Caption this! Plus, GRAND Social No. 340 link party for grandparents

Caption this! Plus, GRAND Social No. 340 link party for grandparents

Caption this!

My three long-distance grandsons and their parents visited last month for Benjamin’s baptism. While they were here, we spent an afternoon at a local indoor trampoline park.

The big boys loved the hours of jumping about, but Benjamin is obviously too young for such rowdy, rambunctious play with his brother, James, and his cousins, Brayden, Declan, and Camden. Benjamin spent most of the outing being held by Mom, me, or—when she wasn’t bouncing about with the the big boys—Aunt Megan

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GRAND Social No. 270 link party for grandparents

You're in luck today: No pre-party chatter! That's right... we're going straight to the Social!

GRAND Social No. 270

And just like that, it's GRAND Social time!

I'm so pleased you're here to be part of it!

grand social link party

How it works:

  • All grandparent bloggers are invited to add a link. You don't have to blog about grandparenting, just be a grandparent who...
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New grandma on the blogging block! Plus, GRAND Social No. 226 link party

New grandma on the blogging block!

I often receive emails from grandmothers asking me how to start a blog. Well, I tend to have limited time for my own blog, and I'm far from a pro at blog building. (Heck, I still use an old version of Squarespace that doesn't even allow comment threading because I don't have the time to figure out how to move to an updated one myself nor do I have the money to pay someone to do it for me!)

So my standard reply is this: Visit this site and this site and you will gain all the knowledge you need to get started. Those are the sites that were instrumental in providing exactly what I needed to launch Grandma's Briefs.

I very rarely hear back from those who ask for direction. A few days ago, though, I did.

A grandma named Judy — a grandmother of 10, my friends — emailed me in September asking how to go about blogging. I gave her my suggestions on sites. She emailed me Friday to say, "I did it! Come take a look!"

I took a look and am so very proud of Judy! Her site is called Judy's Junk Drawer, and it looks like this:

Judy's Junk Drawer blog

Please visit JudysJunkDrawer and give her...

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Rest in peace, Grandma Nina

It's with a very heavy heart that I share the passing of one of the first grandma bloggers I met online, soon after I began blogging in 2009.

Nina Knox was one of my first Grilled Grandmas. She was the consummate grandma, filled with grace and love. We shared blogging stories, tips, and ideas for quite some time, but in the past few years our connection faded. We were in some of the same blogging groups together, but never close.

I knew from being in a shared Facebook group that Nina unexpectedly became quite ill when visiting Hawaii in May. She was hospitalized for quite some time, seemed to improve...

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What I learned this week: Our voices matter

child's drawing

I used to sing, now I mostly whistle. For as long as I can remember, I've enjoyed accompanying music of all varieties, from big bands to little bands, from songs that rock to those that roll classically or otherwise. That accompaniment most often came by way of singing along.

Then I started losing my voice on a regular basis. Year after year — afteryearafteryearafteryear — I would get a bad cold that would quickly become laryngitis and I couldn't speak at all for days on end, much less sing. So I whistled.

Whistling came in handy when I had no voice, at least for carrying a tune. It didn't help a bit, though, when I needed to speak. For one long stretch of years, the years when I was a writer then editor at the newspaper, the loss of my voice every couple of months frustrated me to no end. I'd have interviews to conduct, people I'd have to speak to on the phone.

I'd gargle lemon juice in the morning before going to work, gargle lemon juice in the restroom at work, gargle it (or sometimes straight vinegar) before conducting an interview. The sour juices would cut through whatever rendered my vocal cords silent and and I could speak... for at least a few moments.

Sometimes, when the lack of a voice made it impossible for me to conduct my editorial business as I should, I had to ask my coworkers at times to return phone calls on important matters or I had to resort to emailing those who needed to talk to me. And this was before the days when folks checked their email on a regular basis — and long before texting was an option.

When my newspaper department was cut and my associates and I were left surviving on freelancing gigs, the loss of a voice still tripped me up now and again. I clearly recall one horrendous interview for a freelance article, a time when Froggy from Little Rascals had nothing on me and my croaking voice, yet the show, er, interview had to go on. I was so embarrassed listening to myself later as I transcribed that interview. So painful it was to hear, and so painful for my poor interviewee.

Soon after that interview, I started my blog. I've not lost my voice since.

As silly and new-agey as it may seem, I do believe in the mind-body connection, and the connection to losing my voice was this: I wasn't saying what I needed to say, the things I needed to let out, the things I wanted people to know about me and hear from me. My blog allowed me to make my voice heard. I was saying the things I needed to say, so no longer would I lose my voice.

Because I've been sick many, many times since starting my blog but have not once lost my voice, I firmly believe that through my blog I found my voice.

Through my blog others have found my voice, too. My voice seems to have resonated with the grandmas and others who have read Grandma's Briefs during the past four years. And this week I learned that my voice has resonated with others beyond grandmas, too.

See, back last year, there was a moment when I was incredibly frustrated by the manner in which I felt grandma bloggers were treated (or ignored) in the bloggy world. So I wrote a post about it, called it The Grandma in a Box. The post was so well received by the readers of Grandma's Briefs that I decided to enter it in the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year, which is a pretty big honor for the bloggers chosen.

And this week I learned that post of mine was named — out of the 2,600 entries — not only a Voices of the Year honoree, but the People's Choice selection in the humor category. (The other categories were Inspiration, Heart and OpEd.)

My voice... among the 100 chosen. My voice... one of four People's Choice winners. My voice... now officially a voice that mattered.

So unexpected, so humbling, so exciting.

BlogHer 2013All 100 bloggers selected in the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year — including several other midlife voices such as my Generation Fabulous friends Lois Alter Mark, Sandra Sallin, Janie Emaus (a Grilled Grandma!) and Shannon Bradley-Colleary — will be honored at the BlogHer conference July 26 in Chicago. The honor is a big deal, for me and for all the other bloggers named for their voices.

But the honor is a big deal for all grandparent bloggers, too, because my voice — a grandma voice — apparently mattered to folks who are not grandmas, folks who selected the Voices of the Year. Which is huge! That means grandma (and grandpa!) bloggers are finally getting noticed, finally being heard, finally, I hope, being let out of the box.

Not only does my voice matter, our voices matter. And that is what I learned this week, courtesy the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year.

I'm over and out for the week, but I look forward to seeing you again Monday here for the GRAND Social link party for grandparents. It's where you can share your posts — your voice — so I hope you'll join me.

Have a lovely weekend!

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

Dread overhead

Bubby and his mamaMegan called Tuesday night to ask a few questions about Bubby. And his rash. Another in a long line of ailments that have plagued the little guy since around Halloween. Ailments that can be, for the most part, chalked up to the germapalooza Bubby faces with Mom being a teacher and him being enrolled in daycare -- a double whammy of germ-catching probabilities.

First it was -- or so the pediatrician thought -- asthma, which turned out to be just a bad cold. Then Bubby ended up with H1N1. That cleared up a bit ... until the second coming of the flu threw him for a loop. Then the little pink dots of roseola made an appearance (although the doctors apparently call it something a little more fancy nowadays). Then, after months of the yuck, Bubby finally seemed himself again.

Until last night. When little pink dots appeared again all over Bubby's chest.

"I was just settling into thinking things were back to normal," Megan said. "Then I saw the rash and got this feeling in the pit of my stomach. I thought, 'You've got to be kidding me!' Is this what parenting's like, Mom?"

(Bubby's 19 months old and we're just now having this conversation ... ?)

"Uh, yeah, Megan," I told her. "Welcome to parenting. That dread never goes away."

"That's what that sick feeling is? That's dread?"

"Yep, and it never, ever, ever goes away. You'll be living with it for the rest of your life."

She laughed. And so did I ... just so she wouldn't feel stupid when she realized how serious I was. I proceeded to point out to her all the moments of dread I've had just in the past two weeks, all related to one thing or another I've faced as a parent. Dread, dread, dread. And my kids are grown, hurtling faster than I ever imagined they would toward the 30-years-old mark.

She, on the other hand, has a little one, with more surely to come. And as long as you have a child -- which, once you have one, will be the rest of your life, one hopes -- you have dread overhead. It begins with worries about delivering a healthy baby, getting him past the point of SIDS, feeding him correctly, keeping him safe in the world around him. Then he grows, his world expands and a plethora of dreadful possibilities keep Mom awake at night.

Some moms may think -- moms of youngsters, that is -- the age of 18 is some magical year that means Mom will no longer worry, no longer dread. It's not true. At what age might a mom say to herself, "Okay, my kid's old enough now that I don't have to care what happens to him"? Doesn't happen. In fact, I've found the dread increases as one's power and influence (Mom's power and influence) decreases.

So yes, Megan, that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach -- that dread -- will remain with you for the rest of your life.

That's not to say the dread is overwhelming, though. Parenting comes with a host of stronger, happier emotions, too, welcome feelings that also reside in the pit of your stomach, wrap around your heart, stretch from your toes to your hair follicles, and ooze from every pore.

But that dread is always lurking. Maybe it's a fail-safe measure to ensure Mom deeply appreciates and savors the warm fuzzies, knowing the cold pricklies may bear their burrs unannounced at any time.

As soon as I hung up the phone from scaring the bejeezus out of Megan, I realized that THAT -- dread -- is the difference between parenting and grandparenting. It's the lack of dread. Grandmas don't have to worry, to fear ... to dread ... what will become of her grandchildren. That's Mom's job. Grandma's job description demands loving, spoiling, hugging, rocking, adoring the little one. Nary a mention of dread.

Grandmahood, I've learned, is a dread-free zone -- a zone in which I'm oh-so happy to have arrived!

Today's question:

What are you currently dreading?

My answer: I'm dreading going to small claims court because Renewal By Andersen owes me money. But I'm going to; it's my current "feel the fear and do it anyway" moment. (ugh!)