Monthly Archives: April 2017

My Favorite Grandchild

GrandchildrenDo you have a favorite child or favorite grandchild? The answer to that question is (or certainly should be) NO! Unless, of course, your child/grandchild is an only child, it is unfair to the children to show favoritism.

I have what we call 7 1/2 grandchildren. Four of them belong to my son and three of them to my daughter. The 1/2 belongs to my son’s ex-wife and her husband. With that many children, it would be really easy to pick favorites. Each one of them has a very different personality–even in the same family. They are each their own individual with their own blessings.

So how could you possibly choose one? They each offer something to your life. Mine offer me intelligence, sportsmanship, kindness, beauty, personality, friendliness, sweetness, bravery, and the list goes on and on. They each bring their own piece of themselves into my life and I am incredibly proud of each one of them for different reasons.

There may well be some things about each of them that I like better than others, but I would not ever let that be visible to them. My greatest hope is that in each of their eyes, they see that I love them all equally and unconditionally and that I love ALL the parts of them.

Can you imagine how obviously favoring one child over another feels to the children? It is definitely a form of bullying. How can you possibly bully someone you love so much? Bullying is bullying and is NEVER OK. When your children start having children, you will not believe that you can possibly love as many of them as much as you can. As my son likes to say of the day my second granddaughter was born: “Her heart grew three sizes that day.” (My son is a bit of a smart ass.) One way that I like to treat them equally is that I take them each out for a day near their birthday. Once they are out of a diaper and I can understand them fluently, we go out alone for lunch and shopping wherever they want to go. Until they meet that criteria, a parent has to come along to translate (AND change the diapers). For many years, we all ended up at Build-A-Bear. These days, we all end up at Dave and Buster’s. It is one day a year that they all look forward to. A day spent with just them and me. They don’t have to share my attention with anyone else. They get it all. It was  a tradition I started with my own children when they were small. My son’s birthday happened to fall during Spring Training season here in Arizona, so we usually included a trip to a Cubs game on “Brent Day.” He still talks about it and it made him a lifelong Cubs fan (and he was ecstatic when they won the World Series this year). I’m sure you could ask him what he got for his birthday when he was 10 and he wouldn’t remember. But ask him what he did on Brent Day when he was 10 and he probably remembers that.

Another tradition is taking them in pairs to Disneyland (with a parent). It started as a way to celebrate when they turn 13. My children were very kind to space their children very conveniently for me. My first granddaughter was my daughter’s first child; the next year, my son’s first daughter was born; the following year, my daughter’s first son; the next year, my son’s first son; the following year, my daughter’s second daughter; then they got off sync and I lose count without some research for my son’s last two children. Since I couldn’t afford a big Disneyland trip every single year for five years plus, we pair them off. The two oldest girls have been on their trip and the two boys have been on theirs. This year it is time for the third pair of kids to go. The girls have been counting the time to their trip since their brothers returned two years ago. Arrangements have now been made, some swag purchased, and excitement is building for our trip this summer. The one thing that always entertains me is that they are all oh so worried about the last little brother/cousin and who will accompany him on his Disneyland trip. I think he will have plenty of volunteers.

Next year we start a tradition of celebrating high school graduations. I haven’t figured that out yet, but am thinking it will be memorialized by jewelry that will last their lifetime so they will know that I am with them (and watching them) every day of their entire lives.

My life is truly and deeply blessed because I am able to keep these traditions and love on all my grandchildren as individuals. And why shouldn’t I? They are individuals–each their own amazing person. Since I can’t make them stop growing, I’m excited to see how they each live their unique life. And then if you’re lucky enough to maintain some kind of relationship with the “ex’s” in your children’s lives and share your heart with children who share not one single drop of your DNA, you are lucky indeed. There is no child on earth whose life could not be better by being loved. All of them. Equally.


To Retire Or Not To Retire, That Is The Question.

RetirementWhy do I feel guilty that I am not planning to retire? It seems like everyone looks forward to the day when they can retire from their long careers and stay home and die. I love my job (most days), feel like I’m making a contribution, love making my brain work, and enjoy interacting with really intelligent people. What do I hate? I hate sitting on the porch watching the sun beat down. I hate thinking about all the projects that a retired person would get done that are still sitting and waiting for me. I really hate the thought of just waiting to die.

While there is no way to tell whether I might have to retire because of illness or something beyond my control, what I will probably do when I’m closer to a decent retirement age (like 70) is reduce my work schedule so I can take more long weekends to visit my grandbabies, so I can actually finish some of the projects that need to be done (all my old photographs are not going to scan themselves!), and so I can relax for a minute.

The issue I’m having right now is that my husband is talking about retirement, and he’s talking about it like I’m going to retire even though I’ve told him many times I have no plans to retire. Unlike me, he LOVES sitting on the porch doing nothing, he actually gets projects done and would love more time to do that, and I think he’s just tired of working.

I have too many things I want to do that a Social Security income–even enhanced with my retirement plans–won’t cover in addition to a house payment, car insurance, medical insurance, etc. I want to continue to travel. I want to be able to attend events like concerts and plays. I want to keep my housecleaning service at least part time because I really don’t like scrubbing baseboards and toilets.

One thing that keeps me excited about all of this is my circle of friends. They are 10-20 years younger than me. Other than the extended time it takes me to get out of a sitting position, I keep up pretty well. And that forces me to keep up. I can’t imagine my life without them. I would be old. My hair would probably be gray, my nails wouldn’t sparkle, my clothes wouldn’t be stylish (at least to me), and I wouldn’t have been so many places across the country and around the world.

My husband is a homebody–I am not. During our 42 years of marriage, we have traveled some to family events, but he’s not a fan. I love it. So I’m very lucky that he’s willing to stay home and take care of our animals while I’m jetting off to Europe, or to a conference, or for a girls’ weekend. Really lucky. I realize that and am very grateful that we met 45 years ago and have had such an amazing life (so far). It wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns, but with perseverance, hard work, and lots of patience, it has turned out to be pretty amazing.

If someone else has plans to retire, more power to you. I really don’t envy you because I’m happier being busy. Which is why every person should do what they want to do. Do you want to retire when you’re 62 1/2 or 65? Go for it! Do the things you want to do when you have the time to do them. I’m trying to do the best of those things now–taking grandchildren to Disneyland, traveling to Europe, walking in a Disney 5K with friends, attending conferences to increase my knowledge and make new friends, and getting involved in outside sales opportunities and blogging. While I should have started some of these things many years ago, there’s no time like the present!

Quit Quitting

DONT QUITI’m totally stealing this topic from a good friend’s recent blog post. I’m stealing it because her post made me think about my life and all the times things got hard or boring and I quit.

Most of my quitting has to do with weight loss. I’ve been very successful–and quit. I’ve been not so successful–and quit. I know all the right things to do and all the right things to eat because I’ve done it all–and then quit.

I’ve quit creative projects because I ran out time, patience, and desire. What do the half finished projects do for me? They make me feel guilty and like a quitter. I even have a baby blanket that I was cross stitching for a good friend who was pregnant–OVER 20 YEARS AGO! I should bring that out, finish it, and give it to her for her grandchildren. It has obviously been weighing on my mind for over 20 years. Time to quit quitting!

I’ve also quit a bunch of things before I could even get started. I have lots of ideas in my head for social media things to do for my other blog ( and my DS side businesses, but I quit before I even do them. Why? Because I’m scared. I’m scared of not being good enough, of looking dumb, of coming off like I don’t know a damn thing. Does it really truly matter what other people think? I like to think it doesn’t, but deep, deep down, I always think it does. So I quit. I’m getting better (and braver) day by day, but I can’t guarantee I will be comfortable doing new things with social media, but I would like to think I won’t quit.

Think about the times you quit. Was it because you were afraid? Or bored? Or “been there, done that”? It’s time to quit quitting. It’s time to actually do something productive. Life is far too short to waste time on something not worth your time and to keep quitting things that were (at least at some point) important to you. Make them important again and quit quitting.