Category Archives: Grandparenting

And so it begins

Hubs and I will be leaving this week for a road trip to visit family and friends in our beloved states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. I may or may not have opportunities to do any blog posts while we are away, but I will get right back into it upon our return to our still new Colorado home.

I have quite a mixed bag of emotions heading into this adventure: excitement, anxiety, and guilt are at the top of the list. I’m excited about the opportunities so see all those people I love and miss so much. I’m excited about presenting my mother in law, sister in law, and a dear friend their birthday gifts (all are in the month of July). I’m excited to give my dad a box of his favorite treats when we visit him in his new home. I’m excited to spend time visiting our friends at our favorite watering holes, restaurants, and backyards. I’m beyond excited to see our eldest daughter and our grandson.

I’m anxious knowing that this will be the first time at my parent’s home with mom living there alone.  It’s going to be so strange. I’m anxious about how my dad will react to our presence, as I’ve been made aware that he is farther into dementia than he was when I last saw him in April. I like to think he will know who Hubs and I are, but what if he doesn’t? I don’t know how to prepare emotionally for this possibility. I don’t want to cry in front of him because I think that will be confusing and upsetting for him. I must for his sake keep it together. Dementia is such a bastard.

The guilt will inevitably sneak it’s way into my brain too, I expect. Here I am, living the dream in wonderful, beautiful Colorado while my family is experiencing the hardship of my parents aging and the stress that comes with caregiving. I’m an unemployed (by choice for now anyway) housewife (domestic goddess?) with the time to pursue my love of creative writing via this blog and enjoy a decent social life.  Currently my life is virtually stress-free, which is a new state of being for me. I worry that my family might think “Who does she think she is?”.

But go forth we will. Much time and energy has been spent by Hubs and I in the planning of this vacation. That fact ought to optimize the chance that things will go smoothly.

I will savor the good times, which I have faith will be plentiful. Like having chats with Hubs in the car about the past, the present, and what hopes we have for our future. Listening to Al Franken’s audio book “Giant of the Senate”. Listening to the plethora of channels on our Sirius XM. Sitting in motel hot tubs with a cold beer at the end of a long day in the car. Trying new restaurants. Sitting out on my parent’s front porch reminiscing about the good old times with mom and Hubs. Morning walks along the shores of Lake Superior. Taking the dumpling (our 3 year old grandson) out for ice cream and to the zoo. Splashing in the hotel pool with him and reading him the Sesame Street book I recently bought. Having a nice long, heart to heart chat with my beloved eldest daughter.  Sitting out on my in laws deck, chatting the afternoon away sipping wine and smelling the barbeque my father in law is cooking on the grill. Having girl time with my sweet sister in law, laughing and shopping our way through Stillwater, Mn. Catching up with dear friends while sampling craft beers. Spending time at one of my very favorite places on earth: my sister’s home on the Baptism River. These simple things in life are what makes it worth living.

I am so fortunate to have all these people that I love so much and who love me back. I hope all of you, dear readers, are as blessed as I. Happy summer everyone!

The boy who owns my heart

I feel like I’ve spent an ample amount of time and energy writing blog posts about past experiences in my life. I’m in a really positive frame of mind today, as the sun is shining here in Colorado and I just returned from my morning neighborhood walk.  I’ve had thoughts about writing stories of my encounters with nature, furry creatures, and people I don’t yet know whom I pass by on these walks. I’ve given myself a mental directive to practice mindfulness during these walks by counting the number of bunnies in my neighborhood (highest total was surprisingly only 7). But today I found myself thinking about a little boy who owns my heart.

He’s got the most beautiful head of golden blond hair. He speaks in complete sentences now and often says the funniest things. He loves playing with toy cars, eating strawberries and cucumbers, and when he is riled up and cranky, his parents banish him to the “crabby corner”. And he still loves the “stinky feet” game I play with him. It involves him laying down on a bed or floor while I take each one of his ticklish, chunky, silky soft feet and smell them, exclaiming “Pee-you!” each time I take  a whiff. This activity elicits the most gleeful giggles I have ever had the pleasure of hearing.

I’ve had it in my mind these past few months that this summer, he was going to visit me and the hubs in Colorado. It’d be his first ride in an airplane, not surprising at the tender age of 3. He’d flirt with fellow passengers, especially those of the female persuasion. He would be mesmerized by the clouds he sees through his window seat, to the point where he’d take a sweet little snooze for a while. However, this trip is likely going to have to wait till next summer, when he’s 4, due to financial and scheduling constraints. I am going to embrace this fact and use my time between now and then to imagine/plan the adventures we will have with him next summer.

Oh, the things we will do, the places we will go!

We will take him to the Butterfly Pavilion, located not far from us. There he will check out the in house beehive and Hubs (the scientist) can tell him why bees are so important to us humans here on earth. If he’s brave enough, he will let a big, furry spider sit in his hands while one of the employees tells him what spiders eat and about their natural habitat. He will walk through their amazing butterfly garden, with the sun streaming through the windows and ceiling. Maybe a butterfly will land on his foot, like one did for me when I last visited. We will be sure to dress him in something bright and colorful that day to increase the chance this will happen.

The Downtown Aquarium in Denver is likely to be very exciting for him as well. There I imagine he will cling to my legs as we approach the flood exhibit. He may cover his little ears because it gets pretty loud. The water will likely splash him a little bit, which will cause him to shriek with excitement. He will have lots of questions at the Aquarium to be sure, like “what is that?” and the favorite toddler question “Why?”.  He will giggle and point at the otters who flip and flop and glide through the water while simultaneously keeping their little eyes on the humans who are delighting in their antics.

Most certainly, he will be exposed to the wonder that is Rocky Mountain National Park. Hubs will need to take his Nikon to get shots of this little man exploring all the naturally stunning beauty to be found there. Beforehand, Hubs can take him to buy his own pint sized fishing pole. Then I can get some shots of Hubs teaching the little guy how to fish. A hike would also have to be on the itinerary, though with a 3 year old it shan’t be one that is overly long or challenging. It’ll probably involve a stop along the way to have a picnic lunch. I’ll have to pack some of those disgusting-but-loved-by toddlers mashed fruit pouches, peanut butter sandwiches, and juice boxes. And lots of handi-wipes of course.

Hubs and I will scope out the best parks with playground equipment within a 10 mile radius and visit them with the kiddo. We will take him to church, where he can meet our new church family and hear some great music. We will take him to the Science Museum in Denver, to which we have not yet been. And we’ll take him to one of our lovely Farmer’s Markets and encourage him to sample new and foreign-to-him foods, and capture his reaction. We will take him to a water and/or amusement park, accompanying him on rides which he is tall enough to be on.

This child of which I speak is our grandson Christopher. He makes my heart burst with happiness whenever I am with him. The highlight of this summer for me will no doubt be times spent with him when we visit Wisconsin in July. It’s hard to imagine there was actually a time, not long ago, when I was so caught up in my own self-image that I told everyone that while indeed, my daughter was having her own baby, I would not be called “Grandma”. Time (and love) has such an awesome way of changing one’s perspective, does it not?