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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Catching Memories with My Grandkids

Catching Memories with My Grandkids

During the pandemic, I have become relatively efficient with the process of Zoom calls. With the necessary isolation, I appreciate the ability to see friend’s faces and their expressions and hear their voices. I was on a Zoom chat with grandkids last week, and when I thought the conversation was slowing down, I brought up an event we all had in common.

On that particular day, we laughed as we recalled our trip to western Nebraska and the Black Hills. We rented a van which could accommodate all six of us and yes, with four grandkids we made frequent stops.

The Dreamcatcher

During one particular stop, one of the grandkids noticed a dreamcatcher laying on the pavement of a parking lot. They picked up the dream catcher, and we discussed the significance it had to Indigenous Peoples. Since there was no one in the parking lot, we took the Dreamcatcher as a remembrance or a good luck charm, which would connect us to the past and to the future.

During our Zoom conversation, I brought up the dreamcatcher and surprisingly we all remembered the event differently. One grandkid recalled we were at a gas station while another thought we were at a tourist rest area. Yet another grandchild thought we were on our way to Mount Rushmore, and another was sure we were returning from a zip lining excursion.

I thought it was very interesting how we all recalled a specific point in our lives just a little differently. Even though we were all there actively participating, we all had a different memory seeing common events through our own personal lens. I wondered if we all tend to adjust our memories over the years. Maybe it’s similar to “this is what I wanted to have happen” type of memory.

Remembering Memories Together

Who knows why we adjust our memories? Do we do it on purpose or in my case because I’m old? Does it really matter? As long as no one recalls getting the dreamcatcher from a friendly buffalo, I think we’re OK. Please note I have nothing against buffalos!

What truly matters is we all have many common memories of our times together. Memories of laughing, sharing family time and feeling loved. Next time we all gather, whenever that happens, we can talk about zip lining together, learning how to drive a four wheeler, visiting beaches and whale watching in California. We’ve had so many amazing experiences which has created many great memories with our grandkids!

We are reminded of the dreamcatcher at least once a year. “Our” dreamcatcher was turned into a Christmas ornament. Each year, our grandchildren help decorate our tree and the dreamcatcher still brings joy to us, even though the kids fight to see who gets to place it on the tree. The memories just keep coming whether we all agree on them or not, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is we continue to catch the dreams and enjoy our time together.

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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Discussing Politics with Grandma

Discussing Politics with Grandma

The world certainly is in an interesting place. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement and the upcoming election, I find my emotions all over the place.

There are times when I want to cry, and I do cry. There are times when I want to scream, and I do scream. There are times when I want to stay informed and I read. There are times when I can no longer watch the news, and I turn the TV off. There is no one answer for helping me cope and no one answer that will solve all of the problems. Everyone sees the world from their own perspective and responds accordingly.

My Stand on Politics

I’m a liberal, my friends are liberals, and most of my family members are liberals. I know not everyone agrees with what I believe. I also know I need to listen and learn from everyone, not just from those who think like me. Hopefully I can listen and share my perspectives on issues.

Our four grandchildren are young adults and certainly have minds of their own. They make good choices. I should say that I think they make good choices. It’s good odds none of them would tell me if they made a bad decision or if I made a decision they disagreed with. After all, I’m the one who buys them presents throughout the year.

Wondering What My Grandkids Think

I don’t always agree with my grandkids, but usually keep my thoughts to myself. I have, however, been curious to know their thoughts on the pandemic, Black Lives Matter and the upcoming election. I know these three issues are not directly related, but are happening at the same time and have direct impact on each other. It’s like the perfect storm and oh so 2020!

Some of my grandkid’s sporting seasons have been cut short because of the coronavirus spread. Yep, college kids who think they are untouchable. Fortunately, none of my grandkids got the virus, but it is around them and has impacted them in a way they never anticipated. Playing sports and organizing sporting events is their life. Not being able to follow their dreams has been difficult. Speaking of which, not being able to watch them participate is equally devastating on me!

I’ve always been a proud yard sign person. I like thanking essential workers and sending positive messages such as You Are Not Alone. It wasn’t until our Black Lives Matter sign was stolen from our front yard that I held my breath. I talked to the grandkids about the theft. They all wondered why I had just assumed it was a young person who carried out the dirty deed. Interesting point.

Encouraging My Grandkids to Vote

The elections are around the corner. I will make gentle suggestions to the grandkids, but this year I just wanted to make sure they had all registered to vote and applied for an absentee ballot. My suggestions were more like pointed questions, “ Have you registered?” “Here is the link to register,” “Have you applied for an absentee ballot?” I went another step and sent them postage stamps for their mail-in ballots. But I didn’t tell them which candidate should receive their vote.

There is no one answer for everyone and no answer that will solve all of the problems. There is also no one way to share my views with my grandkids. There will always be problems, and they will need to figure it out on their own.

I did hear a grandma recently say, “We may not think our grandkids are listening, but they are listening.”

I’m betting on my grandkids and future great grandkids to help bring us together for a future which is bright and full of hope.

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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Teaching Grandkids about Death and Life Transitions

Teaching Grandkids about Death and Life Transitions

The world certainly is in an interesting place. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement, I find my emotions all over the place. There are times when I want to cry, and I do cry. There are times when I want to scream, and I do scream. There are times when I want to keep informed and watch the news. Then I find I can no longer watch the news, and I turn the TV off.

This past month, I was a part of yet another emotional, life-altering time. After years of fighting a hereditary illness, my brother-in-law passed away. Any time a family member dies, it is difficult. He had to spend months isolated in the hospital and care facilities before coming home on hospice, which was difficult for the entire family. My brother-in-law kept his humor until the very end, and we were thankful he could be home and converse with us.

A Funeral During COVID-19

Funerals for close family members are difficult no matter when they happen in your life. Funerals during a pandemic provide another layer of expectations and plans, still knowing we’ll do the best we can. My sister had an amazing attitude and decided to have a graveside service and a family-only reception in our backyard. Masks were required at both sites, and social distancing was suggested.

I told my sister I would take care of the reception, and she should not have to worry about anything. I worked on the details and soon realized I couldn’t do everything myself, so I did the next best thing and asked my grandkids for help. Fortunately, they said yes and we began dividing up the responsibilities. We ordered or purchased tables, chairs, food, tablecloths, drinks, flowers, vases, and hand sanitizer. We were off to a good start.

Getting Help From the Grandkids

The day of the service came, and we set up the backyard in the early morning. The grandkids took my instructions well and even felt confident enough to let me know they had a better idea. We did the best we could and guessed where the sun would be in a couple hours.

Following the service, all of us raced home to check on our set up. We quickly moved three tables out of the sun, and put flowers, hand sanitizers and box lunches on the tables, just before the rest of the family arrived. The graveside service and reception went off without a hitch. I thanked the grandkids profusely for their assistance in the reception.

Understanding Life’s Transitions

What I realized is they wanted and needed to take part in the process. It had been 15 years since the last family member died, and I wondered how my grandkids would react. They found that keeping busy and giving back to our family was important. They saw it as giving back to their special uncle.

I know their mothers will be the ones carrying out future funerals plans, but this experience helped the grandkids understand the transitions life will bring. They realized these funeral receptions are a time for family to share stories, memories and to laugh with one another. Our grandkids have now experienced the transition, and this tradition is in good hands!

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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Should We Play Sports During COVID-19?

Should We Play Sports During COVID-19?

My grandson plays baseball. I think he’s very talented, but I’m the grandma and am always partial. Last spring, schools and all sporting activities were canceled. It was a necessary and wise decision, and we never second guessed it. He never complained.

Attending my Grandson’s Baseball Games

I love watching baseball, even though I only watch games when my grandson plays. Maybe I should say that I love watching him play. I also need to clarify there are times when my grandson has played baseball when it was difficult for me to watch. This feeling has nothing to do with whether or not he played. It has nothing to do with whether his team won or lost.

It does, however, have everything to do with the outdoor temperature and conditions. Did you know the baseball season begins in March in Nebraska when outdoor temperatures can be very cold? It was the norm for me to wear my winter coat, stocking cap, gloves and boots to watch one of his baseball games, and I always brought along a blanket. After sitting still for two hours, your feet go numb but the blanket provides some relief. The good news was the season moves quickly, and soon you were in T-shirts and shorts. Gotta love Nebraska weather!

Changes to the Baseball Season

This summer, my grandson had committed to playing on a select team, which started mid July. The coaches made many adjustments to comply with the guidelines. They followed a short two-week schedule with limited travel, and they only played one team, repeatedly. It appeared they had thought through the whole process carefully.

Our Return to the Stadium

Even so, the first game we attended was weird. During COVID-19, we’ve tried to self isolate as much as possible. I’ve only been outside for walks, and I’ve gone to the grocery and drug stores. So when we walked into the stadium with our masks on, it was thrilling. I felt like I was a kid in a candy store for the very first time. I looked around and realized I really was outside and in a new environment. It truly was amazing. We found seats away from others in order to physically distance ourselves. The ballpark was helpful by closing off every other row in the stands.

However, not all fans were wearing masks. We were outside so I did not give my usual scowl, but I kept my distance from them. I quickly noticed the players didn’t wear masks. WHAT??!! Grandma antenna went up! I immediately wanted to run a mask to the dugout but knew better.

The game seemed normal. Sometimes a player hit the ball, ran the bases, scored and made outs.

My Take on the Situation

I was outside and it felt good, but I found I was very distracted. That’s nothing new, but I would see someone in the stands who wasn’t socially distancing and stare. Everything seemed to be a distraction. Hearing kids laugh, watching them run up and down the stadium steps, watching them eat, watching them run after the foul balls was fun.

The highlight was watching and cheering for my grandson when he threw the ball for an out and got three hits. I yelled and it felt wonderful. I hadn’t yelled for months, except indoors at my husband. I cheered and I clapped more than I had in the past five months. It felt great. I also realized once I started clapping, I did not want to stop. All the fans around me stopped clapping and I wanted to continue. It felt good; it was a release.

Playing and Celebrating Sports Safely

After the game, there were lots of cheers because of our 11-4 win! We greeted and celebrated your grandson as he walked toward his family. We wanted to give him a big hug, but knowing he came from a group of young men who were not socially distancing, we knew it wasn’t a smart idea. But a virtual hug is warranted. Virtual hugs suck, but are better than nothing!

Even during COVID-19, I still love baseball. I had never viewed it as a release for Grandma, but more of an opportunity to watch my grandson. I have a brand new appreciation for the sport and its ability to relieve my stress. So I say, PLAY BALL, as long as you follow the CDC guidelines and no one gets the virus!

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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COVID-19 Baking Challenge

COVID-19 Baking Challenge

Let me start with this: I am not the cook of our house. During holidays, no one ever asks me to make the family favorite, and I’m OK with that. I have other skills—some yet to be discovered. I just need to keep busy. Busy, that is, as long as there isn’t a good movie on TV or a book I need to read for book club. So during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve asked my grandkids to keep me busy by challenging me to achieve something different each week. This month, the topic was food.

Challenge #1: Lemon Cookies

Powdered Lemon Cookies with Purple Color

The first request was a simple one: lemon cookies. I found an easy recipe and checked the pantry for ingredients to make lemon cookies. I was good to go. That was until I was done mixing the dough and realized I didn’t have the required yellow food coloring. The only color I had was purple. Hmmm. I know food coloring doesn’t have a flavor, so I used the purple food coloring and stuck the cookies in the oven.

That afternoon, I delivered the cookies to the grandkids. Being the gracious sweethearts they are, they thanked me profusely. I didn’t stick around for the final verdict. The next day, when I asked them how the purple lemon cookies were, they were careful in choosing their words. I wondered if they were privately keeping their enthusiasm to themselves and secretly planned to submit the recipe to Martha Stewart. One can always hope. Finally, one brave grandkid told me they were good, but it was difficult to look at the purple color and eat something that tasted lemony. I told them to eat the remaining cookies with their eyes closed. I have no idea if they finished off their batch or blessed the garbage can with the leftovers. I chose not to ask.

Challenge #2: Apple Crisp

The next challenge was to make apple crisp. Believe it or not, I had never made apple crisp. I’ve purchased apple crisp from the grocery store, but never made any. I found an “easy” recipe online and double and triple checked the ingredients I needed to create this masterpiece. It was a simple recipe, and the apple crisp looked good when I was done.

I made the deliveries, and the grandkids were very gracious. And again, I left before they ate a bite. Those face-to-face humiliations are the toughest. A quick text reply from everyone indicated they liked the apple crisp. A potential submission to Martha, I can only dream.

My Final Challenge: Bread

I was ready to take on the next request of bread. At this point, the grandkids were believing in me, so I thought I could take this on. I asked a good friend for a couple of easy recipes. This friend could make a living by cooking, so I reminded her it had to be EASY. She provided me with three easy recipes: one-hour French bread, Focaccia bread and Dutch oven loaf.

I reviewed each recipe, decided to go with the Focaccia, and began assembling ingredients, pans, etc. Then, I realized I had no yeast and neither did the four stores where I searched. Because of COVID-19, people were hoarding not only toilet paper but also yeast! I made the grandkids grape salsa as a substitute and assured them they would get their bread when I got the yeast. They all loved the salsa, so it was a win-win.

A week later, I found some yeast. I won’t go into details of how I secured it from a 90-year-old great-grandma. I made the Focaccia and shared it with the kids who were very pleased with the results. I do admit that I think they were in shock. The grandkids insisted that I need to make the other bread recipes too. I assured them I’d give it a try, and I promised the loaves would not be purple like the lemon cookies.

Another month of COVID-19, another month of challenges, and another month of laughing with my grandkids. Food and laughter—what more could one ask for? OK, perhaps someday we could all cook together!

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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