“Grandma, something real bad happened.”

That story is now; we need to go back in time to a week ago before it’s Grandma to the rescue.

It’s all a bit convoluted, but I’m accurately depicting the chain of events. I hope you can follow along and it’s not too confusing.

Contained in the box of gifts for his half birthday was a little ball from the dollar store that caught my eye because it was soft and squishy and was an actual face of a tiger, not simply a cartoon rendering.

This:

He has lovely eyes and an endearing quality, don’t you agree?

When T FaceTimed me as he was opening the box, Dad set the phone down so I could watch him and we could chat about all the items. As soon as he picked up the ball, he fell instantly in love. He gave it a hug and stroked his cheek with it, which is the sign for mother (although he’s not aware of that).

He immediately said, “Grandma, I love love love this tiger. Do you know what I’m going to name him? I’m going to name him Tiger.”

I said, “It makes me happy that you love him, I thought you might, and Tiger is a perfect name!”

He gave Tiger another hug.

I said, “Hey T, how about whenever you hug Tiger, that will be exactly like a hug from me. It’s Grandma hugging you all the time. What do you think about that?”

“Every single time you hug Tiger, it’s ME hugging you back.”

“Grandma hug!”

And then he started kissing it. So yes, my heart overflowed again and broke at the same time because it’s still not safe to travel to give him real Grandma hugs.

Later on, Mom texted me that Tiger had become his new “favorite” and he wouldn’t go anywhere without him and slept next to him on the pillow.

So the backstory is simple. T really really bonded with Tiger and he was the object representation of my unconditional LOVE.

Now you’re all caught up, right?

Yesterday in the late afternoon, my phone rang and this is how FaceTime started.

No “Hello”, just “Grandma, I got to tell you. It’s bad, real bad. Something bad happened.”

“Hello, my T.”

“Oh yeah, hello Grandma, you aren’t gonna like this.”

Now if you’re wondering why I was so calm (which I was) it’s because I know beyond any shadow of any doubt that if something really catastrophic had occurred, I would have heard about it from mom or dad, and they wouldn’t have allowed a four-year-old to become the messenger of something terrible that had befallen one of them.

Anyway, my Grandma-spidey-sense kicked in and I could pretty much figure out what constituted a crisis in his lovely little life.

“What happened, tell me!”

“OK. Listen. but I have to show you. You aren’t gonna like it. I’m gonna flip.”

When he flips the camera to show me what’s in his hand, my crystal ball vision was confirmed.

There was damage to the tiger ball. One ear had been slightly chewed off.

“Oh my. Poor Tiger. How did that happen?”

“Well, Grandma, Charlotte used those two little teeth of hers to tear off his ear. Can you believe it?”

“I hope she didn’t eat it, did she?”

“No. I was being kind and shared it with her for just a minute and she damaged him.”

“T, that is pretty sad for Tiger, I agree. I understand you are sad about it. How about if you put it up on a high shelf so that Char can’t get to it and I’ll fix him the next time I’m there. You know how good I am at fixing things, right?”

“OK Grandma, I will. I know exactly where to put him.”

“Now let me see your beautiful face for a minute.”

“There we go. That’s good.”

“I’m going to flip MY camera because I want to show you a surprise I have for you.”

I walked into his bedroom.

“Look, T. What do you see?”

“NO WAY!”

“Yes, way. As soon as I saw how much you loved Tiger, I went back to the store and got another tiger, just in case something happened to him. And the balls were all so cute, I got a kitty cat and a sloth, too. See?”

“DADDY YOU HAVE TO COME HERE AND SEE WHAT GRANDMA HAS.YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. HURRY AND SEE!!”

Soft Sloth Squeeze toys Mini Change Color Squishy Cute animals Anti stress  Ball Squeeze Soft Sticky Stress Relief Funny Gift Toy|Squeeze Toys| -  AliExpress

“A sloth? Show me again. Grandma, you know how much I love sloths, don’t you?”

(Says Daddy, “Good call, Grandma. He was really upset.”)

“T, I’m going to mail them to you first thing in the morning and you should have them by Saturday. That’s three days from now.”

“Grandma, can you go to the post office NOW and mail them to me?”

“It’s a bit late in the day, so it will have to be in the morning, but I promise I’ll do it first thing, OK?”

“DAD, GRANDMA’S GOING TO MAIL THEM TO ME FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.”

“Now we have that problem solved, don’t we? That will make everything better, don’t you think? Maybe it will be a good idea not to let Char get too close to the balls so that she doesn’t chew on them, right? She’s still such a little one and is learning what can and can’t go in her mouth. We need to be very careful with her.”

Apparently we were done with that subject and his fears were sufficiently allayed because he entered the Twilight Zone with his next topic…

“Grandma? I’m going to pick you up from the airport tomorrow. It might take me a week to get there, but I’m going to be there and the first thing you’ll say is, ‘There’s my Theo!!””

“Whoa, um, T, I’m not actually going to get on an airplane tomorrow, you know that, don’t you?”

“It’s going to take me a long time to get there, probably a week, but I’ll be there.”

“I hope I can see you really soon, Angel Boy, and then I will give you the BIGGEST HUG ever.”

“OK, Grandma, Bye.”

And that was it.

Whew, good thing I’m Grandma to the rescue. Crisis averted.

If only all disasters were so easily solved, right?

If only.

“I am wonderful.”

Here’s another example of an empowered child, as told to me by my DIL (daughter-in-law).

Two years ago on the first day of preschool (I was there but didn’t witness it personally), T’s friend was holding her mom’s hand and as they walked up to the door, she stopped, threw back her shoulders and declared, “I am wonderful” and walked inside to face the world.

Apparently, no one could figure out exactly where the phrase came from, as mom said she didn’t recall saying it, but we all agreed THAT is the level of self-confidence we should strive for.

We could put that on our bathroom mirror to see every morning as a daily affirmation, our anthem. We are wonderful warriors.

Take a deep breath, hold your head high and say,

I AM WONDERFUL

Wonder full. Full of wonder.

Wonder: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.

We could hope for nothing less than to be full of wonder: tending to excite wonder; surprising, extraordinary.

It makes waking up every day just a little happier to be full of wonder as opposed to full of anhedonia; reduced motivation, unable to experience joy in any of the things one had previously found fulfilling. In the DSM-5, anhedonia is a component of depressive disorders, substance-related disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders, where it is defined by either a reduced ability to experience pleasure, or a diminished interest in engaging in pleasurable activities.

It’s like living in a world that’s shades of gray as opposed to one that’s full of color.

Colorful/wonderful.

Convo #726 with the Brilliant One and a Life Lesson: “Here I am!”

Whether you’re a parent or a grandparent, never ever forget that children absolutely absorb our words, positive AND negative.

If your goal is to raise happy, healthy, empowered, imaginative THINKERS, remember that every word you say to them becomes ingrained in their fertile brains and becomes a part of their belief system.

Although I really and truly believe this and it’s been my lifelong philosophy (minus a few weeks of Angel Boy’s angst-filled teenage years), this was reinforced yesterday in the most casual and BEST way.

During one of my FaceTime calls with T, he said, “Grandma, I’m gonna flip the phone and show you this. You’ll think it’s amazing, I know you will.”

He flipped the camera to show me a crystal that his other grandma sent to him.

“Can you believe how sparkly it is, Grandma? I’ll save it to show you after the virus.”

(It seems as if now everything is always “after the virus.”)

Then, wait for it,…wait for it…he says,
Oh, I almost forgot. I’ll flip back. Here I am, Grandma. Here’s your beautiful boy.

He smiled at me with his daddy’s Imperial jade green eyes and those curls that have a life of their own.

Without a trace of humor or artifice, he was very simply repeating exactly what I said a zillion times, “Could you please flip the phone back so I can see my beautiful boy?”

And when he does, I say, “Oh, good. there you are. That’s who I want to see; my beautiful boy!”

He ABSORBED the positive affirmation–and knows deep inside where it counts–that he is my beautiful and smart and very loved little boy. He KNOWS he is valued for being who he is, not for any accomplishments, but simply for existing.

Haha, my work here is done. He is truly and beautifully empowered, inside and out.

Here’s an easy-to-save graphic with a few important positive affirmations for our children and for ourselves.

wp-1476487823521.png (545×699)

“Hey, man.” Convo with the brilliant one.

No one can pinpoint the etymology of this phrase with regard to our extremely precocious almost 4.5 year-old, but yesterday was the first time I heard it.

We were FaceTiming so he could tell me about their week-long camping trip. He was regaling me with how much fun he had and how he went surfing and how his baby sister enjoyed her first time living on the feral, as we say.

As an aside, he started referring to his almost one-year-old sister as “Missy” and when I asked him who he was talking about, Mom took the phone and said he started calling her that after I sent an Amelia Bedelia book where the child she babysits for is called “Missy.” T has a very active imagination.

As, we’re chatting and he shows me some new crystals he got at a yard sale–green and purple, his two favorite colors–I heard Dad in the background say, “Tell Grandma about the lake we went to this morning.”

“Oh yeah, hey man, I jumped all the way in from really high, you would have been too scared, little Grandma!”

I said, “What lake?” and “What did you just say?”

And he replied, “Let me ask Daddy.”

He walks over to where Dad is sitting on the sofa (I’m dragged along on FaceTIme) and says, “Hey, man, what was the name of the lake we went to?”

My son started snickering and said. “It was Kachess Lake”.

T said, “Hey man, it was Kachess Lake”.

I replied, “Oh, I saw the pictures and thought it was Green Lake.”

He corrected me, “No, man, it was Kachess Lake. Hey man, did you see me jump?”

“I did. You are a brave boy. Hand the phone to Dad for a minute, please.”

“Hey J-boy. What’s up, man? Where did he get that?”

*snickering again*

“We have no idea; he must have heard it somewhere or maybe on Sesame Street, that’s all we can think of, but literally EVERY other word out of his mouth is ‘man this or man that’.”

“Hey man, I’m gonna hit the red button now. Is that OK, Grandma?”

“Yeah, man, that’s cool. Catch you later. Bye, Angel Boy.”

Have you ever heard a little one use that term in the proper context? He sounds so grown up, so sophisticated. SOOOO precocious. Heaven help us when he’s an actual teenager.

“Serenity now!” proclaims my Peace Lily

New people moved in next door.

A young couple purchased their first home since they got married. It sounded like this was going to be a welcome addition to the ‘hood, but things took a 180 degree turn when they made a decision to host party after party after party Friday through Sunday from about noon to whenever. With loud music, drunk friends, and a pool, what could go wrong? Think Animal House.

After a few weeks of enduring this disrespect, I mobilized my other neighbors to see if they were as annoyed as I am, and I discovered that they were, especially the couple on the OTHER side of the frat house with a new baby.

This is a family community; we live close to an elementary school. Whether it’s a fam with kids or people like me who have lived here for 35+ years, one thing I know for sure. It is NOT party house friendly. If that’s what they were looking for, their realtor dropped the ball.

Once in a while, a loud party is not a problem. Multiple days every week? NOPE.

It was so unpleasant that I felt held hostage in my home; I couldn’t even go outside in the garden because of the noise. Apparently other nabes felt the same way. It’s been so hot that it’s not possible to close doors and windows. Last night they partied until after midnight.

I was on my LAST NERVE.

Similarly frustrated neighbors and I met (with masks). We strategized and decided to first have a friendly chat and if necessary, follow up with other actions.

We had the chat; there were a few dumb excuses and a bit of denial, but that didn’t last long, then a begrudging apology. Fingers crossed, peace is once again established throughout the land –at least my little world.

This is the first Saturday afternoon I’ve been able to go outside and not listen to their LOUD music and intermittent bouts of increasingly more raucous laughter. The more they drank, the louder they were. PEACE and SERENITY.

“Serenity NOW” as George’s dad said on Seinfeld. “Serenity NOW!”

In honor of the sounds of pure silence, I gave my Peace Lily a sunbath on the deck.

Blissful, healing, tranquil SILENCE.

“Vas ist Los” or “Was geht ab” auf Deutsch

What’s up?

This is just a random post to test the waters with the new WordPress format WHICH I HATE HATE HATE. For me, it’s taking all the fun out of writing. It’s clumsy and NOT user-friendly. 

By now if you have read even a couple of my posts, you know that I am unapologetically a MOM first and foremost. All I ever wanted was to be the mom of one boy, and my wish came true. Not only is he brilliant and kind and a great dad, he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. 

He’s a professor of German language and philosophy. That’s actually what his Yale PhD is called: Germanic Language and Literatures.

At my insistence, he’s been teaching it to Angel Boy 2.0  but it’s harder than it seems. We do refer to raccoons as Waschbär, though, so that’s progress, I guess. 

I don’t speak Deutsch, I do better in French or Spanish, but I used to help when he was first taking German in high school, like conjugating trinken to getruken.

We practiced with 3X5 cards every day until his conversational skills surpassed my ability to decipher even a single word.

When he did his junior year abroad in Goettingen, I visited him (as the good Jewish mommy-drone that I am) and was continually impressed by his fluency and beautiful accent. People thought he was a native speaker, and I was/am so proud of my Engel Junge (Angel Boy). 

I learned to say Tschüss instead of auf Wiedersehen every time we left a store, and that’s about it for my language skills.

He wrote a book entitled The Geological Unconscious
GERMAN LITERATURE AND THE MINERAL IMAGINARY 

It probably won’t be read by too many people but that’s OK ‘cos I’m mentioned in it, so my life’s work is done.

Here’s the link to that post: https://enchantedseashells.com/2020/05/14/happy-birthday-to-meeeee/

“Is that a keeper?” More chat with the brilliant Angel Boy 2.0.

My little guy and I LOVE LOVE to search for rocks and seashells and feathers and other treasures.

It doesn’t matter if we’re walking in the neighborhood or at the beach or in the mountains, we make time to search for Mother Nature’s precious gifts.

Holding a rock in his little (but almost as big as mine) hand, he says, “Is this a keeper, Grandma?”

I take a look, think for a minute, and reply, “No, not that one. It’s not asking me to come home. Let’s leave it for someone else to find and bring to their house.”

“How about THIS one, Grandma?”

“Oh YES, T! That’s exactly the kind I love. It’s perfect.”

“OK, you bring it home with you and I’ll see it when we come to your house.”

“Why do you love rocks so much?”

“Great question, T. I love them because they make me happy and I like to collect pretty things. Why do YOU like rocks?”

“They make ME happy, too, Grandma!”

“OK. Think about this. You like it when you get presents in the mail, right? Well, this is getting presents too, but they don’t cost money and we get to have so much fun finding them together, so when we’re not together, we can remember what fun we had.”

“Hey, T, is this the kind that you like?”

I’m holding a pure white oval rock.

“Oh yes! Do you want it, Grandma?”

“That’s very kind of you to think about me, T, but this one is for you. Let’s look for more.”

At this point, all my pockets are full and weighted down by rocks and seashells, and my backpack has no more room, either.

“T, look at me, I’m all loaded down! Let’s leave some to find next time, OK?”

“Grandma, we love rocks so much, don’t we? I put the special ones in the little box you sent me. Where do you keep yours?”

“My special favorites are on the windowsill in my bedroom, so I can see them every day and think about you.”

“Can you take a picture of them and send it to me?”

“I sure will, little buddy.”

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Thoughts about Blogging

(An alternate title could be “Please scream inside your heart” like the signage at that theme park in Japan meant to discourage screaming on rollercoasters and reduce the spread of Covid-19.)

I’ve blogged since the summer of 2012. On one sunny day in June, my DIL told me I was really funny and I should write things down and begin to blog.

I knew nothing about blogs; never even read one, so she took the reins and opened a WordPress account for me.

That was eight years ago, as I was reminded by my WP anniversary.

At its heyday in 2014, my little blog averaged around 7,500 visits a month. For some unknown reason, my highest read posts were recipes.

After attending a BlogHer convention, I was excited and energized, ready to monetize, to grow and expand my brand and my voice.

I’ve always been a writer, especially about things that cause me to wax passionately: saving wolves, rescuing abused animals, finding humor in life from my own lens; researching and meeting and learning about all kinds of people (from Al Gore to His Holiness the Dalai Lama), reviewing cool products, and most of all, I LOVED responding to readers and comments from all over the world.

I still do. I respect and appreciate your time and the effort to reach out to a virtual stranger and engage in conversation.

Now I notice that my posts only have a handful of likes and some none at all.

My overall followers from all platforms is around 3500.

Did I lose my enthusiasm?

Nope.

I know why, I DO, but I still can’t talk about what happened except to say that if you read between the lines on certain posts, you might catch a glimpse of infinite profound sadness, more death than death because I’m still alive and breathing.

The walking dead. An episode of the Twilight Zone in real life. A literal black hole.

As I’m slowly getting back into the rhythm and comfort of writing, finding my voice again, I’d like you to know that I appreciate everyone who has stayed faithful to my blog and continues to read my words, even the ones between the lines.

Much love. Seriously. ‘Cos if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s what love is. And what it is not. On any planet. Stars might be crazy, but I’m not, so I’ll continue to scream inside my heart. And my head. In a princessy way, of course.

 

Another encounter with a famous person, a rock and roll superstar…

I just saw an old video of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and it reminded me of something from my past.

Sometimes, when my son was around eight or ten years old (early 1990s), I’d bring him along with me to the gym and he’d go (reluctantly) to the babysitting room for an hour or so. It was mostly other doubledigiters so he didn’t have a real problem with it, and eventually became friendly with a boy about the same age.

Their friendship progressed beyond the gym to birthdays and sleepovers. For a while, these two boys were inseparable.

One day, out of the blue, and I’m a bit fuzzy on the details, the boy’s dad asked if I could give him a ride to LAX. It’s a ninety minute drive and I’m not sure why I said yes ‘cos I seriously HATE to drive, especially if it involves LA traffic, but I loaded the boys and the dad (along with his guitar) in my car.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when I learned that his dad was Ron Blair of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, but I was suitably impressed and starstruck. All I do remember is that he was always quiet but courteous and appreciated the airport ride. He looked EVERY bit a rock and roll superstar.

A couple weeks pre-Covid, a friend invited me to a fundraiser for the local food bank. It was an outdoor venue with a lot of musical guests. The headliner’s name was a familiar one. Lo and behold,  it was Ron Blair, who now lives in my little town.

We chatted a bit; I can’t honestly say that he remembered me, but he did remember my son which was cool.

Still quiet, still friendly, and amazingly talented.

Blair performing in 2017

We’ve all aged and I’m obviously way too old to be a groupie (sigh), but I do remember THOSE good old days, haha.

My brain just recollected something else…meeting my son’s friend’s maternal grandmother, Mother Antonia. She was infamous for having renounced all her wealth to become a Roman Catholic American religious sister and activist who chose to reside and care for inmates at the notorious maximum-security La Mesa Prison in Tijuana, Mexico. As a result of her work, she founded a new religious institute called the Eudist Servants of the 11th Hour. (Wiki)

Before her death in 2013, she was on TV quite a bit advocating on behalf of the prisoners.

 

 

“Do you love me more than a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles?” More brilliant chat with a little human.

“You’re my little Grandma.”

“I know I am. I’m a very small person and now you’re almost as big as I am.”

“Let’s compare hands, little Grandma!”

“OH MY GAWD, Grandma. My hand is almost as big as yours now!”

“I know, T, remember I told you that you are growing and growing every day and I stay the same size?”

“You’re my old little Grandma.”

*Yes, I am. (Lolz.)*

“Grandma, can you carry me?”

“I don’t think I can do that anymore, but let me try. You are so tall and SO heavy. I can pick you up, but I can’t carry you now. Daddy will carry you if you’re tired.”

“Daddy, Grandma cut triangles and hearts and circles and squares and I glued them to a piece of paper. Do you wanna see? Grandma said that’s one of the things I’ll do when I go to Kindergarten.”

“Grandma, did your little boy Daddy do that too? Did he like to glue shapes? Did he like to read? Did he like to watch Sesame Street? My Daddy is your little boy, right, Grandma? But he’s a man so how can he be your little boy? He’s big. My Daddy is so big. He’s bigger than you, little Grandma.”

“If there’s no gravity in space, how did the astronauts not float away when they were on the moon?”

What a great and thoughtful question, T. Let’s research it and find the answer.”

“Grandma? Do you love me more than a chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles?”

“Hmm, that’s a really tough one, buddy. I do love chocolate a LOT. Let me think about it. Well, the answer is yes, I love you more than a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles.”

“Do you love me more than seashells and rocks?”

“Oh NO, that’s going to be so hard. Let me give it some thought.  *Sigh*. You definitely know how much I love seashells and rocks, but I love you so much MORE.”

This went on for the longest time until he was completely assured that I love him more than ANYTHING IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

This brilliant not-so-little-human.

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