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Sunday, January 15, 2017

What's New For Grandparents - or Thank God I'm Not A Millennial

So. The What's New For Grandparents class turned out to be something else. Of course, I'm interested in all things new baby, but when I was expecting I just figured the grandparents would kiss and spoil my baby and I would take care of the rest. Baby would sleep, eat, get bathed, be snuggled and grow bigger, stronger, and more fun.  I hadn't planned on asking them advice. I already thought I knew most everything and I had a book that told me the rest. Still and all - I'm enough of a woman - and librarian - to be curious about all the juicy details of reproduction. BD, otoh, is squeamish even about his own body - He giggled and shied away like a nervous colt and I mercifully released him from participation. Instead I sent him out to pick a new dishwasher for me. I don't have an opinion - I just want one that works with the fewest digital components. 

It turned out that, of us first time grandparents, all but one were parents of the father-to-be and, except for me, they were all having 'issues' with their D-i-Ls. It ended up being more of a counseling class for grandparents who felt rejected. I understand rejection. Once upon a time - long ago - with someone else - I was an unwelcomce MiL. If you know my story you know I felt sympathetic. But I hope I would not have read out a detailed list (including the make, model and mileage of the car) of ThingsIHadGivenThoseUngratefulChildren. Mind now - I felt plenty of resentment and hurt once upon a different time - but I hope I wouldn't have shared it with strangers. 

Then again - strangers are the safe people to share grousing with. Friends stick around to remind you of what you said. Ha! so I can share it with y'all now. 

Psyche. Just kidding. 

Even the more decorous paternal grandparents hinted at the sense of being second class GPs around their DiL and that weakling son of theirs who was obviously UnderHerThumb. It made me doubly grateful for my DiL and also for how much love poured all over LD from every direction, all those years ago. Both Grandma and Grandmother were too busy loving him to compete with each other - or if they felt competitive - they never ever showed it to me. We just all adored that little cutie-pie and everybody shared. 

But ya know - even as I am typing this I can remember the covetousness exhibited by my mother when my sister had her little boy .... and so it's good to remember that family dynamics, while similar, are always unique to the individuals involved. Mama would never have been covetous around me because a. I shared and b. BD would have frozen her out with his aura - unintentionally, I am sure, but ... no way. No way would Mama have presumed anything around my husband. Whereas my sister's husband? He was always a child to her. A pretty child, but still a child. 

To repeat what my oft' quoted cousin KP says "If ya want ta know the EFF word I'll tell ya! It's FAMILY!" 

Most of all, it would never occur to me that my 40 year old son and his very serious, strong and smart wife need unsolicited advice from me. Even when I tell them stories about TheOldDays - they're just intended to be stories - and I made sure to tell them that, when we had dinner last night, just to be sure. Besides. What do I know about raising babies. I had a free range baby who was sick only twice before he started school. The first time was my fault - at 4 weeks, on the hottest day of the hottest summer in the whole decade of the 1970s I sat on the riverbank dipping my little month old baby's toes in the warm water. Suddenly a wave slapped him in the face - he took a huge gulp of Rappahannock River Water (think "swamp water" from the old Debbie Reynolds movie "Tammy") and there began the worst 24 hours I ever had to sweat through. Of course his fever went through the roof. Of course we didn't have telephone. It was a Saturday night and his little body fought it off in 24 hours. Obviously God had other plans for him than that of Victim Of Stoopid Mother. He was't sick again till he was three, when I could explain to him that pretty soon he would throw up and then he'd feel better. Which he did. But I stayed up all night anyway just so I could talk like the other mothers about how hard it was to be a mother. How demanding. How much it took out of me. Which it never was and never did. Of course, even as I was doing that I knew it was all a pose and what I ended up bragging about was what a big fake I was. He was never sick. And the accidents he had were all things we could fix - except, of course, the ones he didn't tell me about - like - the broken nose he got jumping off the highway bridge with his older cousins who I would have killed had I known. He was smart to not tell me. 

The rest of the class was about SIDS (so durn scary who'd even chose to have children nowadays?) and other ailments - so I was doubly glad BD wasn't there. I never had to syringe mucus out of a tiny nostril. Thank you, merciful heavens. He only had that one fever and it was gone in 24 hours so I never had to take his temperature. I can't remember if there was a big deal about bathing him when he was new - I'm sure I did. When he got bigger he took a bath with me. And he was mostly naked anyway because he was a summer baby. He slept on his tummy because I worried if he spit up he'd drown. Turns out that's a big no-no. Breast feeding was a no-brainer. I don't think there even was a pediatrician in the county back then and we were too poor to drive to the city for one - besides he was never sick - but the old-timey family doctor who gave him his immunization shots told me "Hmmm. Bright eyes. Good skin. Growing nicely. Keep it up". He also charged me $10 a visit when I told him we didn't have insurance - in fact, every doctor we ever had did that - cut the bill to what I could pay. 

So - ya know - I couldn't give advice if I was asked for it. Like Topsy - my baby just growed. 

But it was still fun to look at baby things and dream about a baby to love and be reminded that if I just ask the parents what they'd like, they're going to tell me. And I don't have any problem asking. Which I did at dinner. Yes. We are wanted at the hospital after they've had a little time to themselves. No we don't need to come stay after she comes home. (wasn't planning on it anyway) Son has paternity leave. What does she need me for? Except to come agree with her that this is the most beautiful baby that ever graced the earth and of course I see the sunbeams shooting out from the golden halo around her head and hear the heavenly chorus singing in the background - and then go home so they can both have a nap. 

Dr.'s tell her the due date is today but she tells me she thinks it's closer to the 20th. Baby gave me a little kick last night and we are all just full of joy and anticipation. I've never seen my son look so happy. Life is good. 

Glad I am an old lady. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Fresh Start of a New Year

Whoa. January 7 already? A whole week of this brand spanking new year gone? Man - this time flying stuff is catching me off guard.
Image result for new grandbaby
Not that the year hasn't started off in an interesting way nor that there aren't some major events up ahead. Some of them any day now. woo woo lucky TheQueen!

It's just that I don't feel the familiar verve to put word to paper - even virtual paper. I do feel a sort of nagging guilt to do so - because:
a. I like to blog
b. I have always talked to much anyway
c. I have a secret yen to be a writer - as in, ya' know, a real writer.

But even a real writer has to have something to say. And, perhaps, right now I am all about the experiencing, not the saying.

In an effort to stimulate my writer-self, I looked back over some previous January 1 posts here and in the original LikeTheQueen blog. At first it was hard because the past few Januaries have been full of missing Mama and while it was fun to see old photos of her - OUCH - there was also that pinch. Lawsie I miss that woman. The "missing" is sliding into the good pain zone - where the missing of Pop and Grandma lives - but it's still a little raw.

The older posts are all about knitting and not buying so much durn yarn and trying to lose weight and declutter and oh - be more cool. And all sorts of cryptic things about werk because - well - one does NOT blog about one's job. At least, not about the trials of it -even if it's the looming monster waiting to devour; the banshee outside your bedroom door (there is a story to that, btw).  I can promise there will be more cryptic posts in the future because - still werkin' ya' know.

So - nothing in the past prompted my creativity. And my present is all about the snow. As in - it's snowing today and we're promised 7 inches. That makes today just right for this

and this:

I could post about my New Year's Resolutions, but I think I'll let Calvin say it for me:

Perfect as I am, though - I think I shall make this commitment: I shall blog at least twice a month. And to help me find something to say I have bought a pretty little journal of writing prompts. I'm supposed to write in that but I know I won't. I already have enough pretty journals to hand write about the Life-0-TheQueen. These are "make your life better" journals and it doesn't matter if I mix up all the letters that are circles with tails in these. One is for cooking. One is for more personal stuff.
But to practice wrapping my thoughts up in beautiful words I'll be blogging about oh - you know - My Favorite Piece of Art and Why. (of course who could have a real favorite piece of art - do you love that hunky David more than the Boating Party? Yeah. I'd have a hard time picking too.
Still and all - I'm gonna give it a try. After 3 months I'll revisit this idea and decide if I want to continue. So. Stay tuned. (I used to think they were saying state tuned when the TV announcer said that - like whatever I was watching was specific to Virginia.) And stay warm. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Poor New Year's Resolution - It Gets Such A Bad Rap

And do you know what a RAP is? It stands for Record of Arrests and Prosecutions so it's already a bad thing to get. So a bad rap could be a good thing - when viewed as a double negative. Or perhaps a bad rap is a false record of arrests and prosecutions and should really be called a bum rap, which is slang from prohibition times - and in gangster movies staring Edward G Robinson.

Sic semper ENFP

I was really prompted to write about resolutions - because the media is chockablock full of chatter about them - why they are bad, why they don't work, how to make ones that do - yada yada yada. Me? I love 'em.

btw - chockablock didn't originally mean full - it just meant things were pulled so tight they couldn't move any more - while full to the brim-edness was expressed by the Middle English chokkefull  which I have always mispronounced as chock-full, as in the coffee Chock full o'Nuts - which I used to swear by but which now doesn't seem to taste the same.

Look! A bird!

LEFT BRAIN:  (snickering) I'm the one messin' with her. Just feelin' silly

RIGHT BRAIN: (whispering) and I'm the one coming up with all the definitions

Is that brain chatter I hear?

LEFT BRAIN:& RIGHT BRAIN: (more giggles)

Okay - sorry - to get back to resolutions. I love resolutions. I loved them the first time I heard about them - somewhere around age 9. My dad told me about them. He said you wrote down a list of things you wanted to do, or do better, in the coming year. You did this on New Year's Day. It was probably the first time it ever occurred to me that I had a say in what things I could do better. That growth and progress and improvement and achievement belonged to ME. Up to that point I just did what I was told because the consequences of not obeying parents was pretty dramatic.  Not only had I personally experienced those consequences, but as a good little Virgo daughter, a second daughter, following in the footsteps of a roaring, fighting, angry lion of a Leo big sister, I had witnessed even more dire consequences, second hand. Being a good girl, following the rules - hey - not just second nature to this September baby but proof that life, at least the life of a child, was all about the obedience.

Suddenly the chief executioner was telling me about personal choice? Man - this was treasure! This was a glimpse into the Aladin's Cave of Adulthood.

"You decide what you want to improve"

I decide? Me? Not parents, teachers, policemen, presidents? ME? How cool is that?

Which just goes to show you that no matter how carefully you try to explain and demonstrate and map things out for your kids, they're always going to pluck from your wisdom, the thing they are looking for. You might get lucky. They might get the gist of your message. But they might not. You'll never know - till they're 40 and are reminiscing over a drink on the back porch. Like when you find out your kid broke his nose when he was 14, jumping off a highway bridge. Ask me about that, sometime.

For that matter - don't we always find the thing we are looking for? The thing that bolsters our beliefs? You know this is true.

Anyway - from that day on I would write down lists of Things That Could Be Better! At the peak of my resolution writing history I probably wrote down 40 New Year's Resolutions a year. Now I tend to just examine parts of my life and see what New Things I'd like to try. What sorts of experiments might be fun.

And therein lies the difference between me and all the authors of WhyYourNewYearsResolutionsFail articles. They have made the mistake of seeing the resolution as a punitive thing intended to eradicate your bad behavior - or at best, as a goal - which always means there is the threat of failure, which, because you're such a looser anyway you'll probably succumb to, so why write a resolution anyway? Besides, statistics show that you won't lose weight. You'll get heavier because hey - you probably live in America and drive past 14 hamburger joints before you get home from werk.

Me? I see the New Years Resolution (s) as all the cool stuff up ahead. All the things I might want to try. Every experiment that might bring about interesting change. Everything that looks like fun.

I love me some resolutions. I feel sorry for people who feel burdened by them. I wish they'd just embrace the Power of Choice and go out and .... have some fun.

LEFT BRAIN:& RIGHT BRAIN:  we think so too!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

What Makes You Feel Rich?

Of course, it might be nice to actually be rich - but then - maybe not so much. If one is very rich maybe one has go about protection mode - guarding against those who either want to steal those riches or just plain hate the rich. I wonder if the rich always have to be prepared - sort of like if you ever smoked. You had to be prepared. Did you have matches? Did you have cigarettes? Did you have coins for a machine if you were out or bills for store. Were you over 16?  I sometimes think the best thing about quitting smoking was that I could walk out the door with nothing in my hands.

Okay, maybe not the very best thing but ... one of the true positives. And of course, not smoking made me richer than I'd have been if I were still popping what? $5 a pack? $7?

Image result for richie rich Lawsie - how easy it is to stray from the topic. So. To feel rich. What does it take? Very early on (like 8 years old, maybe) I figured out that if I felt rich that would be good enough. I was already one with the Virtual Reality.  The child's cartoon version of rich looked a little creepy to me - if you remember the Richie Rich comics - and Scrooge McDuck. Image result for scrooge McDuck
Of course, they were supposed to be funny. I understood that. Certainly the longing for instant gratification is both ancient and universal. The folklore of every culture has a wish granting genie, fairy, fish, magic ring, or wand out there somewhere just waiting to make your dreams come true and the moral of most of the stories is that money doesn't buy happiness.

Image result for little house in the big woodsAnd isn't happiness what we're all looking for? ... well, okay. Who am I to say what other people are looking for. It's certainly what TheQueen is looking for. My earliest memory of pondering wealth dates to when I first read Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods. Her tale of Christmas riches was an eye-opener. Child of the 50's as I was, I'd already been exposed to the extravagance of a television advertised, shopping center Christmas.  Yet Laura was as overwhelmed by having a candy cane, some mittens and a doll as I was by all the largess to be provided by a daddy who absolutely loved to go shopping.

Something told me that wealth is relative and the enjoyment of the experience is up to us. This concept was one of the driving forces in my early adult life and I found it was true. I could be as happy in a 1 room house with no plumbing or electricity as I could in a house in the city. Cool.

Still - I like to feel rich. I like to feel the gushing outpouring of possibility. I tremble with the tingling, open, liquid sensation of it when I'm driving away from a family reunion where I just love everybody to pieces. I gasp with the soaring feeling of walking into the middle of a field with a vast sky overhead, bald eagles wheeling above, and knowing that I am safe. I am aware there are people who don't have that kind of safety.  I love to tell my story hour children how rich I feel when I hear the sound of a whole box of 64 crayons spilling onto the table - with only one white one in the pile. It's as if I can color the entire world with that much wealth. I savor the utter luxury of stretching my legs out in bed, knowing I don't have to get up and go to work. I hold close the giggling laughter of an afternoon with a friend, doing nothing, just talking and sipping coffee.

Sigh. I think, if you have possibility, you are rich and if I could give one gift to the world, this Christmas, I'd give it the wealth of possibility.