and an appointment to have eyelash extensions applied for a family reunion we will be attending in a couple weeks. A total waste of money for vanity’s sake, but something I really wanted to do. I have to cancel these appointments because I have to be on site whenever an inspection is taking place during our building process, due to the homeowner build permits we pulled for plumbing, electrical and HVAC.

I have learned things I never imagined I would be learning, things that I hope to purge from the old memory banks as soon as I don’t need the information anymore. For instance: we failed our first inspection for rough in plumbing on Weds. The inspector was not happy that I wasn’t there, and we hadn’t vented properly. We were sent a copy of the code which read something to the effect of “when venting a horizontal run, the invert of the vent must be above the centerline of the pipe that is being vented blah, blah”. I did a complete revamp of the original, after a few hours of trying to figure out what the invert of a pipe was. It took a few hours, but I got it done and we ordered a re-inspect. Friday morning, bright and early, I was back on site, ready to start laying PEX (the flexible plumbing tuning for the in floor heat). The inspector arrived, I positioned myself seated lower than he on the stem wall and played the dumb homeowner. Which wasn’t hard to play, since I knew not much about plumbing when I started this. We spoke a bit, and he said I still didn’t have the inversion correct. I explained that I had a hard time finding an illustration of the code he sent. He then explained simply that it meant that I needed to twist the pipe so the vent is higher than the pipe it vents.

I was annoyed that the code is written in such a way that it is hard to understand unless you are a professional. I was annoyed at myself for not getting it right a second time. I was annoyed that I had to redo something this detail oriented, again. I am not a detail person, I am a big picture person. I buckled down and re-configured it again. The follow up inspection will cost $65, but we are still saving thousands doing it ourselves, and everything will be up to code, because we can’t pass inspections until they are. The reinspect will push us back a day on everything, because we can’t complete the in floor heat until the plumbing rough is filled in, and we can’t get an inspection on the heat, until we have it pressurized. AND we can’t pour the slab until all that is done.

I am hoping that I can carve out some time later in the week for the appointments I had to cancel, and I would love to spend a little time with my grands before we leave for our reunion. But, my life, my time, is not my own for now. It belongs to the building process, at least until we get the power and water in. Then, maybe I can have some downtime during the framing. Hopefully summer vacation isn’t over by then for the grands.

I am still not sure how all this building stuff is going to work when my daughter is here for a month long visit with our other grands.

Well, it’s time for me to make those cancellation calls. Thanks for listening to me “vent” about my “venting” mishaps. It actually helps to just share the story. May you find a safe place to tell your stories.