Tag Archives: grandma

A little of this, a little of that

Things have been a bit crazy ’round here the last couple of months. Vio started school (Pre-K). Roo is out-talking all of us. To a seriously painful degree. Where our weekends and evenings before were spent staring at walls and repeating the age old, “Well, what do YOU want to do?”, it now seems like we’re hardly ever home.

I keep THINKING about writing here, but I never get around to it. I keep falling asleep with Roo at naptime, exhausted after the 3-mile roundtrip noontime in the HAYELL of Florida heat walk to pick Vio up from school and a morning spent with a 22-month-old who must get her talking gene from my father’s mother, who adopted him.

Hey, neat. That part of me that can whip out a run-on sentence is still fully functional! And here I thought my skill set was getting watered down.

Then, in the evening, mostly all I want to do is stare at mind-numbing television. Or super AWESOME television. I’m head over heels for Lie to Me, and now Tim Roth is the narrator in my brain. It’s ruined all other television for me. I watch CSI, and all I can think is, “Get Cal Lightman in here! He’ll tell you if this dude is lying!!”

I think that’s healthy.

Hmm. What else.

Vio. Vio and I have started reading chapter books at bedtime. The first was Charlotte’s Web, and she absolutely loved it. She got sick twice last month. (So did I.) Thank you, school! She’s loving school; this is a relief, because the first week was a huge adjustment. She has homework, which boggles my mind. She is four years old! She’s got the next twenty years to do homework. It makes me all get-off-my-lawny. See this, heavens? It is my tiny fist, and I shake it somewhat angrily in your general direction.

Roo. Roo is a spitfire. I can’t come up with a better way to describe her. She never stops talking, and she speaks in full paragraphs. She goes “AH!” whenever she gets something she wants or just because she knows we think it’s cute. She narrates every passing moment of our lives. This is how a typical drive in the car goes:


Then she’ll complain she can’t hear the radio, and she has no idea that the noise blaring over it is coming out of her own face.

I’ve started weaning her. It’s been pretty slow and steady, with my goal being mostly done by the time I leave for The Blathering (which is in just one month! I can’t wait! More on my panic over that later!) (Exclamationz!!) We’re down to nursing before bed and first thing in the morning. The bedtime one will be easy enough to drop (she’s already stopped requesting it some nights) but the morning will be difficult. I’m pretty weepy about the whole thing, but also ready to be done and so so grateful I was able to nurse her these 22 months.

Really, most time has been spent tending to Grandma Val’s things. I’ve cataloged a ton of her stuff and put it up on Flickr for out-of-town family to look through. We had a garage sale to clear out some of the day-to-day, less sentimental clutter. It was really, really hard. At the end of the day, I sat down on the floor and just cried. It still doesn’t make sense that she’s gone. The girls have handled it really well, aside from a few crying fits from Vio when she wanted to see her in that first couple of weeks. She’s doing better now.

Tonight, in the car, on the way to her house, the girls had this conversation as I clenched Matt’s hand and forced all but a handful of tears to stay in my eyeballs:

Vio: We’re going to Grandma Val’s house, Roo!

Roo: Yay! I YOVE Grandma Val!

Vio: She’s not there anymore, Roo.

Roo: Oh. I see her other time then.

Vio: She’s in heaven now.

Her little voice trailed off, and that was that.

I don’t think I really ever thanked everyone for all the kind words in the days following her passing. It meant a lot to me and Matt. Your prayers and love lifted us up, and I continue to feel that love every day as I dilly-dally along with so many of you on this splendid internet. Thanks, pretties. And thanks for bearing with me while I dust off this here blog.

(They’re … still called BLOGS, right?)


Filed under My girls, Nothing but love, Probably too serious


About a year and a half ago, before I started this blog, I shared a little story on Twitter. My husband’s maternal grandmother (G’ma V) sat with me on the couch one evening after dinner while I nursed then-tiny Roo. Not long after having her first son the couple next door had a baby, born prematurely. The mother was ill with pneumonia, and her milk never came in. The baby was given minimal chances of surviving.

So G’ma V volunteered to nurse him. She was just 18 years old at the time.

Over the course of that year, she nursed two other preemies until they were thriving.


Thursday we got a call that G’ma V was in the hospital. She’s 81, a diabetic with weak kidneys, and this year has seen quite a few hospital visits. Matt went to see her once the girls were in bed. They thought it was likely an intestinal blockage. She’d probably need surgery.

Yesterday was Matt’s birthday. We carried on with our plans — went out for dinner (SANS children! it was a simpler time) and picked out Vio’s first bicycle for her 4th birthday — and checked in with Matt’s family as much as possible. If she was in surgery a long time, that would be good news. It meant they were able to fix things. Every minute that ticked by, we breathed a bit easier.

I settled in to nurse down Roo, when an IM popped up on my screen. It was from Matt. (SIDE NOTE: How did husbands and wives communicate during bedtime pre-internet? Friggin’ smoke signals? The mind boggles.)

His mom had left us a message.

It was gangrene. In her intestines. Large and small.

There is nothing they could do.


The past 24 hours since getting that news have been some sort of jumbled mess of tears and confusion and hysterical planning. My mom came over to sit with the girls while we went off to the hospital. We were told she didn’t have much time, but we didn’t (and still don’t) know how long “not much” might be.

Two weeks ago she was meeting up with us to watch Vio at swimming lessons, and now she’s in a hospital bed waiting to be taken off a ventilator.

My maternal grandmother died when I was nine years old; I still remember the sound of the school secretary’s voice over the PA asking my teacher to send me to the office and for me to bring my things. I can’t help but feel like I’m back in that little girl’s footsteps, echoing down the hall, as I march to the inevitable news.

I love this woman so much, you guys, and I wish I was a brilliant writer just so I could tell you all how amazing she is. I’ve never met anyone in my life who had so many people who loved her.


It’s the little things that keep knocking me down. The way she’d always answer the phone, “Hi, this is Val!” in her sweet southern accent. The wall of hats in her bedroom that perfectly matched all of her outfits. Our standing gift of a brand new pair of slippers every Christmas. How will I Christmas shop without buying her a pair of slippers?

And the big ones. The regret over not ever sitting down with her to record her oral history of the family. My annoyance the last time I saw her that we were having to pose for photographs with two very distressed children who very much needed to be put to bed. That we stopped doing Thursday night dinners at her house too many months ago.


There was supposed to be a party on Monday night for all the August birthdays in the family. I’ve mentioned numerous times that Vio shares her birthday with Matt’s mother and cousin. Earlier this week, it occurred to me that G’ma V and Matt’s aunt and I should pose for a picture together — the three generations who all gave birth on the same day.

So it goes.


Matt has just left to go back to the hospital, and the girls are in bed. I’m doing laundry with a hectic ferocity just to feel useful, and staring at the phone, wondering if it will ring and the news will come.


Filed under Nothing but love

Girl Talk Thursday – SMELLY

Smell is my strongest memory sense. I know that isn’t uncommon, but it never ceases to amaze me how I can smell something I haven’t smelled in 20 years and be instantly transported back to that moment. One of my strongest smell memories is my kindergarten classroom. About a year ago I was at the store, and a woman walked by who smelled like kindergarten, and I wanted TO CRY. I had to stop myself from following her around. I sort of regret not having the guts to ask her what perfume she was wearing, because it must have been the same one my kindergarten teacher wore. Laundry detergents and colognes of former friends and boyfriends will knock me over emotionally as I catch a whiff of them passing me in the mall. I love the smell of FAMILIARITY. The smell of Soft & Dry deodorant makes me want to rest my head on my grandmother’s chest and hug her tightly. She died when I was nine, but I will never forget her scent.

This is getting sadder than I expected! Moving right along …

FOOD. Food smells are some of my favorites. Popcorn at the movie theater, peppers and onions cooking on the stove, the smell of a pizza in the car, making the air taste spicy, as you drive it home fighting the urge to consume it RIGHT. THEN. (Side note: Matt used to deliver pizza, and his car smelled like it for about an entire year. I can’t even begin to describe the outright torture that was.) I love the smell of Thanksgiving: the turkey roasting in the oven, apple pie cooling on the window sill, yeasty bread dough rising on the counter, cranberry sauce plopping out of the can (shut it, best cranberry sauce EVER.)

CLEAN. I love clean, fresh scents. Clean laundry, clean babies, clean toilets, clean husbands … You’d think this would make me clean more often, but no. This extends to the smell of anything NEW. My mom and I both love the smell of a brand new Cabbage Patch doll or sneakers right out of the box. Shoe stores smell AMAZING to me, with all the leather and fake leather and rubber and shoe polish. I love the smell of my own hair after a new haircut, fresh with the scent of an unfamiliar conditioner and 24 different hair products.

BOOKS. OF COURSE, right? And it’s the smell that makes me love taking them out of the library more than buying them in a store. They always smell like the last home they visited. Reading a book and knowing someone else’s eyes drifted over those same words, smelling their home, their life, saved there on the pages … it makes the entire experience of reading the book something special. Don’t get me wrong; I love the smell of a brand new book, but there is no history behind it. Nothing is saved there for me beyond the fresh ink and glue.

MISCELLANY. Right now my favorite smell is burying my face in Roo’s stinky little neck. It’s so SO stinky, but it’s the cutest kind of stinky I’ve ever smelled. My brother and I must share the same sense of smell, because we have assigned names to smells that no one else seems to understand, like the smell of a SNEEZE. We get a lot of sideways glances from other people when this happens, but we just have to smile, because it’s not their fault they’re so much less AWESOME than we are.

So what are your favorite smells and smell memories? And do you know what a SNEEZE smells like?


Filed under Girl Talk Thursdays