Throwback Thursday: 10 life lessons grandchildren help us remember

Throwback Thursday: 10 life lessons grandchildren help us remember

Dear readers: As my three grandsons from the desert will be visiting PawDad and me (and the rest of our Colorado family) this weekend, I thought it only fitting to share again one of my all-time favorite photo-filled posts featuring Brayden, Camden, and Declan. I hope you enjoy this #TBT feature, which originally published here on Grandma’s Briefs February 10, 2015. Thank you for reading my rerun.

With all that we do for our grandchildren, they do for us so very much more. Things such as reminding us of important lessons we've learned yet often forget to put into practice. Things such as these.

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An open letter to new long-distance grandmas

An open letter to new long-distance grandmas

Dear heartbroken long-distance grandma,

First, let me say congratulations on your grandma status! Whether you just learned you'd soon have a grandchild, a newborn grand recently arrived, or one or more grandkiddos have long been part of your heart, you are a grandmother and that's worth celebrating... again and again.

Today, though, I offer my condolences that your grandmother status carries, or soon will, the long-distance modifier. I know how hard that is on you. I know because I am you — a long-distance grandma.

I've been a long-distance grandma a while, with hundreds of miles separating me from my sweet ones ever since the initial "You're going to be a grandma!" announcement nearly ten years ago. Considering the survival strategies I've learned the hard way...

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7 solaces in my sucky, stress-filled season

hope versus despair

My husband was laid off at the end of September. Again. It's been less than a year since we were in the same boat. Once again, we're worrying about paying for PLUS loans, prescriptions, and more. All because "the company chose to go in a different direction with the department."

Such circumstances stink. Even more so when additional stinky stuff was packed into the months between Jim's layoff last year and this year's job loss.

What stuff? you may wonder. Well, soon after my husband found a new job last fall — yeah, the job he just lost — one of my dogs was diagnosed with...

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Musing elsewhere: 9 Personal Skills to Encourage in Grandchildren

compassion: children with ladybug 

Want to enhance your grandchildren's lives in ways that last a lifetime? Well put away your wallet and encourage kids to develop personal skills rather than accumulate playthings.

Grandparents are uniquely qualified in three specific ways to best encourage skills that make a world of difference when it comes to a child's future success:

  • boomeon bloggerWe have unconditional love for our grandchildren.
  • We support and supplement the values instilled by our grandchildren's parents.
  • We often have fewer work demands and outside obligations than the parents, hence more relaxed, one-on-one time with the grandkids.

Use your time, talents, and unique experiences to help instill important personal skills in your grandchildren by encouraging them to be:

Compassionate. Visit zoos—from open-range to petting—and animal shelters to discuss humane practices in caring for animals. Compassion for humans can be...

Continue reading 9 Personal Skills to Encourage in Grandchildren on

Grandmas don't get breaks on speeding tickets, plus other lessons learned

Four things I learned this week

gavelGrandmas don't get breaks on speeding tickets: A few weeks ago, as I raced out of town on my way to Denver for a film festival screening, I was pulled over by a motorcycle cop and given a ticket. I admit I was speeding, so I didn't cry in hopes of getting out of the ticket (as I probably should have, considering I've had a clean driving record since 1993). My ticket was $90 and a $15 filing fee; my court date was scheduled for this past week or I could pay the ticket by mail.

"Don't pay it by mail!" is the adamant advice from those who've been there, done that. "You gotta go to court. It'll reduce the charge!" So I went to court Wednesday. My ticket wasn't reduced. In fact, $25 more was added to the fees to cover court costs. I was not happy. I did cry this time... in the car... after paying the freakin' fee.

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Two things I wish I had learned this week

Funny how children can make it crystal clear the extent of things we parents don't know. Even adult children —perhaps even more so our adult children — shed light on the knowledge we lack.

It took the briefest of conversations with Megan this week to make it clear that I've got some learning to do, especially as it relates to two particular situations.

mourning statue

The first thing I wish I had learned this week:
Megan called me a few nights ago to, among other things, express her distress about the manner in which some folks were acting upon the death of a community member. We both agreed that it gets our panties in a bunch when people who were never close to an individual in life muddle about in various states of dithering and distress upon that person's passing, wearing their pain and sadness at the loss of the relatively distant acquaintance as if they had known the deceased dearly, thus justifying their excessive funereal attentions.

That's annoying. And it's so very wrong as it undervalues the pain of those who were intimate with the one who has passed. And it makes you want to shake such individuals for turning heartbreaking situations into being about them, Megan and I agreed. We also agreed in frustration that there needs to be an accurately descriptive word for that behavior that bothers us so.

A later search online for such a word came up with zilch — mostly because how do you search for something you don't know how to describe... which is exactly the reason you're searching?

A word or phrase for such behavior (funeral mongering? faux mourning?) is the first thing I wish I had learned this week. But I didn't.

five-year-old childIntrigued by Gramma's iPhone

The second thing I wish I had learned this week:
Though Megan's phone call to me began with what I noted above, her main reason for calling centered around the fact that Bubby has started taking things that are not his. I guess you could call it stealing. But do 5-year-old kids understand the concept of stealing when they pocket toys and trinkets from others at school and hide them under the covers in their bed? Well, I suppose when put that way, it does kind of seem like stealing.

But that's not what I wanted to learn. After Megan told the tale of Bubby's infractions and subsequent discipline, Megan and I discussed how frustrating it is to discipline a child and have the end result be that though the child may apologize for his or her actions, they show no remorse. It makes you want to shake some sense into them, we agreed. What good is an apology with no remorse?

More importantly, how do you teach remorse? How do you get a kid to truly and honestly feel bad about his bad behavior? Not ashamed, just... remorseful.

Megan asked me what I did when she and her sisters were young when I caught them stealing. To be honest, I could offer only one half memory of dealing with Brianna (I think it was her) nabbing a package of gum once when we were grocery shopping. I made her hand it to the cashier and apologize for taking it. And I kind of, sort of, halfway recall her showing remorse for her bone-headed bungled attempt at thievery.

I racked my brain trying to recall how I managed to get a little remorse out of my gum-nabbing daughter, yet I had no answer. I couldn't offer Megan advice or tips or sage stories of instilling remorse in a 5-year-old kid because, to be honest, I think I just lucked out in that area.

How I could pass along that luck to Megan is the second thing I wish I had learned this week. But I didn't.

Perhaps next week I'll learn the things I wish I had learned this week.

Or perhaps I'll learn the answers to both today... courtesy your comments on my ignorance.


Update on my sister: There's actually a third thing I wish I had learned this week and that would be the date my sister — who's still on the ICU floor at the hospital in Denver — might return home. Debbie continues to have issues related to her diagnosed pulmonary arterial hypertension, continues to confound doctors with those issues. I did learn she's improved in many respects, though, the learning of which makes the things I didn't learn matter far less.

Enjoy your weekend!

Today's question:

What did you learn — or not learn — this week?

What I learned this week: Quote me

Of all the things I learned this week, the how is nowhere near as important as the what.

So rather than explain the genesis of each lesson I recently learned, I'll simply share with you the bottom-line lessons themselves — via the words of folks who became wise in these areas long before I.

(One exception: the last lesson, which is in my words and my words alone.)

family quote


attitude quote


baseball quote


sister quote

And my messiest lesson of all:

spaetzle quote


All of the above, my friends, is what I learned this week.

Enjoy the long holiday weekend. Best wishes for a safe and memorable farewell to summer!

Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

I do not want what I haven't got... or do I?

overflowing glass

While reading the introduction in this book I received for review, I came across a phrase I vaguely recalled hearing before, one that's apparently been expressed in a variety of ways by a variety of people.

When I did a quick Google search for the origin of the quote, the results listed hundreds of folks saying basically the same thing, everyone from Elvis to Rita Mae Brown, with plenty of others in between and beyond.

Ultimately, Maya Angelou best summed up the concept I had read in the review book, the phrase I had Googled, with this:

It has been said that we need just three things in life: something to do, something to look forward to and someone to love.

— Maya Angelou

In spite of such wise words imparted by Angelou and others, I often feel compelled to be continually searching for more, searching for purpose, searching for bits and pieces to further patch together a full and fulfilling life for myself.

Why do I do that? If those three things — something to do, something to look forward to, someone to love — do in fact make for a full life, my search could easily end here, as I already do have a very full life, indeed.

I have something to do...
Every day I have more on the agenda than hours in the day. I have much to do — and even more that, despite my best intentions, doesn't get done.

Some of the duties are self-imposed, others are simply the day in and day out requirements of being a woman, wife, mother, grandmother doing my best with the blessings (and, sometimes, burdens) bestowed upon me.

I surely am not wanting when it comes to things to do.

I have something to look forward to...
Something to look forward to? I have that and then some.

In the short term, my April calendar is jam-packed with things to do, events to attend, grandchildren I get to spend time with.

In the long term, I look forward to goals I'm determined to achieve, additional blessings I will receive — new sons-in-law, more grandchildren, the memories my husband and I have yet to make with one another as well as with our growing family before our time is through.

I surely am not wanting when it comes to things to look forward to.

I have someone to love...
No, I have not just one someone to love, I am fortunate to have dozens upon dozens of someones to love.

At the top of the list is, of course, my immediate family — my husband, daughters, son-in-law, grandsons. The list also includes my family of origin, my husband's family of origin, plus my friends I now consider family, many of whom I'm closer to than I am much of my birth family, many of whom are my friends reading this right now.

I surely am not wanting for people to love.

When I stop and consider it, my cup surely does runneth over. I am not wanting for anything.

Except, perhaps, for the wisdom to find peace and contentment in that, rather than continually feeling the need to search for more.

photo: stock.xchng

This post linked to Grandparents Say It Saturday.

Today's question:

How close to 'full' is your cup?

What I learned this week: Love in action

As I mentioned last week, it's important to learn new things all the time — even if you have to dig deep to define after the fact what those lessons have been.

This week, I learned quite a bit about copy editing for a website that's not mine, as I started new online gig as a copy editor for Expounding on that lesson would be quite boring to many of you, I'm sure, so I have another lesson I learned this week that I'd like to share. (Yes, I did indeed learn two things this week!)

Here is what I learned this week: I learned that if I keep my iPhone close by, move quickly, and not let the subjects notice I think it's a big deal, I can catch love in action.

Love between Mickey (one of my dogs) and Abby (one of my cats):

cat loves dog

cat and pointer pit

 dog loves cat

This post linked to Grandparents Say It Saturday.

 Today's question:

What did you learn this week?

The Saturday Post: 'Magical Journey' edition

Our kids may have moved out and on, yet there's still plenty for us to do and be and grow into. Katrina Kenison's words, excerpted from Magical Journey, beautifully and gracefully underscores that as she moves into a phase of life many of us already know, may still be coming to terms with.


I posted a similar yet quite different video from Katrina Kenison in the past, a recitation from her book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day. If you  missed it, check it out here.

Today's question:

Which was/is more challenging for you: young kids at home or older kids who've moved out?