love

saying goodbye to Nana

Family and friends gathered together in Georgia on a hot Saturday in August to say goodbye to Husband N’s precious mother.

In the front of the church, a gorgeous spray of roses (Husband N’s fave) carnations (Nana’s fave) and white daisies (Baby K’s birth month flower) around the urn. An American flag folded into a perfect triangle white stars on blue. (Nana served in the US Navy) Photos lined up along the communion rail, one of which was Nana with Donny Osmond. She loved the Osmonds, especially Donny and Marie, and meeting him was one of her happiest moments.

Friends and family spoke, telling stories through laughter and tears, sharing love, taking us on the journey of her life. My own daughter saying she didn’t simply get a mother in law, she got another momma.

Baby K sat mostly between me and her Aunt Gaga, but did walk across the aisle to her parents a couple of times.
The Navy color guard struggled a bit with the flag, but in the end got it done properly and presented it to Husband N.
Apparently during the extended flag folding situation Baby K wanted to come back to me, but her mom wouldn’t let her so she bit her! Thing 1 had a big Baby K mouth-shaped bruise on her forearm.
She was fascinated by the hymnals. “Books with words AND music!” brought her much excitement. She was keen to stack them up on her lap and then share them with Thing 2 and me. It shook out that Aunt Gaga and Baby K had the hymnals and I got the bible. Thing 2 whispered that Baby K knew what was up and the books ended up in the right place.

We celebrated her life with music from Spirit in the Sky to Butterfly Kisses, songs specifically requested by Nana, to Elvis singing In the Garden and Peace in the Valley (a song I’ve always wanted for my own funeral)
During Butterfly Kissses, Baby K got up and danced. That girl was vibing so! I watched her and wept, knowing her Nana would have loved that!

So many tears shed.
So much laughter.
Unbelievable amount of love.
We celebrated the life of Baby K’s grandmother with everything we had.
It was a mighty find shindig.

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

bubbly and blocks and old photos – a visit from Thing 2

Thing 2 arrived on a morning flight Thursday last.
She let me know she landed safely and was waiting for her gate checked bag.
Then I got this message:

This is a perfect example of how I communicate with my daughters. I knew what and why she was actually asking. I answered the underlying question. It’s a silly thing, but I love that about my relationship with my grown girls.

After we brunched at First Watch we hung out at here at home drinking bubbly.

Friday Thing 1 and Baby K came over to play.
YBW came home from work just after they arrived.
Of course he and Baby K brought out the blocks.
Aunt Gaga built too!

Saturday we went out to Naked Mountain to pick up YBW’s wine and hang out in the barrel room.
Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K met us there.
Baby K shared her snack with Aunt Gaga before falling asleep in my lap.

Thing 2 and I went through two boxes of photos from the great and arduous process. She asked questions, I told stories. We saw her grandparents and mine when they were children. We saw our own faces reflected in these photos. We sent quick snaps to Thing 1 asking if she saw Baby K’s face in certain photos of their Grandmommy.
Thing 2 told her own stories, shared her memories, and expressed her genuine joy and gratitude hold these photos in her hands. She created a pile of photos we wrapped up carefully, tucked into her journal, and packed in her suitcase.

We binge watched Our Flag Means Death holding hands and snuggling up on the sofa. Thing 2 was all about that “boy love”. I was all about the beautiful humanity of it.

We also went to see The Haunting of Night Vale. This was the reason for her visit. Tickets she received as a gift Christmas of 2019 for a show April 2020. (we all know how that turned out)
But, two years later there we were in the theater holding hands and being as SQUEE as only we can.

She flew home Monday afternoon.
I miss her.
But I’m not sad. There’s no room in my heart for sadness right now.
My heart is overflowing with love.
Overflowing with gratitude.
I’m grateful to have this time with my girls together. Grateful for this time with YBW and Thing 2. Grateful for time with my second daughter.
I’m grateful we went to see Night Vale together, something she’s absolutely adored for ten solid years. Something she introduced to me and I also now love. Aren’t we lucky we got to experience this together?
I’m grateful we went through two boxes of photos. I got to see my parents through my daughter’s eyes. She never her her great grandfather, but she knows she’s named for him. She knows he was my first true love. She sees his image and feels the strength of that connection.
I’m grateful for our silliness. Our seriousness.
I’m grateful to have a strong and healthy relationship with my adult daughters.
I love that girl more than the moon and the stars and I know how fortunate I am.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

love and joy and cookies

Thing 1 and I baked cookies all day yesterday.

Baby K said, “I help you!” many times.
Of course toddler help looks often looks like her taking cookies off the pan and cramming them in her gob as quickly as we can cut them. (I’m over here like, dude, that’s what scraps are for!)
Or taking a handful of flour and throwing it on the floor while saying, “It’s SNOW!”
Then when her mother unceremoniously removes her from the stool upon which she stands, laying in the flour on the floor and…”I making snow angel!”
(Yeah, we laughed. It was freaking adorable!)
We had a reprieve when her Papa came home from lunch and they sat at the island being all cute while they ate their lunches together.
And again while she napped.

Baking is not my strong suit.
But yesterday, baking with my girl. I was absolutely content.
I enjoyed her company.
I enjoyed working in the kitchen with her.
I enjoyed watching her be her daughter’s mom.

That time was sacred to me and I’m grateful for it.
It wasn’t about the cookies, though most of them turned out beautifully.
It was about the process.
It was about the fellowship.
I know how fortunate I am to live close to my daughter, especially after not for so long.
But more than that, I know how fortunate I am to be close to my daughter.
Love, joy, and gratitude are spilling over in me and out into the world.
I hope y’all can feel it too!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“B-Papa house”

We had our first Baby K weekend.
Well, it was more of a trial run. She spent one night instead of two.

Saturday morning she spent her time waffling between eating her breakfast and rushing to the window to see if I was there to get her yet.
When I came down the hill to their house, she and her mommy were on the front porch waiting. I beeped the horn and she threw her hands in the air and said, “BEEEE!”

On the way home she talked excitedly about seeing her Papa. When we pulled into the garage, I sent her inside to find Papa while I got her bag and mine from the car.
Of course Baby K was immediately distracted by all the pumpkins I placed around the house. The search for Papa was temporarily postponed while she went everywhere she could reach them and brought them to a central location in the living room.


She systematically gathered them all around her.


Then cracked up with laughter!

Papa had to wait patiently for her to be ready to greet him. It was worth the wait though, she flung herself at him and squeezed him tightly.

Sunday we went to the little playground in our neighborhood.

This girl climbed and slid and climbed and slid and went in and under and over as much of the entire structure as possible!

She went into the little house and announced it was hers then began to say, “Arf arf!”
I asked her if she was a dog and she said, “Mm-HMM!”

She even barked out the window to her Papa.

We were able to play nearly half an hour before it began to sprinkle and we had to head home.

She’s really into creating family groups. Pulling together three things and calling it the baby, mommy and daddy. Whenever she groups these things, she says, “Awww” and kind of hugs herself.
She was doing it here with us too. “B-Papa, Awww”
When we were both near enough to each other and her, she would put her arms out and say, B-Papa. We would lean into her and she would make the sweetest mmmm sound and whisper the word home.
The fact that we are her home as much as her parents are overwhelms my heart. That we’re a place she feels comfortable and safe is powerful stuff, y’all.
The fact that I have seasonal decor she can play with doesn’t hurt either…

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

a girl and her bomb pop

YBW and I went over to see Baby K (and her Mommy and Daddy) Sunday after visiting the new house. It’s been two weeks since we last saw them and I gotta tell you, I missed that kid!
When we drove up she came tearing around the side of the house and across the yard screaming, “BEEEEEE! PAPA!” and leapt right into YBW’s arms! They hugged and she giggled and then she turned and held up her arms and said, “Beee!” we squeezed each other so tightly!
All was right with the world because Baby K and her Birdie and Papa were in the same place again.

We played.
We had lunch.
We went to the playground.
That girl is quickly mastering climbing up slides, and I couldn’t be prouder!

The ice cream truck drove by and some of the bigger kids on the playground began screaming, “Ice cream man!” and running.
Baby K has no earthly idea what the ice cream man is but she pointed at the truck and said, “Hi keem!”, you know her Papa went and stood in line behind all those other kids patiently waiting to get that girl some ice cream. She stood with her mommy and I pointed at the pictures until she grinned and gave an enthusiastic, “Mmm hmm!”.

a girl and her bomb pop

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Baby K is two!

Monday was the second anniversary of Baby K coming into our world.
Y’all, I’m just as awestruck, just as joyful, just as SQUEE as I was that day.
This little girl is more than I could ever hope for!

YBW and I went out to their house in the early afternoon timing our arrival with her waking from her nap.
Three things happened all at once: Baby K woke kind of grouchy, Aunt Gaga (Thing 2) called, and Papa pulled M&M’s out of his pocket.

When she heard her Auntie’s voice, Baby K was all smiles even though she was grouchy. Then suddenly, she climbed out of her mommy’s lap and ran to her Papa.
I was over there like WTF?
That’s when I realized he bribed her with candy.
Classic grandfather move. (imagine me shaking my fist, while also being slightly amused)

Well, it turns out talking to your Aunt and sharing chocolate with your Papa is just what a grouchy-wake-up birthday girl needs.

Presents were tricky, as she really didn’t understand exactly what was going on, but she loves to rip paper, so it evens out. However, she does rip the teeniest little pieces of paper off stuff, so it takes about forty-seven-thousand (possible exaggeration) separate rips to actually unwrap a gift.
Papa and I solved that problem with gift bags, though she pulls out each piece of tissue one at a time so it’s a similar process. (oh, that girl!)

This backpack was a hit.
She said, “A clue! A clue!”
The moment she got it on her back, she waved and said, “Bye!” before turning and walking to the front door.

That girl was ready to go!
Um…peace out, chicken.

My offspring are notorious for their ambivalence toward cake, and it seems to have carried on to the next generation too. So, instead of cake Baby K had ice cream as her birthday treat! A chocolate shake to be exact. From this delicious little frozen custard place not too far from their house.

How it started:

Where we finally put a stop to it:

Birdie took her straight to the tubby while her Daddy and Papa cleaned the mess, and her Mommy started a load of laundry.

Y’all it was spectacular!
She became one with that ice cream and it was an absolute joy to watch. Even when she splashed it all over the rest of us, we couldn’t help but laugh!

This was Baby K’s second birthday in the time of covid. Even though she didn’t get a big ol’ party, we had big ol’ fun!

My daughter’s daughter is precious and beloved.
I’m grateful she was born.
I’m grateful to celebrate her birthday with her.
I’m grateful to be her Birdie.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

adventures with Birdie and Papa

When mommy and daddy are away, Baby K will play.
Or as her Papa said, “When it’s just you and Birdie and me, we’re going to party like rock stars.”

Thing 1 and Husband N did a two day – one night trip to celebrate Thing 1’s birthday. Then it kind of became a bit of celebration for buying their first house. It was also a bit of utilizing the built in childcare YBW and I can provide.
Thing 1 remarked that going on a minibreak two weeks before closing on their house was chock full of irony, but it was already planned and she was excited.

Saturday morning Papa read every book in the basket in Baby K’s room, then she and I colored with markers at the kitchen table before we went to the playground at our neighborhood elementary school. The first thing she did was fall off the stairs on the slide. (grandparent fail?)
I think she was more scared than hurt and even with the snuggles and kisses and mulch removal, she was unsettled. Not the best way to begin our adventure, but she rallied and chose to be adventurous.


She struggled to climb up through the tube, but with Papa pushing from the bottom, and Birdie pulling from the top, she made it!
Then there was lots of giggles going down the slide on the other side.

She “quack quack(ed)” at all the birds and said, “Hi!” to the airplane flying by.

When we got home from the playground, we had lunch then watched some of Moana.
After her nap, she played in her media table, which is currently filled with a variety of beans.
She had pizza for dinner, but not just any pizza, pepperoni rolls which are kind of like garlic knots and stromboli had a delicious baby. And she loved it!

She had such fun exploring at the new house Sunday morning. She’s got a penchant for picking up construction debris and finding creative ways to use it.
She found this empty caulk tube and turned it into a scope. (yes, we brought it home and washed it for her to play with)

We blew bubbles on the porch after lunch. Well, we didn’t blow them, the bubble blowing machine did. Baby K and the dogs danced and chased and popped so many bubbles!
Her mommy and daddy got home about ten minutes after she woke from her nap

Y’all, we had such fun with that girl!
How fortunate we can provide childcare for her parents at the same time getting to spend such precious and sacred time with our granddaughter.
Birdie and Papa FTW!

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without love we are nothing

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote many beautiful things about what love is and is not. One of his more important points is that love is meant to exist without conditions.

Unconditional love.
We don’t always find that in our world.
The worst thing humans do to each other is love with conditions.

My second daughter experiences a great deal of the way selfish love works. Love is a weapon. Love is power to hold over another. Love is a tool with which to manipulate so get what you want.

I plan to make a powerful statement on love, but first I have to provide a bit of background info…
Thing 2 and her friends lost out on the house they were trying to rent. That hit her hard.
She’s not been seeing her counselor regularly (because, covid) and she didn’t realize how much she missed it until she got a call last week saying he’s starting to see clients in the office again.
She and Boyfriend M are strong and healthy.
But personally she isn’t in the best place.
She started a new job last week, one she’s enthusiastic about.
She’s making an appointment to see her therapist this week.
She and Boyfriend M had a good talk about mental health and being in a good supportive relationship.

Monday morning she wrote in our group chat

She’s excited about feeling like she’s killing it and doesn’t even need help.
Then immediately not wanting to jinx it.

Thing 1 and I shared our joy at her enthusiasm, and spoke to many things.
But I became stuck trying to make sense of this contradiction.

(here’s where the connection to love starts to make some sense)

Acknowledging you’re ‘killing it’ does not jinx it.
And, ‘killing it’ does not mean you can’t use or don’t need assistance, support, and love.
‘Killing it’ means you’re doing your best.

I believe we must celebrate what’s good. What feels positive.
But more than that, I believe being good, or successful, or feeling healthy doesn’t mean you don’t need (or want) backup.
It’s not one or the other. It’s a delicate balance of relying on yourself and the love of your tribe.
Love and support foster your personal strengths.

‘Killing it’ and needing help are not mutually exclusive.
You can ‘kill it’ and still receive support from the people who love you.
And best of all, when you’re ‘killing it’ as well as receiving love and support the world is a truly wonderful place.

Thing 2 shared how fortunate she feels to have friends, family, and “a mans” who love and support her endlessly.
Her counselor said, “God works in mysterious ways.” and later that same day Boyfriend M told her “the universe works in mysterious ways”.
She was angry and sad and didn’t want to hear it. But she knew they were right.
She knew this because in one twelve hour span, she had love and unconditional support from ‘the boys’ (her core friend group), then her counselor, then her Momma, and then Boyfriend M.
She said, “Everyone cares about me, for me, not their own selfish gain. And that it truly magical, I’m glad I appreciate that now. At the time, I was cheesed off because it felt like I was fine and everyone was treating me like a broken toy all at once –turns out I was not doing fine and needed that huge multi-directional wave of love and support.”

To which her sister replied, “We will always love and support you, that’s what we’re here for. Even if sometimes it feels like we’re being mean or treating you like a broken toy, we just want you to be the youest you you can be.”

I hope with all my might that this experience begins to shift Thing 2’s understanding.
I want her to know you cannot jinx your success by celebrating the joy of it.
You can be ‘killing it’ and still require support.
You can be as successful as humanly possible and still rely on the love of others.

(here’s where the connection to Paul starts to make some sense)

Paul knew what was up.
In his letter to the Corinthians he wrote a great deal of what love is and is not.
He wrote he was nothing without love.
He wrote we should remain hopeful and faithful and do everything in love.

I’m not as eloquent as Paul, but these are some of the most important things I know about life and love:
Love is safe.
Love comes at you to lift you up.
Love is a celebration of who you are.
Love is the greatest gift.

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Birthday, Baby K!

Today this little girl celebrates her first go around the sun.

We’re not celebrating it the way her parents planned.
No party.
No (extended) family.
No friends.
No bumble bee themed ‘Happy Bee-Day’.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not celebrating her wherever we are!
We’re celebrating her joining our family.
We’re celebrating her milestones.
We’re celebrating her life.

But I am reminded of the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas…

“And the Birdie, with her Birdie-feet ice cold in the snow room temperature on the floor, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons.
It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And she puzzled and puzzled ’till her puzzler was sore.
Then the Birdie thought of something she hadn’t before.
What if Baby K’s birthday, she thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Baby K’s birthday, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

This precious baby girl has brought so much into our world.
The love, joy, and gratitude are enormous, and they are real!

Won’t you join me in celebrating Baby K’s birthday by sending love, good vibes, prayers, cheers, (or your favorite way to celebrate) to her today.
Please and thank you!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Baby K and her mommy’s birthday pie

Thing 1 and Baby K were here for two weeks!
It was the loveliest (albeit exhausting-est) two weeks in many moons.
Y’all, I absolutely adore watching my daughter be her daughter’s mom!

I love seeing their closeness. I’m amused when they get frustrated with each other. I love the way Baby K says “mum-mum-mum-mum” for her mommy.
To witness and share in their relationship is an absolute delight!

Baby K learned to clap while she was here.
She even (sort of) learned to say clap while she was here.
She pulled up so much and began cruising around the sofa and coffee table while she was here.
She even crawled up two (non-sequential) steps while she was here!
She says “Papa” for YBW and she said “Ba-Da” when referring to me. Ba-Da for Birdie? I’ll take it.

They were here in time for Thing 1’s birthday!
It’s the first time I’ve hugged her on her actual birthday since she was eighteen! She just turned twenty six!
So! Much! Joy!

Neither of my girls actually like cake, so we celebrated with a delicious apple pie!

I miss them.
I mean, I’m glad to have my ‘baby duty’ scaled back, but I miss conversations with Thing 1 and special moments with Baby K.
We drank so much wine.
Thing 1 said “Get out of my head” more times than I can count. It’s nice to be on the same page. It’s lovely to feel so close and connected to her.
We talked plans of what it will look like when they’re here for however many months starting this summer.
I enjoyed meal planning and grocery shopping with Thing 1. I look forward to that when they’re here.

Baby K played with Meredith and Beau.

They have a cousin who’s only a couple of months older than Baby K, so they love being in baby mode. These kids are nine and seven, and their mom could barely drag them away from the baby toys!
I love that my friends-as-family and actual family are such a big part of and have such love for each other!

I was with Thing 1 for six weeks when Baby K was born and we vowed then to make sure we could see each other as often as possible. You know, we’ve seen each other pretty much every other month since then. And soon, they’ll be right here whenever I turn around, then as close as their own house nearby.

I am truly grateful for the blessing of being able to witness and be a part of my granddaughter’s growing up.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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