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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Celebrating COVIDuation 2020

Celebrating COVIDuation 2020

How do you celebrate graduation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? You find a way to come together with love, laughter and flexibility. No matter the state of the world, this motto has been with me since the mid 1980s when I was teaching and started taking part in high school graduation ceremonies.

It was always important for me to reassure the graduates it was truly their day and to enjoy it. But I would also add that graduation was perhaps more important for their families. My intent being, “please don’t display any behavior that would embarrass your mother!” One of the more memorable graduations was when seniors handed me a marble during our handshake. It certainly tested my flexibility, literally and figuratively.

Organizing Our Own Graduation

I have two grandchildren graduating this year. Our entire family has supported the CDC guidelines with social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and we were supportive of Lincoln Public Schools canceling graduation ceremonies. It was always a challenge trying to organize 600+ graduates in a normal year, let alone in a year of a pandemic.

I’ve seen news stories of several high schools having creative graduation ceremonies in a race car stadium or on their football field. Our family decided to get creative too. Each grandchild and their family decided to do something special to recognize their unique graduation day. We were fortunate to be included.

Our granddaughter decided she wanted something simple. She and her mother called to let us know they would stop over, so I could see the graduate in her cap and gown. I thought it was a sweet gesture and appreciated her including us.

As a surprise, I decided to wear my doctorate cap and gown, which I would wear for graduation ceremonies before I retired. I quickly made a sign and a pretend diploma, and we were ready for their arrival. We topped off the day with a social distance supper for five at their home. It was a perfect graduation and party.

woman wearing graduation cap and gown with cloth mask

Our grandson was also scheduled to graduate in May. He wasn’t as excited to make plans, so his mom took over. His mom had seen pictures of our granddaughter’s earlier graduation and liked the cap and gown idea. I agreed to participate in the graduation, but we agreed to not tell my grandson the plan. We didn’t want him to run away. Knowing I had more time to organize, I made a few adjustments.

Making the Day Our Own

First, I decided to prepare a short and sweet speech. Next, I enlisted the assistance of my husband to be the musician. What is a graduation without music, even if it’s just a kazoo? A diploma was made and we were ready to go to our grandson’s house.

As we drove, I kept thinking of other aspects I could quickly add to the ceremony. This was either going to turn out very well, or he was going to run away. Now, I knew he wasn’t going to run away, but I didn’t want to embarrass him so much he wouldn’t have a good laugh.

We walked into their home, and I told him to put on his cap and gown and I put on mine. He looked at me like I was crazy, yet he played along. My husband organized the four family members in the back yard where the ceremony would be held.

The graduate and I (as the principal) walked the processional to the kazoo sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance.” I gave a quick speech, handed him a pretend diploma, and then we recessed to the school fight song and cheers of family members and the neighbors who were grilling out next door.

A Day They’ll Never Forget

I reminded both of our 2020 graduates that their graduation will be one they’ll never forget. It certainly will be a graduation I’ll never forget. I know there will eventually be a new normal and a new routine for almost everything, including graduations. Both our granddaughter’s and grandson’s graduations may be the new normal with plenty of love and laughter, and no marbles. It was perfect.

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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Can’t Tap My Way Out of This

Can’t Tap My Way Out of This

The world feels like it has stood still. Am I in Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day asking the questions, What day is it? What time is it? What’s to eat? Do I shower today or is that tomorrow?

As I’m sitting down to write my May blog, I’m trying to remember what I wrote about for April’s post. I have no clue. I worry if I’ll be writing the same exact words. Then I remembered I can reread April’s blog. Duh!

So much has changed in one month. Every time I leave our house, I wear a face mask. I wash my hands so much my fingers are wrinkly. OK, they were wrinkly before, but they are really wrinkly now. My hair color makes me look like a skunk with a big white streak running down my scalp. My fingernails are a mess. What I’ve realized is that this is the new normal.

Trying to Meet Goals

One of my goals last month was to Zoom with the grandkids once a week. We’ve only chatted on Zoom twice. The first time, it was just to connect together and it was perfect. The second time was when we all decorated Easter cookies.

It’s no one’s fault this hasn’t worked out more often. There seems to be virtual school still going on. Also, all of the grandkids work and their schedules frequently conflict. My only schedule is getting to bed at my normal time, which is sometimes when they’re just getting home from work. In spite of missing the mark with this goal, I continue my quest to touch base with them once a day.

The adjusted goal for this grandma is to learn something new each week. I give my grandkids the opportunity to suggest what the goal is, but I get to make the final decision. They don’t always know my physical limitations or my physical abilities. Heck, I may or may not know my own abilities or limitations.

Setting New Goals

This past week, I was challenged to tap dance. Our daughters took lessons, and the three granddaughters took lessons. I always loved the sounds, the rhythm, and of course, the recital costumes. I tap danced 65 years ago, so I knew it would come back to me quickly. I think they call it muscle memory. I decided to take tap dancing on as a goal.

The grandkids chuckled and were excited to see what I could accomplish. Actually, I don’t think that statement is true. That’s what they lead me to believe.

I quickly found a YouTube tap dance lesson online. I couldn’t find a lesson that was very long and involved, which was a blessing to me! You have to pay for those lessons. Here I go. Front toe taps, side toe taps, heel taps, ball change. These were all steps I recalled from my own lessons many years ago. What could go wrong other than the grandkids nagging me for my video?

Tapping My Way Through It

I danced in my Mary Jane shoes with a 1.5-inch heel as running shoes would not have been appropriate. Toe taps went well. Heel taps were good. Putting them together with a shuffle was not as good. It’s called balance.

What the heck was I thinking when I decided to wear heeled shoes when I haven’t worn anything but running shoes since the beginning of March? Yes, the balance was a bit off, and the video I made showed a tad bit of hesitation, but I did it and I’ll continue to shuffle ball changing once a week.

My tap dancing may bring humorous relief and take my grandkids’ minds off COVID-19 for a couple of minutes, but it won’t tap our way out of the pandemic. As long as the tap dancing video brings a smile to their faces, I’ve achieved my goal.

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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How My Grandkids & I Are Handling COVID-19

How My Grandkids & I Are Handling COVID-19

I always try to blog about what’s on my mind and how it connects me to my grandchildren. Last month, I was aware of COVID-19, but it hadn’t really affected my family or me. Although we currently don’t have any health-related problems, the virus seems to be impacting us on a daily basis.

Defining Moments in My Life

The pandemic has caused me to think about my past life-changing moments:

  • Nuclear bombs and our “duck and cover” under our desk practices
  • Landing on the moon
  • The Polio epidemic and vaccine
  • Assassination of JFK
  • Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., race marches, riots
  • Vietnam War and anti-war demonstrations
  • Women’s Movement and the burning of bras
  • Ebola, SARS, but I never thought about its personal impact on me

Defining Moments in My Grandkids’ Lives

Our grandkids’ life-changing moments prior to February 2020:

  • Getting a driver’s license
  • Going to college
  • School shootings and active shooter drills

Grandkids’ life-changing moments after February 2020:

  • Universities and public schools closed indefinitely, learning remotely
  • Sports schedules stopped
  • Knowledge of graduations which won’t be held
  • Uncertainty of summer jobs

Adapting to a New Way of Learning

All four of my grandkids are settling in with school work. I’m sure everyone of them is responding to the remote learning differently. One will work very hard on her assignments and complete them ahead of schedule and do more than required, hoping for extra credit. One will complete only the required work, hoping for the best. The other two will be somewhere in between, doing the work, getting it in on time, but not going above and beyond the requirements.

Now that I think about it, this is kind of how they work during the school year. I’ve decided not to ask how their school work is going, as I’m thinking their parents will put enough pressure on them already. They don’t need my inquiries. As a former educator, I’m anxious to know how this whole distance learning thing will work for the last quarter of the school year.

How I’m Handling the Pandemic

I’ve decided that my role during this pandemic is to stay healthy, find humor in the little things and connect with my grandkids at least once a day. One day, I sent them a joke about a guy who is paid to scoop up dog poop in the yard when he finally realized the homeowners didn’t have a dog. The grandkids thought it was pretty funny. Another day, I sent a picture of me doing the Jimmy Fallon Cowbell Challenge. They knew I played a cowbell at North Star High School, but couldn’t make the connection to Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”

I’ve sent them a picture of me trying to follow a YouTube video for beginning yoga. I think they were embarrassed for me trying to keep a downward dog pose. Finally, I’ve requested a Zoom session with the four of them once a week. It was good for me to see all of them last week, and they knew it meant a great deal to me. We’ve met once, and we’ll see if I am able to maintain my goal.

A lot of unknowns arise each and every day. I know that, and I’ll do the best to adjust to each one, even if one of the new things is learning new technology. I want to treat my book club to Zooming. Just when I thought I was done learning, I find myself needing more information to keep up with my grandkids.

The most important thing right now is to keep my grandkids safe and healthy. I know it’s really up to them and their parents, but I’ll do my part by trying to keep them smiling and smiling and smiling.

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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Why It’s Difficult to Watch My Grandkids Play Sports

Why It’s Difficult to Watch My Grandkids Play Sports

I’m getting older, that’s a fact. I try to follow the “aging” suggestions my doctor gives me and while I’m not worried about an injury, I do notice I think about it more now than in the past. The injuries I’ve endured are a few bruised fingers and a twisted ankle from playing pickleball. I’ve been fortunate to avoid anything which required an ER visit, casts or crutches, but it’s my grandkids who worry me.

As grandparents, we’ve become permanent bleacher bums for the past 15+ years. From those early years, it was significantly painful to watch Y team soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis and volleyball games. My husband and I have been faithful attendees at hundreds of sporting events. I use the term sporting events loosely, as in many games we watched a granddaughter spend more time picking dandelions than she did chasing the ball.

As Intensity Increases, So Does Caution

As the grandkids grew and learned the various sports, the action got more heated. Fortunately, our grandkids didn’t get hurt when they were young, but some of their friends experienced injuries. I saw the tears and agony in the faces of the child, their parents and even their grandparents.

I recognized I was becoming more and more anxious. I’m sure there is some scientific formula where, mass (speed) + the number of practices + games = the higher probability of an injury. I may have missed that chapter in my high school textbook, so don’t quote me. With two grandkids in college and one in high school still competing, watching their events brings me a thrill, much joy and pride, but with a tinge of wincing and cringing. I don’t tell them this, but it’s true.

Even Safe Sports Can Be Scary

Our oldest grandchild rows crew in college. Sounds like a safe sport, right? Have you ever read any headlines about an accident in a crew race? The boats go in a straight line for heavens sake. However, one look at her calloused and blistered hands make me weak. Then there was the concussion she received while practicing, which was beyond my comprehension. I wonder if the crew team rows with itty bitty life vests in those skinny boats?

Our second grandchild is also a college athlete and plays volleyball. She entered college recovering from ACL surgery she received playing high school basketball. This recovery was very painful for me to watch, and I developed a sympathetic limp watching as she recuperated. By fall, her recovery was great, but the vision of seeing her dive on the court to dig a 45 mph spike delivered by a giant opponent took my breath away. I know I missed some great plays because I had my eyes shut!

The Fear from the Bleachers Is Unrelenting

This winter we have watched our grandson play high school varsity basketball. At 6’3” I’m sure he can take care of himself. I watched him break his pinky finger and I immediately wished the injury would bench him for the rest of the season, but no such luck. He was back in a week with lots of tape on his hand. Two weeks later he was fouled while airborne making a lay up. I watched as he lay crumpled on the court and I feared the worse. Thankfully, it was not a knee, but a sprained ankle. He was out for only one game—hallelujah!

As spring approaches, I remind myself we now have baseball games to watch. I love watching baseball. What could possibly go wrong when your grandson stands in the batters box and the pitcher throws a ball at him from 60 feet away at a speed only cars should be allowed to travel? I won’t tell any of them about my fears. I only tell them I love them and will cheer them on at every event I have an opportunity to attend. Eyes open or eyes closed? I’ll decide that at the time.

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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Do Sequels Improve on the Originals?

Do Sequels Improve on the Originals?

Recently, I took one of my three granddaughters to see the newest Star Wars movie. I had seen the first three installments to the series, but had missed the past two or three. I enjoyed the movies I had seen in the past, and she assured me this one would be great as well.

Catching Up on Sequels You’ve Missed

Before the movie started, we talked about sequels and how sometimes they worked and sometimes they didn’t. I shared that Jaws one and two were good, but the third movie was not great. She mentioned the Marvel franchise, but I’ve never seen them, so I didn’t have much to contribute. We both liked the Indiana Jones and the Harry Potter sequels. Then we moved to Star Wars.

I told her the last Star Wars movie I saw was in 1983. She gave me the stinky-eye look—how dare I not keep up-to-date! She quickly moved on to explain the story lines I had missed and the characters I had no knowledge of ever existing in the story line. I tried my best to keep up-to-date. My only mistake was to ask if this is the movie with the Baby Yoda. Yep, I was the recipient of another stinky-eye look. Which movie was he in?

Understanding the Common Theme of Sequels

My granddaughter’s unabridged version of the movies I had missed were quite good. Knowing there was a link between the early movies and this latest one made me feel like I could handle the fact I hadn’t seen the entire series.
After the movie, we discussed it and we both gave it a thumbs up. Apparently, this latest movie is to be the last Star Wars movie. My granddaughter assured me there would be a spin-off in theaters soon. We also talked about the concept of sequels. When you’ve got something people like and want, keep it going. Each sequel has a common theme, yet is tweaked enough to make it special and each sequel has enough familiarity to identify with the main story line.

Each Grandkid Is a New Sequel

The sequel concept got me thinking about my own grandkids. Is each grandkid a sequel to the previous child? Does each grandkid learn from the previous one? Do they strive to be better, stronger than the previous grandkid? Like the movie sequel, each one of my grandkids has some common themes which run through them.

DNA would account for some of the common traits. My grandkids don’t look alike, but there are resemblances. Shared family values and beliefs is another common theme in movies and grandkids. All four grandkids grew up in the same church, went to the same day care, were involved in youth sports and eat the same food grandpa cooks.

While each of our precious grandkids are similar, they are each unique in providing their own twist to our family. Our grandson is very tall, his sister is very short and my other two granddaughters are in between the extremes. Are we like Jaws XXIV? No! However, I am thankful for all the similarities and all the differences I see in my grandkids. It makes life interesting and reassuring at the same time. Kind of like seeing the original Luke Skywalker through the years. May the Force be with you!

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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