Birthday Wishes


My mother, long ago

This is my mother, at about age two.


This is my youngest grandchild, Isa. She is one year’s old today.

I have only seen her one time, when this picture was taken. I am one of the legions of grandparents across this country who are not part of their grandchildren’s lives. I think about her, and her sister, Freya, every single day.

And it hurts.

I hope you are well, sweet baby. I hope you know that you have my blood coursing through your veins. I hope to hold you again….someday.


Kids Moved. Dog Died. Enough Said.

There’s a blog I’m posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.


Saturday. The day you’re supposed to describe your life in Six Words. I can do this, I told myself. It’s been really hard to write about anything lately, but surely I can manage six words.

The thing is, my life has been turned upside-down the past few months. I’m not sure where it goes from here. I find myself, alternately, on the verge of a prayer and on the verge of despair. There are no road maps to go by anymore.

In July, (or was it June?) my oldest son, Kyle, and daughter-in-law/best friend I ever had, Erika, told me they were moving. Across the country, as in, on the other side of the world. With them, they took my precious grandson, Kole, who was just turning into a delightful little boy of almost two.

In August, the three of them boarded a plane that would take them to the opposite coast; Seattle, Washington. My husband and I went with them to the airport. The morning was a blur of putting things into the car, checking behind for last-minute items, taking things out of the car, holding onto Kole’s small hand while Mommy and Daddy got things organized at the airport, and a few brief minutes of standing in line.

A hurried kiss and a hug good-bye. Then, they were gone.

The drive home was precarious, trying to see through my tears. Jeff and I stood in the kitchen afterwards, for what seemed like hours, holding each other, reeling, crying.

Kole is the grandchild that was born on Thanksgiving two years ago. He is the grandchild that came to us just two months after our first grandchild, a beautiful girl, was re-located by her parents to Michigan. Kole, we decided, was a gift from God –  to us. A grand baby that we could pamper and love and teach to play golf and instill in him our love of the sea.

We were still staggering from the pain of this loss when our dog, a rottweiler named Hannah, began staggering herself. Eight years old and a victim of hip dysplasia, her limbs succumbed to years of pain and she stopped. When we saw her fall on her face, trying to take a step towards Jeff, we knew it was time.

And so, in August, we sent our proud, black, four-legged friend and protector to heaven. She was the child we could not have, our reason to get up on some days, always waiting for us with a “smile” and a wagging nub when we got home from working a twelve-hour shift.

On September first, another grandchild was born. A tiny girl with a tiny name; Isa. My middle son’s second child, she is here in the midst of, and in spite of, her parent’s rocky relationship and uncertain future. What should be a joyous event for a grandmother like me, is bittersweet. I am not welcome to call, to visit, to share in the joy. The pregnancy itself was kept secret from our family until my son finally said to me (about a month before she was born) “Mom, sit down. I have something to tell you.”

I do have a couple of minuscule photos of her on my cell phone, and a handful of recent photos of my oldest granddaughter, Freya. I haven’t seen her in a year. I know she has long blond hair and a gorgeous smile. But that’s about it.

I’m trying to take steps to accept these changes. It’s hard. Jeff and I spend a lot of hours at the beach, staring at the waves, wondering “why us?” I’ve booked a five-day trip to Seattle for next month.  I’m going to a counselor. I have seen a psychic. I talk to friends. I pray.

My psychic told me to write. She doesn’t know how hard this is. I don’t think anyone does.

But I’ve managed more than six words, and that’s a start.

When You (Don’t Want To) Can’t Say No….

This week’s theme on You Capture was Technology. At first, I didn’t think I had anything to post about this, and wasn’t interested in photographing “things” so I didn’t.

A few days ago the topic on The Daily Post was “what you can’t say no to.”

My answer? My grandson, Kole, of course. Could you say “No” to this face, y’all? I didn’t thinks so.

And I got to thinking, the first moment I laid eyes on him, he was a “preemie” in the NICU and hooked up to all kinds of technology. Due on New Year’s, but born by C-section on Thanksgiving Day, he weighed in at  just barely five pounds.  But he looked up at me, with adult-like serenity and a calmness that seemed to say, “It’s OK, grandma, I’m alright,”  and I was – right then and there – forever hooked.

He was hooked up,  temporarily, to some pretty fancy technology, but we became permanently hooked, with the strongest tie there is on earth… the immediate rush of a grandparent’s love when those little fingers wrap around yours with grip stronger than you thought possible.

And now? A big boy of 15 months, he’s learned to say “Gigi” (for Grandma Ginger, of course!) Sort of. When he’s up, and I hear his sweet, little plaintive voice, calling, “Gee-Gee! Gee-Gee!”  from his crib in the next room…

Of course I get up, and of course I give him whatever he wants a hug, in the middle of the night first thing in the morning.  I’m wrapped right around those little fingers of his, now, and he knows it!

So even though these pictures weren’t all taken this week, and even though I’m late joining in, I’m posting this for this week’s You Capture. Because, as it turns out, I do have a reason to be posting about technology. Without the new advances in neonatal intensive care units, usually shortened to NICU (sometimes pronounced “Nickyou”) and also called a newborn intensive care unit, my grandson Kole might not be as happy and as healthy as he is today!

Since all of the above photos were not “technically” taken by me, here is my entry for this week’s You Capture theme, technology.

I’ve been participating in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by Beth, at I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way), it’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme.

Beth, at I Should Be Folding Laundry!, has come a long way with her photography in the past year. She has some gorgeous shots on her blog (her photos of newborns are heart-stopping!) and a lot of good advice. Are you interested in photography, like I am?  Click on the link and go check her out.

I Heart Orange

The theme over at I Heart Faces this week is “Orange.

My granddaughter, Freya, is the most adorable little orange pumpkin I have ever seen.

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other faces, or to enter a photo of your own!

You Capture Autumn

I’ve been trying to participate in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by Beth, at I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way), it’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This week it was “Autumn.”

We went on a road trip last week to see my son and his family. Where we live, on the coast in North Carolina, there are not many trees that actually change colors in the fall. But we sure did see a lot of gorgeous fall colors in Ohio and Michigan.

There were a lot of signs along the way, advertising pumpkins, hay rides, beef jerky, antiques, apple cider and corn mazes. I wanted to stop  and try everything, but my husband is a Yankee (sigh) and he believes in making me hold my bladder until I’m in tears pressing on until we reach our destination.

I caught this photo through the window of our moving car, so forgive the blurriness. But I love how so many folks had their yards decorated for Halloween.

Even the sunsets cooperated with a beautiful display of autumn shades.

My son’s yard was full of fallen leaves and shadows…

…..and this (be still my heart) adorable little pumpkin!

Y’all didn’t really think I wouldn’t squeeze in a photo of one of my grandchildren, did you?

Nah, I didn’t think so.

Head on over to Beth’s to see more Autumn photos, or to participate with some of your own. Next week’s challenge is Halloween and Silence. That should be interesting.

Then and Now: 1958 and 2010

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is Then and Now. Last week it was Collages.

I missed last week’s Spin Cycle. In fact I have missed a bunch of week’s ya’ll. I’ve been in a funk like that. This whole blogging thing is inconsistent for me. I’ve noticed a whole lot of blogs (that I used to follow on an admittedly inconsistent basis) have completely turned off the lights. Gone away.

But I digress. This week, I am participating, hopefully not too late. And I’m going to present a couple of collages here too, for good measure! You can click on the collages to make them bigger.


This is a Collage of a bunch of very old pictures. In fact, over fifty years old. This is me, back when I was little and cute:

My granddaughter, Freya, is about the same age now, that I was over fifty years ago. This Collage is of her:

Am I the only one here who thinks she looks like me?

You Capture Faces

I’ve been trying to participate in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by Beth, at I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way), it’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This week it was “Faces.”

Faces? Be still my heart! That just makes my grandma heart go all quivery and my grandma fingers go all tingley, just anticipating hitting the submit button.

WARNING: Grand baby pictures ahead, y’all.

This is my grandson, Kole, with his mom and dad, showing us all how much he loves to splash.

I have so many photos, that it’s impossible to pick which ones. My camera got sent back to it’s maker for a refurbishment,  so none of these were taken this week. (So sorry.)

I love all the expressions that Kole has, so I take pictures of him all the time, trying to capture them all!

Here is one I looovveee (with lots of “love bubbles!”)  of Kole and his dad, Kyle. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree, did it?

Doesn’t he just melt your heart? (He melts mine.)

Two weeks from tomorrow I’m going to visit my granddaughter again! She is already 14 months old, and walking and talking, I am told. Can you believe it? So I’ll have lots of pictures of her to post when I get back. (Keeping my fingers crossed that my camera comes back in time!)