Grandparents

by Pat Antonopoulos

Yesterday my friend, Karol, baked brownies “just in case a hungry grand child stopped by”. That is what grandmothers do–anticipate. Actually, Karol does much more than anticipate. No matter the situation, she is there for her children and her grandchildren.

Today the batteries failed on Sam’s school bus. Without missing a beat, Sam went to the cup of screwdrivers, picked the correct size and handed it to Papa. The bus was up and running in no time.

Sister-in-law, Barbara, records favorite books and sends the tape and the book to Eric in a distant state. Grandmother connects.

Millions of examples every day….millions of grandchildren and grandparents sharing a deep and wonderful bond. From my perspective, the pieces of gold in the Golden Years are the relationships with adult children and grandparenting.

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Spic & Span

by Pat Antonopoulos

It is in the air and resisting is a waste of the energy needed for the task…fall cleaning. My grandmother, my mother and I carried the ritual from ceiling to floor every year. My grandmother’s rug beater had long been abandoned for a commercial grade cleaner but much of the process has stayed the same. It takes longer now and isn’t as necessary as when the kids were young. But there is comfort in good work.

This deep cleaning was once a way of finding lost socks, even lost lunches, in most unusual places. Closets gave up the stash of ‘ugly’ clothes that miraculously disappeared on Sunday mornings. Forgotten toys moved up to the top of the box.

Every season has special joy, but autumn overflows…cooler air, back to school, Halloween and the cleaning ritual. My grandmother would be pleased that I still want the sparkle of Spic & Span.

Brass Mirror

by Pat Antonopoulos

Wonder if that is how we see ourselves–through a brass mirror. Contour and color are fine, but detail hovers just beyond recognition. Each of us holds the self image developed as we either ran or stumbled through life’s chapters. There is little doubt about what we find unacceptable or even offensive in others. Maybe that brass mirror hides those same faults in ourselves.

Introspection can be wearisome….and even a bit boring if it lingers too long. But change is a challenge and introspection is a sidebar.

Recently something brought a fairly major change—Blindside Blog kind of change. And I have not always grieved this one gracefully.

Anger and blaming have been out of proportion. If I were watching another woman teary eyed and obsessing, she would get my undivided attention and my best effort at comfort. But…as I have watched myself teary eyed and obsessing, I know I need a silvered glass mirror and a “get a grip” deep breath.

One of my self-talk expression is, “On a scale of one to eternity, where does this situation fall?” I am getting closer to honest perspective, but a little peek in that brass mirror just might be the comfort I need.

The Blind Side

by Pat Antonopoulos

Seven decades of dodging that elusive blind side, and THUD! It got me. Was it creeping just outside my awareness? Or was I turning my head in avoidance?
Maybe the ‘how’ of arrival isn’t as important as the ‘why’. Why did I let it happen?

My impending sort of instincts have always been a gift. Even when my children were young, answering the tug just outside my sensory awareness proved true.

At this moment, I am boxed and bundled into a situation that is basically outside my control. This is not a good place. Waiting has never been my first choice of response.

The tonnage of second guessing oneself is a low-to-the-ground heavy weight.
How does one deal with this? How have you, Gentle Readers, worked the maze?
Want to share? Surely, there is a way…not around, but straight through.

Family Birthdays

by Pat Antonopoulos

Millions of people share an August birth date and my hope is that each of those million persons is celebrated by someone.

In our family we celebrate Sam in January, Chris in February, Kaiya and Molly in March, Kristi in April, Dan is May, Bob and Mark in July, Ida in September and Cain in October–a year long roster of wonderful people. And August? August brims with birthdays…Paul, Elizabeth, Frank—and today we will meet the newest in our family. No name yet. His mother said she needs to meet him first, get acquainted a bit and then she will know his name. How nice is that!

Grandparenting is a bit like being reborn and each grandchild is a link in the chain of immortality. As we await this new baby, I am reminded of the joy of each birth, my children and my grandchildren.

How is my life? Better than I deserve…so much better.

A Little Night Music

by Pat Antonopoulos

Darkness protects and shelters…obscures or covers…sometimes Hide and Seek for the soul.
Dark times. Dark places. Dark reactions.
Often ‘dark’ can be a comfort word. Sitting on a porch as dusk becomes the dark that is pleasant and refreshing. Resting in a dark bedroom going over the day’s happenings can be revisiting the best of times. A forest at night is amazing.
The other ‘dark’ is a burden. That feeling of pulling the top down and hiding is unfriendly darkness. Knowing that a reaction is negative and need not be happening is an ugly form of darkness.
Reminds me of that idea that for each opening bud a corresponding flower fades and drops. Sunrise–sunset sort of thing.
This blog has no where to go, my friends and Gentle Readers. It is just something I need to say. I wish you the best of dark’s comfort.

College kids packing….

by

Patti Dickinson

The packing has begun in earnest. Translation: All the clothes on the floor of Mary Morgan’s and Andrew’s rooms are getting scooped up and put in boxes. Notice I said scooped up, not folded. Why go through an unnecessary step? Don’t the clothes get wrinkled when you wear them, anyway?

So the floors of the rooms no longer require a GPS system to locate anything….but there is still work to do. Make that, the mom thinks that there is still work left to do. No fewer than 6 cereal bowls are upstairs, containing the shells of roasted peanuts from some long forgotten Royal’s game, a bowl of Froot Loops….and oh, yes. Better put some ant bait up there while we’re at it.

You see where this is going, right? The real work of cleaning, as in Pledging the furniture, making the bed, making the room look nice enough that you wouldwant to come back to visit, is left to me. Mary Morgan leaves Sunday. She hauled five boxes to the UPS store today to mail to her new apartment. But the room. A mess. She insists, while gesturing with her arm as in a frantic Vanna White posture, “What?? It’s clean. I put all the stuff in boxes! What are you talking about? This will take me five minutes to straighten up….” as she wisks past me, with that smile, shampoo and a towel in hand, heading for the shower.

Andrew? The boy version. Stuff going to college piled all over the dining room table and floor. Some of it in boxes. Other stuff not. I am thinking a fourth floor dorm room…and how can we consolidate to maximize efficiency moving the stuff from car trunk to dorm dresser. I make a suggestion or two (okay, three) and he just keeps saying, “I know, mom. I’m not done yet. I am still bringing stuff down….”

The truth is, that as each kiddo walks out the kitchen door, I will be a bundle of tears….tears of pride first, then sadness. Sending an 18 and 20 year old to Denver and Lincoln, Nebraska, knowing that they can handle the challenges of getting along with a roommate, finding their classes, doing their homework, cooking a meal, brushing their teeth, not losing their room/car key, setting their alarm clocks and getting themselves out of bed. A lifetime of cumulative teaching…….

The porch light is always on…..