Forced To Be Still

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I’m sitting in a local coffee shop while writing this on my iPad. Not an ideal choice, but…

Why, you might ask, am I not on my trusty laptop sitting in my comfortable office?

Welllll. I was relieved to arrive early for an appointment this morning only to find out that I was not ten minutes early. I was actually an hour and ten minutes early!

Ouch! I have so much on my To Do list for today, and I didn’t bring my laptop when I left the house. I planned to head straight home after my appointment and jump on that list. Ugh! I hate typing on my iPad. It believes itself to be superior to my word choices, so I have to keep a close eye on it. Still, I’ll try to make the best of things and use this time well.

People who knew me before my new life of grand-parenting know I’m not forgetful. I’m usually on top of things, but lately my skills in that area have crumbled. Why? As much as I hate to admit it, as we get older, we lose some of that sharp edge. We can’t multitask as well as we did twenty or thirty years ago. Add the rush and chaotic pace that goes hand-in-hand with raising children, and slip-ups are bound to happen. I wish I could say this was the only one this week, but I’d be lying.

Earlier in the week, I promised Victoria we’d order pizza and wings from a place we don’t frequent. She recalls the restaurant fondly from her past life with her mother before things went awry. The best day to do this slipped by. I ran out of time. I told her, tomorrow. That day almost slipped by, too, but I remembered at the last moment, got online, and placed my order. As I drove to pick up the kids, my husband called to say he was headed home. I asked him to pick up the food.

The problem? The location closest to us didn’t have our order. I pulled up my email confirmation and gave him the phone number and address. The website, it seems, selected the “closest” store to us. It wasn’t. We live three miles from the closest. It chose one eight miles away. Getting to that location, due to rush hour, would take an hour.

Before you ask, yes, I did look at the address, but I misread it. They both are close to the same highway. I glanced at the map in a hurry to place the order and go pick up the kids. It LOOKED right. Of course, it wasn’t.

There’s a reason God instructs us to be still. We all need a rest. We all need to recollect and let the pressures of the day fall away. This goes doubly true for grandparents raising grandchildren.

My failure to double-check makes sense to me. The internet indicated I was three miles from the location where it chose to send the order. I didn’t spend but a few seconds verifying it because the distance and address displayed information I expected. Plus, I needed to pick up the children and had worked later than I liked to do on a school day. (After all, the children would have homework that needs to be done, too.)

Our mistakes are reminders to slow down. I’m trying, but right now everyone wants a piece of me. So, for the next few minutes, I’m going to accept this gift of unscheduled time and sip on my chai.

God bless.


Remembering 911

In memory of a day that, for many of us, changed our lives, I’m devoting both of my blogs to the events that occurred seventeen years ago, today. Please visit my other blog to read Memories of 9/11. This post recounts an unusual event that occurred in my life just hours before the planes hit the towers.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. I Peter 5:10

World Trade Centers Cross

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Three Years of Grand-Parenting: Our Anniversary

Three years ago today, I struggled with an uneasy mind and nervous stomach as I waited for my daughter to bring her children to me. They had been missing for over a week, and I worried whether she’d show up or not. I worried how to handle her constant begging for money. I worried about what the children would have with them. The answers to those worries were: yes, she showed up; Yes, she begged for money, and I gave her a store gift card instead of cash; and the children had one backpack of clothes between them and two small bags with a haphazard assortment of toys. Victoria did not have her glasses or her ADHD prescription. Amari did not have his car seat. But they were finally safe with us.

The grands three years ago.

Yes, today is our form of what adoptive parents call their Gotcha Day. For us, it’s not an adoption day–we have temporary custody–it’s the day two of our grandchildren came to live with us.

At the time, I don’t think any of us thought the children would still be here three years later. We hoped for a different outcome. Unfortunately, that hope has dimmed to a small pinhole of light as the days, weeks, and months have ticked by.

I’m amazed at the changes in the grands–not just physical but behavioral and emotional. I can’t begin to tell you how far we’ve come. In fact, it’s hard to recognize our progress in the day-to-day schedule we now live. But here we are, Victoria a middle-schooler and Amari a second grader.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, Amari was so delayed in his development that he rarely spoke at the age of four. Most of the time, he moved his lips without making a sound. When he did speak, his speech was indistinct and younger than expected from a four year old. Since he often didn’t react when we called his name or spoke to him from across the room, we worried he couldn’t hear. Turns out he could hear perfectly well. Now, we have the opposite problem–getting him to stop talking!

I try to remember that his continuous chatter is a blessing, but in the moment that’s not always easy.

With Victoria, we struggled with the unexpected shift in roles. No longer were we the fun, spoiling grandparents. We became the parents. None of us enjoyed this struggle. If someone refers to me as her mom (it’s easy to do when you’re being the mom), she’s quick to tell me I’m not her mom. Then I remind her that I am the parent. Hard to argue with that point.

She’s moving into the adolescent years, and I’ve already seen the attitude that goes along with it. Joy, joy!  Still, she has changed a lot over the years. She’s much calmer, does chores, knows how to be polite (that’s still a work in progress), and, most importantly, she’s learning to relinquish her responsibility for her brother. It’s unfortunate, but most older siblings take on the parenting role when their parents have addiction problems. None of this is perfect, by the way. But I can see headway.

The grands today.

So, our journey continues. No idea where it’s going, but one thing is for sure–it won’t be boring!