Growing Up

My twelve-year-old granddaughter Anna is growing up and our relationship is changing. We discuss books she’s read. I marvel at her intelligence, poise and thoughtfulness. She has enlightened me on the finer points of the musical phenomenon, “Hamilton”. She shares her arts-and-crafts projects with me; looking for approval I suppose, but confident in her abilities. I study her beauty which emanates from within a deep place in her soul. I listen with intent as she describes her love of horses and riding, while never sharing that I am frightened of the beasts. I am delighted to see her in the kitchen with her Nana; learning and sharing the joy of cooking that completely escapes me. In my eyes she is ageless and fearless and flawless. I am equally astounded and amused when her mother or grandmother seem to take over her body with their words and actions, as I am transported to some distant place and time. She is already a nurturer, protector and enforcer as are all the good women before her. Her younger brother is often the recipient of her caring, her teaching, and her demands, after all, someone must be in charge. She has no idea of the power that she possesses.

I’m carrying a secret little sadness concerning Anna. I fear that I am becoming unnecessary – still loved and respected but not needed to hold a hand, wipe a tear, fix a toy, or mend a torn page in a favorite book.

She’s impatient, as she should be. She needs to explore more, give more, learn more, and experience more independence. She is growing up. She is finding her wings. She is finding her way.

Our relationship is changing, and I need to learn to adapt. I’ll get there, but some journeys take detours. And some journeyers stumble along the way.

Recently Anna climbed onto my lap, as she often did when she was much younger. She’s still tiny and easy to hold. So, she climbed up and I held on for dear life. Perhaps she sensed that I needed her affection and her tenderness. Maybe she knew that I needed her loving embrace. Or gasp – maybe she needed me! I wanted to hold her forever. Even in my dotage, I am still able to remember how I once felt when her mother was on the verge of abandoning childhood. I remember the panic, the sense of loss. I was frantic and sad and angry all at the same time. Thanks to memories still intact, I can take comfort in the knowledge that age doesn’t equal apathy; growing older doesn’t mean growing apart. As Anna continues to mature, I’ll try to behave maturely as well, knowing full well it won’t be easy.

Our relationship is changing, but we can cherish our past and we can look forward to our future. That day when Anna crawled on my lap I asked her, “Do you think that someday you won’t want to call me Pawpaw anymore and that maybe you’d prefer a more mature sounding name like, Granddad or Grandfather?” She looked at me in disbelief and said, “I don’t really like the way that sounds.”

As a tear escaped and a prayer was answered, I thought to myself, “Neither do I, Anna, neither do I…”



Time and Time Again…

A new year. A new beginning. Again.

Most of us look at January as a time for a fresh start. A time for resolutions. A time to reflect on the past year and plan for the new year. It’s out with old; in with the new! Some years are better than others. Sometimes we are blessed during a specific year and will give the year credit for our happiness. Likewise there are times when we are very happy to see a year end. As if the year had something to do with our misfortune. Thank you 2017! Or good riddance 2017! Whichever it may be.

I suppose there may be a bit of superstition when it comes to the passing of time. My wife insists that we eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. According to her grandmother it will bring good luck. Not eating them, well it’s not worth the risk. Nor the wrath. So I eat them every year. I believe that I’m luckier than you non-black-eyed pea eaters. Why tempt fate? After all I got to eat black-eyed peas for another year with the woman I love.

timeThe reality is that time (or a specific year) has little to do with how fulfilled I am in this life. Of course there have been plenty of crappy years but there have been many amazing years as well. We remember the year our well went dry (literally) – 1997 but we also cherish the memory of holding our newborns for the first time – so 1978, 1980 and 1983 were good years!

Still for me, it’s the countless nano-seconds of time that have most touched my heart and nourished my soul. A smile. A kiss. A gentle touch. A kind word. A thank you. A prayer. A hug. Those are the times that have mattered most. Sometimes fleeting and seemingly forgotten they are embedded so deeply in my psyche that they define me.

Watching the sun come up over the horizon. Witnessing a first step. Watching as a diploma was received. Exchanging vows. Looking on as snow gently falls from the sky. Hearing a song so beautiful that it brings tears to my eyes. Laughing until my sides hurt. This is time well spent. These are my glimpses of heaven.

I’m sure that I could benefit from some New Year’s resolutions. I know that this year could be the year that I finally improve myself (but not likely). Instead of trying to lose that extra 15 pounds or meet that savings plan goal or become fluent in Spanish, I think that I will slow myself down a bit and try to pay more attention to the small things.

Time flies. I just don’t want it to fly away without squeezing a little joy out of it.



P.S. We’ve have managed to share some joyful time together.  (Happy Anniversary Deb)