Not all superhero’s wear a cape.

The one I know is about five foot six, hails from St, Louis and has an affinity for fixing things.

My super hero is my step dad and this afternoon our family and many friends will gather to celebrate his eightieth birthday. I think it’s appropriate to thank him today for doing what super heros do – they save people.

When I was nine years old my father left his wife and five children (one of which was a newborn) and ran off with his secretary.  So cliché I know but the scars of this heinous act are still carried around by his five children to this day.  My young mother’s life had been about being a wife and mother from the age of nineteen.  Suddenly she was solely responsible for making sure her babies didn’t go to bed hungry.  She had to scrimp and scrape for every morsel she put on our plates.  She had to get a job and leave her baby in day care back in a day when that was not the norm. We moved often and learned to make due and do without. We wore things out and handed them down. We learned to make our own fun and learned the value of working for something that you wanted.  We took care of each other.  We grew up too soon. Thanks to the charity of others we got by.  It wasn’t until years later when I found myself in a similar but not as dire situation that I could start to imagine how completely overwhelmed and terrified she must have been.  My mom needed life to cut her a break and in 1981 it finally did.

Bob Powell had recently joined our church and not long after some mutual friends introduced him to my mother. I was sixteen years old so the details of my mother’s blossoming romance were not of any interest to me but I do know that the relationship advanced swiftly.  Bob had a similar story.  He was divorced and had two young adult daughters.  He had raised them on his own teaching them everything they would need to know to be independent self sufficient women.  Those girls could change a tire, do an oil change, fix a toilet and rewire an electrical outlet.   I guess Mom and Bob bonded quickly over war stories from the front lines of single parenthood.  Unfortunately he received a job transfer to Washington DC so on Valentines Day not terribly long after they met, he proposed to her and she accepted.  By April that same year they were married.

As happy as my mother was I was angry at her good news.  I was just finishing my sophomore year in high school.  I had a job that I loved and my friends were my world. I had been forced to grow up quickly, go to work at 14 and help take care of my family.  By the age of 16 I thought I was already a grown up. I did not appreciate this guy coming along and moving us 800 miles away from our family, our friends and our lives.  When we landed in Virginia I did my level best to avoid him as much as possible.  We moved in to a lovely big house and my mom was able to stay home again. Suddenly we had all we could eat and I had my own room.  Still it was hard to be grateful. I went to school, I got a job and I started to settle in but I wouldn’t give my parents the satisfaction of knowing I liked it here.  Looking back I realize I was kind of a disrespectful brat. I got in trouble. I disregarded rules. I was counting the days until graduation so I could get out.

My feelings towards my step dad started to change during my junior year of high school thanks to what I now realize was a completely selfless act of kindness towards me. I had been casually dating a boy from church and he was taking me to a school dance.  He showed up at the appointed time to pick me up but came in to the house and said “I don’t think we’re going to be able to go to the dance. Something is very wrong with my car.  I barely made it here.”  I guess my face registered how crushed I was because before he could pick up the phone to call his parents my step dad said “Why don’t you drive my car?” Every head in the room spun around to look at him to see if he was serious. Bob’s car was his pride and joy.  He drove a Datsun 280Z. He had recently been teaching me how to drive stick shift. He felt like knowing how to drive stick was something every girl needed to have in her arsenal of skills.  “Are you serious?” I asked.  “Yes, but only you can drive” he said.  “I don’t want this joker behind the wheel of my car.” 

My heart began to thaw.

What kind of man lets a teenage girl drive his beloved sports car?  What kind of man marries a woman with five children? What kind of man lifts an entire family out of poverty and desperation? What kind of man sells his sports car because a station wagon would be more practical? What kind of man never gives up even though at times it was not easy?  What kind of man tells people he has seven children and makes no distinction for the ones he actually fathered? What kind of man has been there for me in every painful and joyful experience of my life ever since the day I drove off to the dance in his car?

A very good man.

Blood doesn’t make you a dad.

 Love does.

Happy birthday Bob. 

I love you.


Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal

Today on the way home from work I scanned the radio dial for something other than political ads.  I landed on DC 101 and they were taking it old school with AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells.  I cranked it up and played my steering wheel drum the rest of the way home.  I love classic rock and some bands have the ability to immediately transport me to another time.  Some songs, if only for a few minutes, have the power to make me feel young again. Angus and the boys do it to me every time.

I was 16 years old the first time I heard AC/DC. The year was 1981 and I was being forced to move from Chicago to Washington DC.  My mother was marrying an engineer who worked for the government so it was off to Virginia we went.  I was leaving behind my friends, my school and a job that l loved.  My endless begging and pleading to be left behind with relatives fell on deaf ears. Driving across Indiana, through Ohio and in to the mountains of Pennsylvania, my anger and resentment grew with each mile. I truly believed my mother was ruining my life and I made sure she knew it. Six months later and still struggling to fit in I was primed for a teenage rebellion. It was around that time that I met the boy who would one day become the father of my children. He was nineteen, already graduated and drove a 1970 cherry red fastback Mustang.  He listened to heavy metal, could buy beer and was my parent’s worst nightmare.  One steamy summer night he popped his Back in Black 8-track in to the tape deck and said “this is my favorite album.” 

It changed my life.

I had always been kind of an oddball in the family with my taste in music. Raised on a steady diet of Everly Brothers, Mamma Cass and Neil Diamond, nobody in my family listened to anything that would have been considered heavy metal.  I wore out my Mom’s Elvis and Ricky Nelson records but by the 70’s Elvis wasn’t a rebel anymore and Ricky got hold. Rock and roll had changed.  I liked the Eagles, the Beatles and when Electric Light Orchestra’s Turn to Stone hit the radio waves during my preadolescence I couldn’t hear it enough.  While my sister was listening to Jeffrey Osborne and Barry Manilow I was spending my babysitting money on Rush and Moody Blues albums.  When I hit my teens I couldn’t get enough of Journey, Styx and REO Speedwagon.  (My husband says those are girls bands and don’t count.)  Point being, I was going my own way musically.  The house was listening to a lot of hymns and easy listening stations back then.  (Would someone please answer Lionel Richie, he keeps calling.) I wasn’t listening to anything back then that could have been called hard rock or metal but I was laying a foundation. When AC/DC entered my life I was ready.

I can’t put in to words how it changed me. I knew I was listening to music that my mother wouldn’t approve of.  I was listening to music that she wouldn’t allow me to have in the house.  I had asked for Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell album and I was told I wasn’t allowed to have it because there was a curse word in the title. Not sure if my Mom knows it but I bought that album myself and hid it in my room.  I can still sing every word to Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.

 Falling in love with AC/DC was pure rebellion.  I loved it. It’s been over thirty years since then and my marriage to that boyfriend didn’t last, but he gave me three beautiful children and I’m grateful.  I’m grateful too for Back in Black. The album and the song. When I listen, I time travel. When I hear those opening chords I feel a little bit like I’m about to do something that’s going to get me grounded.



When I moved to Virginia 30 years ago the thing that struck me first and most were the trees.  I was born and raised in Illinois and I had never seen trees like this.  We moved here in April when everything was in bloom. Driving down Old Keene Mill Road for the first time I couldn’t get over the sea of green as far as my eyes could see. My first impression of Virginia was a good one.  However it wasn’t until autumn that I realized what a beautiful place I now called home.


There is nothing like fall in Virginia.  I almost think you have to be from somewhere else to really appreciate its beauty. All of the pictures in this post were taken yesterday with my cell phone on my drive home from work. It doesn’t matter what kind of day I have I feel so lucky to have these beautiful things to look at as I drive away leaving my work day behind me.




In the book Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Anne says “'I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it? Look at these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill–several thrills?”

What I find pretty amazing too is these leaves are about to die and fall away from their branches.  They are at the end of their life and yet their beauty is at its peak. I hope I’m like that, I hope I get better and more beautiful with age and go out in a blaze of glory.

Anne is exactly right.  Life would be very sad without October and there is nowhere else I would rather spend my Octobers than here.








  Guy 1:  Dude, the cops have been sitting outside my house for four hours all because of some stupid joke.

  Guy 2: What joke?

  Guy 1:  We renamed the wireless network.

  Guy 2: What did you name it?

  Guy1: Marijuana Grow House

 Funny right? 

Recently we added a piece of equipment to our home network.  In order to get it to connect I had to rename our SSID.  (The network name) We had been using the same network ID for years, it was a pretty run of the mill generic name.  I could have gone with something similar; I just had to omit the punctuation.  However, I decided this was an opportunity to get a little creative.

Apparently creative SSID’s is like a thing these days. I did not know this.  A quick search of the internet and you’ll see what I mean.  Here are a couple of funny ones:


  • Abraham Linksys
  • Virus Full Network
  • We Hear You Having Sex
  • FBI Surveillance Van
  • Get Off My LAN
  • You’re a Cheapskate
  • Top Secret Network
  • Drop It Like It’s a Hot Spot
  • I Can See You
  • Pretty Fly for a Wifi
  • TCPIP On Your Bushes

So my husband and I put our thinking caps on to see what we could come up with. Here are a few we tossed around.


  • I’m with the bandwidth (Nerd humor)
  • Hotel California (He’s a big Eagles fan)
  • Learn to park (ok, this one is geared towards the neighbors)
  • Stop yelling all the time (also geared towards the neighbors)
  • Turn Down Your Music (we’ve gotta move)
  • I Read Your Email (I got a kick out of this idea)
  • The Tribe has Spoken (big Survivor fans here)
  • Skins Fans (We love us some RG3)
  • DaBearz (I’m from Chicago)
  • Optimus Prime (Hubby recently saw Transformers for the first time. Clearly he's been living under a rock)

We weren’t ready to commit to any of those though so we started thinking about favorite movies.  We’re big Will Ferrell fans in this house.  See if you can name the movie these possible contenders are from.


  • Throne of Lies
  • Smelly Pirate Hooker
  • Boats and Hoes

What about favorite TV shows?


  • That’s what she said
  • How youuuuuu doing
  • No soup for you

You really wouldn’t think it would be that hard to decide on this but we debated it for days.  We made a list and narrowed it down to top ten, then top five, and so on.  In the end we decided to go with something that was a tribute to my nerdiness.  We named our network CTRLALTDEL

My husband preferred that to my first pick which was Marry Me George Clooney. 

I don’t see the problem.


(Throne of Lies is from Elf. Smelly Pirate Hooker is from Anchorman. Boats and Hoes is from Stepbrothers.)

Bad Manners

Bad Manners


I think I need to add a disclaimer here.  This post will not be for everyone. 

If you offend easily by the mere mention of bodily functions then you might want to consider  just moving along and catch me the next time around . 

However, if you were the burping champion of your elementary school and you think fart machines are freaking hysterical then do stay. We’re going to get down and dirty.

Recently my grandson was playing with his Uncle Alex. They were chatting along about something when Alex let out a big burp. This conversation ensued:

Riley: What do you say?

Alex: Good one?

Riley: You should say excuse me.  It’s not that hard.

Clearly his mother is doing a better job of teaching manners than I did.  I was maybe a little too lax in that department when my kids were growing up.  I mean, they definitely know how to say please and thank you but Alex’s response was actually pretty typical for our household. We thought burping was funny.  My daughter once belched loudly in a dark theater just as the movie was about to begin. She turned to her husband and said “That’s gross Tony” leaving the entire theater convinced he was the offender. For years in our family when someone would let a really good burp go we would all cheer and give it a score like an Olympic event.  My great grandmother was known for her dish rattling emissions and I grew up thinking a long windy one after a good meal was a compliment to the chef.

Let me just say however that I am not nearly as enamored with sounds emanating from the other end of the body.  I was married to a man for 18 years whose idea of fun was standing next to me in public, letting a big one rip and then running off before anyone could pin it on him.  The man had a problem.  I once had a coworker call me and beg me to stop feeding him whatever I was feeding him because it was causing problems at work. People were suffering.

People find bathroom humor hysterical. Give a kid a fart machine and you’ll entertain him for hours.  Hell, I know a few grownups that lose it when one of those is around.  What is it that we find so funny? Is it because farting and burping and poop talk are socially unacceptable so it’s a little bit naughty?  Have you ever been around a parent trying to potty train a toddler?  Poop is all they talk about.  Suddenly their house is filled with books called “Everyone Poops” and “Once Upon A Potty.”  Seeing poop in the potty becomes an obsession.

Years ago I read “Me Talk Pretty One Day” by David Sedaris.  This is perhaps one of the funniest books I have ever read and a chapter titled Big Boy still cracks me up every time I think about it.  He recalls an Easter dinner at the home of a friend.

“Everyone had taken their places when I excused myself to visit the bathroom, and there, in the toilet, was the absolute biggest piece of work I have ever seen in my life–no toilet paper or anything, just this long and coiled specimen, as thick as a burrito. I flushed the toilet, and the big boy roused around. It shifted position, but that was it. This thing wasn't going anywhere. I thought briefly of leaving it behind for someone else to take care of, but it was too late for that–before leaving the table, I'd stupidly told everyone where I was going. "I'll be back in a minute," I'd said. "I'm just going to run to the bathroom." My whereabouts were public knowledge. I should have said I was going to make a phone call. I'd planned to pee and maybe run a little water over my face, but now I had this to deal with. “

He goes on to hysterically describe his efforts to resolve this unfortunate situation.  Who among us hasn’t experienced something similar?  The idea for this blog entry sprouted from an experience I had at work. We have very small staff bathrooms, only two stalls. One day I walked in and was immediately hit with an offensive odor.  Apparently the cafeteria was serving something for lunch that wasn’t sitting too well if you get my drift. I went in to a panic because I thought “The next person who comes in here is going to think I’m responsible for this.”  I told myself that if someone came in to use the other stall I would just go home at lunch time and change my shoes so I couldn’t be identified.  I practiced putting my feet up on the door but then realized that someone would think the stall was empty. I concluded that the best course of action was to take care of business and get out of there as quickly as possible. 

Thankfully it worked out for me that day and I learned a few valuable lessons.  I am going to put that spare pair of shoes in the car anyway, you never know when you’ll need to quick change your identity. And most importantly, I will keep my liquid intake to a minimum on Beef Nachos day.  Ole!



To read the entire “Big Boy” article, follow this link.







Aging Process

Aging Process

  I know I’m getting old. All the tell tale signs are there.  Things crack loudly when I get up. When I climb stairs some strange groaning sound uncontrollably escapes my lips.  It’s a constant battle to keep the gray hair under control and I have old lady liver spots on my hands.   Why are they called liver spots anyway? Does this mean I have to worry about my liver now?   My pill box can’t hold another pill.  Soon I’ll have to get one of those pill boxes that is the size of an iPad.  In addition to morning, noon, and night it has openings that say “after taking Metamucil” and “before you watch Murder She Wrote.”  It’s getting bad I tell you.  I wake up before the sun and can’t go back to sleep and then I’m ready for bed again at 7:00 p.m. I forget things if I don’t write them down.  For a while now I don’t always find the exact word I’m looking for.  For instance the other day I said “I need to put a new light bulb in the sink.  The old one is burnt out.” On my bad days I’ll declare to the children “I’m almost ready for the home.”

Painting a sexy picture right?  Usually I deal well with all this stuff and being the realist that I am, I know that aging is a part of life.  If getting older is the trade off for having grandchildren I’m ok with it. But the other day I did something so stupid that the only thing I can think to blame it on is my shrinking aged brain.

I was making dinner and as I usually do I threw on an apron because I was too lazy to go upstairs and change out of my work clothes.  When hubby got home from work he came in the kitchen and joined me and we cooked and chatted, talked about our day, our usual routine.  I had my cell phone close by as I usually do and I showed him some pictures I had taken earlier that day of my son and grandson together.  A little while later I realized I couldn’t find my phone. I took a quick look around the kitchen and didn’t see it.  I knew I had not left the kitchen/diningroom area so it had to be there.  Soon my husband joined me and we looked in every drawer, cabinet, pantry, nook and cranny of the kitchen. That phone was nowhere to be found.  My husband started sending me text messages to see if we could hear the notification but I told him I had possibly left it on vibrate. We tried calling but didn’t hear anything.  By this time my son Alex had joined the search.  We decided that maybe I had accidently dropped it in to the kitchen garbage can so I got a trash bag and piece by piece I emptied out the full kitchen trash can.  No phone.  That’s when the conversation turned to something like this:

Husband: When did you have it last?

Me: Before dinner

Husband: What were you doing with it?

Me: Showing you a picture

Husband: Then what did you do with it?

Me: I have absolutely no idea. 

Husband: You can’t remember what you did with it after that?

Me: My mind is a complete blank.

Husband: You did not leave this room.  It has to be here.

Me: It’s gone forever. I’m sad.

Husband: This is like the twilight zone.

Son: How much is the reward?

We decided to be really super quiet and call it again.  Well what do you know?  We could hear a faint ringing that sounded like it was coming from the living room. Like some slapstick comedy we all ran to the livingroom and called it again.  Nothing.  “Hey guys, I didn’t go in the livingroom.”   Back to the kitchen we flew.  We called it yet again. We could hear it ringing ever so slightly but could not figure out where it was coming from. We started playing that old children’s game “you’re getting hot, hotter,now cold, now hot again” as we tried to figure out where the ringing was coming from.  My husband put his finger to his lip and shushed us as he opened the pantry door and announced “Honey, your apron is ringing.”

I have absolutely no memory of putting it in my apron pocket.  We had to have spent close to an hour looking for it. And what’s really bad is I looked at and saw 18 missed calls and for a split second thought “oh my gosh! Someone really wants to talk to me.”

So I need to invent something like Life Alert or the Clapper for cell phones. Cool idea right?  If you lose it you just clap loudly three times and your phone emits a loud signal so you can find it.  Think about all the ways that could be used -remote controls, glasses, car keys, the cat.

 I’ll get right on that…soon as I’m done cutting all the pockets off my aprons.





Married Life

Married Life

 I promised my husband when I started this blog that I wouldn’t make it too personal.   I think he was worried that if he made me mad by leaving clothes on the floor or clipped his toenails in bed it would end up as a blog post the next day.  I told him not to worry, that I wasn’t going to put all our business out there for everyone to read.  However, I think I can safely say…and I think many of you would agree with me…marriage is hard.  You would think that after 25 years of being a wife, having two husbands and surviving one difficult divorce I’d have this marriage thing nailed. I am in no way an expert but I have learned a thing or two along the way. I am smart enough to be able stand outside my relationships and see that I do a lot of things wrong.  So why isn’t it all smooth sailing if I know so much? Why is it so hard to put those lessons in to practice?  Oh don’t worry; Joel and I are fine. This entry doesn’t indicate trouble in paradise.  I’m just making observations based on my experiences and those of people around me. A therapist once told me “It isn’t that couple’s fight that is the issue, it’s how they fight that matters.”  She was right of course.  How low you go during a fight says a lot about a couple and experts say it indicates if you've got staying power. My favorite newlywed advice to give is “Don’t forget to respect each other during disagreements.  Fights are not a license to say anything you want. No matter how much you apologize, words can't be unsaid.”  When I was a kid and was having a disagreement with a sibling my mother would make us go in the bathroom together and not come out until we were hugging.  Sometimes she wanted us to sing hymns together until family harmony was restored.  Could you imagine how my husband would react if the next time we bicker about something I say “Let’s go in the bathroom and sing Onward Christian Soldiers until we work this out."

We have certainly had our share of struggles, some of them pretty serious, but we are in a really good place right now.  When we got together I had two teenagers and a pre-teen living under my roof.  At times it was not easy on him.  He often did not get as much of my time and attention as he wanted or needed. I would tell him “Just be patient. One day they’ll all be gone and you’ll have me all to yourself.”  That day is pretty much here. (I do have one still in the basement but he is for the most part an adult.)  There is sweet freedom in being able to run away for the day with your spouse and not have to worry about kid stuff.  No lunches to pack, no PTA cookies to bake. Sometimes when we’re in the car driving off on some little adventure I’ll look over at him and say “This is what we have been waiting for honey!  Isn’t it great?”

Having the children out of the house however does not automatically guarantee marital bliss. The give and take of everyday life can sometimes be challenging.  We come from very different backgrounds so we each look at the world from a completely different point of view .  For example, he likes high thread count fancy schmancy sheets.  I consider a bed sheet still usable if you can’t see through it yet.  Nothing we can’t overcome. The trick is learning to meet somewhere in the middle.  I’m a terribly messy cook.  When I’m done making dinner the food will be delicious but the kitchen looks like a tornado went through it.  He is much neater in the kitchen than I am. He just jumps in and starts washing dishes and cleaning up my mess. God bless him.  We are definitely two individuals both with strong personalities. We have just enough in common to keep us together but our differences is what makes life fun and interesting. 

Back in the day I read some marriage advice from Dear Abby that really stuck with me. This particular column someone wrote her a typical letter “Abby, My husband is a big slob, forgets our anniversary and drinks too much beer but I love him and can’t think about leaving him.  What should I do?” Abby’s response was simple.  She said “Look at your life and ask yourself this question “is my life better with or without this person in it?”  I know this oversimplifies things but it really is good advice.  I’ve had to ask myself this question twice in my life.  The first time the answer was “without”, definitely without but unfortunately it was years between this realization and the time I got up the courage to do anything about it. The second time I asked myself this question was in the middle of a crisis. Putting everything else aside I realized that I would be completely heartbroken and miserable without him. We decided to do whatever we had to do to make it work.

The movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” is one of my husband’s favorites.  If you have ever seen the movie you know that every time they get in to a jam George Clooney’s character would say “Damn, we’re in a tight spot.”  Marriage is kind of like that.  You get in a lot of tight spots but the trick is being clever enough to get out of them.  And like the pals in the movie…sticking it out together.  A friend recently asked me to help her set up a dating profile.  As I rattled off things like “You should say you want someone who calls just to hear your voice, someone who surprises you with heartfelt gifts and romantic dinners, someone who can be your best friend” my husband said “Geez, I sure hope I check some of those boxes for you.” I looked at him and said “Of course silly, how do you think I knew what to ask for in an ideal mate! Now get in the bathroom and start singing. Someone forgot to take the trash out last night.”


Chocolate Addiction

Chocolate Addiction

Today I was working on someone’s computer and noticed that this particular person had a candy bowl on her desk that was stocked full of Reeses cups, Peppermint Patties and Hershey’s Nuggets.  I am not exactly sure why but this irritated me.  I take that back…I know why it made me mad.  It drives me crazy when a skinny person keeps candy around and doesn’t eat it. Good candy too, not Smarties or Jolly Ranchers.  It's especially annoying when just this morning (for the second time this week and it's only Tuesday) you've told yourself "it's time to get back on the old diet." What kind of person can stare at a bowl of peanut butter cups all day and not eat them.  Is it some kind of subliminal message to the world about will power? Is this some kind of inspirational lesson for us fatties?   “Look at me, I’m so skinny and can pass on this candy all day long.” “I can type emails click clack click, and make spreadsheets with my skinny fingers and I don’t touch this candy.” I mean why is this bowl there anyway if no one is going to eat it? Is it for visitors?  Who is going to reach in and take the candy in front of her?  Not me, I have to sneak my office candy so no one passes judgment on me. Nope, I think the only people who will eat her chocolate are other candy bowl loving skinny people.

I know this is just my issue.  Most other people are normal around chocoalte. This is America after all and if a skinny person wants to have delicious candy just lying around they have a right to do so.  I’m just saying the concept is foreign to me.  I was only there a few minutes when temptation really started setting in. The smell of peanut butter and chocolate started to make me feel woozy.  I fixed her computer as quickly as I could.  I had to get out of there fast.

It’s a good thing she didn’t have any Snickers bars or she would have come back to find an empty bowl with a five dollar bill and a chocolate smeared note that said “I’m so sorry.”

Think I'll walk past her office on the way out today…just to check on her…you know, to be sure her computer is working still…and if she's not there (please, please, please) maybe pick up a little something for the road.






Old Friends

Old Friends

 Look at this picture of these two old men sitting on a park bench. You can just tell that they've been friends for a long time.  I think there is something about their relaxed manner that says "this guy knows everything there is to know about me."  They are just kicking back talking about the good old days when gas was cheap and you could get to know someone by spending time with them and not studying their Facebook profile. They probably have some wild stories. I bet half of their stories involve one or both doing something either illegal, immoral, dangerous or just plain stupid. I bet one of them can say "Remember that time on the lake…" and he doesn't even have to finish because the other guy knows exactly how the rest of the story goes and they'll both burst in to laughter at the memory of whatever happened that day on the lake. I bet they have secrets no one else knows that they will carry to the grave for each other.   I bet they've had other friends, loved ones and even a woman or two come and go in and out of their life but this friendship just might be the most enduring relationship of their lifetime.  At least I like to think they are life long friends because I'm fairly convinced that once upon a time these two old guys might have been something like these two young guys. I really truly hope so.

This is my son Alex and his best friend Andrew. Andrew and his family moved in three houses up from us when Alex was five years old and Andrew was four. Funny what a small world it is because it was a few months after they moved in that Andrew's mother and I realized we had gone to high school together. We hadn't seen each other since graduation.

It would be untrue to say that our sons have been inseparable since first meeting. The first few years of their friendship were rocky.  They would alternate between being best friends and not wanting to play together.  If there was another child in the mix it never failed that a two against one scenario would develop.  But somewhere around middle school things changed and they stopped the on again off again aspect of their friendship.  By high school their friendship was forged in blood.  Literally as they did several quite stupid things together that led to one or the other or both of them bleeding and injured.  Like the time they decided to climb the big cherry tree in my front yard.  Alex ran in to the house to get something and Andrew decided to go ahead and start climbing.  Poor kid stepped on a branch that wasn't strong enough to support him and he fell to the ground.  As he lie there bleeding profusely from the nose and assessing his other injuries, Alex came out of the house, surmised what had happened and started yelling at him "Why didn't you wait for me you big dummy?"  "If you had waited for me this wouldn't have happened." "I know the good branches to step on."

Other friendships, having girlfriends and even distance hasn't put a damper on their relationship.  Alex's girlfriend jokes all the time that he loves Andrew more than her, as she said "When Andrew was out of town for two weeks Alex talked to him every day for an hour.  He doesn't talk to me for an hour every day and we live together."  I told her to get used to it because I don't see it changing any time soon.

To be honest, I hope it never does change. Not many people can say they have been best friends since childhood.  It's a rare and special thing.  I know eventually these two Peter Pan's will have to grow up and their lives will be almost unrecognizable from what they are now but I hope this one part of their childhood will remain the same.  I hope their relationship endures.  Life is so freaking tough. We all need a friend who knows where we come from and where we always wanted to go.  A friend who can give us a shove in the right direction when we get off track.  A friend who can and will say anything to you…even the stuff that's hard to hear. A friend who will laugh with you as much as they laugh at you. Everyone needs a friend who no matter what has got your back.   A friend who will help you know where to place your foot, where to step so that you don't end up broken and bloody on the ground.

How very lucky they are to have each other, and if either one of them ever needs to move a body, no questions asked, they know exactly who to call!

I Love Being Grandma

I Love Being Grandma

A few years ago I heard a quote that said “the reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is they have a common enemy.”  I know it was meant to be funny but I thought it was horrible.  It certainly wasn’t my experience with my grandmother, or even my mother when she became grandmother to my children.  It certainly does not apply to my daughter.  If anything Riley and I are bonded in our complete and total adoration of her.  I have realized that since she became a mother she needs my support and encouragement now more than ever. Being her mother doesn’t suddenly take a back seat once she becomes a mother herself.  I try to do everything I can to nurture and help her so that she can be the best Mom she can be.  If it means taking him for a few hours so she can go on a date with her husband, take a nap, go to work or whatever she needs to do I try to always be there. 

I have heard people say “I don’t babysit my grandchild because I don’t want to be taken advantage of.”  I don’t understand that. I have never once minded having Riley over at my house.   I don’t honestly consider it babysitting when I do have him.  We have play dates. Speaking of “babysitting” why is it that when anyone other than a child’s mother is caring for him/her it is considered babysitting?  It drives me insane when I hear a dad say “yeah I can’t go out because I’ve got to babysit the kids tonight!”  You what?  Are you getting paid for it?  Are they not your own children?  Does your wife call it babysitting when she takes care of the kids? Here I go off on a tangent but it’s a real pet peeve of mine. 

A friend of mine plies her grandchildren with candy every time she seems them.  I mean she drowns them in it. My daughter would kill me if I did that. My son in law would cut me off from visits. They don’t allow him to eat much candy and whether or not I agree with them it’s my job to back them up, not undermine them.  The same goes with discipline and potty training and whatever lesson they are trying to teach.  Which gets to the heart of what is so wonderful about being a grandparent….the only thing I have to do with this kid is love him.  That’s it. It’s not my job to be sure he brushes his teeth and picks up his toys and gets good grades. His mother and father get that responsibility. I get to be his friend, his confidant and his greatest admirer.

My mother used to have a bumper sticker that said “If I knew grandchildren would be so much fun I would have had them first.”  My sister was a little offended. She doesn’t have children though, and unless you do it’s kind of hard to understand the sentiment. I thought it was sweet since the grandchildren she was talking about were mine but now that I’m a grandmother myself I couldn’t agree more. There is something just so wonderful about spending time with this kid. He never fails to be the best part of any day that includes him. Whether we are making cookies , playing with sock puppets, or going to the playground, it doesn’t matter. We are making memories that will forever be precious to me. One day he’ll be a teenager and lots of other things will be more important than spending time with his old grandma but right now I am soaking up every minute I can get. He recently told his mother that he loves coming to my house because “my grandma always plays with me.”  And that ladies and gentlemen is what I live for….


"Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation." ~Lois Wyse