Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
Happy Fourth of July, everyone.
Tomorrow begins the 5th year of Camp Nana in Tucson, formerly known as Camp Grandma in Leesburg for 2 years. It will be a short day, but for three and a half hours this tiny house will be filled with laughing and talking and some “he took my paper and she knew I was going to use that one!”. It will be loud and full of questions and quiet storytime and messy. Connor, Ginny, Max and Abby will participate in all things rainbows.
Rainbow art. Rainbow reading. Rainbow snack. Maybe some rainbow songs, if there is time.
And then, just as fast as camp noisy began, 3 of the little ones will be whisked away to a swim meet … another will return to his Vail family and there will be scarcely a trace of the afternoon, save for tissue paper pieces floating around; sticky glue residue on the tables and chairs and bits of snacks abandoned on little plates and something squished on the floor over there. Hmmm.
And as I drag the vacuum out, I will take another look around and picture the sticky fingers and messy faces and as though time had never even passed – I will hear his voice in my mind saying “good job, honey”.
Ricky & Isabel each prepared a dinner casserole featuring pasta and I did absolutely nothing except enjoy the food and company.
Victoria was suddenly overcome with shyness at the “kid’s table”.
We take some time out to remember this evening in pictures.
Alexander decides the perfect way to end the evening would be to form a pyramid of kids… what could possibly go wrong with four kids in a stack on a hard tile floor?
Maxwell Edward Gardner first entered my heart over the airwaves some 2000 miles away. Aunt Megan graciously held her cell phone so I could capture the first gentle baby noises of my grandson. My baby had just witnessed the birth of his baby, and a whole new world opened up.
We attended Max’s first birthday party over Skype and were honored to watch Max toddle around and open gifts and play with paper and boxes, as is the tradition of all children, it seems. By the time we moved back to Tucson from Leesburg, Virginia, Maxwell was eighteen months old blond hair and big blue eyes and a different expression every day. He wowed us with his curiosity in all things out of his reach and his wonderment at the small things that we adults forget about. Fluttering butterflies and puddles of rain water were at the forefront of his enjoyment, while we tend to put them on the back burner with usually a fleeting glance. Max would stop on our walk and crouch down to silently watch a butterfly tenderly landing on one bloom of a Bougainvillea and then another. And after his mind was satisfied with that display, he moved on to another, all the time taking it in and storing it in his memory to recall in a conversation later with mommy and daddy.
By age 3, Max was able to reason and explain himself like a high school graduate – only with cuter grammar! All through his five years, he has been a gentle, caring soul. Always tender with a hug and sweet word. As he has gotten closer to this milestone age of 5, he has mastered a dry sense of humor, the art of schmoozing and an imagination beyond his years. He takes great pride in his artwork and teaching me a song and entertaining a 2-year-old Abby. He has brought so much sunshine into my life.
Happy Birthday, Max. I can’t wait to see what you do in the next 5 years. But, let’s not have it go quite as fast. Deal? Your Nana wants to savor every moment.
Hard to believe that this tiny mite who bounced into my life at the age of two, is now a 21-year-old, married, self-sufficient young adult. And, oh, the adventures we have shared.
Here she is in 1998 taking inventory of all of her Halloween bounty! Tristan first Trick or Treated in her neighborhood, and then Trick or Treated around our neighborhood; and Gramps drove her to some surrounding neighborhoods, so it could be assured that her treats were a-plenty!
The Summer of 2001, after one of our annual School Supply Shopping excursions. Many years ago when Tristan, was just a little girl, I began a new tradition of school supply shopping. Since we lived in the same city, I would pick Tristan up and off we headed to Target to find just the perfect school supplies. We would pick some items from the list send home by the school, and we added some other things just for fun. Everyone needs paper and pencils and erasers and such. But it is much more fun to have pink pencils with silly erasers and fun characters on homework folders. Works just the same, but puts a smile on your face when you are working on a math problem!
Tristan commandeers Gramps computer to play games in 2002. He never lets anyone else do that!
A 2004 portrait with two of the most important ladies who have shaped my life.
I enjoyed an after Christmas dinner with Tristan in 2005 at yet another fun-filled Granddaughter weekend.
Just one of our special 2006 weekends with a Butterflied Granddaughter, Our special weekends were always filled with dining out, game night and spoiling! Oh yeah, shopping. Lots of shopping.
a 2007 trip to Costco during one of our Granddaughter Weekends where Gramps and Tristan grazed their way thru all the food samples!
In the summer of 2011, a very grown-up Granddaughter drove to Leesburg Virginia to bid farewell to Grandparents making their way back to Arizona.
And the little girl has blossomed into a young married lady. Happy Birthday, Sassy Marie. I love you more than words can say. Be Happy!
I am getting way too familiar with all the wings at Tucson Medical Center. I know how to get to each ward, the emergency room and (very important here) the cafeteria. Not for their food as I compare all hospital food to my days at St Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where you could get mashed potatoes (real ones) a fried chicken leg (so yummy) and a regular old piece of Holsum bread with real butter for a buck something and it was like having dinner at home. This was a staple of mine during my employment as a nurse’s aide and later on working in the nursing office. Nowadays in hospitals, there is always a conglomeration of some type of casserole, Not my cup of tea. So, no, it is not for the food. It is because it has big tables and I know which ones have outlets near them so I can spread out my accounting and work while Bob is sleeping or in surgery. It helps to have numbers bumping back and forth in my brain to counteract the medical jargon and talk of transplants and heart stents and blood sugars and more. Numbers make sense to me. Medicine, not so much. So another 30 days with ambulances and 3 hospitalizations and surgery and waiting. Hubs is home from the various hospital visits now and for the time being, is doing well.
Saturday I open the freezer door and see that the ice in the ice tray is melting. WHAT? I listen with ear pressed against the refrigerator door. Nothing. Not the usual compressor noise kicking on and off. Must be the breaker. Move everything away from the door to the fuse box. All breakers are in their proper place. Well, that can’t be good. I hear something … is it a bird? Is it a plane?? NO – it’s SUPERSONS! And a brand new refrigerator is delivered on the morning of Mother’s Day. My boys saved me and what a relief having someone take care of me while Bob is in the hospital. I am forever in their debt.
Mothers Day Brunch for Kerri, Maggie and me at the University Marriott, where we were treated to a yummy buffet, a box of chocolates, Abby singing but also to watching Max riding in the glass elevator with Mahmaw waving until his little arm almost fell off! Then, up to the Mundle’s room for Mimosa’s. Yummy!
In the meantime, we are having our Friday Family Dinners and Abby visits on Monday and Tuesday while Max maintains his Thursday-Friday routine at Nana’s and Poppa’s house.
Max pulls his shirt up over the back of his head and reminds me of those elves on JibJab! He is proud of this new accomplishment and demonstrates various versions of this feat, shirt over the back of the head and the shirt over his face. This goes on for much of the afternoon. Amazing!
I announce the annual Camp NANA in chalk on the back patio. Max is impressed. Max is so impressed that shortly after he sees it, I hear the unmistakable sound of hose water and see that he has entirely washed my promo away. Fame is so fleeting.
Friends and family have been so supportive during this very trying past couple of weeks. My gratitude to everyone!
Meanwhile … back east in Virginia, swimming lessons for Mateo and Marluce! And they are flourishing in the water! Cannot wait to watch them swim in person! Love you kids!
Waking up in Northern Virginia to five and one half inches of snow on the ground. Brrrr. Back in Arizona, this is our Springtime! I had forgotten how the northeast cold can sting. I heard the grandkids getting ready to play out in the snow. Mateo and his Abuela, Gloria, made a snowman in the backyard and then safely transported it on a sled all the while gingerly maneuvering the gentle “hill”. Once safely in place at the front of the house, the sled was removed and the little guy stood to greet all who passed by.
Since this was the beginning of Spring break, I was hoping to spend the day packing and playing with the grandkids. Before I could engage them, they were packed up in the truck and whisked off to places unknown – probably to enjoy the day sledding or making snowballs. I guess this would be the time to mention that not all was quiet on the Virginia front. Ricky and Katia are in the beginnings of divorce proceedings. My stay was not always welcome by my daughter in law. There were biting comments and hurt feelings. There had been several times over the past 14 years when a darker side had spewed ugly and mean words my way, but this was different. This time there was a sort of finality. I have never been accustomed to a child screaming at a parent – no matter the age. Being chastised and degraded by a child whom you have loved is not an easy thing to face. And, frankly, it was never attempted in my childhood – let alone tolerated! But, there it was. And the sting of the words burned in a way that the icy weather never could.
I spent my last day working on some accounting issues and folding and picking up. The curtains were open and the bright snow under the sun spilled a soul cleansing brightness over the room.
Rick picked me up after work and we headed to a home cooked meal graciously offered by Isabel and a welcome reprieve from the tension. The children were entertaining, and after watching half of their beloved “the Voice”, they performed a dance routine for the grown-ups.
Ricky and I returned to his house where he succumbed to sleep. I had chosen to stay awake and work on my accounting. We were leaving the house at 3 a.m. and I could sleep on the plane. But not before venturing upstairs to kiss my grandkids goodnight and good-bye “until next time”. Mateo is a philosophical child when it comes to good-byes and a tender one at heart. Both of our eyes filled as we said our farewells and hugged and kissed and vowed that it would not be long before we spent time together again. Marluce is my tough “I am a wanna be tomboy who loves to dress like a princess” mini-me (although I never wanted to be a tomboy!). But her good-bye hugs are heartwarming and her words of wishing I did not have to leave her, are heartfelt. Again with the tears and hugs and kisses and I had to tear myself away from her before I could not.