Pure joy is when I pick them up from the airport and T first spots me standing next to my car and he starts yelling at the top of this lungs, “I see her! I see GrandmaGrandmaGrandma!” and parents let him run through the crowd outside straight toward me and he throws himself in my arms, almost knocking me over, hugging so tightly it squeezes my heartlight into love energy.
And then comes Angel Girl 2.0, a bit slower but no less affectionate, hanging on to me like a little monkey while Mom and Dad bring up the rear with all the suitcases.
Two enchanted curly haired conveyers of intense happiness; more alive than any two humans I’ve ever known.
That is simply and perfectly PURE JOY. And do you know what else it is? It’s EVERYTHING.
Now for the important stuff…”After you’re buckled in, who wants a muffin or an oatmeal cookie?”
A halo-wearing neighbor gifted me this gigantic dollhouse for my angels. Their daughter had outgrown the playing house stage of development.
We had to dismantle it and reassemble when it got to my home.
The toilet WORKS, makes flushing sounds, can you believe it? Most of the furniture was included, (not all) so I ordered a bunkbed to match the one in their real bedroom here at Grandma’s house.
The refrigerator and pantry are full of the most exquisite miniature replica foods I’ve ever seen.
I had a dollhouse when I was little, but nothing this extravagant!
The original Angel Boy also had a dollhouse. I very carefully set up all the furniture in each room in anticipation of all the fun we’d have together and his only joy was to shake the house until everything fell over as he shouted, “Earthquake!” I’d reset the furniture only to have him shake it again and again until I finally gave up.
Being a good mom, I also got him an anatomically correct boy doll and his response with that was to twist off the head and use it as a ball for our Border Collie and laugh maniacally as he retrieved it, tossing the head to roll at our feet to throw again. That’s my boy…Good times.
FYI…My son DID have stuffed animals and dolls that he loved and treated with empathy and kindness so I wasn’t too worried that he was going to end up becoming a sociopath.
It’s almost as tall as I am, 60 inches, and about the same width. I had to move things around to make room for it in the living room because the angels’ bedroom is full of other toys.
They are going to LOVE it!
In case you were wondering, YES, I’ve been playing with it. I need to add more members to my doll family along with a barbecue and a jacuzzi.
An angel for my angels. I am SO grateful. Despite the neverending pandemic and its variants; violence and racism and cruelty, there are still wonderful people all around us to reinforce our hope for humanity.
Last Tuesday I had my annual ultrasound to check on the status of a tiny cyst that’s been attached to my gall bladder for years. The abdominal ultrasound also checks everything else plus pancreas. I’m especially freaked out about that organ because of my mom’s cancer.
It was a fasting test which is no big deal because I don’t eat breakfast anyway, never have, but coffee isn’t allowed either, and THAT was a bit of a hardship. I brewed some before I left and stored in an insulated cup so I could gulp it down as soon as I got back to my car after the test.
The woman that actually did the test was literally one of the most enlightened, awakened angels I’ve ever encountered with a spirit that calmed me down as soon as she introduced herself.
She was four months pregnant and we talked about that and the grandkids and how I was lucky enough to be present for both of their really long ultrasound appointments and we talked about the ups and downs and lessons of life’s journey. It was more of a therapy session with a healer than having my abs squirted with WARM jell so she could see all of my inner working parts.
She let me know the size and location of the cyst hadn’t changed and everything else looked good. I know they’re not really supposed to TELL, they’re supposed to wait until the formal results from the doc, so I really really appreciate that she didn’t make me suffer for a few hours.
We hugged. I told her she was going to be an amazing mom and she teared up a bit.
What a brief and significant connection with a random human! Her spirit infused me with a positive and happy glow.
As I drove home, sipping my still hot French roast, I got a call that my new glasses were ready to be picked up.
I drove to my downtown village area near the beach and tried on my new frames to have them adjusted and fine tuned. This time instead of Versace or Prada, I got Salt, a brand that was new to me, but really adorbs.
Salt Optics was started by a couple of surfers and a guy from Oliver Peoples. They are ultra COOL.
“SALT is committed to using only the most premium handmade cellulose acetate in the world. Our acetate is created from cotton seeds and wood pulp, which allows it to be hypoallergenic and sustainable. We partner with Takiron Rowland, a Japanese acetate factory that has been producing handmade acetate for the better part of 100 years.”
OK, good to know. I love them because they fit my small face yet they’re bold and make a statement.
It was about 11 a.m. and I decided to walk to the beach, something I never do this late in the day, mostly because it was already hot and dry with the Santa Ana weather. I thought it would be overrun with loud and obnoxious tourists, but it was still relatively quiet.
I felt like I needed some vitamin sea because I was so grateful for a good test result. Every year I stress about it, wondering what’s going on inside of me and if the cyst migrated to a duct or grew which could mean a whole other diagnosis and necessary treatment.
But it didn’t, all was good, and I might even be lucky enough to see a whale or a dolphin, so I started walking.
The Pacific Ocean was a lake, no waves to speak of, no whales or dolphin, but it was lovely to breathe in the salty air which reminded me of my new Salt frames lol, and after a couple miles, I turned around to head back to my car.
I was parked near the consignment shop where I’ve found treasures in the past, but I left empty handed; nothing caught my eye.
There’s so much to be grateful for every single day, not just on Thanksgiving.
“Look at what I made, Grandma! It’s a sculpture, it’s my creation!”
“That’s absolutely amazing, T! Make sure you put it in a safe place so I can see it the next time I visit, OK?”
And then he was off to play with the little girl next door.
“Gotta go, Grandma, Em’s waiting for me!”
Oh my heart. He’s FIVE YEARS OLD.
That gave us time for Dad to share an incredible story about Angel Girl 2.0. During her bath the previous evening, she stood up, put her arms around herself in a big hug, and said, “I love myself.”
Then she said, “Daddy love yourself, too.” directing him to give himself a hug.
C was napping, so I wasn’t able to chat with her.
T came back for a moment to grab a pile of grapes to share with his friend.
“Hi, Grandma! I’m still playing out front, you know how we do that, right? Em’s chasing me.”
“Hey T, do you love yourself?”
He said, “I love YOU, Grandma”.
“Oh, T, I love you, too. But do you love yourself?”
“Yes, Grandma, I love me too.” (I swear, it’s like talking to a teenager.)
And off he ran.
That boy. *Shaking my head.*
Where and how does a two-year-old acquire that kind of healthy self love? One of my favorite lady docs first shared with me Louise Hay’s suggestion to look in the mirror every day and say, “I love you” to my reflection. At first I scoffed, too embarrassed to look at myself any other way but critically, but because I liked and respected that doc so much, I gave it a try. And kept doing it until it wasn’t so weird. After that, I did some of Hay’s Mirror Work and Inner Child exercises. It’s tough work, that’s for sure, but insightful and nourishing.
That this little girl already has such a beautiful light spirit is glorious. Imagine if everyone felt that way, the world would be a very different place.
Mirror, Mirror On The Wall…
Try this Louise Hay Mirror Work exercise for a better morning routine:
When you first wake up in the morning and open your eyes, say these affirmations to yourself: Good morning, bed. Thank you for being so comfortable. I love you. This is a blessed day. All is well. I have time for everything I need to do today.
Now take a few more minutes to relax and let these affirmations flow through your mind, then feel them in your heart and throughout the rest of your body.
When you’re ready to get up, go to your bathroom mirror. Look deeply into your eyes. Smile at that beautiful, happy, relaxed person looking back at you!
As you’re looking in the mirror, say these affirmations: Good morning, [Name]. I love you. I really, really love you. There are great experiences coming our way today.
And then say something nice to yourself like: Oh, you look wonderful today. You have the best smile. I wish you a terrific day today.
“Grandma, you should have seen this. Daddy catapulted himself from the cushion onto the sofa.”
“T, what was that big word?”
“Daddy CATAPULTED. You would not believe it.”
“I hope Daddy is OK! T, that is such a wonderful word, very descriptive, and I’m so proud of you for knowing it and for using it correctly in your sentence!”
“Now. Look. Feast your eyes on this, Grandma. It’s a new bench for the kitchen table. It’s nice, huh, Grandma?”
“Oh wait right here. I’m going to put you down and you can watch Mommy make dinner for a minute. I’m going into the Grandma room. I want to show you the present I have for you in our special drawer. It’s a surprise. It’s sparkly just like you like and it’s shiny.”
“Well, hold on. Let’s think about this. If it’s a surprise, do you want to wait until I’m there before you show me?”
“No, ‘cos you’ll forget by then.”
“But what if I don’t forget? What if I remember?”
“Oh, don’t worry little Grandma, you’ll forget.”
“Wow, it IS sparkly and shiny, you’re right about that!”
(It’s a Christmas tree decoration from last year, a shiny little silvery disco ball.)
“Don’t forget to put it back in the drawer so you can show me again.”
“And Grandma, don’t forget to bring me a surprise for the drawer too, OK? I’ll be at the airport to pick you up.”
“Do I EVER forget?”
(The answer is obvious. I never forget.)
As a side note, when he was out of the kitchen getting my present, I asked, “He seems to think my visit is imminent. What have you told him?”
“Don’t worry, imminent means something different to T. He doesn’t really have a good grasp of time.”
This is the sad plight of grandparent’s new reality…not to be able to hug and play with our angel boys and girls, and to miss the excitement of Daddy catapulting himself around the house.
Still, there’s always always something to be grateful for, right?
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.
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.