WHAT IS A GRANDMA?

Nothing warms the heart like the love of a child, at least nothing I can remember.  I have guarded my heart for years to avoid the pain of not having children in my life.  It has been easier to avoid it completely than to suffer.

As most of you know I was not able to have children and adoption was not an option in those days for many reasons.

When my first husband and I lived in Germany in the early ‘80’s, we were very close friends with a couple that lived next door.  When they had a little boy I was lucky enough to babysit him, and Tom and I became his Godparents.  Little Tommy (that was his real name, not a fantasy name I gave him – I am not totally insane!) was a dream come true for me.  I got to fulfill all my mothering needs and I enjoyed every minute.

It was during this time that I lost my 4th baby and learned that I was not going to be able to have children of my own.  As heartbreaking as that was for me, little Tommy helped heal that wound.  Somehow I lost sense of reality and allowed myself to become too wrapped up in the fantasy.

When Tommy’s dad was transferred back to the United States I was devastated.  I dreamed of him every night, I heard him calling my name (he called me Mimi), I saw him everywhere we went.  I missed him so much all I could do was cry.  It was like a death all over again.

My depression intensified to the point that I couldn’t go anywhere that children would be present.  I just could not deal with other people having what I wanted so badly.  Seeing a pregnant woman even sent me into a tailspin.

Finally, in order to find a way to live my life again, I had to cut off relationships with children.  I was not mean to anyone but I would not let children into my heart ever again.  People who had children could not be our friends.  That was the only way I knew to deal with the pain and sadness.  That worked rather well for more than 30 years.  Up to now I have lived content without children.

This past week, John and I went to Virginia to visit his son Sean and his family. Sean and his wife Melissa have 2 children.  I have held them at arm’s length for many reasons.  First, I am John’s wife but not his son’s mother and second, we live in Florida and they live in Virginia so we rarely get to see them.  I do not really have a relationship with Sean; how can we get to know each other when there is so much distance?  And these children have Grandmother’s that are active in their lives and love them very much.  Why confuse the issue?  I am just John’s wife.  I am not a grandmother, that honor rightly belongs to the ones they have.  And, I know if anything happens to John I would never see them again.  I mean, why would we?  There would be no reason.

So how come I came home yesterday full of joy and love for these two little ones like I have never known.  How on earth did these two kids steal my heart from me?   Somehow on this trip I became a Grandmother!

As I said, I have tried to hold them at arm’s length, not pushing myself on them.  I waited for them to come to me.  I understand kids have to warm up to people and I never like it when parents make their kids give hugs and kisses when they don’t feel the need.  It is confusing for them.

Aiden, the seven-year old, was talking at dinner one night and said he had five grandparents and asked his mom how many she had.  Later I told Melissa that I didn’t think of myself as a grandmother.  I didn’t explain why, it was just a statement.

A couple of days later I was teaching Hannah the name that Aiden gave me years ago, MeeMoo.  When Hannah said it I was thrilled.  I am not sure she actually made the connection to me but it really didn’t matter.  She said it!

I know I will have to tread carefully because I will go “all in” too soon, but I am learning that protecting my heart also robs it of a love that is sweet and pure.

I might need guidance from my friends that are Grandma’s.  I am new at this and will need to know the rules.  But then again maybe not knowing the rules will be better for me.  I will be myself and that is really all I have to give right?

 

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MY GOD STORY

Ever since I was a little girl I have always heard that voice deep inside me that kept me out of trouble, most of the time anyway.  Mom said it was my conscience talking to me.  As I grew older and more mature in my faith life, I have come to believe that it is God talking to me.

Before you judge me as nuts, let me clarify how I feel it is God.  Mostly if what the “voice” tells me to do is biblical it is probably God (thanks Patti!).  For instance, God will not tell me to steal or cause harm to others.  God tells me to do the right thing even when it isn’t what I want.

I am not here to debate what anyone else should or should not believe.  I am merely expressing how God works in my life and how I understand His will for me.  It is important you understand this before I tell you my latest God story.  It is also important that you understand that I am not asking for anything else either.  We are not victims, life happens and we all do the best we can to deal with the cards we are dealt, for whatever reason.  There are many people with problems worse than we have, if you have the time and means, please help them!

For the past several years Florida’s tourist industry has taken several big hits.  We had the three hurricanes in a row one year, the oil spill, big business hurting the little guy and of course the fallen economy itself.  John’s business works directly with the businesses that sell to tourists.  He sells bathing suits; flip-flops, sandals, towels, hats, T-shirts and such.  His business has steadily declined to the point that I have ended up the main support which was never intended.  (I also had a pay cut due to the economy.)  We have suffered financially to the point that we are losing our house.  This has been a painful time for us trying to make decisions that will change everything about our little world and we have not agreed on the decisions that have had to be made.  We have consulted lawyers and made the best decisions possible.  Our mortgage company would not assist us in any way when we tried to do the right thing so we were left with no alternative but to let the house go.

A few weeks ago I talked with the mortgage company about a loan modification and we decided that this option was not for us so we declined.  I also talked with a lady about doing a short sale but did not think that would work for us either.

I love listening to Joel Osteen’s Sunday message and Sunday, September 19th I believe, he gave a message that said that God’s plan for us was to do something “awesome” in our lives, something we had never seen happen before.  And I said to God, go ahead and awe me!  Which you know, when you challenge God, you are going to see something happen!

On Sunday, September 25th, I saw an ad in the newspaper from a realtor that specialized in short sales.  I thought that was amazing since most of the realtors I talked with did not handle them.  Here was a company actively seeking this business.  I filed it in my memory bank and moved on since it really didn’t apply to us.

John left town Monday for a trade show in Daytona Beach and would be gone all week.  He does this every year to capture the local business that is not able to come to Orlando for the larger show held earlier in the month.

Tuesday morning when I was leaving for work, I drove past a house in the front of the neighborhood that is for sale.  There was a couple in the front yard reading the real estate sign and I heard that voice inside me say “stop and talk to those people”.  Of course I drove right on by and then heard the voice again say “go back and talk to those people”.  This time I turned around and went back and pulled in the driveway.  I asked them if they wanted to buy a house and told them to look at mine, it was for sale.  They were Vietnamese and didn’t understand English!  Ok God, what are you doing to me?  I’m going to be late for work!  But somewhere I heard call your girlfriend Buppha (she is from Cambodia).  Amazingly, she answered her phone.  I asked her to talk to the couple and tell them that I had a house for sale, a short sale, and that I was not crazy.  She does not speak fluent Vietnamese but she got the point through good enough and I loaded them in my car and drove them back to my house.  With their broken English we did the best we could to communicate and I wrote down my name and phone number.  She said her sister speaks English and she would call me later.

A few hours later the sister did call and told me they loved the house and wanted to buy it.  I was not expecting that at all.  I spent the rest of the day talking with the mortgage company to see what could be done and how to do it.

When I went home I dug through the recycle bin and found the ad from the newspaper and called the realtor.  We made arrangements to meet Thursday evening to discuss everything. They warned me that the people interested probably would not work out and not to get my hopes up.  I told them that God was directing this, it was a God thing, and it would all be fine.

I talked with the sister on Wednesday and explained that the realtor would be at my house at 5:30 Thursday and she asked if they could come over also.  I said sure, what did we have to lose?

Thursday evening as I was coming home from work, John had just pulled in the driveway from his trade show and the realtor was already there as well.  To say that John was not pleased is an understatement.

I gave the man I talked to and his partner a tour of the house and they took pictures for the listing.  They gave me tons of paperwork to complete and send back to them ASAP.  In the middle of all this the Vietnamese family arrived in full force, the couple wanting to buy the house, the sister that interpreted and two other unknown people.  Add more chaos to the party!

After all the discussions it appeared that the couple was well qualified and indeed a real prospect.  HELLO – God already said that!

I called the bank on Friday so that they could get the appraisal ordered; it is the bank that sets the price for the sale of the house.  Then I spent the weekend filling out all the required paperwork for the realtor and the bank.  We cannot list the house until we have a price, we cannot get a price until the appraisal is done and the couple cannot sign a contract until we get the price.  So now we wait.  The appraisal was done Tuesday, October 4th.

John has not been too pleased with me through all this.  A short sale is not what he and I discussed or even agreed upon.  However, when God talks to me, I listen.  I know people do not understand this, John included, but I have to.  I have been praying for John’s heart to soften, for a messenger to come to him and help him to see this is a good thing.  He is too angry at me to listen to my logic.

Saturday, October 8th, there was a reunion breakfast for Evan’s High School, John’s alma mater.  There is a group that meets every month, we rarely go but John wanted to visit with an old friend he knew was attending.  When we arrived, there was only one booth available and we were sitting with a retired lawyer that works at the courthouse with people going through foreclosures.  He understands all this better than anyone!  THANK YOU GOD!  John asked him several questions and I think we both left feeling better.   John is still not happy with the situation but he is more accepting than he was.  There is hope!  (and by the way, the friend he went to see never showed up!)

Of course it is now Monday the 10th and we don’t have any answers.  That is because today is Columbus Day and all the banks are closed.  But I am not the least bit worried at this point.  I know God is working this all out for the best interest of everyone concerned.  Right now the message is” wait” so I will wait.

Tuesday, the 11th, the bank gives me the selling price.  The realtor lists the property and the potential buyers are no longer potential.  We have a contract!  God is faithful!

We still have a long way to go in this adventure but I know God is guiding the path.  Prayers are welcome! I will write more about this journey of faith as it continues.

Have a blessed day!

 

 

MY 5K EXPERIENCE

Wednesday I saw a Facebook post from my friend Lisa about a free 5k run.  Running a 5k is a goal of mine and free certainly was a motivator.  I decided it was time to see how well I could do.  My expectations were not high, I just wanted to try.

I have been running (more like jogging, I am really S L O W) for a couple of months now.  I started my diet and new lifestyle in June and as the weight has left my body I have increased my activity level.  I can now run two miles without stopping.  So, a 5K run isn’t really out of the question, it is a goal within reach.

I signed up on-line for the run and didn’t pay much attention to the sponsorship info.  It didn’t matter to me; I was going to participate no matter what   The run was named “Step In The Name Of Love Walk/Run”. 

Thursday night at pool I told my friend Ben that I was going to run a 5K and he said he might run it with me.  I pretty much thought it was a courtesy thing he was saying because people say they will do things all the time and never do.  I let him off the hook immediately and didn’t give it another thought and was very surprised Friday evening when I received a text from Ben that said he would see me in the morning.  I was so touched by his support but still didn’t really think he would show up.  Lo and behold, Ben called this morning and was already there waiting for me. 

We weren’t exactly sure of the location of the event so we parked our car and started walking to find the event.  About a mile later, we found it.  Already I am tired. 

Central Florida has had beautiful weather all week, hot but low humidity.  This morning it feels like a sauna.  I have no idea what the temperature is but it is hot and muggy already.  This is not looking very positive but no worries! 

While waiting in line to finish registration and get our numbers, it dawns on me that the event is a 12-Step event and figure out that it is for people affiliated with recovery and their families.  I have been affiliated with the 12-Steps for over 20 years and know what amazing people belong to this amazing fellowship. 

The paperwork said the runners started at 7:30 and the walkers started at 8.  I know we started late which is not unusual for these things.  When the herd took off we were in the rear and I could not keep up with Ben at all.  I could tell I was pushing myself too hard so I stopped and told him to go ahead without me and I was glad that he did.  I ended up following two other people and was ok being last.  It would have been a bit humiliating if the walkers that started a half hour later caught up with me but that didn’t happen. 

I was plodding along the route, following others; while the others were already completely out of sight.  The trail was marked with yellow ribbons but they were not very close together.  Most of them I never saw at all and was really glad this lady leading the way knew where she was going. OR so I thought.  We ended up in the woods following a path that lead to nowhere.  It is hard to run in the woods by the way so I gave up and started walking.  We back-tracked our steps and I fell even further behind, this time on purpose.  Once I started running again they were gone and I followed what I thought was the correct path. 

I have lost 50+ pounds so far and I have not invested in any new work-out clothes.  Since I am nowhere near my goal it would be a waste of money to invest in sweat clothes that I will not wear very long.  Given that, the more I sweat the more the clothes stretched.  My pants were starting to fall down and I had mistakenly knotted the tie.  Now I am laughing at the sight of myself, pulling up my sweat-soaked pants because I couldn’t re-tie them.

By the time I found the finish line I was exhausted.  I have no idea how far I ran or walked or how much of the course I even used.  All I know is that I crossed the finish line and my dear friend Karen had come out to take pictures!  That was the nicest surprise ever!   And there was Lisa too, cheering me on!  Amazing!

Ben had finished the run and when we were talking he told me he couldn’t believe we had to run the track twice.  TWICE?  No way, I am not even sure I ran it once! 

Am I disappointed that I didn’t accomplish the goal?  Not one bit.  I did actually, because I showed up and I tried.  I wanted to see how I would do and I did!

For Instance:

  1.  I am not ready to run a 5k.  I need to train a bit more before I attempt it again.
  2. September 17 is still too hot to attempt a 5k for the first time, untrained.
  3. Nothing starts on time
  4. Addicts don’t follow directions
  5. Even after 20+ years co-dependents follow addicts anywhere
  6. It is easier to run the track you are used to than a new one that is unfamiliar
  7. Friends show up and their support is priceless
  8. Progress not perfection.
  9. I am loved.

I set my goals and work toward them.  I still believe with all my heart it’s the journey not the destination.  Today I did something different, learned something and didn’t give up. I had a great day!

 

9/18 – I forgot to add the pictures Karen took!