A Progressive Grandma, That’s Me!

A Progressive Grandma, That’s Me!

I’ve always thought I was a progressive grandma. I have tried to model an accepting, caring, giving type of behavior. For years, I included the grandkids in my time volunteering with the Food Bank, Malone Center and Vacation Bible School. The grandkids stuck with me through thick and thin as we worked during rain storms, heat waves, and freezing weather during their summer and winter breaks. I wanted to make sure they knew there were people in the community who were in need and model for them ways to assist all Lincolnites. All four of them were troopers and I loved watching their growth for giving. I felt, and still feel, it was the best way I could be a good role model.

Changing with the Times

I recently sent the grandkids a picture of me volunteering at the Lincoln Food Bank filling bags of food for their Door Dash deliveries. They were amazed at the changes made within the past couple of years. Door Dash drivers deliver to seniors unable to leave their homes. How creative and amazing!

While we were discussing the changes made in the past several years, they all agreed things are vastly different from those “old” days and are thankful people are adjusting with the times. I silently wondered if they were referring to my ability to change with the times. I smiled and agreed we needed to keep up and adjust when needed. Internally, I thought, what the heck is going on?? We ended our FaceTime throwing kisses to the camera and looking forward to our next gathering.

Finding Where I Fit Today

I’ve always thought of myself as the hip grandma. Then I realized no one in the world uses the word hip anymore, What the heck, where was my mind taking me? My mind began to search for a place of reference so I could capture the moment. What was going on? Where was I in the whole scheme of things? What did the grandkids really think of me during this time of social media and internet overload?

The next thing which came to mind was the Progressive TV commercials that challenge young people not to be like their parents. What? I then gasped and wondered if my grandkids were worried about becoming their grandparents. I took a deep breath and realized they didn’t think they were becoming me, but they were teasing me in their own way. There were things they thought I was doing which were funny to them, but they were certainly not behaviors they were going to follow.

Continuing to Share in My Own Way

Live, Laugh and Love. Yes, I have a towel in our hall bath with those words embroidered on it. I thought it was fun and meaningful. I love including emojis in my texts to the grandkids. So what if I include a lot of hearts and smiley faces? I think they are cute. Confetti flowing in the text when someone achieves a goal is supportive and celebratory, isn’t it?

I asked my grandkids if I was acting old and causing them grief when I did some of these things. They laughed—notice no emoji—and shared that they appreciated my correspondence, and loved seeing my views. There was no ill will, just a great deal of teasing back and forth. We all agreed I was several steps behind their parents and multiple steps behind them, but I was not a loser. Our way of communicating is unique, and they agreed they would continue working with me to ease into a new method of connecting with each of them. Kind of a new way to Live, Laugh and Learn together, even if I am donating the towel to charity.

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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Small Changes to Make the World Better

Small Changes to Make the World Better

During the pandemic, I tried lots of new things. I enrolled in many online lessons to stay active during lockdown. I also used these diversions to provide some levity to my grandkids’ lives. I didn’t expect them to take on my new challenges or learn new skills, but I wanted to provide a humorous moment and make them smile when they looked at my picture and read about my experience.

Doing Everything to Stay Busy

I took online tap dancing lessons. I tried new techniques for baking bread and crazy desserts. I exercised with YouTube Zumba, weight lifting, using dumbbells and yoga. Every new activity I experimented with taught me new skills and took up some of my “down” time. I have not continued with all of those newly acquired skills, but I have with a few. One of the new lessons I have continued to act on is one of learning about climate change and how I can support climate action in our community and country.

During the pandemic, I joined a committee at our church called the Climate Action Team. Through our monthly zoom classes, I learned about climate change in Nebraska, the United States and the world. The country has been divided for some time over many issues, even climate change. It’s become so divisive the term climate change is often in question. Do we call it a climate crisis? Extreme weather? Global warming? Climate variability?

Asking for My Grandkids’ Opinions

I contacted my grandkids and asked what they thought about climate change. I asked nicely, knowing they are working and studying all of the time. Our zoom conversation went well, according to Grandma’s standards. They were all attentive and didn’t leave the conversation. Not all of the grandkids were always actively involved, but they did give me their attention.

One of the major discussions revolved around why people don’t believe in what’s happening in the world. For them, summers are hot and winters are cold. They’ve always worn shorts in the summer and winter, so what’s new? They all commented on the increase in our national weather patterns. The number of hurricanes, floods and droughts all happening at the same time. A couple of them did admit they hadn’t paid any attention to what was going on in past year’s weather patterns, but they did know the past year has been devastating. Although none of them had been personally impacted by these weather changes, they all knew at least one or two friends who have experienced a traumatic weather event. It did cause them to pause and reflect how these changes could impact them personally.

I then asked the grandkids what we could do as a group or as individuals. They each came up with some good ideas, including not using plastic bottles, walking when possible rather than driving everywhere, and doing a better job of recycling. All great ideas!

Making Simple Changes

I left my Grandma Zoom discussion with a couple of challenges. I asked them to continue to learn about these changes and take action to get more involved. I asked them to hope for the future of our earth so their grandchildren will not have to worry about the climate in their lifetime.

I closed with a reminder that when listening to a denier, find commonalities first. This is a good strategy in all areas of life.

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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Dealing with “Zoom Dysmorphia”

Dealing with “Zoom Dysmorphia”

I learned the meaning of a new phrase the other day. As a retired educator, I hope I continue to learn new words, theories and skills. You’re never too old. My grandkids continue to teach me new techniques for using the phone and live streaming on the TV. You’re never too old to learn, but remembering the new skills can be a challenge. Thus, all of my grandkids are on speed dial to assist me each and every day!

A Rise in “Zoom Dysmorphia”

The new phrase I learned was “Zoom dysmorphia.” The phrase refers to the anxiety individuals experience during a Zoom call or meeting where they are concerned about how they look and are being perceived by others. These individuals feel they are stuck inside a box and want to change their facial features, such as thinking their nose is too big and it needs to be reduced, getting rid of those unwanted wrinkles, etc. Thank goodness the Zoom shot is only of the shoulders up. As the Delta variant has brought back the mask mandate, it made me realize some of my groups may be returning to gathering by Zoom. How did my peers deal with Zoom meetings? How did I respond to seeing my picture on the laptop screen? How did using Zoom affect my grandkids with all of their remote classes last year and this year?

I recall some of my peers made tough decisions during the isolation time. Many chose not to Zoom. They didn’t like seeing their face on the screen and many others indicated they weren’t confident in joining a Zoom meeting. Where’s that “you’re never too old” attitude I try to overcome each and every day. I would try to coach them, but it was easier for them to opt-out of the meeting.

Making Myself More Comfortable On-Screen

I reflected on my experiences with Zoom and realized it made me stretch and grow. However, the dysmorphia points were well taken. I experimented with my lighting in the room and how far away from my laptop was from my face. If it was too close, yes, I could see nose hairs. If the laptop was too far away, I looked like a pinhead compared to the other participants, which wasn’t good. I found a happy medium and have stuck with it every time I used Zoom.

I asked each of my grandkids how they handled their Zoom meetings and classes. At first, I didn’t give them the definition of Zoom dysmorphia as I didn’t want their responses to only be a reaction to the phrase. Their answers were short and sweet like they usually are when they want to appease me. I could hear them thinking, ‘why does grandma want to know this?’, ‘does grandma want to Zoom again?’, ‘what’s wrong with FaceTiming together?’ No matter what they were silently thinking, they all responded to me.

“I didn’t like Zoom classes. I learn better in person.”

“I Zoomed, but I turned my camera off when I wasn’t talking.”

“When I Zoomed, I missed walking to my classes and seeing my friends.”

“Zooming is tough as it’s too easy to get distracted with other things, like my phone.”

Zoom Worries Aren’t Always Physical

It was obvious the grandkids didn’t like to Zoom, and probably still don’t, but it wasn’t because of Zoom dysmorphia and the fear of looking at themselves on their screen. It was because it was a change and they didn’t get to be together with their friends. I continued the conversation and I was proud of all four grandkids for their high self-esteem and confidence in new situations. I was also glad they aren’t thrilled with Zoom, and would rather be in person. I’m also very proud they have all been vaccinated and careful during this continuously dangerous time. Not everyone their age is so thoughtful and understanding of science. They are leaders!

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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Accepting My Graying Hair

Accepting My Graying Hair

During COVID-19, John and I were very isolated. We only ventured out to the grocery store and drugstore. I think we survived rather well and made good use of Zooming with the grandkids and learning how to FaceTime. They were always very patient with me and gave me instructions when I needed them – even when I didn’t realize I needed them.

Growing Out My Natural Hair

One thing that I did early in 2021, during the height of the pandemic, was decide to discontinue coloring my hair. Since I never saw anyone and we were all wearing masks, what good was it doing? I’ve never colored my hair professionally so it wasn’t a matter of money—it was just a matter of why should I continue the process?

Gradually, my hair started to grow out, but it was still difficult to see the gray. I should say it was difficult to see the gray until I got my hair cut very short. Now you can definitely see the gray…or should I say white? At this point, I’m not too picky about how I describe my hair.

I also forget I’ve let it go natural until I see an old friend I haven’t talked to in a while. Our minister greeted me at church saying, “Welcome!”, as if he was speaking to a stranger. Boy, was he embarrassed when I introduced myself to him.

Showing the Grandkids

Since I don’t see our grandkids every day or every week, I tried to give them a heads up about my hair status without making it sound as though I made a bad decision. The granddaughters closed their eyes as I walked into the room. I took my place at the table and said, “Surprise!”

“I think your hair looks good.” The affirmation statement was nice but when I caught them looking at my hair, I could tell it was a little shocking.

“Grandma, your hair doesn’t look that bad.” Hearing this made me laugh. There are so many degrees in the spectrum of badness. I pondered which point on the spectrum she was referring to.

“Maybe you could tease your hair to make it look thicker and spread the color around.” Upon returning home, they teased away until we all realized there is no covering up the gray, let alone the thinning nature of this grandma’s hair. We all had another great laugh.

Making the Best of the Situation

The granddaughters tried their best to make things better for me but then soon realized I didn’t have any problem with my hair color—perhaps the thinness—but not the color. Once they realized my level of acceptance, they reassured me that they liked my independence and willingness to take a risk and be natural.

I always learn from my grandkids, but with this hairy experience, I learned even more. I learned my grandkids want to please me—they want me to feel good about myself and will do anything they can to build me up.

I did tell them I was still going to have a money jar for dying my hair. Now, however, I was going to give them the money and not give it to my hairdresser. They all loved the idea! They also requested if there’s a future lock down with the Delta variant, I can’t color my hair pink. I agreed.

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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Learning How to Play Pickleball

Learning How to Play Pickleball

As I age, I have tried to keep active. Just keep moving. I play golf, go to the gym and play pickleball. The grandkids appreciate my efforts and ask often what I’m doing to keep active. I’ve told them story after story of my sporting past, which is non-existent.

When I went to middle and high school, it was pre-Title IX and there were no opportunities for females to play sports. I’ve told them the story so many times that when the subject comes up, the grandkids go, “We know, Grandma. If there would have been sports, you would have be really good and probably would have won a state medal.” I don’t know if I ever said anything about a state medal, but they seem to like making the story sound even better.

Playing Pickleball

I have really enjoyed learning about and playing pickleball. The camaraderie is great, and the groups I play with laugh and tease each other all the time. My grandkids have even joined in the fun a couple times. The grandkids are natural athletes and don’t seem to have the problems I have getting to or seeing the ball. Their hand-eye coordination is also amazing. One of the grandkids learned to play pickleball in a PE class at their school, while the other three just picked it up by watching and listening to us.

When we play as a family, they frequently laugh at my ability to always be late getting to the ball or letting the ball hit my finger instead of the paddle. OK, not always, but more times than not. I’ve watched all four grandkids play sports, and they are very competitive. However, it’s another thing completely to be standing across from them at the net and see the intense concentration in their eyes. It’s a little more intimidating than watching them from afar in the stands.

This year, I’ve found playing pickleball a little bit more challenging. Besides just being another year older and slower, the arthritis in my right hand is much worse. My hands are more swollen than in the past with the tips of my fingers pointing in all sorts of directions. My right hand is my dominant hand, and of course, is the worst of the two.

Trying to Improve My Game

When we play pickleball together, the grandkids give me tips to improve my form. Now with my hand limitations, each grandchild has given me suggestions on how to improve, or should I say compensate for my handicap and stop having the ball hit my thumb. Since each grandchild has experienced some type of injury and recuperation, they are full of suggestions for protecting my thumb from the pickleball hitting it. One granddaughter told me to watch the ball, but that’s easier said than done!

My grandson, the baseball player, thought I should get a catcher’s thumb guard. He indicated some catchers wear them under their glove to protect their thumb. I purchased a thumb guard from a local sporting goods store. The guard molds around your thumb after a 30-minute wait. After the wait time, I tried to slip the guard off and back on my thumb, but it was too tight. We realized the knuckle on my thumb is so much bigger than the base of my thumb, and there was no way it could slip on without some pain.

The next suggestion was to wrap or tape my thumb. We tried that idea as well, but we found the tape kept my thumb straight, and I wasn’t able to get a good grip on the handle of the pickleball paddle.

Finding a Solution

Then a granddaughter, probably the most accident prone of them all, said she had an idea. She ran to her room and brought back splints she has previously used on her fingers. Again, we had a little bit of negotiation with the splints and the thumb, but finally decided on the medal index finger splint. We all agreed the plan was to cut off the end of the splint and use it for my thumb. The grandkids carried out the plan, and I was all set.

I continue to be amazed at my grandkids and their ability to help me through all stages of my life. They were thrilled to help solve my problems. I don’t think they believe it will improve my hand-eye coordination or my speed to get to the ball. I don’t think there is any cure for that other than practice—or perhaps a time machine.

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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Starting a Business During the Pandemic

Starting a Business During the Pandemic

This past year and a half has been interesting. Vaccinations have changed life dramatically. Being able to hug my grandkids with more gusto, probably much to their chagrin, since everyone has received their shots. Seeing book club friends for the first time in years brought smiles to my face and tears to my eyes. Resuming my volunteer work also feels so wonderful! Most of us are now adjusting to our new normal, including our grandchildren.

Young adults, like the older generation, were split in their reactions to the past year and a half. Some didn’t change their behavior at all and continued their large gatherings near and far without masks. Others were more mindful and followed the science, wearing masks, but possibly being a little too trusting of close friends in very small gatherings. I’ll never know exactly what our four grandkids did, but I do know they were careful around us.

How Our Grandkids Adapted

Remote learning was not an easy thing for two of our grandkids. They needed more of a focus and visuals, rather than a screen. They adjusted and still received good grades, but it was a challenge. A third grandchild worked on internships and had a wonderful time.

Our fourth grandchild is an entrepreneur and was able to adjust without missing a beat. When not in class, she zoned in on her creative talents and ran with her thoughts like a horse running wild in an open field. This granddaughter started her career by stitching designs on T-shirts. She asked if I had any requests. I told her I like flowers. I like splashes of color. I like the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign. I thought those ideas would give her a range of topics to work on and fill up her time, however, to be honest, I wasn’t sure she would create anything. I never knew she even knew what to do with a needle and thread as I was the grandma who sewed on buttons and hemmed clothing in a grandchild’s time of need.

Much to my surprise, within a week I had three T-shirts—a blue one with five white flowers on the front, a gray shirt with a stitched multi-colored Nike swoosh on it, and a light gray shirt displaying the BLM symbol. I was pleasantly surprised with her ability to create my new wardrobe, thrilled for her learning a new skill and excited to see her enthusiasm for her accomplishments. Her beaming smile from ear to ear was priceless and will forever be etched in my mind.

Starting Her Own Business

During the pandemic, our granddaughter has started her own company with a website and Instagram account. Her Etsy sales are slow but growing. Obviously, I’m not familiar with those social media methods. I am familiar with seeing her display her creations at her booth at Omaha’s Junkstock event. She’s moved beyond T-shirts to earrings, jewelry plates and more. Fortunately, I was able to assist her for several days running her booth. During that time, I observed her interacting with her customers and helping with their purchases.

She may never be a “Martha Stewart” nor would I want her to be, but she does have passion and a drive to create fun and creative items which sell. Creating a small start-up company is a huge feat. Doing so during a pandemic is nothing short of a miracle. Yep, she’s my granddaughter. I’m not creative, but I’ll take some credit just because I’m her grandma!

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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Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine and Giving Back as a Volunteer

Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine and Giving Back as a Volunteer

I can’t believe COVID-19 is still here. I don’t know what I expected back in March 2020, but I never imagined it would grow to such a threat and become so devastating to the world.

I frequently will remark to my grandkids about the pandemic and how I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I remind them of past pandemics, and they do care and listen to me, but they are quickly diverted to work, school and probably social media. I’m fine with it as long as they are safe and taking care of themselves.

Getting Our COVID Vaccines

Last month, my husband and I received our second Pfizer vaccine. It’s funny, I felt such a relief and an overwhelming joy. We took selfies and sent them out to our kids and grandkids. Everyone sent well wishes and their excitement for our achievement. We did joke about our pictures. They said “I knew you were old, but I didn’t realize you’d be in THAT group!” and “Do they give you suckers after you got your shot?”

“Your bandaid is pretty small. Either your arm is buff or the shot is really little.” It was the usual banter we have with each other.

I will frequently check in with the grandkids to see how they’re doing and if they have made plans for getting their vaccines. Their responses vary, but certainly they’re moving in the right direction. Earlier this spring, their focus was on school and sports. None of their schools were offering vaccines to students, but it’s slowly changing. Slowly changing and just in time for summer vacation.

The grandkids run the gambit of where and when they’re getting their vaccines. The oldest will receive her second dose next week, while another grandkid was in sports and tested three times a week. Team members didn’t get their vaccines because of possible reactions. Now that volleyball is over for the year, she’ll decide if she’ll stay a few weeks longer in Kansas City to receive her shot or wait until she comes home for summer vacation. The youngest will wait until summer vacation. It sounds like everyone has a plan, and I hope everything works out accordingly. I think I’ve said the same thing about a grandkid’s plan when I don’t want to get too nosy but still want to know. Yep, I’m a grandma!

Volunteering at a Vaccine Clinic

Last week I volunteered at Pinnacle Bank Area (PBA) on the day that first and second doses were being given. After my personal experience, I wanted to give back to the Lancaster County Health Department. I was assigned a spot near the entrance of PBA. My group of volunteers decided to trade off duties throughout the day, which was a delight! I first provided directions to the clients with my green flags. Next, I handed out clipboards and pens to those getting their first dose, and I ended the day cleaning off the clipboards and pens.

I told the grandkids about my volunteering, and they told me “congratulations, good job,” but they also thought my tasks sounded a bit boring. I told them that it could be boring if you let it be boring, or it could be hilarious if you put some effort into it.

Handing out clipboards and saying good luck was important as I knew the gesture would be calming. Big smiles can work wonders. And I had a great time waving the green flags in the manner of the flag person at a NASCAR race! It was probably too much fun, as I laughed the whole time. Some of the clients enjoyed my enthusiastic performance, but I quickly changed to a more somber routine when I detected a bit of confusion or fear on some faces.

The grandkids understood my need to keep smiling and laugh because it’s the same thing I do with them. Laughter, positive thoughts and family will get us through this pandemic and future national and world crises. Keep on smiling and carry on. The grandkids said they would carry on the tradition!

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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Celebrating Easter Over Zoom

Celebrating Easter Over Zoom

I don’t need to tell you that this is the second Easter of the pandemic. It’s funny how I’m starting to keep track of events by connecting them to COVID-19.

Many of our friends have received their second vaccine, but we’re just starting to talk about getting together in person. There still is much fear and hesitancy in our lives. What new Coronavirus variant is coming next, and will our vaccines effectively fight it? We continue to trust science and do our best.

Another Easter During COVID

Getting together with our grandchildren is still up and down, mainly because they now live in other towns and are working part-time jobs and going to school. This is the second Easter Sunday we were alone in our home watching church on TV.

The only difference this year was I now know how to set up Zoom meetings and FaceTime which has helped! Decorating Easter cookies has always been a big tradition in our family. This year, I was determined to at least keep that tradition alive and decorate Easter cookies together with our grandkids via Zoom.

We agreed to Zoom on Sunday afternoon. I had sent them the necessary cookies, frosting, food coloring and sprinkles earlier in the week. I was sure they would all be eager and ready to go. Word came to me that two of the grandkids would have to work. That was OK, as I’m realizing I can no longer be in charge of these growing grandkids who have their own schedules and lives. We were still scheduled for our call at 3 p.m. that day, though.

Easter via Zoom

I sent Zoom invitations for our session with the link via email. I’m sure I’m doing too many steps to accomplish this gathering, but they have yet to correct me if I should be doing it a different way. Bless their hearts!

Zoom time came, and I was anxiously waiting for the meeting room to fill up with two granddaughters. I waited patiently, hoping I hadn’t messed up the set-up. To my surprise, there were three granddaughters joining me and they were together in person and staring me in the “face”.

They secretly had gathered in one spot even though they live in separate places, had their cookies out and were ready to start frosting them. It was a wonderful surprise. They asked where my cookies and frosting were, and I realized I had sent all the cookies to them, leaving none for me to decorate. We had a good laugh at my expense!

Decorating Cookies with the Grandkids

The kids began the usual contests seeing who could spread on the most frosting on one cookie, who could add the most sprinkles and who could be the most creative in their cookie design. Although the competition was not as fierce as it has been in the past, it was in real time and provided a bit of normalcy and many smiles.

As the girls frosted their cookies, they talked about school, their dreams, jobs and sports. It was so heartwarming to see them and hear them laugh together. Our time together brought tears to my eyes. My laptop camera doesn’t pick up on tears, so I was OK.

If this pandemic has taught me anything over the past year, it’s to work hard to keep your family traditions going but also know the traditions may need to be adjusted. Life will continue, and it’s my job to keep a touch of tradition included in my grandkids’ lives. If we’re remote again next Easter, maybe we can figure out how to find Easter eggs via Zoom. I hope I’m up for the challenge!

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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Learning How to Use New Electronics to Stay Connected

Learning How to Use New Electronics to Stay Connected

We’ve been having problems with our cell phone and laptop lately. The electronic “fix it” stores could no longer help us as our devices were so old. How old were they? They were so old that I still used the chisel on my clay tablet.

Getting Help From Our Granddaughter

We decided to ask our techie granddaughter for help and guidance. She spent several hours looking at all of our devices, and even attempted to resurrect our dying tools. After her electronic examination, she proceeded to say a prayer for each of the digital devices and began gathering them together. I asked what she was doing and the reply was she taking them to the crematorium.

Funny, I was just getting used to the old phone and laptop and frequently learned something new, whether it was a new tab or feature, of which I had never been aware. OK, our granddaughter really didn’t take them for cremation, but she strongly urged us to look into new electronic devices. My husband and I remembered we haven’t taken a trip in 1.5 years so we finally decided we could afford purchasing a new phone and new laptop.

New devices were purchased knowing there will be another learning curve, and we hope our grandkids don’t shun us in our hour of need. Our geeky granddaughter helped us transfer all of the data and even showed me more tips I will forget. I knew how to send messages, but never had the ability to choose and display a GIF. I always envied people who could message their heads in different shapes. I still don’t know how to do it, but I know I have the option.

Using Our New Electronics

Our new electronics have also made it possible for us to watch our grandkids play their volleyball and baseball games streamed online. I believe we had the option with our old laptops, but the consistency of our viewing was limited. Now, we have all the ability to watch the games and be there virtually cheering in spirit. A bonus was when one of the grandkids instructed us how to mirror or cast the live stream game to our TV. Grandkids are so smart!

Now, the COVID-19 game days are very exciting. We first verify there is actually a game and the start time on the school’s webpage. If I was watching in person, I would wear my school gear, yell, cheer and jump up and down. Watching online, I wear my gear, yell, cheer and pace around the room. I also hum the fight song. I don’t recall all the lyrics, but all fight songs include the words, “GO. FIGHT. WIN.” so I’m happy.

Watching our grandkid’s games live streamed is nice, but of course, it’s a poor substitute for in-person viewing. After a year like 2020, we’ve had no choice. We’re thankful for the ability to watch any game. We’re also truly thankful for each of our grandkids who helped make this electronic process possible to us and provide us with the wins. It truly takes a village to be our grandkids. And yes, I’ll look up the words to the fight songs and sing my heart out during future games.

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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Valentine’s Day Throughout the Years

Valentine’s Day Throughout the Years

Valentine’s Day has always been special in our house. My mother’s birthday was on February 14th, so growing up my sister and I always had plenty of cake and presents in our house to celebrate both events.

I remember giving out valentines to all my classmates in elementary school. Of course, the valentines were homemade with love, but knowing me, not a lot of care. A red paper heart, a doily cut up for bling, my signature and that was about it. You had to give cards to everyone in your room, even if you were not best buddies. I’m sure that’s still the case, unless kids no longer exchange Valentine’s Day cards because some can’t afford the expense, not to speak of the COVID-19 restrictions.

How Our Family Celebrates Valentine’s Day

Keeping our family tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day has continued each year with the grandkids. When they were younger, we would make our cards and decorate homemade heart sugar cookies. We’d laugh to see how much frosting and sprinkles we could get on each cookie and then vote who was the winner.

As with Christmas cookies, not all of the cookies actually made it home, which was a good thing. I never wanted their parents to know how much sugar they actually consumed. Each February, the five of us would share our love for each other, while remembering my mom, their Nana’s, birthday.

Valentine’s Day This Year

This year will be a bit different. Since we won’t be able to get together in person, I did ask each of the grandkids what they wanted for Valentine’s Day. One requested Valentine’s Day M&Ms. I wasn’t sure if the request was for one or two bags. At our house, we historically have a bowl of M&Ms. They evidently are missing the “grab and go” routine when they would stop by our house. I was never sure if they were coming over to see us or just needed a sugar fix. A bag of M&Ms is doable, or maybe I should make it two.

Another grandchild, our entrepreneur the family, requested I purchase several of the magnets she’s designed and is selling online. Wow, what a great idea and grandma will follow up. We have lots of magnets on our refrigerator, and I know I will love them all.

Yet another granddaughter asked for us to take care of her student loans, tongue in cheek I hope. I hate she’s having to think about that problem. I also hate higher education costs being so terribly expensive. I did tell her I had a magic wand and would get right to it. I have no idea what that comment means, but I do know she is aware I have no magic wand. Our grandson was silent, but I know he’s thinking and will let me know soon.

I love our holiday traditions and am pleased we have found ways to adjust. I love knowing these traditions started with my mother teaching our daughters about baking cookies, special treats and little gifts which coincided with celebrating her birthday. Happy Valentine’s Day to the grandkids and Happy Birthday to their Great Grandmother.

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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Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021

During the beginning of the pandemic, I challenged my grandkids each month to learn something new. I tried to be a good role model, and l challenged myself as well. The challenge took place mostly during the winter months of our isolation. I remember baking bread, sewing and taking online yoga classes.

It was my intent to bring a smile to their face with my crazy pictures and to laugh at myself. I was successful at creating smiles, but I was not successful at keeping the challenge going. What I discovered was that once the weather improved, I was outside more and walking as much as possible. I kept up with my weekly notes to the kids on our Zoom calls, but I forgot the challenges.

Looking Forward to 2021

I talked to my grandkids the other day, and we were remarking how happy we were to say goodbye to the year 2020 and how much better 2021 would be. We laughed and talked about how they could get back into their athletic schedules and start playing their games again. They have never complained about wearing masks before, but they did mention they looked forward to the time they wouldn’t have to wear a mask. And yes, we also talked about being able to see each other and giving real hugs, not just air hugs or elbow bumps.

I did not want to spoil the positive mood, but I did remind them that the pandemic was not over. We don’t know when they will be able to play competitive sports with grandma watching, when we won’t have to wear masks or when we could give real hugs. We don’t know what 2021 will bring.

Reflecting on 2020

As I heard the air escaped from their mouths, I rallied and asked them what positive things had happened in 2020. Sure there were many negatives, but there had to be some positives. How can we turn the negatives into something positive?

Our grandkids said they had learned from the Black Lives Matter Movement, and no, we aren’t all being treated equally. Another grandchild remarked about climate change and offered suggestions on how we should be living our lives.

Another comment was they had never realized the inequities in our country. The haves and the have nots, whether it be finances, housing or voting privileges, are now on their radar. They volunteered that they had all known about these injustices, but this year was different. This year, they felt it and witnessed it. We also had a long conversation about politics, but I’ll leave those thoughts for another time.

We all agreed what happened in 2020 was mostly negative, but reflecting back on the year, we realized that we learned a lot and will continue to learn. Will 2021 be better? I hope so for my grandkids’ sake. But if we continue to experience problems, we will continue to be positive and learn from the events surrounding our lives. I will also continue to look to my grandchildren to keep me grounded and challenged. I hope to be able to do the same for them. Bring it on 2021!

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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New Holiday Traditions for a New Normal

New Holiday Traditions for a New Normal

Ever since the grandkids were little, we’ve included them in the picture on our Christmas card. We don’t send many cards anymore, but we always try to send them to family members who live out of state and some close friends. Pictures have included cutting down our Christmas tree, decorating our tree, having a snow ball fight, making snow angels and even just standing in front of an evergreen tree in our backyard.

Christmas Cards Over the Years

Family and friends who receive our holiday cards appreciate seeing how we’ve all changed over the years. I always thought we’d like to compare the annual cards to see how the grandkids grew up over the years. People marvel at how grown up our grandkids have become—they’re practically adults.

However, I now realize people are also seeing how the proud grandparents have also changed. Our friends and extended family have not marveled at how mature we are. Thankfully, they aren’t saying, “Dang, you guys look old.” or “When are you moving into a home?” Ok, they wouldn’t ask the last question, but the thought has probably crossed their minds of when we would downsize.

The Holidays Are Different This Year

This year’s holiday card will be much different. I originally thought of the grandkids coming over for a photo, and we could wear masks. They politely reminded me that we’d be getting too close together. I rethought the situation and now our card will be CDC-approved, and we’ll be social distancing and isolating just like we did for Thanksgiving.

My plan now is to ask each grandchild to put on a holiday headpiece, hat or head covering and take a selfie. Grandma and Grandpa will do the same. I’ll collect all of the pictures and plug them into an online site to create our holiday photo card. Knowing my limited technical capabilities, I think it will work out fine, but I’ll still cross my fingers.

I’m ordering most of their gifts online. The grandkids are very patient with me when I share my struggles while ordering online. I’m always asking for a picture of what they want. Deep down inside, I’m sure they’re thinking, “why don’t I just buy it and Grandma, you give me the money?”

But no, they are kind and realize purchasing their gifts is a fun thing for me to do. It seems clothes are the hottest ticket item this year. I think they’ve realized their parents are no longer at their beck and call for these purchases, so grandma’s here to do it. My pleasure!

Looking Forward to 2021 Holidays

I can’t believe I’ve been whining about the pandemic for nine months and not being able to see my grandkids on a normal basis. When we had to cancel Easter, I told everyone we’d celebrate Easter and Thanksgiving at the same time. Boy, was I wrong! Large gatherings probably won’t happen for Christmas this year either. So when we are able to get together in 2021 (I’m staying positive), we’ll be celebrating so many holidays that I won’t know what to serve.

There won’t be a time we can return to the old normal. The old normal is what caused our situation now. We need to focus on the creation of a new normal, and the grandkids are in a perfect situation to achieve an even better normal for all of us.

Children of all ages are curious, creative, more inclusive and more welcoming than ever before. This generation is amazing. My grandkids may not be the scientists who discover a cure for the next pandemic, but they will do their part to make our community, our nation and our world a better place to live.

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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