There Will Be No Lifetime Exactly Like This One

Which WayThere will be no love, no sweetheart, exactly like this one the man who pronounces your name in just such a way, with his beautiful voice, the man who brings flowers, whose words move your heart so tremblingly softly, whose arms holds you this way and they way, embracing, consoling, protecting: the woman whose fragrance enchants you, whose head on your chest when you sleep is the sweet weight of bliss, whose kisses are blessings, whose laughter is sunlight, whose smile is pure grace.

There will be no lifetime exactly like this one, no other, not ever again, not this birth, not this particular story, this mother and father, these houses and walls, these strangers and friends . Oh! And how you are moved by it all, with such beauty, touching each other, dancing, stepping, curtsying, bowing across all the stages, filling the rooms of your lives with this joy,  this sweet love. There will be no other way to live this life, only the way you have chosen to live it and with whom moment to moment. This moment , this day, this relationship, this life, are all unique, exquisite, unrepeatable. Like every  moment as if you, indelibly, knew this.

We Love Grandparenting And Laughter

Sweet Little GirlPractice laughing it works. Deliberately think of a funny incident or joke, or ask your grandchild to tell you one of theirs. Don’t wait for laughter to come to you . . . make it happen. And smile on purpose. Even if you don’t feel like it, just using those muscles in your face actually signals your brain to release the chemicals that make you happy. So when it comes to smiles, follow that saying,”fake it until you make it!” Besides, the more you smile, the more everyone around you will smile and the more relaxed you’ll all be. 

The grand-parenting stresses in our lives are now part of our lives, and so are their symptoms. We cannot ignore them, must not feel guilty about them, and should not let them overwhelm us. The time to take care of yourself is now! The time to enjoy your life is now! I’ve seen that there is no single “right way” to grandparent. Just make sure that you’re not on automatic pilot or playing a role written by others. Make sure the way you are grand-parenting is the way you want to grandparent. If its’ not, change it . . . to your way.

Although there are probably as many different types of grandparents as there are grandparents, here is a few basic archetypes, which one, or more sounds familiar? The Enforce, The Spoiler, The Executive, The Globetrotter ( world traveler and include your grandchildren), The Environmentalist, The Buddy, and then there is The Pushover, The Cuddler,The Coach, and The Counselor, just to name a few, and I am sure that you add more. The archetypes are fun and help us to take a look at ourselves, recognize ourselves, smile at ourselves, compare ourselves to our parents and grandparents, and to make more deliberate and conscious choices about how we want to grandparent. 

All “types” are created equal. Different,  but equal. so type doesn’t matter, so long as you are loving and supportive. Roll around on the floor with them or read to them a story, both work. Get involved in whatever they are passionate about or get them excited about your interests both are great. Tuck them in  and read to them or let them stay up and watch TV with them both are special. As long as you are teaching your grandchildren about love, life, and happiness by example, your way is the right way . . .  for you and for your grandchildren.

Coast Guard Grandparents

JesseThere’s never been a generation like the baby boomers, and there never will be again! Some Boomers are retired Cost Guard, they are informed, enthusiastic, ready to beat the odds and they know how to laugh but are they really prepared to babysit?

Do they know the difference between a pull up and a pop up? Don’t laugh! I called Jeremy’s pull ups, pop ups it was an honest mistake. Plus he had to show me how to use his mother’s kitchen gadget stuff. I can’t be the only granny that can’t figure it all out!

If your grandchildren’s parents are in the coast guard then Facebook and Skype have probably become very important to you. Currently Facebook is our way of staying connected to them and my daughter in laws blog. We are so happy to be able to see what they are all up to these days it really means the world to us.

 Six years ago my son met a lovely gal and four years later they got married and when they said, “I Do ” and he became a father to her son. Then while they were stationed in the South they had two babies, a boy and a girl. Perfect! During that time I moved to the south with them (not so perfect) but then I meant a wonderful southern gentleman and now we are married. Perfect!

SAMSUNGWhen my son joined the Coast Guard he was a bachelor and I never thought  about the future or what it would be like to be a grandmother and having grandchildren moving every four years. However I did experience all the emotions mothers have when their sons and daughters are in any branch of the Military and have to move around.

Jesse And His DadThe up side of spending time with them these past four years was experiencing how awesome they are as a couple and parents and I will always consider it an honor to get to know them as a family. They are terrific people and they seem to just role along with where ever the cost guard takes them.

Miss Julie On The PhoneIt’s also been a blessing to have experience the past four years with Jeremy, and the first three years of Jesse’s life and the first year of Miss Julie‘s life. Last month they moved from The South to Alaska. It took me two weeks to adjust but I’ve made it through and now when I  drive past the Coast Guard base and see the air plane out in front and I’m happy to say, I don’t tear instead I smile!

My husband and I used to like to kid around and say “We child proofed the house and they still got in.” I know! But it’s funny. All kidding aside we had a blast with our grand-kids and suddenly for a while we were wise and loved again just because we were us.

Grandkids Keep Us YoungI’m sure they felt we were a bit odd, and occasionally I felt as though I would catch them giving each other meaningful glances that seemed to say, They’re old and we must be the patient with them.

Jeremy & JesseNevertheless Jesse and Miss Julie did not show any signs of age discrimination and treated us as though we were as young as their parents. I use to wonder if Miss Julie was thinking, oh no, here comes those old people again. Where’s the pretty blond lady? I’m referring to our friend Lynn, who loved to gently rock Miss Julie to sleep. While on the other hand I spent my time with Miss Julie walking and walking around the house for what seemed like a million times telling her she could do it and in own time she did.

 Miss Lynn & JulieWe want to thank Lynn and Victor (retired Coast Guard) for stepping up to the plate and helping us the first time we babysat Miss Julie or as the young people say, hung out with Miss Julie. We were surprised when it took three baby boomers and one retired Coast Guard guy to take care of one baby girl and when her parents came home she stayed up and played with her brother and we went home to take naps. Is that called role reversal? Parents taking naps instead of the kids!

Love from a Granny In Training

A Glimpse Into A Little Girls Dream

Sweet Dreams TonightThis captures the small bedtime rituals a little girl as she is settling down for the night, and offers glimpse into a dream time world as the she drifts gently into sleep.  Come along with her and snuggle down, close your eyes , and imagine yourself drifting gently away with her on this sleepy, dreamtime journey as she says  “Night-night” to the world.

Before she goes to sleep at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house they read her favorite “Veggie Tales Stories” to her and they laugh and laugh and laugh and then they give  her lots and lots of  hugs and kisses to their  precious grand-daughter and say, Night-night. She can hardly stop giggling to give them hugs and kisses. Night- night Grandma. Night-night Grandpa she finally says as she stops giggling.

When her mother puts her to bed she reads to her lots and lot of her bedtime stories and at the end she hugs and gives her a goodnight kiss and always says, Night- night. She hugs and kisses her mother back and says, Night-night mommy. When her daddy puts her to bed he reads her a story called “The Little Red Sailboat ” and when the story comes to the end  he hugs and gives her a goodnight  kiss and tells her Night-night.  Night-night, Daddy she replies.

 After they leave the room and tune out the light, she starts to wonder where Big Dog is? There he is. Night-night, Big Dog. Before she goes go to sleep, he kisses Big Dog and Mr. Teddy bear good night. Night-night Big Dog and  Mr. Teddy Bear. Then she asks Miss Kitty if she is sleepy yet and Miss  Kitty is never sleepy . She wonders where does Miss Kitty go at night? Before she goes to sleep she’ll snuggle down and close her eyes and sail away in her little red sailboat over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Night -night again Grandma and Grandpa and then across the pond to say, Night-night, ducks. Night –night sky.

Night -night, Mr. Moon. Night-night,  Sparkly Stars. Night-night, Big World.  Night-night Big dog and Mr. Teddy Bear, are you sleepy yet? She is almost home, now. Night-night, Me. Night-night, You. Night-night Everyone. I don’t know about you but  for a few moments it was sure fun pretending to be sailing with her in The Red Sail Boat.

“Two Special Women In One Man’s Life”

Since the beginning of time loving brides and grooms have had the privilege of picking out their life partners. However, it’s a different story for the groom’s mother when she becomes partners fused together with her daughter in law after the “I Do’s.”  Mother in-laws have shared that at first they find their new role was a daunting challenge especially if she wasn’t consulted or didn’t give her consent. But it’s a challenge that can be overcome the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is without question is like a complicated dance.

Yet, by the very nature of the relationship, the two are expected to immediately move freely and beautifully in synchronized harmony. Rarely is this connectedness and closeness realized overnight. He does, She does but what about you, the mother of the groom can you take her? The candles are lit, the room grows with a soft yellow hue, the groom, the pastor, and the wedding party are in place at the altar.  As all eyes eagerly watch the closed-door at the chapel’s entrance, suddenly the air is changed from the sweet stillness of anticipation to the first notes of the beautiful music chosen for the wedding processional. As the doors swing open, the bride’s heart races at the sound of the melodic cue to make that long-awaited, slow walk down the aisle of matrimony.

But as the song plays, the lovely bride does not realize that she is not the only lady in the room who has been cued by the music. Her mother-in-law to-be is also called to respond to the melody! While the young woman in white moves gracefully with the music toward her chosen one, the song calls the mother of the groom to graciously step to the side. In reality, the wedding processional is not just for the bride, it is also a cue for a lifelong dance to begin for two special women in one man’s life.

How true it is that so much changes for a family when the adult children fall in love and marry. Suddenly that are new members who, by decree of law and circumstance, are expected to be embraced and included into the fold. By all means, the challenge is a daunting one, especially for mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws. The daughter-in-law who may have chosen to join with her husband in holy matrimony has to face the challenge of being joined in holy matrimony has to face the challenge of being joined in a holy alliance with the rest of his family. By the sheer nature of the relationship she is expected to melt into a household of family members that are often unfamiliar and at times very different from her family of origin.

The reality is that every holiday, every special occasion, even the continuance for the coming generations pivot on the choice to unite families through marriage. Whether the parents-in-law or the adult children realize it or not, the choices that are made are life-altering for the entire family. For most parents, the grace to love and enfold those new family members by law is a mere continuum of the parental love they enjoy with own kids. However, there are those situations that may require an attitude adjustment. What does a parent do when their child’s preference of a mate is contrary to their personality or taste?  Or what if the offspring ventures outside of their culture, social class, or religion? Is is possible to accept and even cherish the chosen one when they are an unnatural fit? And what about the daughter-in-law? What is she supposed to do when she’s thrust into a new family that may already established traditions, modes of interactions, and common activities that perhaps she doesn’t readily accept or enjoy? She, along with her mother-in-law, can find comfort in knowing that they are not the first to venture out on that sometimes slippery dance floor.

My friend Jane had always dreamed of the day when she would fully embrace a daughter-in-law with the same energy and vitality  with which she loved her own daughter. The two of them always had best of times, they could shop-till-they-dropped with the best of them. Their home was full of the two of them laughter and talking throughout the house when they were together. To Jane’s thinking, adding a daughter-in-law simply ment one more girl with whom to chum around. However Jane’s daughter-in-law was not like Jane’s daughter. She didn’t readily laugh a lot, and she seemed to always isolate herself from the rest of the family. For instance, when the other women were in the kitchen preparing the meal for a family gathering Jane’s daughter in law would sit all alone in the living room quietly leafing through a magazine.

I asked, Jane if she encouraged her to join them and her answer demonstrated the patient wisdom she possessed. Jane replied,  “No.”  As much as I would love for her to feel comfortable being with me and the rest of my  family, I’ve decided to give her space enough to choose whether she stays in the living room or comes into the kitchen. For too long, she’s had someone telling her what to do, and when she didn’t do it fast enough, she was punished. Jane didn’t want to be another person demanding to have their way.

Jane went on to say, I love her and I believe in time she will feel that love. Until then, I will continue to be patient and understanding. “She’s a wonderful wife to my son and that’s all she owes me.” My friend Jane might have selected a different life-partner  for her son when Jane found out that her son was marrying a woman who had a bad life and had been previously married to a man who beat her and her child but instead she decided to love, respect and except her daughter in law the results were amazing.

 Jane learned valuable lessons over the past few years as she has invested into her daughter-in-law. The two women have since grown amazingly close and continue to do so. Jane’s  understanding and kindness has been instrumental in healing hurts of a lovely young women. Jane did it right, and she has reaped the joyous benefits of her choices.  As you establish a rhythm of love and grace, you’ll find that you and your daughter-in-law/ mother-in-law can dance a loving and joyful dance too!

“When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!”

Many couples are putting their children at the center of the family. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, after all, aren’t your grandchildren the apple of your eye too? But when parents put their children ahead of  their own needs, ahead of their marriage, it may seem child friendly, but it can lead to complications.

When children are the absolute center of the family, they can grow up without boundaries. This can lead to demanding, entitled kids. Who become demanding, entitled adults. You might have a friend or two who are demanding and they can be difficult to get along with. Can’t they? 

 No one wants their children or grandchildren to turn out to be demanding. Do they? Some acting out might be all right for a child, but future bosses, spouses and friends will probably not be so tolerant. Will they? Furthermore, being the center of the family is too much pressure for most childrenChildren cannot fulfill all their parents‘ emotional needs and it’s not fair to expect them to. Children in this position often feel they need to parent their parents and that’s not their job. Actually, it’s your job to be there for your children when they are parents.

Remind them to make time for themselves, their spouses and friends if you want to be helpful offer to babysit so they can have a date night or weekend getaway, and you’ll get to spend extra time with your grandchildren.  Bob and Jane being the wise parents and grandparents that they are, offered to babysit their grandchildren while Jim and  Lynn went out on the town.  As Lynn was leaving, she told her children to listen to Nana and Pops and then gave them a kiss on the cheek and thanked her parents.

Well, Bob winked at Lynn while reminding her of this old saying,”When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Bob’s point was that couples need to spend time together just the two of  them and keep the romance going.  Now Jim plans romantic surprise date nights at least twice a month and all Lynn has to do is show up . Jim and Lynn are feeling reconnected and Nana and Pops are “Happy Grands.” Jim agrees with Bob “When Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy!

The Mother In Law Relationship Is Complicated

The conflicts between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws is still going on it has raged throughout all of history. Nearly 2000 B.C. Rebekah complained to her husband, Isaac, that her daughters-in-law were making her life so miserable that she would rather not even be alive. Read Genesis 27:46).

Today, some 4,000 years later, women are still complaining to their husbands about these women! Mother-in-laws are still wondering why out of all the human relationships, the one between them and their daughter-in-laws is the most complicated? Second only to step relationships of course.

There is a built-in-conflict before the relationship even begins: two radically different views of the same man. The daughter in law will see him first as a man; while the mother in law will always see him first as her child.The mother in law comes into the relationship lugging a suitcase bulging with memories. From the sweetness of babyhood through the tyranny of the teen years into adulthood, these memories have indelibly imprinted her heart. She enters into this life phase acutely aware of a door closing in her life as a mother.

The daughter in law comes waltzing in with a suite case empty of everything but confidence and anticipation. She’s eager to swing open the new door and march in and there lies the basis for struggle. Both the mother in law and the daughter in law are naturally territorial when it comes to their family. Standing in the middle of  these two overlapping territories is a man who is the son of one and husband to the other. It’s in everyone’s interest for the son to step out of the overlapping territory and fully into his wife’s territory and the sooner he does this the better.

The parental relationship is secondary to the spousal relationship, yet the bond between a mother and her child is visceral. The phase “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” refers to husband and wife, yet there is little doubt a mother holding her child in her arms feels more “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh” toward her child than she does toward her husband. Again, the basis for conflict between a man’s mother and his wife.

This motherly feeling of “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” had been the source of much marital conflict: a mother consciously or unconsciously placing her child before her husband, magnifying her connection to their child. Even the court system typically give more value to the mother-child relationship.

The undeniable connection can easily cause a mother to overstep her territory and interfere with the process of her adult son transferring thus-far primary relationship, the one he has with her  to the one needs to form with his wife. If you are a mother of a son, you fully understand this tendency, because there is a powerful bond between mother and son. A man’s first significant relationship is with his mother. That bond, forged at birth, leaves a permanent imprint on both mother and son. Even if the relationship is broken, it continues to significantly impact both lives. This powerful attachment between mother and son needs to be and must be reassigned when the son introduces another woman into the picture.

Here is a scenario to consider “Suppose your son, yourself and your daughter in law were in a boat together. If the boat capsized and you and your daughter in law were both drowning, who should he save?  You might be saying to yourself, ” A man can always get another wife, but he has only one mother.”  or a daughter in law might be thinking to herself,” well his mother is old any way.” Now, now is that anyway to be thinking?

As a mother you should want your son to have a strong and healthy relationship with his wife. A mother who wants to maintain a close relationship with her son, who truly has his best interests in mind, must willingly step back and fully acknowledge and respect the relationship he is forming with his wife.

Whether she likes the woman or not. There is nothing to be gained, and much to be lost, by allowing competition to into the in law relationship. While the mother may not view her behavior as being competitive, the truth is that anything she does to maintain her status as the first woman,” whether consciously or unconsciously, will be viewed by the daughter in law as competition.

 Sometimes completely innocent behavior on the mother’s part will be wrongly interpreted this way. Knowing, this the wise mother will refuse to take offense and will carefully watch her behavior until he daughter-in-law is secure in her position. 

 Five years ago my friend Jane’s son  David married a terrific gal named Liz and on the day of their wedding Jane’s mother in law shared some advice with Jane. She said, that she chose to forget everything she had ever knew about her son and let her daughter in law discover him for herself. As any mother can image that is not easy to do. Is it? Jane and her mother in law are truly friends and enjoy each others company.

 Jane, decided  she wanted to have the same kind of relationship with her daughter in law so she decided to take her mother in laws advice and chose to forget everything she ever knew about her son David and let Liz discover him for herself.” It was a choice that has richly rewarded Jane over and over and over again. She said ,she loves how excited Liz gets when she learns something knew about David and Jane enjoys Liz’s excitement,friendship plus she completely understands why her son loves his wife as much as he does.

A successful relationship with your in-law does not necessarily mean you become best friends. It doesn’t necessarily mean enjoying lunch dates or shopping together like Jane and Liz do. Success is simply determining to live peaceably with her by any means. Success is getting up every morning and determining to leave the past in the past. Whatever your history is with your in-law find a way to make admins and move on.

Success is recognizing that at the center of your conflict is a man you both love, children you both love, and finding a way to make room for each of you to benefit from and express that shared love.
Success is consistently acting in love and letting go of the negative emotions you may have toward your in-law,start refusing to let those emotions color the quality of your life for one more minute.

Your love is like a garden, and unless you tend to it, you’ll never reap the full rewards that love can bring.