Friday, September 25, 2009

Turning Fifty


How did we slip into fall already? It forever seemed the dog days of summer bit into us with the steady 100 plus degree heat. Then out of the blue (or rather the northeast) a cold front came down into Texas. Welcomed relief with much needed rain. Ok, some parts of Central Texas did get their creek beds turn into mini-rivers, but here in Temple, our hard barren soils soaked up the rain like sponges. Soon everything was wet, muddy, and soggy. It didn't do well upon my hard-wooden floors with the dogs coming in and out when the rains stopped. They had to go out. It doesn't take much to wipe off floors from little Chihuahua's tromping across them.

I love fall days and I have really enjoyed the temperatures being cooler. We've had some low 60's and 70's starting off our mornings. Then the days have stayed well below 92 degrees. I can certainly tolerate it. I get to daydreaming, watching the squirrels gather nuts and watching the leaves fall down upon the earth. The breeze is cool and smells so fresh. My house doesn't have windows to really open up wide, so I sit out on my cement patio to enjoy it. It freshens up my senses and gives me a sense of appreciation. I like the changes, the colors turning. Now if only this change of season will fill up my internal senses with inspiration.

Lately, I have been feeling less inclined to write about anything. I don't seem to have anything new to say, even when conversing with people I know. There are days when I just don't want to do anything, not even watch a movie. So the patio suits me sometimes, to watch the cars pass by on my street, to watch my neighbors go about their lives, going and coming in their cars from whereabouts unknown. They usher their kids inside carrying groceries. They wave and I wave back, but I'm not motivated to do more than that. I'm becoming introverted. An observer. Is it because I am approaching a milestone in my life?

On Monday, September 28th, I will turn 50 years old. Fifty! Where the heck did the time go? It makes one look back and ponder on the accomplishments and the lack of them. It makes one cringe at past mistakes and feel appreciative when something turned out ok. I look at my writing projects and see some things unfinished. So I know in my heart my time is being limited, for everyone ages. The sight grows dimmer and the mind may become even faultier.

Already, when I go to Walmart, I must say out loud the row I'm in, to make a mental note of where I parked my car. I can be in the store five minutes and come out gaping everywhere for my vehicle. Saying out loud beforehand sort of imprints the position into memory. I don't really want to be one of those people with little voice reminders popping out of my pocket!

Still turning 50 makes me want to linger and reflect. So maybe that's why I'm not pushing myself to do anything. Maybe its ok to be stagnant for a week or two to gain my bearings. It's not everyday or every year when we reach a milestone and it does seem like my previous ones came and went like a rocket into space. Now I just hope the next years or phase of my life, this growing old bit, will go by very slow. I hope with daily walking and a few barbell exercises, I can keep my joints limber and my sugar levels down. I want to stay healthy for awhile longer, to watch my last child get married and have babies of her own. There shouldn't be a rush, considering she's turning 18 next month and not graduated high school yet. But there's the rub- I do possess a sense of urgency, as to me in one sense of it all, she's one last project I've got to see reach fruition. Do you know what I mean? And I have half of my 4-part series published. I want to finish this up by next summer to begin new projects. It's just knowing this doesn't get me going.

Instead I sit, sometimes staring off into space like a zombie, watching the world move, stress, react. I sit, inhale and exhale, and absorb, like a sponge, soaking everything inside. Perhaps in a week or two, inspiration will come upon me like the rain and I will open up again, to participate and respond; to create. Once I get this shock about my age out of my system.

Of course it helps when your granddaughter visits, looks at me while I'm getting an early present, and exclaims "Gosh, Nana! You look so young to be 50!"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Grandparent's Day


On Saturday, September 13th, it's officially Grandparent's Day. What a nifty little holiday for us who have survived raising our own kids and now delight in playing with theirs. I hope everyone has a terrific day filled with love from their grandchildren. I'm uncertain what will come for me personally, but whatever it is, I'm sure it will be fine.

My eldest daughter has her 8 year old daughter Morgan and a step-daughter, Pressley. They live in Colorado, over a thousand miles away from me. So the most I might recieve is a pleasant phone call. Just to hear their merry voices, filled with stories about school days and interests, will be very sufficient. They sound so grown up on the phone. And I love to hear the giggles in their voices.

My eldest granddaughter, Mariah, is twelve and lives nearby. She most likely will spring a phone call or swing by to give me a hug. Perhaps she might bring some wildflowers, a hand made card, or even candy. But seriously, the best gift is sharing a conversation about the love we share for creating a story. For this is something I have passed on to her, the love of writing. She can get into a lot of details from her talented imagination, from the detailed characters to the potential plot theories she has outlined. So I feel immense pleasure talking things over. She has seen something I accomplished, that a book can be born and published, something real to hold in your hands. She has even shown my two published novels to a show and tell class, which I didn't find out about until a few weeks later. So she's proud of me and I'm immensely proud of her, for pushing forward in this endeavor. Perhaps she will fair better than me and actually be someone everyone wants to read. Only the future will know for sure.

Now I do have two young grandsons, Ethan and Andreyes, who are Mariah's youngest half brothers. One is handsome, dark, with large brown eyes, the youngest is fair, blond with blue-grey eyes; quite a contrast from each other. Still, they are robust and very young, being 5 and 3, retrospectively. We call Ethan by Bubba and Andreyes by AJ. Now, AJ is much too young to know the revelence of Grandparent's Day, so he is quite excused. His mom might put him on the phone too just to say hello and I love you. That's ok.

Bubba is another story and a cute one. Today, we shared Grandparents Lunch at his elementary school. He's in kindergarten and his mom showed me the details so I'd show up on time. She didn't give him a hint that I would even come. So I arrived to the school five minutes before his designated lunch time. I stood in the hallway by the cafeteria with my lunch ticket. His class strolled by and at first, he didn't even notice me. I sprung out at him and called out his name, "Ethan!" His eyes went wide and then he cried out, "Nana!!" and pounced into me with a hug.

He was quite happy and we lined up in the cafeteria line along with all the youngsters. He introduced me to one of his friends, showed me where the chocolate milk containers were held, and where to get the utensils. His choice of lunch was a sandwich, green jello, a fruit cup of apples and oranges, while I had the nachos, green jello, and chocolate milk. At the end of the line, where we had to show the cafeteria lady our lunch tickets, he asked me, "Nana.. do you have money? I'd like some ice cream." So I asked the lady at the register how much it was and she told me fifty cents each. I handed over a dollar and she put the change into "his account" for next time.

Then we chose a table and sat down to eat our bounty. The lunch room was crowded with other adults visiting their grandkids. It wasn't difficult to be distracted with all the ruckus going on. He took four bites of sandwhich, ate half of the jello, the apples in the fruit cup, and a big swig of his chocolate milk. Then he dove into the huge large rocket shape ice cream on a stick of vanilla and chocolate swirls. We made conversation, but for me, it was cute to watch him eat. The biggest laugh I had was towards the end of eating that huge rocket ice cream. On the last two bites, I saw his body shiver and his teeth rattle. Then he pronounced, "Brain freeze!" I will never forget how he said it.

Afterwards, he tucked in his arms into his t-shirt, because he was cold, and I tried my best to rub him warm with a grandma hug, running my arms over his several times. I think he liked this attention.

Soon enough, it was time to return to his class, and we took the long walk there. He ran to his spot on the floor, next to his clasmates, just in time for hearing a good story from his teacher. He waved to me as I exited.

It made me happy I took the time to visit. When I returned to work, I shared his brain freeze comment with all of my co-workers, then I had to call his mother. They all got a good laugh. So all in all, it had been fun. But mostly, I think I took away more than just a cute chuckle. I took away a memory of bonding between he and I. I think this day will be in his mind to, on how I took the time to be there for him, although he won't remember the previous ones.. when I took care of him at nights when his mother worked. I can recall holding this little baby boy, rocking him to sleep, kissing his head, promising to be in his life as much as possible. This memory and this promise is so strong, even today.

So in summary, I'm very proud to be a grandmother... to all of my grandchildren. I look forward to their future, as they progressed from grade to grade and just life in general. I'm so blessed to be a part of their lives, whether they live far away or near. It's special to be a grandparent. And I hope any of you, who are grandparents, will have many special memories happen for you too, on all days.

Again, Happy Grandparent's Day.