“Mommy, be my safe”

IMG-1434When my eldest was around 3 years old, she began to express her fears or concerns with her own original phrase that I thought was just precious.

When we found ourselves in situations where there appeared to be a cause for concern, she would nestle her tiny little body up close to mine and quietly say, “Mommy, be my safe.”  She meant, protect me and shelter me until the threat has passed.  It could be stormy weather or a creepy noise, or that stranger in the grocery store who got a little too close for comfort.

Whatever the peril, she trusted that I would save her from it.  Wrapped around mommy’s legs, with one sticky little hand in mine, she could be at peace.

Yesterday afternoon as the sky darkened, it started to thunder and the wind was bending the tree branches and lightning cracked across the sky.  We went from sunshine to eerie skies, with the promise of a good storm.  My youngest granddaughter came over to me and buried her little head in my lap and then looked up with her big blue eyes and said, “Nana, what noise?”  She’s always said that when she hears a noise that upsets her.  We have always speculated that all the time spent in the NICU and the strange noises might have affected her in some way, so we are always quick to reassure her that all is well.

Her cuteness reminded me of my daughter’s cuteness years before and I smiled thinking of the all the times that we have cried out for help from our Father.   What do our cries for help sound like to Him?  Are there times He thinks we are “cute”?  Do our petitions ever bring a smile to His face because of the way we phrase them?  I think so.

The storms of life roll through without warning, we are exposed to traumatic things all day on whatever type of media we choose, there is so much noise.  Noise, by definition,  is “a sound that is loud or unpleasant that causes a disturbance”.  Yes, there is much noise in our world.

Thankfully, like my daughter and granddaughter, I have a safe haven, a place where I can run to find peace and comfort.  I can cry out to God, “What noise?!?!”  As He stills and comforts my spirit with His still small voice, I can lean in and say, “Be my safe.”  And, He will, every time.

Thoughts on a summer day

Feet planted in a little green pool painted to resemble a watermelon, I’m thankful for the cool water while sitting on a scorching hot back deck.  I silently wonder how long my feet will be safe from toddler pee or if they have already been contaminated.  Considering I just polished off a blackberry after she licked it and offered it to me, I suppose I will live.IMG-1718

The cardinal showing off his vivid red coat on the fence post looks as if he would love to join Cali in the little pool for a midday bath, but he is staying out of reach.  Smart guy because I am positive he would get more than he bargained for.

Cali, sitting in the shade of her umbrella, is oblivious to the cardinal and seemingly to the heat as well as she munches on blackberries and strawberries and repeatedly dumps water from one bucket to another while singing bits and pieces of “head, shoulders knees and toes”.

I am thankful for my day out shopping, the mani-pedi and a long lunch with two of my favorite people.  I was anxious to get home and babysit this little rascal though tonight after my errands were complete.  With Cali and her mommy living back at home, that means I am the primary baby sitter when Morgan works.  Sometimes, Nana gets a little tired.

We were empty-nesters for a couple of years and I got quite used to my free time.  Time to read or write for hours without interruption.  Time to take a long nap on a Saturday without a little munchkin banging on my door.   Yes, there are times I long for more solitude.

At these times, however, God always reminds me of my prayers to Him when we didn’t know if Cali would make it.  Those long drives to and from Miami filled with fears and tears and prayer.  The months in ICU, the surgery days, the ups and downs.

I’m reminded once again that life is a journey.  We travel through seasons with all kinds of weather.  The seasons will never cease, but we can learn to face them with His strength and grace.  He is our great Help and Comforter.

It is how we handle the journey, it’s our attitude while we walk it out, it’s our abiding in His sweet vine.  Don’t kid yourself into thinking that the next big milestone is the destination, that once that “thing” happens you will forever by happy or you will have finally made it.  There is always something (good and bad) around the corner as long as we walk this earth.  If you acknowledge this, it makes the unknowns a little less intimidating.

Take joy in moments, learn to find the lessons in the trails, look for God’s plan in the middle of your messes, be grateful and find your peace and rest in Him.

Blessings,

Lisa

New Orleans Facts and Monkey-business

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“Nana, she wants my grits!”

As I relax for a while this afternoon and relive events from the past 24 hours, I am reminded of how quickly time passes and how seasons change when we aren’t looking.  We are continually depositing memories into our life account.  When we are older and have more time to ourselves, may we all have a vast sum to draw from.

Last night this nana decided there would be a sleepover with both of my granddaughters.  My 7 yr old Ayda, who is on spring break from NC and my little local Cali, who celebrated her 1st last week.  Ayda was staying with Nana anyway and Cali’s mommy was at the point of sleep deprivation where I thought it best to intervene and give her a break.

As I knew it would be, the night was long, yet too short and both glorious and exhausting and that’s okay.  Such is life.

Our little one was nicknamed monkey-butt while still serving her time in the NICU.  This was due to her inclination towards wrapping her tiny little toes around the hospital bed bars and hanging on.  Last night, her antics were better described as monkey-business.  First she doggedly pursued her elder cousin determined to share her bowl of cheese grits.  Ayda was very patient and kind and actually enjoyed her “big cousin” role as Cali crawled after her like the energizer bunny and repeatedly stuck her fingers in the bowl.  Yes, I could have made Ayda go to the table, but what would be the fun in that?   It was an after dinner snack.

Next they played with a stiff, stuffed cat with a leash that meowed incessantly.  I honesty tried to let it go on, but the noise unfortunately wasn’t falling on deaf ears and I could only suffer for so long.  That kind of toy is supposed to be what I buy to send home with them, not the other way around.  Following my interruption of the cat game, they began to play with plastic eggs.  Ayda would roll one and Cali would chase after it only to have it slip from her slobbery little fingers so she could chase it again.  We got a few laughs out of that.

Later, Miss Cali persevered and achieved a record for her latest night ever.  She managed to keep Nana and Papa awake until after 10 pm, a first for her.  Her mommy usually has her in bed well before 7 so we aren’t sure what provoked the late night.  The way she kept eyeballing the front door, I suspect she was waiting for mommy and daddy.  Ayda snuggled up with a blanket on the couch and gave up around 9, probably tired of the tiny ones shenanigans.

Since Papa had to work bright and early, he headed off for the guest room as I had pulled the pack and play into ours.  We both knew the long night was likely just beginning and he needed to sleep.  Sure enough, she was up around midnight to polish off a bottle which Nana couldn’t heat fast enough and then up again from 4 to 5 just because.  Ayda came through right before five for a potty break and made frantic motions indicating that she needed the bathroom light on.  I did the only thing I could do.  Rocking back and forth (back aching) with a sleepy infant on my chest, I grabbed my kindle and turned it on and threw it to the end of the bed.  I whispered, “Use that for a light”.  She went in there, kindle in hand and did her business like a trooper.  I recall wondering if I would hear the kindle splash and realizing if it meant the baby stayed asleep, I didn’t care.  I would deal with that tomorrow.

When Cali sat up and made her “laughing with my binky in my mouth” sound around 6:15, I knew she was ready to roll and I was certainly ready for coffee and wondering again why I had offered to do this.

Ayda was up shortly thereafter and starving, so she needed breakfast.  Cali was hungry too so I attempted to please both of them, but not before pouring myself a nice, large, piping hot, cup of coffee.  Papa took Cali as he knew this wasn’t a job for the non-caffeinated nana.   Cali started making poop noises about this time, so I figured I better wait to feed her when she was finished making room.

As soon as Ayda was finished eating, she picked up her “new” notebook, which in reality had been MY new cute notebook, but not anymore.  She began to recite aloud all of the words she had written down to teach Cali.  I had to listen carefully to each one, or they would be repeated.  Clean diapered Cali was on my lap, trying to get to my phone and the remote controls, whichever one required more pain for Nana’s miscellaneous body parts.

About this time, Ayda decided she needed the laptop to look up facts about New Orleans and she was still hungry.  Cali was cranky due to lack of sleep and Nana was barely awake herself.  I put Cali down, which made her mad, ran to the other room and googled “facts about New Orleans”, hit submit and ran back to the living room to change Cali’s diaper again.  Ayda said, “Nana, its saying no internet found” so I picked up Cali like a football and ran the other direction to assist.

A few moments later, Ayda writing down “facts” and Cali slurping drowsily on a warm bottle, her little eyes rolling back in her head from exhaustion and Papa comes in, closing the front door A LITTLE TOO LOUDLY for Nana’s liking.  Cali bolted straight up and looked around smiling and Ayda came in and said, “Nana, did you know that New Orleans was F-O-U-N-D-E-D”, “I said, “founded, honey” and she said, “Yes, founded in 1718”.  I said in my most sincere Nana voice, “Wow, what a cool fact!  That was over 200 years ago”.  She replied, “Nana, you weren’t even born yet, huh?”

I looked down and noticed that monkey butt was fast asleep.  Ayda snuggled up to me on the other side and lovingly looked up at me and said, “Nana I am still hungry, but I’m not going to eat again until you can”, thereby melting my heart for about the hundredth time since she arrived.

About that time Cali’s mommy texted and was ready to see her baby.  Nana was ready for her to see her baby too.

Oddly enough, a couple of hours later when Ayda and her Mommy and Cali and her Mommy all left on the golf cart for a ride, Nana missed them and found herself looking forward to their return so the chaos could ensue once again.  I know Ayda will be gone on Thursday and it will be a while before I see her again and of course, we are still just so thankful that Cali is with us and healthy.  I cherish the moments, good and bad, fun and frenzied because I know from experience how quickly this life is passing us by and how we never know what will happen from one moment to the next.

We have to enjoy this crazy, wonderful life and enjoy those the good Lord has blessed us with.  I can promise you it’s not always sunshine and rainbows but when there is love and appreciation, you can find the joy in the midst of the mayhem and in the stinkiest of jobs.

Daily Post: Hyperbole

The Daily Prompt was Hyperbole.

Hyperbole (pronounced ‘high-purr-bo-lee’) is a figure of speech in which an author or speaker purposely and obviously exaggerates to an extreme.  I love language and I love this word, but I had never attempted to use it purposely.  So, I decided to try to use it in the short little story below and it was surprisingly fun!

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puffy clouds

As I sit outside in the sunshine on this beautiful albeit windy day, munching on my caramel apple and trying to keep my hair out of the stickiness, I see an alien.  Yes, an alien, then a pizza and finally a rooster all are blowing by in the puffy white clouds.

One minute, I’m thinking that I’ll be as big as a barn if I don’t stop eating all of these delightful candy coated, caramel concoctions and the next minute I’m thinking of my granny, skinny as a toothpick lying on a blanket finding pictures in the clouds.

Granny would have had a story for every picture; the alien would have been larger than life and travelled faster than the speed of light.  She would have said thinking about that pizza made her so hungry she could eat a horse and she probably would have had a story about how she tried to catch a rooster once and it ran like lightning.

After the stories were told and the clouds began to diminish and the skies became bluer than blue, we would pick up our blanket and shake the leaves off because after all, we had a million things to do.

Back then, I never would have considered Granny as old as the hills because she had as much spunk as most half her age.  Today, when I think about her and remember clasping her wrinkled little hand, I miss her.  She loved unconditionally and I’m beyond grateful for her prayers.  Knowing I will see her again someday allows me to smile at her memory.

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Peeling trees

Bananas on a banana tree. Personnal photo, fre...

Bananas on a banana tree. Personnal photo, free licence (see below). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My younger brother and sister bounded into the yellow house, excitement on their faces, along with dirt from their long day at play.   My sister, with the bulk of her auburn curls trapped in pigtails fastened with yarn and sporting a splash of cinnamon freckles across her nose, was the first to speak.  “Oh, Granny, guess what we did for Poppy?  He is going to be so happy!”  My brother was standing right beside my sister, which is where you often found him.  He was smiling too, a smile full of a sense of pride and accomplishment for his part in this good deed.  They both had some kind of juice and goo that smelled like banana all over them, enough where if we had been at home, mom would have escorted them quickly to the bathtub.  Not Granny though; that kind of thing didn’t faze her.

Granny smiled that kind of smile that grandmothers smile and animatedly asked, “Well sugar, what did you do?”  She had that way of speaking to you that always made you feel good; never a glimmer of frustration or impatience to be heard.  Her voice and tone felt like a warm hug.

“We peeled Poppy’s banana trees!  Granny we stripped every piece of the brown off and made them all nice and pretty!”

Now, before I go any farther, let me say that Poppy loved to garden and he loved his banana trees.  Looking back, I think working in the soil was relaxing for him after his long day as a fishing guide.  He liked to see the fruits of his labor and share them and he was very particular in the way the way he attended his plants.

The look on Granny’s face after their announcement went from perfectly peaceful to a bit concerned. I, being a little older and wiser knew the look and the once uneventful day looked suddenly as if it promised some excitement. She took their dirty little, banana gooey hands as they led her outside to survey the beauty of the project. I trailed along behind them anxious to inspect the ruins, and sadly, but honestly probably enjoying the possibility of the impending drama a little too much.

The trees were peeled alright, there was barely anything left.  Now, granted you are supposed to peel off the dead yellow leaves, which in their defense, they had probably watched Poppy do.

Granny elected not to share with them at that time, the trouble they were in.  Knowing her, I bet she wanted them to enjoy their excitement for as long as possible, while she prayed and figured out how to calm the storm she knew to be looming on the horizon.

I knew two things; one being that Pop was not going to be happy and two being that granny didn’t let anyone and I mean anyone mess with her grandbabies.  So, now to sit back and watch and wait for the Dixie to dock, and Pop to head home, all of which we could see from Granny’s front yard.

Pop got home and I waited.  They hurried up to him excitedly begging him to “Come look what we did for you!”  Poppy would make this snorting sound when he didn’t really want to participate in something, but when it came to his grandkids, he would usually relent anyway and this time wasn’t any different.

But when he saw his precious trees, he quickly lost his temper.  This was before Poppy had a sanctified vocabulary, so we heard some choice words.  He then described what was going to happen to their little derrieres.  Their joyful little faces quickly turned into blubbering, dirty little, banana goo messes and we all ran as fast as our little feet would carry us into the house and they jumped straight into Granny’s lap.  By this time, I was no longer looking forward to any action; I had softened and started to feel sorry for them, as I watched tears dampen their dirty little cheeks.

As Poppy angrily lamented what he thought would be the end of his poor trees and advised Granny as to whose hides were getting tanned, Granny got that wet mother hen look in her eye.  She made it a point to call them “the babies” and reminded him they were only trying to help.   She said very matter-of-factly that no one would be getting spankings on her watch.  Poppy snorted and shuffled back outside and that was the end of that.  I could have sworn I heard Granny giggle.

Before the end of the night, Granny had calmed Poppy and they were both chuckling about the peeled trees.  To this day, we still mention it with a smile; one of those things that for a few moments completely stole our peace and filled us with fear turned into one of those funny moments our family has laughed about for years.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dialogue

Poppy and Granny with Ashley (my youngest)

Poppy and Granny with Ashley (my youngest)

“Lee-see-o, Where are you?” I could hear my grandmothers voice growing louder the closer I got to her back porch.  Granny, complete with silver bun and glasses, was easygoing and lenient, but when dusk fell it was time to go inside.

 “Coming, Gran”, I would yell back as I begin to say my goodbyes as my friends also turned homeward.

Inside?  Already?  After all there were more cartwheels and handsprings to be attempted, games of tag left un-played and more stories to hear and to tell.  Who wanted to go inside with two old people who didn’t own a television?

Well, I did.  I could spin a yarn about how I hung my shoulders down and stuck my bottom lip out and lamented my horrible fate.  But, it’s just not true. 

I remember it more like this.

“Hey Granny!” I would say with a big grin spreading across my dirt-stained face.  “Hey, doll baby, what did you get yourself into?  Come on inside and let’s get you washed up”.

Poppy would be in his favorite chair, reading the newspaper, relaxing after his day as a fishing guide and tending to his garden when he got home.  He didn’t talk as much as granny did, so all I would hear from him for a while was likely to be the rustling sound, as he turned the pages of his paper.

All clean and in my pj’s or jammies as we liked to call them, I would come back into the living room and Poppy would make some funny comment.  He loved to tease his grandkids. 

“Granny made chocolate pie”, I would her say in a sing-song voice from the little kitchen.  She would cut me a hearty slice and we would begin to talk about my day.  Granny always listened more like another kid instead of an adult.  She looked at me, right in the eye, when I was speaking and she didn’t interrupt.  She listened with seemingly rapt attention to every detail. 

Of course, I didn’t realize as a child, how much adults can glean from our ramblings if they just pay attention.  Yes, as I shared my heart, Granny was listening because she loved me, and also so she knew how to pray for me and others.  When I reached my tumultuous teen years, I sometimes resented that she actually had a use for my freely given information, but her motives were always for my good.

Poppy, already having enjoyed his pie right after supper, would get up and give me a hug and a kiss goodnight to meet his early bedtime.  As silly as it sounds, I can still feel the roughness of his cheek and smell that sweet, distinct smell of Poppy.

Oh what I would give to spend one more quiet, pie partaking, newspaper rustling evening with them.  I crave the quiet, the conversation uninterrupted by various electronic devices, sharing the Sunday funnies, the hot tea mornings with toast and jelly.

Poppy is gone now and Granny’s mind isn’t what it used to be, but I treasure all the time I spent with them and the memories that seem like yesterday.  I was blessed to have them and I pray that one day my grandchildren look back at time spent with me and my husband with as much fondness.

 

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