Working Girl: An Unexpected Creative Journey

Working Girl: An Unexpected Creative Journey

We have an amazing granddaughter. Of course, all four grandkids are amazing, but our third grandchild has really surprised us. Growing up, she loved teasing everyone and popping up in unexpected places. She always made me smile and laugh with her antics and weird faces. Today, she continues to amaze us.

What Will She Do Forever?

In high school, she loved playing tennis. If she had a tough match, she could laugh it off and go on her way. Academically, she was a very good student and even graduated from high school a semester earlier than the rest of her class. I always wondered what kind of career she would end up following.

After college, I still wondered what she would do for the rest of her life. As I write down these words, I’m reminded that Generation-X kids have five to eight jobs during their lives. I now realize my comment is so grandma-ish—or maybe “ancient” is a better word! Either way, I always thought she’d follow one career forever.

Starting Her Professional Journey

Already, she has worked several jobs. What amazes me is how each of these jobs shows me how creative she is. Her personality and skills are shaping her life. She worked in the Made in KC store, where she learned how to create designs for shirts, cups, bags, and more. There, she came up with ideas that thrilled the people in the store.

 Then, she took the skills from that job and started selling her own creations on Etsy. (She had to inform me what Etsy was because, yes, I’m the grandma!) She and a friend also rented a booth at Junk Stock in Nebraska to sell her products. Her smiley face bags, earrings, and car deodorizers were a hit! She was making really good money, and I was in awe of her.

Harnessing Her Creativity

She expanded her creativity into designing and decorating cookies. I was surprised. In high school, she never took art classes, cooking classes, or any type of creative courses. One day, I decided to ask her, “Were you always this creative?”

She laughed but admitted she didn’t think about it in high school. I know it was always there, though. Her mind was probably moving all the time, and she didn’t know how to harness it until now. Did I just say harness? There’s no harnessing this girl.

No More Old-School Thinking

My granddaughter’s creative juices will provide several opportunities for different careers. I have learned her main strength is looking at an entire picture in a unique way and never looking back. She has taught me a great deal by watching her grow and blossom. I know I can’t duplicate her skills, but I can support her and not count the number of jobs she has as some measure of success or progress. That’s so old school!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Grandmas Will Always Be There

Grandmas Will Always Be There

A couple of weeks ago, we traveled to Denver, Colorado. Other than visiting grandkids in Kansas City, we have stuck close to home. Whether our concern was because of COVID-19 or not wanting to spend too much money, I don’t know, but that was our decision. We probably would have continued to stay put forever had it not been for our granddaughter playing volleyball for Butler University in Indianapolis. A couple of weeks ago, the Butler Bulldogs played in a tournament at Denver University in Denver. We decided to make the trip to be able to see her play in person.

We had so much fun seeing her play and cheering her on. Woof Woof!! They are the Bulldogs and that is the parent cheer! I’ll do anything to fit in. She’s having a great time playing and studying in a brand new environment. She feels very lucky, and she’s happy! Bonus.

Spending Time in Colorado

We’ll take any excuse to connect with them and find out what each of them is doing. I took pictures of her playing with my phone and I sent them to all of the grandkids. I also decided to send postcards so they can get a surprise in their mailbox, which they assure me makes them smile. I went to Colorado prepared for the postal communication with those very important postcard stamps. The problem was I couldn’t find any postcards at Denver University. Zero. That was OK as we were extending our trip from Denver to see the mountains for a few days.

We stopped in Breckenridge and explored the main street. Tourists were back exploring the many tourist stores. I knew I would find postcards in multiple places. I was thinking a postcard with a bear on it or a picture of a major hiking trail. What the heck? I couldn’t find any postcards at the usual locations. I walked up and down the Breckenridge strip. Yes, I visited all the stores on the main drag.

Nothing. Not one postcard.

Why are there No Postcards?

I remember the good old days when postcards were even displayed outside the store with these scenic pictures luring others to visit a specific site. I remember pictures of historically significant museums and historical sites. But what? Nothing? No postcards in Breckenridge, CO?

OK, I get it, I’m old-fashioned which is appropriate as I’m officially old. I get the vast changes in how we communicate. I can, and do, pick up my cell phone to take pictures and send them to all family members in a matter of seconds. OK, almost. Full disclosure, I can send one picture at a time, not multiple pictures. I somehow think my taking the time to write a personal note is meaningful to them. I also need to be realistic and recognize not all people are as excited to receive a note, or a written thank you from someone near and dear to your heart.

I put a great deal of thought into my postcard dilemma and have come to a couple of conclusions. I will continue to look for postcards of locations and meaningful times where I can share my thoughts, my experiences and journeys with those I love. I will also continue to write notes to the grandkids where I share those same thoughts, without pictures. The cards show my handwriting and I pray the grandkids can still read my cursive, which I don’t think they learn at Lincoln Public Schools anymore. Once again cell phone texting wins the race .

When I asked the grandkids what they thought about my mailing them a card once a week. They all answered, how much they appreciate the notes I send them. I think they appreciate getting something in their mailboxes that isn’t a bill. Also, I frequently include a $20 bill. It can’t hurt!! Thank goodness the grandkids do not request Venmo and still like cash. Because they know they’d never see any money out of my nonexistent Venmo account. Life’s journeys just keep moving forward, postcards or no postcards. Grandmas or no grandmas. OK, we’ll make sure Grandmas will always be there!!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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How I Keep My Grandkids Positive During Current Events

How I Keep My Grandkids Positive During Current Events

Most early 20-year-olds are not always tuned in to the news. They study, work, get engaged, married or even begin having a family. If there is a certain issue that grabs their attention, it’s usually because of a possible connection to their environment or social settings. I always try to keep my grandkids connected by sending them an article or giving them details on my activities. I received a big surprise last week when one of the grandkids asked our text group, “Are we going to have a Civil War”? A couple of them laughed, but the granddaughter, who posed the question, was completely serious.

My Grandkids are Worried About the State of the World

I asked her a couple of questions: Why are you asking? Are you concerned? She indicated in one of her classes they had been following the January 6 insurrection rally at the US Capital. The more her class discussed what actually happened, one of her classmates said he thought it looked like the beginning of a Civil War. A couple days later they were still discussing the event and, more recently, other highly charged events.

I was a little shocked at the question, although I had heard something similar. I told all of the grandkids I understood their concern. Then added, it’s normal not to always know what is happening in our cities or country, but we need to pay attention. That’s when I put my teacher hat on, or maybe I should say, I grabbed a piece of chalk.

I asked them what they thought a civil war was. Wrong question! It was like, DUH!

They all knew about the US Civil War in the 1860s and they certainly did not want to be quizzed, or lectured by grandma!

I then asked what their biggest concern was. Three responded with different ideas, but they all focused on the amount of violence they see and hear about each and every day. They all agreed that these acts of violence and similar threats seem to be politically motivated. It was at this moment I realized we all needed to see each other, so I asked if we could have a very quick FaceTime. They were hesitant but agreed.

Helping them Stay Positive

I quickly thought I didn’t want to ask questions like, “What is the worst thing that could happen? OR What is your biggest fear?” I was concerned those types of questions could further lead them down another rabbit hole. My point was to reassure them by seeing each other, and hopefully, make them smile and finish their day on a positive note.

By the look on their faces, I knew I had to make this quick. I reminded the grandkids the US has always had a political divide and that fact will probably never change. I reminded them to make sure they were aware of the issues and to vote. If they ever had any questions, they could ask me and I would do my best to offer some advice.

Lastly, I grabbed a clown nose I’ve kept in the den since they were babies and put it on for them. I tried my best to reenact the same voice I used when they were young and it did the trick. They laughed at my antics. In my “voice”, I told them to work on being happy and healthy and continue to connect with each other. They promised and we signed off. Maybe I should use the clown nose more often!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Trying to Get Better at Pickleball

Trying to Get Better at Pickleball

I’ve blogged about my Pickleball experiences before but I continue to play and it’s on my mind. As a senior, I know my ability to perform any athletic activity is fleeting at best. But I do continue to enjoy this sport, probably the socialization as much as the competition and physical movement. My problem is with each passing year of play I have found my years of experience are not translating into better performance on the court. While I don’t consider myself a highly competitive person, I must admit that while winning is not the only thing, it still feels good. Since I never was a participant in any competitive sports during my school years, yes that makes me Pre Title IX, I was not sure what I needed to do to get my game back in the direction I wanted.

Practicing Pickleball

Seeing how the grandkids all experienced their own athletic success, I decided I would seek out their advice. To a person they said I can only get better if I ….PRACTICE! Now like most people my age they participate in their favorite outdoor or indoor sport by playing. Not practicing. I play Pickleball games with several different groups during the week. We don’t really practice, we just play. I have a hard time asking someone from these groups to just practice with me. I don’t want to impose on a friend by asking them to take time out of their lives, interests and family to dink with me! For those who haven’t played, dinking is just hitting the ball between two people, over the net to loosen up prior to the game. My grandkids thought there needed to be more practice. They all said, to improve your skills, you had to practice them. Improve your hand/eye coordination, agility and anticipation of the next return. Repetition is the key. Or so they told me.

Finally, my grandson agreed to assist me with some common drills. He’s attending school and working here in Lincoln, so thought an exchange of his time for our leftovers would be a good trade-off. He agreed to be my coach. Food continues to win him over!!

Getting Help from My Grandson

Days before we started I asked him how should I prepare. He said, “besides practicing?” I said, yes. He thought it would be a good idea to Google Pickleball drills. He again suggested I practice with my current group of Pickleball friends whom I play with several times a week. I got no takers. I assumed it was the curse of “I’d rather use the limited energy I have to play rather than practice” approach of my generation.

My grandson and I went to a nearby court to conduct a few of the drills I had found online. We were outside in the heat of what appears to be the hottest summer we’ve had in years and we went through the drills. I melted. I think the plastic ball we were playing with even melted. I quickly told my grandson I had to call it a day.

So much for improving my game. I have now accepted my Senior Status on the Pickleball court. I will never play in the Cornhusker State Games. I will never have a medal draped around my neck. But I will continue to enjoy the company of friends doing what we enjoy. Then again, there is always next week.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Reconnecting With My Substitute Grandkids

Reconnecting With My Substitute Grandkids

The weekend of June 18 was certainly a fun one for me. It was filled with my involvement in a couple of community activism events. I’ve always worked hard to include my grandkids in my community activities. We marched in the Martin Luther King Youth Rallies for years, volunteered at the Malone Center handing out food to those in need, and we even marched at the capitol for Women’s Rights. Since my grandbabies have left town, at least for the time being, I can only send pictures and text them about my activities in Lincoln and hope they will in turn become more involved and participate in their own community events which mean something near and dear to their hearts.

Taking Part in Community Activism

Earlier in the spring, I signed up to walk in my church’s entry in the Pride Parade. Last year, several of the grandkids and I watched the Pride Parade participants walking around the Nebraska Capitol. It was fun to be an observer, so I was really looking forward to participating in the parade this year. My church group had matching t-shirts and loved the idea of sharing the love.

The highlight of the parade was not our church’s entry, although we were a merry and welcoming marching group. The highlight was joining with a couple of past Lincoln Southeast High School graduates who were also marching with our church. I remembered them as strong women athletes who lead Lincoln Southeast High School in women’s basketball to numerous Nebraska State Tournaments. I was thrilled to see them and we reconnected quickly and not so quietly. I had maintained some connection with these young women and we found we were reconnected with a renewed sense of energy. We were proud of our Pride Convictions and loved reliving their joyous youth and present successes in their lives.

The second highlight of the weekend was experiencing the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration at the Lincoln Malone Center. There were multiple tents that sheltered various organizations and non-profit groups offering support to the Lincoln families. The Malone Center was very well organized and I enjoyed walking through the tents and learning how the Lincoln community supports all citizens. I learned a great deal!

It was a terribly hot afternoon. I kept under the shade of the tents as much as possible and then moved to the shade around the water sprinkler children’s fun area at Trago Park. I thought it would be a great spot to watch the small kids running through the sprinklers. I cannot deny a part of me wanted to run around with the little kids in the water spray. I’m pleased to say I controlled my heated emotions and relaxed quietly in the shade.

I relaxed quietly until I heard the Juneteenth Celebration’s emcee speaking into the mic. I paused and thought I recognized the voice. I had no idea who the emcee was and dismissed any type of connection. As I continued to watch the water spray, I also continued to listen to the emcee. He was encouraging audience members to rap the ABCs following a beat on the piano. Since I felt a connection with the emcee’s voice, I left the shade of the water spray area and moved to the heat in front of the emcee’s stage.

Reconnecting With Former Students

I looked closely at the emcee and in an instant realized he was a Lincoln Southeast High School graduate while I was principal. I stood in the heat in front of the stage hoping the emcee would recognize me. Nope, no luck. My white hair and grandma body is no longer a visual connection to the kids I had in high school in the 90s. I waited patiently until the emcee had a break. I went up to him and introduced myself. He was thrilled to reconnect with me. We hugged, took pictures, laughed and even cried together. It was another amazing reunion!

The next day, I reflected on my weekend. I truly missed not seeing and being with my own grandkids. I shared with each of my grandkids my experiences and sent them accompanied pictures. There is no replacement for not being able to be with my grandbabies. However, what I did experience was the joy of having substitute grandkids with me that weekend. I was able to laugh, cry and hug my way through the weekend in a way I never expected. Somehow I wondered how I would deal with life without my grandkids being in Lincoln with me. Now I know I can hang in there, as long as I am active in the community, active in my Southeast and Northstar high schools, and continue to look forward to reconnecting with my substitute grandkids wherever they may be.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Bringing Nebraska to My Grandkids

Bringing Nebraska to My Grandkids

My husband, John, and I read the paper online every day. It’s not a perfect method as it adds more screen time for each of us and we actually prefer holding a paper in our hands. Print media is fondly remembered, but the online option was a decision we made and we’ve adjusted to the change.

On May 25, 2022, I read a local view on the opinion page entitled, Who do we want to keep? The opinion piece was written by a retired mother who lives in Lincoln and her daughter who now works and lives in Colorado. The premise was how some state officials are proposing keeping young professionals in Lincoln, since so many are leaving Nebraska. I thought it was a well-written piece and it made me think. Those pieces are worth my time and effort to read and digest. A couple of days later, I looked at the comments posted online referring to the article. Wow! I read some very differing views of the article. I was surprised about the varying degrees of responses until John informed me all opinion pieces are either loved or hated and readers love to share their two cents about the previous comment. Our divisions in this country don’t allow for much middle ground to allow compromise.

Talking to my Grandkids About Their Plans

Back to me thinking about the article part. After graduating from college, one of our daughters lived in Kansas and the other in Colorado. I truly put pressure on them to return to Nebraska because of my belief in the LPS school system. I truly believed, and still believe, Lincoln has an outstanding school system and I wanted to make sure the education of my grandchildren was the best it could be. Eventually, both daughters and their families made their way back to Lincoln. Three of our four grandchildren left Nebraska to attend schools in other states. Our fourth grandchild is going to school in Nebraska. The opinion piece made me wonder if the three granddaughters might someday return to Nebraska.

Their responses were varied and interesting but they all agreed they would probably not return to Nebraska to live. I asked them why. All three of the girls indicated they liked the opportunities and experiences they have had in the big city. They loved the diversity they experienced in college with foreign students and individuals who didn’t look like themselves. Each granddaughter individually stated they loved having people they knew really listen to their thoughts and dreams. They didn’t always agree with each other, but there was respect. Each granddaughter expressed the opportunity to learn about other cultures and shared fun experiences about trips to different areas of their respective communities, cultural events, markets and churches. Lastly, they felt they were truly accepted by others in their communities.

I told them their comments were well thought out, but I couldn’t imagine everything was perfect and every day was a kumbaya celebration. They laughed and agreed each of their lives wasn’t perfect, but for the most part they were all happy and wouldn’t change a thing.

Bringing Nebraska to Them

It’s important to note, each of our granddaughters are new to their real working world, living in apartments and enjoying their lives. Their opinions may change once they look for homes and begin contemplating their futures. Certainly marriage, children and working opportunities will all play a role in their decisions. However, when older generations, trying vainly to hold onto power, make decisions for, instead of with younger generations the prospects on attracting and retaining the next, young future Nebraskans, does not appear to be promising.

I told my grandkids if they choose not to return to Nebraska to live, I’ll bring Nebraska to them and split my time between here and whichever state they decide to live in. I’ll bring Nebraska to them!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Growing Old Gracefully

Growing Old Gracefully

The other day my oldest granddaughter complimented me on my flexibility. I told her I try to work on my good health and wellness each and every day. She said I was a good role model and hoped she could grow old gracefully and follow in my footsteps. I told her by the time she was my age, living to 100 would be normal. I don’t know if living to 100 is a good thing or not, but medicine will become more exact and I’m sure she will make it if she puts her mind to it.

I know she complimented me because she’s my grandchild and she is very caring and nurturing. Her comment, “You have great flexibility!” Was probably followed with a comment made under her breath, “For an old lady,” or maybe not. It did make me smile, however, and her comment, “Growing old gracefully” did make me pause. What does growing old gracefully actually mean? I don’t think I’ve ever done anything gracefully and I certainly don’t think growing older is one of them.

Anymore, I try to remember to use a railing while walking up and down steps. I don’t always need the railing, but I know I should use it. Is using the railing growing old with grace?

Practicing Health & Wellness

I try to exercise each and every day, whether it’s walking, playing pickleball or taking a class at the YMCA. During nice weather, I like to ride my bike, but not when it’s cold or the wind is howling. Is exercising growing old gracefully?

I also focus on giving back to the community and others not as fortunate. Volunteering in my church and the Lincoln community brings me great joy.

I decided I need to find a new word for my daily progression in life. I googled the term, growing old gracefully and came upon a website about a new class led by Maria Shriver, which focuses on radically redefining age. Of course, the web class was earlier in the year and it probably cost a jazzilion dollars, but I did see a note about not surrendering your passions or your abilities as you age. I need to remember that and share it with others.

Finding New Hobbies

I told my granddaughter, I need to keep challenging myself and search for activities or people to keep me smiling and happy. She told me to let her know if there was anything she or the other grandkids could do to help. I told her they would be the first I’d contact if I felt that need.

The next day I was shopping at Walgreens for face cream. I was frustrated as each face cream I looked at was labeled, “Anti-aging.” Why? What’s so bad about aging? I need happy face cream, not Debby Downer face cream. I wanted somewhere over the rainbow face cream, not you’re on death’s doorstep face cream. I called my granddaughter and told her about my ah-ha moment and my need for face cream. She calmly told me to take a deep breath and relax. She reminded me why products are labeled and it was all about them trying to sell more and cash in on the big bucks. I thanked her for her wisdom, grabbed a face cream and immediately removed the label when I got home. That’ll show those whippersnappers!!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Talking to my Grandkids About Ukraine

Talking to my Grandkids About Ukraine

Every day, for over a month, I have been anxious to get more information about the war in Ukraine. Every day provides a change in the situation as Russia continues to cause uncertainty in Ukraine and around the world. Some news broadcasters believe the Russian aggression against their neighbors will continue to spread until Russia takes over the land they possessed before the USSR fell apart. While not all United States citizens are on the same page, it is the most unifying event we’ve had in years. As usual, I wondered where my grandchildren were in their understanding and support of Ukraine. I need to keep reminding myself, they are not retired and have school and work to occupy their minds. Here are a couple of their questions and a summary of our shared thoughts.

Asking Questions about Ukraine

“Can Putin just do this and get away with it?” My granddaughter isn’t the only one asking this question. Everyone around the world has a similar question. Putin’s bully behavior is nothing new, but it is getting us closer to another world war. Our discussion about another world war made them think about the Nazis. When they were in high school, WWII was studied but they never had a reason to make connections to events that were happening in their lives, in real-time. The comparison of Putin’s actions in Ukraine and his threat of nuclear bombs gave them pause.

Another question thrown to the group was, “How is this affecting us?” One grandkid quickly responded with, “When was the last time you filled your car up with gas?” We all giggled a little, but soon realized the connectedness of the world in which we live. My grandson is studying business and commented how all the stock markets around the world have plunged.

A granddaughter commented on the amount of humanitarian aid countries from all over the world are offering to Ukraine. “The aid is amazing and I’m sure greatly appreciated, but I wonder if, in the grand scale, it will be enough.” They wondered how they could help. They are all strapped for money so giving a monetary amount is not an option. I asked if there were any rallies, marches or prayer vigils they could lend their voices to. They agreed to look into it. I also reminded them to be welcoming to refugees, all refugees. My comment was followed with a, “Duh, grandma!!” Yep, my bad.

Staying Connected in Uncertain Times

I brought our conversation to a close with my most recent contact with a refugee from Ukraine. After I retired from education, I keep in contact with school kids by volunteering my time to TeamMates and the North Star ELL programs. It was pre-pandemic when I was linked with a North Star freshman who had arrived from Ukraine one week earlier. It was my charge to assist her in adapting to conversational English. Yullia could not speak a word of English and I, obviously could not speak Ukrainian. Soon, I realized we were teaching each other many things. We would walk around the building. I would point at an object (i.e., door) say the word, and Yuliia would translate it into Ukrainian on the app on her phone. We spent the entire year learning together and by its end, Yuliia no longer needed my assistance. She was amazing.

Telling the grandkids this story brought back many wonderful memories. I reminded all four of them there are many ways to connect with people and events around the world, but most importantly, they need to keep connected with me!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Seamstress Not for Hire

Seamstress Not for Hire

There was a time when I could sew. There was a time when my sewing machine worked and not in need of repairs. There was a time when I had time…. No wait, I’m retired and have all the time in the world. I remember making our daughters clothes from actual patterns. I also made the granddaughters some clothes, but mostly costumes for the 4th grade trip to the one-room schoolhouse, or for Halloween trick and treating. I’m guessing I needed a project away from my daily education routine. I do know things have changed and I can barely see well enough to thread a needle.

Hemming My Grandaughter’s Dress

In the winter of 2021, my middle granddaughter wanted me to shorten a long formal she had worn in high school. She thought it was still cute and could possibly wear it in college. No problem. When she brought it over, the skirt of the dress was made of two types of tulle. Hemming the dress would be difficult as the material was so fine. Heck, the dress didn’t even have a hem. So together, we decided to cut it. She tried it on, I measured it in the front and we were confident we could do it. A makeover.

We cut the dress very slowly, as the material was difficult to cut even with a roller blade, but we were successful. When we finished, she tried on the dress. Looking at her when she made her way into the kitchen, I thought wow, we did a great job. Then she turned around. What the heck? I could see her underpants. We were so careful with our measurements, I couldn’t figure out what had gone wrong. Then I realized I had forgotten to take into account her little fanny. Even though it’s a little one, it no longer looked so little. The back of the dress went up at least two inches and was something she could wear if she worked at a naughty bar.

Seamstress No Longer for Hire

Last week, almost on the anniversary of my last sewing escapade, my youngest granddaughter asked if I would shorten the straps on her floor-length fancy dress. Thinking they would be small spaghetti straps, I quickly agreed, I’ve got this! Bring it on!! No such luck. The straps were not the thin strands of spaghetti, but they weren’t terrible. I would have to take a bit of care with the shortening them but I was confident.

Finding the right color of thread was my first hurdle. The dress was a green color, but not a normal green. I went to three different fabric stores before I found a match. Then, the straps had ruffles on the outer edge. How was I going to figure that out? I asked a friend for advice and I soon had a strategy.

I did need assistance from my husband to thread the needle and I was ready to go. And my sewing project was complete. Whew! Our youngest granddaughter hasn’t been home to try it on yet, but I believe shortening of the straps will work out. The only reason it wouldn’t meet her approval is if she grows two inches taller in the past three weeks.

I’m taking down my shingle for any major “sewing” tasks, but will continue to shorten straps. With these Grandma hands, they are no longer for hire.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Thursdays with My Grandson

Thursdays with My Grandson

I’ve always enjoyed the playdates I had with my grandkids when they were young. Those were the good old days when they had time to come over to our house and play. We did artwork with the help of Michael’s art store. The theme of most creative pieces centered around the next holiday. I never knew how long the artwork lasted once the kids took them home. It didn’t really matter, as the purpose of our playdates were to play and be with each other. We loved getting together in the warm months swimming or hiking in Wilderness Park. Boo at the Zoo was always a winning event, one I still enjoy. Then there were the hours spent at our farm, no matter what the season. Scoping out frogs in the pond, driving the 4-wheeler and sledding were huge hits. Making s’mores around the little fire was always a hit. What could be better than marshmallows and chocolate? Now that I think about all those memories, maybe the playtime was more for my benefit than theirs. I wonder.

Staying Connected As My Grandkids Get Older

Right now, my grandson is the only one of my grandkids still living in Lincoln. My granddaughters are still in regular contact with me, and I’m glad Zoom and FaceTime are pieces of technology I understand. I’m appreciative they all are willing to participate in our frequent “gatherings”. Actually, I probably “see” them more now than when they were in high school.

I’ve learned playdates to swim or go to the movies are no longer on our list of things to do together. I have learned to adjust and still get my time with him. That statement sounds a little selfish, and yes, I’m guilty. The selfishness is selfishly aligned with the need to get help from him. I’ve found I need more help around the house, the yard and at the farm. Having help with moving big pieces of furniture, climbing ladders, etc. has been a big help to us! With my grandson’s work schedule and school schedule, he doesn’t have a lot of time, but we’ve discovered early Thursday afternoons work for both of us.

Grandson Thursdays

This week was no exception in my need for assistance. I have a new used car which we purchased from my husband’s sister. It’s a great small SUV with many bells and whistles but limited instructions. Or, I should say, limited instructions that I can understand. I had previously made a list of my new, used auto needs – syncing my phone to the car, identifying my favorite contacts, setting my radio stations, opening the back hatch with my foot, just to name a few. When I gave my grandson my list, he first gave me a questioning look, which reminded me of a kid saying to the old grandma, “You really don’t know how to do this?” Or “You’ve got to be kidding me.” He quickly adjusted his look and just smiled saying, “Let’s get started.”

I was in awe of his ability to navigate the instructions and prompts the car gave him. I kept asking him, how did you do that? He just smiled and slowly talked me through each of the steps. I discovered he is not only strong but smart with technology. He was not afraid to explore the dashboard screens, understood the language and enjoyed helping me.

I value my Grandson Thursdays and look forward to seeing him each week. One last thing, I do bribe him by sending him home with all of our leftovers from the week. Maybe that’s why he is so eager to help me during my selfish times of need.

Maybe I should have called this Blog, A Grandson’s Thursdays with the Old Lady Who Gives Me Food.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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From Generation to Generation

From Generation to Generation

The Holiday season was a great one for our family. All the grandkids make it back to Lincoln. We were together for Christmas and the following week. We laughed, we talked about what was going on in our lives and they even had time to help me take down some of the decorations. They joked about some of our treasured tree decorations their moms made at our church Advent Party. As the grandkids were taking the tubs of decorations to our basement they decided they wanted to play pool. It’s been a long time since they’ve played but they were all anxious to see if their skills were any better. We divided into teams and the game was on.

We soon realized my grandson was a tad better than the rest of us. I couldn’t figure out why until he told us his friend has a pool table and he plays once a week. After that comment, we all wanted to be on his team. They are just competitive enough to keep it interesting.

My grandson noted our pool table was very old compared to his friend’s. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to share the story of our pool table.

Grandparents Generosity

My grandfather and grandmother lived on a farm outside of Crete and one year in the late ‘20s or early ‘30s, they were visited by a family from Illinois. During the visit, they had a car accident and their daughter was severely injured. I soon realized the grandkids hadn’t listened as intently to me as they were now since I read to them the story, Peter Rabbit. The visiting family had to return to their farm in Illinois, so they left their daughter with my Grandparents until she had recovered from her injuries and could manage the return trip home. My grandparents were very giving and were anxious to help out. After months of rest and rehabilitation, the family from Illinois returned to pick up their daughter. Much to my grandparents’ surprise, the family brought their old slate pool table with them, which they offered as payment for taking care of their daughter. Medicare should be this good!

My grandkids were enthralled with the story, so I continued. When my grandparents moved into Crete, they didn’t have room for it in their small home, so they gave the table to my parents. When my parents eventually moved into a senior living complex, our home was the only one big enough for the table so we were lucky enough to receive it.

Generations of Love

All four grandkids were amazed at the generosity of my grandparents, amazed at the age of the pool table and politely asked who would receive the pool table next. I laughed and said we weren’t ready to pass it on quite yet, but it would be something I’d think about soon. We talked about the generations it was in our family. How each of those generations is kept firmly together because of one single act of kindness. Stories are many and they will continue with our family connections. We all agreed these family generational connections surround us, shelter us and uphold us each and every day. This conversation was the best Holiday gift ever, unwrapped and from the heart.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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Looking at All Sides of an Issue

Looking at All Sides of an Issue

I read the following the other day and I thought it made a great deal of sense as I wonder what my grandkids are thinking about today’s world:

You can give them your love, but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

-Kahil Gilbran

I don’t follow a prophet’s advice all the time, but I do try to keep an open mind. The 2020 election, the state and national political divisions, climate change, racial equality and women’s rights are all issues where I hold strong feelings. As a public educator, it was always important not to share my thoughts about certain subjects without acknowledging all points of view. While teaching in the classroom or working with parents, teachers or community members, it could certainly be a challenge. Sometimes it was difficult for me to hold my tongue, but I did for the most part because it was my job. In our present political climate, things have changed and I wonder if I would have been as successful as I was in the good old days. This quote got me to thinking about my grandkids.

Recognizing My Beliefs are Not My Grandkids’ Beliefs

I have never been hesitant to talk to the grandkids about politics or the real world, but I never really felt like I had to visit with them about issues. Somehow I just assumed they held the same beliefs I did. Kind of like an inherited gene. My mantra has always been to let the grandkids determine for themselves where they stand on issues which are important to them. They will sometimes ask me about a protest sign they see in my garage or pictures of me participating in a march. When they were much younger, they would always join me in the MLK march from the NU Union to the Capital. Or more recently a couple of the granddaughters marched with me voicing our beliefs on women’s rights.

Over the past four years, things have changed. I started seeing how the political division is tearing some families apart and I got a little concerned. I didn’t think our family would have problems, but on the other hand, I didn’t really know.

Where We Stood on Current Events

A couple of weeks ago, my grandson asked me my opinion of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Wow! A question that wasn’t related to sports? I was excited to discuss it with him but also knew not to tread too heavily with my thoughts without knowing where this conversation could lead. I told him I was disappointed with the verdict and stopped there and waited and waited.

My grandson stated he agreed with me, but it was his understanding that Wisconsin’s laws may have been written in such a way that supported the final verdict.

The Rittenhouse discussion then lead to other important issues happening in the United States and the world. He’s beginning to see how his income does not always meet his needs. I asked him for more information. Without giving me details of how much he earns, what his cost of living is, etc., he said it’s tough but he does have a budget he follows. He remarked at how someone can go into a pro sports program and make millions of dollars and be the same age. Our grandson, the quiet introvert, questioned the fairness of what the pro player was doing to benefit our society. Another great thought!

Looking at All Sides of an Issue

Thanks to LPS staff for training my grandkids and all students not to just read and listen to one source, but to look at all sides of an issue with multiple resources. Learning to talk civilly to each other, asking questions and sharing thoughts without getting upset is an essential skill. We can learn from each other! As one who is concerned about where we are going as a society, my grandson gives me hope and thoughts of pride!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

I have four grandchildren ages 14-17. In some ways, I’m a very typical grandma, always proud of everything the kids do and wanting to help support them in whatever way I can. In other ways, I’m not very typical. My goal as a blogger is to share my thoughts and experiences that I think are funny and meaningful as I adventure through grandmahood.

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