grandparenting


As I think of life and the challenges it brings I am reminded of my grandmother. The first 4 yrs of my life we blessed with her presence. In that time though, this woman left a lasting impression on me. She had lost her vision before I was born. My mom had told us she had undergone surgery for glaucoma and her optic nerve was so damaged that she lost her vision.

We lived in an upper flat in Bridgeport Conn, and it is amazing what I remember from those beginning years of my life. We lived there together, my parents, my grandmother, my older sisters and me. Karen was 10 yrs older than me, so I am sure she remembers much more than I do. Pam was 1 1/2 yrs older.

My grandmother though, singer-closedeven though she had not literal sight, she did amazing things. We, as children, needed to make sure we did not move furniture or leave toys on the floor.  I remember wanting to help hold my grandmother’s hand to help her at times. In the apartment, I remember there was this sewing machine and it seems like it was in a corridor or a hallway. She loved sewing, and even though she could not use her eyes, she used her sense of touch. This sewing machine was totally manual. singerWe would open up the table and she could sit at it, put her feet on the pedal plate and as she pushed up and down on the treadle, the machine would sew.  I would watch her sew aprons, napkins, things the had square pieces of fabric. My mom must have cut the squares of material, but my grandmother would sew the pieces together, rocking back and forth on the treadle. If something moved out of place, I would help her by getting it.  I loved the time with her and I remember trying to imagine not seeing, and amazed by her ability to not let that stop her.

I do not remember her doing things in the kitchen, but I also remember her holding me on her lap.March 1953 with Gramma and first birthday (2) It was a sense I just always remember being there. This picture is me on her lap and Pam next to us.  I remember bedtime stories as she “read”. Pam and I would help turn pages as she seemed to be at the next part of the story, and sometimes we would tell her she skipped a page.

When you are born and people are a part of your life from the start, they are a part of why the sun rises and sets. You just know they are there. I truly loved her, Dec 1954 with grammaher embrace was comforting, her love was welcoming, her determination to live life to the best she could, she was such an inspiration to me. I often wonder if I ever drove her crazy. Pam and I were so different, she was more subdues, me I think I was always kinda silly, active, and hmmm probably a little overwhelming at times.

I remember the day I saw her last… I was 4,  she was at the sewing machine and she said was unable to lift the needle, her hands were not working. I remember her being frightened, and me being scared and getting my mom. I remember an ambulance coming, the men who came and got her, and as they drove away, not understanding what was happening. That was the end of that chapter in my life, she never came home. When she left her earthly home, ended up in her eternal home, she may have left the world in a physical sense, but the things that matter, her soul, her spiritual gifts, those never died, and as confusing as it was to me at four, her determination, her accepting adversity, her unending appreciation for each moment, that lives on. What a blessing she was to me, she helped to lay the foundation blocks of my life, and to remind me that life was never promised to be easy, it is a gift and a matter of attitude how we handle it.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

I often find my mind taking me back in time, and remember that through most of the years of my life, it was the times spent with the special men in my life, not the times away from that I remember most. me and my dadAs a very young girl, it was my dad. He was the comfort, the strength, a gift. His job had him away during the week and home on Thurs nights and back out on a short sales run, returning usually Friday nights.

Our time together meant everything to me. I remember his hand holding mine securely, his voice was deep, his love for all of us was unending. I remember his hugs, his laughter.

He used to say I was his princess. I remember how he tried to take time for each of us. and my time I saved in a vault in my mind, in my heart. It brings me comfort in so many ways.

I remember how he was one who would remind me through the years he was alive, that life never promised to be all good, me and my dad at beardsley park ctbad things happen, and that somehow the bad turns into good again.

Karen was 10 years older than me, and it is funny in the couple of pictures I have of her with me and dad, she is always looking back at me. I can only imagine I was a chatty little one.

We all remember dad in different ways I am sure. Karen was 10 when I was born, so she already had 10 years of memories before my dad times started.

Pam my next older sister was 1 1/2 yrs older than me. She and I had a lot of fun and not so fun times, just due to age, and I always felt a tad bit of jealousy from her. She too had memories of dad, and dads death took a really bad toll on her. To the point that as an adult woman, every anniversary of his death she would end up in a severe depression. Sometimes to the point of needing an inpatient admission to help her get to the other side. pam, karen me and our dad

As I got older, there have been men in my life who also had employment that required they be gone a good percentage of the weeks. I never ever regretted that, I accepted it without any second thought, because the time they were home, was valuable, treasured and never taken for granted. It is not the amount of time spent, it is how we use the time when we have it to spend. To be constantly together, 24/7; I think it becomes an expectation, I think there are moments that would be more special if they were not routine.

During the first 10 years of my life, I remember my mom, however times I remember more vividly are those in which my mom and dad were there. I wonder often how life would have been had he not died when I was 10. Time with dad, it was quality time, the pieces fit together.

As I look back on my own adult life, seneca lake 5-1990Mark was away often for his job, just like my dad was. It was how life was. When our own kids were growing up- we tried to spend quality time with them when Mark was home. We would go to some places – often places that did not cost a penny, yet their value priceless. Walks in parks, sitting on docks, camping in our pup tents, later advancing to pop-ups. Playing ball, frisbee, Yahtzee, the list goes on.

And now the times with our grandchildren, the moments are treasured, they are not routine, and we do things with them. It is the special times, times giving of oneself and really focusing on the other person, those are quality times.

AS I am off for a new week, I am going to work on quality and not quantity…

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

Today marks yet another year of life. The moments are but 20181223_141334footprints, soon to be washed away, yet leaving impressions in our memory banks. A year of hopefully some positive that happened, a year for some filled with one or more life-changing moments, and a year that some may want to run out of as quickly as possible.

I have a friend who married a man that is her soul mate. I mean to the max. The love you see in their eyes when she talks about him- about them- in their interactions captured on photos, it has been a truly blessed year for her.

I have a friend, 20171019_174502she is a soulmate friend, we think alike, we just know when the other needs a call, a text, a visit, we say the same things, .. well she and her husband retired. They totally changed their living situation, sold a home, bought a place in Florida and have a permanent park setting on a lake in Upstate New York… Part of her time south, part up here. Oh, they had some major bumps along the journey, but all in all, looking at their smiles and stress-free facial expressions, it has been a good year for them.

Mark’s and my year, whoa, we look in the rearview mirror of that, and it has been full. We started the year with a 6-month mania for Mark, the incredible changes in our lives during that time and the challenges for him to face the 4 1/2 months of climbing out of depression. I experienced changing my department at work in August due to my place of employment being acquired by a very large company and learning oh so many new things. It is a good thing, just a big change. We spent some fun rewarding times with the grandkids and spent some great times with family. We helped Marks mom as she transitioned from an apartment to an Assisted Living Environment. Yes, it has been a year.

I think about life, each breath, each step, each second is like a snowflake. By itself, it may not mean much, but add them together and it creates memories, it creates opportunities. And as quickly as a snowflake can melt, so can the moment be gone. I look back on the year 20181205_074029-2.jpgand think of all the things different, of the few more aches that might be there at times, and I wonder what lies ahead.

I long to treasure each moment, to look for the good in everything, and to be the best I can be.  I am thankful for what has been and what is yet to come. I realize that life is full of changes, of hurt and of happiness. I feel blessed that I am aware of the presence of those who have passed on still being here for me in their subtle ways. I feel thankful to have been blessed with my husband, our kids, and our grandkids. I am thankful for my siblings and all the members of our family, my friends, the church I attend and thankful for living my life in the comfort of God.

As I look ahead, sept-2011-stuff-036.jpgI do not know what each day will bring, but each breath I take, each step I make will be with the intent to be the best I can be for that moment.  The saying “moss won’t grow on a rolling stone” will continue to be a reminder to keep moving…  So as I end this year with this post, I wish all have time to reflect, to look ahead. Happy New Year. Until next year, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

So as I was making my weekly grocery list on a pad of real paper, with an actual pen, I was thinking- hey I could just go online, and order this all.. and …. nope— STOP…. I am going to continue to go out and shop for groceries. I enjoy seeing others, I enjoy making sure what we are buying is what we intended to buy, …

Well, this got me thinking… I think as the world continues to advance, to become more virtual, we have to remember to have real-life experiences. We need to interact with face to face, real life, and reach out and touch moments.

To see peoples face on face time is a great tool, because people can be in places you can not be, and have a20181103_151343 conversation with them. However, doing face time with people that are just a few miles away, well I feel that going outside and seeing them might be the option to take.

We can now go to our computer, cell phone, tablet or probably talk in the air to “Alexa” or “Google” devices, give a list of things we need from the store, and have it delivered to our doorstep, or have someone waiting to load it in our car.

Instead of face to face, touch the items, one can buy virtually anything without going out and seeing it. And God forbid it not be what we expected from the image online we ordered it from. Instead, had we just gone to a local vendor, a store, a warehouse and seen it, felt it, looked it over, well then we know what we are buying.

Now everyone ( including me) can make all the excuses and reasons why this is so great. It keeps me away from germs of others, I do not need to deal with long lines, it gives me more time to fill up my day with a bunch of other stuff. Heck before we know it we have fit what used to be 36 hrs of actions in an 18 hr day.

We do not have to go to a movie- nope we can sit in the comfort of our home and watch the movie, stop it when we want, and put it back on after we pee, or grab a drink, or stretch, AND we can watch it in our jammies. Now I am not saying this is wrong, it does, however, take away the “going out to a move” experience. The smell of the popcorn, the darkness as you sit on seats in rows that are on an inclining floor.

There is nothing that replaces taking a trip to a planetarium. The music, the narrator, 100_0446_thumb.jpgthe feeling you are in a spaceship in orbit as they show us the universe, the night sky.

To show a child a firefly cupped in your hand, or to show them virtually via a YouTube image– well the magic is definitely in the first option.

 

IMG_0468Playing games, 20181119_190236yes real hands-on , touch the pieces, not only hear the voice of your opponent but to see their eyes, to laugh in the same room, that is so much a component of that experience. Oh I know we can get games and our opponent is part of the game, we had this one game where we could choose the country and type of opponent we wanted. A man calling you “Chap” to a down-under voice teasing when they are about to whomp you. It, however, takes away the real socialization.

Virtual convenience is nice, however,IMG_0767 we as adults, our kids, our grandkids, our friends, we also need to keep our social skills up, we need to take advantage of the value of being real- in real time… to be able to interact and not feel lost in the world.

We can in balance embrace the various incredible things that are available to us, things to make our life easier… yet we need to be aware of what is important at the end of the day, what is a need, what are we doing as a “cop-out” or because it is just less demanding of our time… and what is a want.

Thoughts to ponder…. Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

 

 

 

 

IMG_3589Well, the weekend is over and a new week begins. The dinner at Jeff and Amanda’s was the icing on the proverbial cake. It brought together Our kids , their spouses, and our kid’s kids. It happens too infrequently, it is nice when it does happen.

It brings to mind the importance of stopping for a bit. We have all gone in various directions in our lives, our grandchildren have different interests and our responsibilities keep us all going in different directions, that it is nice to stop and have all our various pathways intersect, our universes align.

At times there was more than one conversation, IMG_3587and the cousins laughing and having a great time, kids being kids. Life, I am so often reminded about life is what we make it to be. There are times and situations that we have no control over, and those times, well we do the best we can.

As we sat there conversing, sharing where we are in life, our days, our current events, experiences. it really is amazing all the experiences the grandchildren have had, that our kid’s families have had. Places they have been and plan to go. How each adult is very responsible, very respectable, they love one another and all love their kids immensely. As a parent ( grandparent) – I can not ask for anything more.IMG_3585IMG_3586

IMG_3582-1The 5 kids running, talking, laughing in the background took me back in time, memories of growing up in a house with 6 of kids, it brought a sense of comfort and many many memories. The sounds were what our house sounded like every single night, every weekend, every summer day and night whenever we were all in the house. It is the building blocks that create each of us. The noise of youth, noise that is there – no internet needed, no electronics, noise that is a sharing of each other. My mom would say she loved the sounds in the house, it was the sound of life. Oh at times she would get frustrated with the energy of the six of us I am sure.

When we went to bed, drifting off to sleep to the sound of the whistling tea kettle, we knew mom was getting ready  to unwind, to focus on her stuff, for she also she loved the quiet- a time she knew everyone was safe, comfortable and resting, charging up for another day of running, laughing, talking, creating and even a few arguments along the way.

It was nice to go back in time, and comforting to know that each of us is doing ok, in our own way, in our own lives. Until the next time we gather together, I will keep close the memories of today.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

This is a lesson in life that is learned and relearned and relearned again. As we grow up, we are impressed by and exposed to many people, places, events, and experiences. Some-end-8-11-and-fair-9-2-11-010.jpgI remember many a time wishing I was more like another or thinking how come they have such and such, or they wear such and such.
The pressures of being feeling you are welcome or trying to be accepted, they can be overwhelming. In growing up that seemed important at times, and also seemed to not be a pathway I was on as far as it went with the “cool kids”.
I remember my mom on more than a few occasions reminding me that it is what is on the inside that counts. I may not be the best dressed, the prettiest, the richest, the most popular as I walk through life. Those things are not what is important. It is how you act, how sincere you are, how empathetic you are, how caring you are, how honest you are. Those are the qualities that make you a person others will want to know, those are the qualities of a true friend.
Material things seem to matter to many people, the best car, the most souped-up technologies, the fanciest name on the clothes … in the end- what really mattered was who we each are. Not what we have. IMG_3476The stores, the commercials, the internet is filled with so many THINGS to get that “special person to show them you care”. That does not show a person you care, spending time, listening, give and take conversations, that is how someone knows you care about them.

 

afterglow backlit beautiful crescent moon

Have you ever known of a person who you thought was someone you wanted to know better until they opened their mouth and you realized they are extremely focused on themselves? Or wished for that certain something, only to find it was not worth the effort of getting it.

I knew a person once a LONGGG time ago who had to look in every reflection at himself. I kid you not, I think he liked when it was early morning or dusk because all the windows became mirrors.
There are so many things in life that if we determine it by its cover, by its appearance alone, we just might be focusing on something with no depth, without substance. Life is too short to be artificial. 20171008_162712

As we raise our kids, as we mentor others, as we present ourselves to others, we need to remember it is not just what is seen, it is all those special things, it is what is beyond what is seen that matters. What can we share of us, not what can we buy, but what can we offer from our hearts to others?

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

 

 

Another day is dawning,  memories to be made, impressions to leave, moments unchangeable.IMG_0756

As the day begins, as the next step is about to happen, the next minute here among us, I am thinking about life and the effects we have on it.

 

RESPONSIBILITY:  We all are responsible for our actions. This goes for every single thing we do. We can not choose which things we do we are and are not responsible for. Nope, we own each thing we do.

That is a huge responsibility. Why, because sometimes the things we do, we don’t even realize or think about the end result, we get wrapped up in a moment or jump on the proverbial “bandwagon”. However, as we travel down the twists and turns of life’s journey,  and at the end of our road in life, it is us and us alone who individually made choices.

I say this because of many reasons, many reasons I myself have chosen to do things, and once they were done, well there was no rewind, no “gee I didn’t mean to be that way, or “I didn’t mean to do that” or “I didn’t mean to _______”.  The “I wish I had” thoughts do not count.

There have been things I have said, I can not take back. Actions I did, I can not undo. As a nurse, I have cared for patients who would say, “I knew better” or “If I only had never smoked” or “I took the chance ____”   Notice the similarity– “If I only had not or didn’t”

My parents would say to me when I did something I totally should not have, “You know better than that” or ” Bet you won’t do that again” or “what did you learn from that?”. And as I was growing up, she would wipe the wound ( physical or not) and guide me through the why’s and maybe even have suggestions on how to deal with that scenario in the future. They were preparing me for my future.

As we grow up we are still responsible for our actions. There are consequences to what is done, said, or ignored. If any of us are asked to do something and we say we will, if we then do it halfway, or not appropriately – if we take a risk, a dare—- we cannot go back and get those minutes to undo it.

In our roles in life, ( being a friend, an adult, a mentor, a stranger, a human being ) whether at work or in any environment around us, writing anything in social media, in an article,  we can not take it back. It paints a picture of us that can not be painted over, the “delete” does not remove words or photos or actions done.

Our reactions to something said or done, we can not undo that either. In life I have found to tread softly at times, to think before doing or saying, and to appreciate and take responsibility to every minute I am on this earth.

What image are we giving? What actions are we doing? What consequences because of those actions, or lack of actions are there? What image have I left?

Those are my thoughts this morning, something I will remember as I get ready for another day to be the best I can be.

Until later, Mrs Justa alias Cindy

 

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