Finding My Calling with TeamMates Mentoring

Finding My Calling with TeamMates Mentoring

I worked with TeamMates Mentoring at Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) shortly after Tom Osborne and his wife created the program in the early 90s. As a principal, I loved greeting the mentors because I knew how much the relationship meant to our students. The closer I got to retirement, I knew being a mentor with TeamMates was something I wanted to do with my free time.

First Steps into Mentoring

I contacted the TeamMate’s office and inquired about the organization and weekly requirements. The staff member who helped me was the wife of a fellow LPS administrator. She was excited about my participation in the program and answered all my questions. She called two days later and asked if I was interested in helping them out with a young boy who went to one of our feeder schools. After getting the okay from my superiors, I told her yes.

Building Trust with My First TeamMate

The young boy’s mother had just gone to prison, and he and his siblings were going to a foster home. Both the foster parents and the principal of the elementary school were hopeful I could help with the transition. I was ready. At least I thought so.

The first several months were hectic and rather disorganized. This young boy was very active and OCD. I soon realized my role was to give the teacher some time for him to blow off some steam. We met in a small room near the library and frequently drew on the white board. Playing organized games or reading were not yet part of our session. After some time, he became less agitated and followed directions. He obtained skills with his behavior and was a joy to work with. We were TeamMates for several years before the family moved away.

Mentoring a Bright & Independent Young Woman

When I connected with my next TeamMate, I had already retired so it was much easier. She was a middle school student who was very shy and very bright. She loved art and Dungeons and Dragons. She taught me a great deal! I worked hard to get her scholarships and find the perfect art class for her. During her senior year, she told me she didn’t want to go to college and was sorry to disappoint me. Yes, I was a bit disappointed but I realized this is what she wanted to do. She was not yet ready to move away from her parents and be on her own. To this day, we still chat on the phone and meet for lunch several times a year.

My New TeamMate with Big Dreams

This year, I have a new TeamMate who attends an elementary school. Her older brother was a student who attended Northstar, and he asked me to keep an eye on her. As a fourth grader, she is very smart, independent and already knows she wants to be an obstetrician. When I was in fourth grade, I didn’t even know what that word meant, let alone what I wanted to be.

She has her own challenges but nothing we can’t figure out together. For example, she’s so confident that when she works on a craft during our time together, she neglects to read the instructions. Minor details. We’re working on that skill first.

While working with her, I am reminded how I worked with my grandchildren when they were in elementary school. Don’t tell them what to do or how to do it, and patience is a virtue. Come to think of it, that’s still the way I communicate with my grandkids today. I’m supportive but stay out of their way! Sometimes those grandparent skills just keeping giving, long after your own grandkids are grown and on their own. I’ll always be there for my grandkids and my TeamMates.

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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Being Phased Out of Everyday Updates From My Grandkids

Being Phased Out of Everyday Updates From My Grandkids

One of the things I miss about having three of our four grandkids in Kansas City is knowing what they’re doing and what they’re thinking. I don’t expect to be informed about everything or even know what they had for lunch. I don’t even remember what I had for lunch! But now, I usually just hear about the big events in their lives, and it’s often given to me after the fact through their moms.

Missing the Little Things

When they lived in Lincoln and I heard about an event a little late, I could always squeeze in a trip to cheer them on or run over to their homes to give them a hug.

But then I started thinking, “Was this grandma pouting? Was this grandma being a spoiled brat?” I stopped and realized I wasn’t their mom. I’m not the most important person in their life. My grandkids were sharing things with their moms and that is what’s important and how it should be.

Keeping the Lines Open

This got me thinking, “How did I keep my grandmothers in the loop? How good was I at keeping open the lines of communication?” I realized I didn’t communicate every day with my grandmothers. I didn’t avoid talking to them; I just thought I was too busy with my activities, and I always knew my mother would keep them informed. At least I assumed she would.

As I reflected on my granddaughter’s early years, I realized that my grandkids kept me up-to-date more than I ever did with my own grandmas. Yes, the shame began to creep in!

Communication Then vs. Now

Communicating is also very different today than back in the good ole days. Today, I may text my grandkids to share news or what’s going on in my life. They don’t always respond, but they usually reply with a heart or a thumbs up.

There was no social media when I was growing up. The only thing that came close to social media was having the one family phone on a party line with your neighbors. You could hear what your neighbors were talking about, but you really couldn’t listen for long because the neighbors could hear the clicks of someone picking up or hanging up the phone. Social media back in my day was talking to friends face-to-face.

Remembering My Grandmothers

Recently, I find myself thinking about my grandparents a lot. Last year for Christmas, my daughter got me a Storyworth book. Each week we were assigned to respond to a specific question. At the end of the year, the stories were printed and bound together. The title of the book is called, “Nancy Becker, A Collection of Life Stories.”

This gift was a wonderful reminder of how I need to remember my grandparents. Several of the assignments were prompts like “How did your grandparents earn money?” or “Do you have any particularly vivid memories of your grandparents?”

I’ve also thought a great deal about my grandmas as I look around our house. I have a bureau, a pool table, a pie pantry and other pieces of furniture which I love and dust every week. I wonder what I’ll do with these pieces that my grandkids don’t want. I’m not going to worry about it—that’s for sure!

Solid cedar wood antique bureau styled in an entryway

As we grow older, role reversals can be difficult. I’ve learned to roll with the punches and embrace the change and keep in my lane.

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 My Granddaughter Is on the Cover of Vogue

Why My Granddaughter Is on the Cover of Vogue

Just when I felt my oldest grandchild found her niche, she decides to move it up a notch.

A New Generation’s Work Model

I was always under the belief that you worked one job and you stayed there. Yes, you’d adjust what role you may have in the school or company, but that’s what both my husband and I have done our entire lives. I worked with Lincoln Public Schools in various buildings and positions. John worked with the Lincoln Police Department in various leadership positions. That’s what people in our generation usually did. We’d learn, grow, take on a new position and repeat for our entire working life. I heard things were changing with this new generation, but I never thought it would apply to my family.

Finding Her Passion

Our oldest granddaughter went to KU while rowing and competing her way to athletic success. Her success only continued after graduation. She loved competition and winning. When she graduated, she worked for a huge soccer team, which now has select teams in Lincoln. She was in communications for the team – creating ads, sponsorships and press releases. She loved the energy that came with the job!

She found herself leaving the team and working as a wedding planner for a relatively small business in Kansas City, though. Not quite sure how or why she made the transition, but she did. And she succeeded there. She was in love with the job, which included many of the same communication requirements as the soccer team. She enjoyed helping couples celebrate.

Taking the Leap From Employee to Entrepreneur

Our granddaughter called last month and said she was going to make another change. I couldn’t imagine what her next job might be. Mortician? Running for political office? No, she was opening her own wedding and event planning business. For some reason, I was shocked, thrilled and a tad worried. As I recall my own mid 20s, I was not confident enough for this type of a challenge.

She put me at ease as she continued to explain. She talked to a financial advisor, and he agreed that she was financially able to pull it off. She talked to a lawyer, and she assisted with setting up the business. And there were three friends who wanted to join her in the new adventure. She came up with a business logo, so she was ready to run with the wind.

A Bright Future With Unexpected Recognition

Fast forward to last week when we get another call from our granddaughter. She told us that she was completing her business’s website and would post it soon. The other big news was that she and one of the event center managers were going to be featured in the next UK Vogue Magazine.

She made a connection with several event sites. One of those individuals was going to be featured in the UK Vogue Magazine, and she wanted our granddaughter to join her for the interview. She was so excited because the magazine would be coming out next week.

I was speechless, which rarely happens to me. I’m still trying to figure out how our granddaughter, this young woman who rowed for KU, is now going to be featured in the UK Vogue Magazine. I also wondered what’s next for her. Maybe this generation changing jobs is not as bad as I once believed. My generation needs to be supportive and hang on for the ride!

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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What I Learned on My Grandson’s Recent Ski Trip

What I Learned on My Grandson’s Recent Ski Trip

As our grandkids grow older, our ski trips are changing.

Our Memories on the Slopes

Years ago, when our kids were in elementary and junior high (yes, back in the old days when it was called junior high), we would take our daughters skiing in Colorado during winter break. We’d go after Christmas and return ready to start second semester.

We loved going but had to make sure we traveled within our budget. We took our own food and found the cheapest skiing sites and places to stay. We usually rented a house that was owned by someone we knew. Sometimes, those deals backfired when the plumbing froze—leaving us without toilets. Still, we always had a fun time in Colorado as we laughed, skied and rolled in the snow.

My Grandson’s Big Ski Adventure

This year, the week before UNL’s second semester began, our grandson went skiing with friends. They had a great plan of where they were staying, where they were going to ski and even bought their lift tickets online in advance so they weren’t left out, literally, in the cold.

This particular week was brutally cold in Nebraska, but the boys were on a mission. Nothing was stopping them, especially knowing they had classes the following week.

And nothing did stop them until after they passed through Denver on their way to the slopes. Avalanches on the highways forced them to reroute several times. After driving several hundred miles around the avalanche, they finally made it to their destination, Winter Park.

Supporting from Afar

We didn’t send food with our grandson and his friends, but we tried to help in other ways. We packed my husbands ski pants, ski gloves, hat and a dozen hand warmers. I’m sure his mom sent some of those items as well, but we thought just in case, we wanted to take care of him. We certainly did not say we wanted to take care of him. Heaven forbid. Our grandson is independent and proud but also knows we are always there when he needs us.

I should have sent money with our grandson, though. We later heard the lift tickets were $200 a day. Had we known the cost, we would have purchased a half-day pass. It’s my goal to keep our monetary gifts even across all four of our grandkids.

Staying Connected & Setting Goals

He regularly connected with his parents, especially since our grandson was driving their Suburban. He did keep in contact with us, but only to send pictures of their experience. This was his first big trip with friends, and I’m sure they all worked together to accomplish their goals of having fun and not getting hurt. Maybe they didn’t have a goal of not getting hurt, but I sure hope so.

Planning Future Trips

Almost a week later, we received the news that the boys made it back to Lincoln safe and sound. No broken bones, only great stories. Best of all, no frozen waterlines, so they didn’t have to put their waste in plastic garbage bags. On the drive home to Nebraska, our grandson and his friends decided to go on another trip together next year—this time, at a much warmer destination!

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 This Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

Can This Old Dog Learn New Tricks?

Our granddaughter bought a puppy. It feels weird to us, but we love that she made the decision and is taking on extra responsibilities.

Pet-Free Beginnings

Neither my husband nor I grew up with pets. My father was allergic to animals, so other than being around horses and chickens, we had no pets. John, my husband, grew up the same way. His father worked on the railroad and was absent much of the time. His mother was raising three kids and didn’t want the added burden.

When our girls were young, we thought about having a pet, but John’s allergies prohibited that from happening. We were also busy with taking advanced degrees and working full-time. Our girls never experienced pets and they never complained or felt slighted by this decision.

When Pets Join the Family

After our daughters were married, their husbands felt differently. It was not an immediate decision, but once both girls had children, the husbands made their wishes known. Pets needed to be part of their growing family. They made the decision to get dogs. One family had a little dog, the other had a lab. The grandkids loved the dogs and they were now a complete family. I always thought our family was complete, but little did I know what complete meant.

John and I enjoyed visiting the dogs in their homes and even offered to take them for walks when they were out of town. Because of John’s allergic reactions, we couldn’t take care of them at our house. They were good dogs and the grandkids really enjoyed their company. Yes, there were times when I wondered if we should have had pets while our daughters were growing up, but I quickly put that thought aside.

Indy’s Arrival

Now, our granddaughter has a dog, Indy. She’s just a puppy, but won’t grow much bigger than she is now. She’s such a cutie with so much enthusiasm and energy. I can understand how our granddaughter loves her new pet and enjoys her company. I’m sure Indy keeps her very busy. Fortunately, the apartment she lives in is on the first floor and has a small patio—just perfect for a pet!

They live in Kansas City, so I had only seen pictures until their visit to Lincoln for Christmas, when my granddaughter brought the dog along as her companion. And companions they are! They play together, wrestle together and think the other is their best friend in the world.

A Sign of My Grandkids Growing Up

I asked my other three grandkids if they were going to get a pet. The two granddaughters said they were too busy with their work schedules and couldn’t handle the extra time needed for pets. Our grandson said maybe, but that it would probably be a cat. He went on to explain cats were more self sufficient and not as needy as dogs. Since I’ve had neither, I just nodded my head in agreement. I don’t know if he’s actually been around cats, but I could not question his response, only act like I knew what he was talking about.

I think this is another sign of my grandkids growing up and taking on new responsibilities. We are enjoying each and every moment with them, unless we have to clean up after Indy. We’re more accustomed to diapers—hopefully John and I don’t have to change each other’s soon!

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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Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

The holiday season is always a busy and delightful one. I enjoy opening up our home to family members, their children and grandkids. Our grandkids are growing older, so several of them are seriously dating others, and we do our best to accommodate everyone. Almost 30 guests will be attending Thanksgiving and Christmas with us this year. Even though I’m thrilled, I also realize my time with each grandkid gets shorter every year.

A Successful Thanksgiving

I’m beginning to adjust to hosting 25-30 people for the holidays. Fortunately, Thanksgiving went well, and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time. It was quick for everyone, though, because the girls needed to get back to Kansas City and my sister and her family had another event to attend.

Planning for Christmas

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’ll be a quick turnaround to Christmas. I still marvel at how I did everything when I was working full-time at Lincoln Public School. Where did I find the time and the energy? I have plenty of time now, but the energy is limited. I always try to plan some type of prep work to do each day, making sure my baby steps will get me ready before December 25th.

My Struggles With Gift-Giving

Unlike previous years, my grandkids have been really on top of getting their gifts ideas to me early. They are more aware of the sales taking place now and will do what they can to get the gifts they want and need. This year, they all want clothes for work. I’ve already ordered dress shirts, sweaters, pants, jeans and shoes. From sneakers to dress shoes to Birkenstocks, everyone in my family is getting a new pair of shoes.

Even though the kids have done a great job texting me their wishlists, I worry that I won’t order their requested items correctly. Somehow, I always manage to get the wrong size, color or number of shoes. One time, I ordered what I thought was one pair of tennis shoes, but I received two. All turned out well because the second pair fit me. Bonus!

The other thing that usually throws me off is trying to find the gift receipt for the orders. Why don’t they send a printed receipt on the package anymore? I’m all for saving and recycling paper, but what the heck?

Lastly, John and I create traditional Christmas gift tags on each person’s presents, which takes additional time. We always think it’s funny to make up a name for who the gift is from. We sit down at our laptops and ask Google for ideas. As an example, we’d search for people who always wear tennis shoes and use their name to indicate that’s who gave our family the gift. The person could be famous or not, but it provides a clue to what the gift might be. It also provides a good laugh for everyone. Even Santa. Ho Ho Ho.

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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What to Do When Children Don’t Want Your Heirlooms

What to Do When Children Don’t Want Your Heirlooms

John and I are tired of taking care of the yard, trimming, planting, spraying for weeds and yes, even killing garter snakes. It’s not that we don’t want to do it, but it seems to be taking us more and more time to accomplish our tasks. We take care of all the cleaning, cooking, hosting holidays for 25+ people, while continuing to be social with friends, book clubs, church events and volunteering in the community.

Our Downsizing Dilemma

We’re not ready to downsize, but many of our friends have already done so. They love it and keep urging us to do the same. The thought of moving is a bit overwhelming. What would we need to get rid of? Do we want to go through two large store rooms and determine what to keep and what to toss? Or would our children and grandchildren want to take some of the treasures that we received from our grandparents?

It wasn’t long ago when we were all together and I asked everyone to let me know if there were any items that they wanted. My request went over like a lead balloon. One daughter asked for my grandmother’s bureau, and one of our grandkids asked for an antique pie pantry. That was it. No one was interested in old photo albums, my grandfather’s WWI pictures and helmet, a 1948 antique car and a 1910 pool table or 160 acres of CRP land. These were important to us, why not them?

Rehoming Family Valuables

I’m not trying to brag and say we have more possessions than other grandparents. In fact, other grandparents probably have many more valuable heirlooms. What I am saying is, “What do we do now?” I could have a sale or donate our possessions to refugees or the local Habitat store. Maybe if Antique Roadshow came to Lincoln I could take something in to show. But somehow, I wish some of our things could stay in the family. Our daughters have full houses with no room for more “stuff”. Our grandchildren are still in apartments and have no idea when or if they will make a move to another location or own a home.

Finding Meaning in Letting Go

We still use our good china, but only three times a year. The china seems to be replaced by take-out boxes. As we all age, this will be a growing issue for us baby boomers. Why would we think our children and grandchildren would somehow see the value in things that, in their minds, have no meaning?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset about some of these things. I realize there are major costs to maintaining some of these family items, especially with the antique car and acres of land. I’m only trying to think of what my next move will be. Perhaps, I need to make a goal for myself to sell or give things away when I’m not under pressure to do so. What’s ours may not be theirs, but they will be someone’s. I hope to find satisfaction with that!

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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My Coach of the Year

My Coach of the Year

My granddaughter played volleyball at Lincoln Southeast High School and University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC), where she received her bachelor’s degree. My husband and I attended her games as often as we could and loved every minute of it. As her grandparents, we always considered her a star, so it was wonderful when she was able to continue her athletic ability in college. And of course, she was a star at UMKC as well. She still holds the record for number of career digs as a libero.

My Granddaughter’s Volleyball Journey

While at UMKC, she received many honors and had a wonderful time. Since she played during COVID-19, she was granted an additional scholarship year. Her fifth year was her participating at Butler University in Indianapolis on scholarship, while working on and receiving her master’s degree. At the end of her master’s year, she applied for several jobs, one of which was to be an assistant coach at her alma mater, UMKC. It was a surprise to her and all of us that she was hired as an assistant coach at UMKC. She was going home. OK, not back to Lincoln, NE, but closer than being in Indianapolis.

The Start of the Season

Her 2023 season started with away tournaments in Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri. UMKC ended their preseason tournaments at home in Kansas City. It was wonderful because now we were able to attend her games more frequently.

Watching Her as a Coach for the First Time

I wasn’t quite sure how it would be watching her as a coach, compared to watching her as a player. Watching her as a player, I was nervous and worried about each and every one of her plays. As a player, if she missed a dig, UGH! If she was successful in her play, I screamed and was thrilled and proud. Sometimes, I’d even pace, walking back and forth in an open row of seats. Now, watching her coach, how would I feel?

A Proud Grandparent’s Perspective

We anxiously watched our granddaughter run the team through their pre-game drills. She looked great and hit balls hard for the team members to return. She challenged them with difficult drills and gave them great tips.

Once the game started, I watched her with interest and found I was not disappointed. She handled herself with professionalism, as a great coach would. I loved seeing some of the girls sit by her after they rotated out of the game. They were seeking her advice. She always responded with nods and motions to indicate where they needed to be on the floor. She was doing a great job!

Reviewing Post-Match Performance

Later, I realized I spent more time watching my granddaughter as she sat on the bench taking notes and yelling out coaching tips than I did watching the game. Every time my eyes shifted to the court, my heart stayed with her, as it always will be. As a bonus, they won the match!

After their win, I asked her what she thought could be improved. The worst thing she felt happen was the post-game food order. It had been delivered to the wrong door, but she spent a few minutes making phone calls to track the food down. Only 10 minutes later, the team had their dinner. Maybe that’s another skill she’ll need to work on—patience.

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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Building Houses in Guatemala Didn’t Go As Planned

Building Houses in Guatemala Didn’t Go As Planned

Last holiday season, I wrote about donating to build a family home in Guatemala. As a recap, I wanted my grandkids to join me and help me build a house for a family in need. I thought this would give my grandchildren a chance to travel together and work on a common goal.

Our Church’s Involvement with ConstruCASA

My church, the First-Plymouth Congregational Church in Lincoln, and the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Crete have built homes and the Xeptetan City Library in Guatemala for years. Both churches partner with ConstruCASA, an international organization that coordinates everything from our housing to finding the right families to receive a new home.

Being the eternal optimist, I figured everything was going to work out perfectly. We’d all quickly find a time for our mission work, which would coordinate with our church’s trips and set up our travel arrangements to Guatemala. Soon, everything would fall into place.

Timing Challenges & Adjustments

I learned our church’s next planned mission trip to Guatemala might be January or February and thought this timing would work great. But then, the plans changed. ConstruCASA’s next build date was in June. Our church’s youth group would be building six homes in Guatemala at this time, too—and one of them was the house we had donated money to build. I knew all of the church kids would love the experience, and I was very excited for them.

Sadly, I knew the June timeframe would not work for us. After two deep breaths and regaining my senses, I realized I had no control and needed to move on. I told the grandkids. They were disappointed they couldn’t participate due to their university classes and jobs.

Taking a New Direction to Support the Cause

So, we did the next best thing, which was to make cards and gift boxes for our family in need. It was the least we could do to show them how much we cared and supported them moving into their new home.

The Final Results

Guatemalan boy with bicycle standing outside newly constructed home

In August, ConstruCASA announced that 39 youth volunteered on the June builds and shared photos of the locals helping out and the families with their new homes.

I shared this information with my grandkids. Although they still wished they could have participated in the building of “our” house, they were thrilled to have a visual of the family and their new house. I told my grandkids, “There’s more work to be done, so we might be able to try again another year.”

We all agreed that not being in Guatemala to build our home was hard, but knowing we were helping others certainly felt great for all of us!

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 I Worry About My Granddaughters Living Together

Why I Worry About My Granddaughters Living Together

All three of our granddaughters are in Kansas City living together. I’m not worried about how it will work out, but I wonder if they do. Okay, maybe I’m a little worried.

Unforgettable Camping Mishaps & Playful Adventures

When they were young, all four grandkids stayed over night at our house, sometimes two to three times a week. It was great. They built forts, dressed up in costumes, put on plays and even slept outside in a tent. They played pool, did acrobatics in the basement and put holes in the walls when their somersaults and other antics went sideways. Most of all, they enjoyed each others company.

They always shared with each other and never fought who they slept with. They were resourceful. Yet I always felt this pressure to make sure they were entertained, having fun, laughing and learning. It was rarely hard.

Except when John and I took them camping near Mt. Rushmore. One of the grandkids got diarrhea in the middle of the night. That experience was not so much fun for either my grandchild or me, but of course John and the others slept through the whole thing.

Reuniting Under One Roof

Fifteen years later, the granddaughters are back together in an apartment sharing rent and other resources. I wonder what changes they will face.

Exploring the Challenges Ahead

John and I visited them last week in KC and everything was perfect. Their apartment is on the ninth floor of a downtown apartment building in Kansas City, Missouri, across the street from the main library. The view is amazing. The area feels safe and is very clean.

The girls have figured out how to pay for the rent and utilities. Maybe that’s a no-brainer for them, but it will be interesting to see how they figure everything else out. Because now if someone puts a hole in the wall, they need to pay for it or fix it themselves. Grandpa won’t be there to do the work for them. If they get diarrhea or wet the bed? They need to change it themselves.

And what about resolving issues that may arise? Two girls sleep in separate bedrooms and the third sleeps on a mattress on the living room floor, so what happens when they come home late and wake up my granddaughter in the common space?

I fear they’ll get upset with one another, speak negatively and never recover. I only want my girls to remain close through this temporary joint living arrangement.

A Grandmother’s Wish for Everlasting Connection

None of them have asked for my advice, and I doubt they will ever complain to me about the others. I’ve never been in control of my grandkids and never will be, so I can only hope they keep and grow their bond during this time and see how they can continue to maintain their relationships with each other for years to come. And more importantly, keep connected to me!

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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Many Memories Worth Sharing

Many Memories Worth Sharing

I don’t know if my daughter thought I was going to die soon, but I do know she gave my husband and I the gift of Storyworth, a keepsake book to record our lives so that we could pass down our memories and heritage to our family. Below is the experience we had writing our story.

How the Storyworth Process Works

We were sent a new prompt every Monday with questions about how we grew up, what our relationship with our grandparents were like, what songs we listened to in our youth, what our favorite stories with our siblings were and many more. They arrived each week for a year.

So, for 365 days, John and I responded to our prompts, never once sharing our questions or discussing what we were writing.

Two Different Writing Styles

I never talk about myself too much. I’d rather shine the spotlight on someone else. So writing a “Nancy” book plucked me out of my comfort zone. I’ve never been a terrific storyteller either, so my goal was to just answer my prompt in one day. As a result, my writing turned out short, to-the-point, and never played favorites with family members. But I included pictures, hoping the Kodak moments would be the highlight.

My husband, on the other hand, didn’t answer every question, but he took his time when he did respond to them. He thought about funny examples and adjusted the question to fit his humorous story.

Everyone’s a Critic, Even Our Grandkids

Our grandchildren read our books. They complimented our writing, thanking us for giving them stories about our lives growing up. They admitted that they weren’t as enthralled with our tales as they were when they read Harry Potter, but I’m not sure that’s true.

They talked at length about my husband’s stories. Everyone laughed and politely teased him about his experiences. His stories were wonderful, memorable and touching to all of us. We all felt closer to him.

Reflections from a Newfound Writer

I appreciated the opportunity to share stories that my grandkids may have never heard otherwise. I’m not getting any younger and often forget what I did yesterday or the major themes in a book I just finished.

Part of me wishes I had a do-over with my book. I’m not disappointed in what I wrote, exactly, but perhaps I didn’t give it the time I should have devoted to the project. I learned that I need to continue to look for ways to share my life and experiences with my grandkids.

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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Life Lessons Beyond the Cap & Gown

Life Lessons Beyond the Cap & Gown

Three of our four grandkids have received their bachelor’s degree. This past weekend, one of those three received her master’s degree.

Reflections on Aging at Graduation

I keep telling myself, “I’m too young for this. Stop the clock of life. Time is moving too quickly!” Every one of my college graduates still look like they are 12 years old. To the graduates, I probably look like I’m 100 years old. I guess that’s the way life goes.

From High School Principal to Proud Grandma

For our granddaughter’s master’s degree ceremony, the commencement speech was a blur to me. I kept my eyes glued on her, bursting with pride, as she walked down the aisle and found her seat.

In my high school principal days, my eyes would’ve been watching for every stupid little thing like beach balls or air horns. But today, there were no beach balls or air horns. I began to relax, and I thought how funny it was that my old job was still part of my personality.

Memories of High School Graduations

I remember going to many high school graduations as the principal. Usually, I made transitional comments to keep the event flowing and sent positive thoughts to graduates and their parents. With such large graduating classes, our high school graduations lasted well over an hour. I certainly didn’t want to keep the ceremony going any longer than needed. Everyone was always excited and ready to celebrate.

A Grandparent’s Advice for Post-Grad Success

At the end of my granddaughter’s graduation, I wanted to give a speech, but I didn’t think she wanted to hear one from her grandma. Instead, I shared advice throughout the day. I told her:

  • Keep learning. Don’t think your education is over. Learn about the people around you, learn from the people around you and learn about yourself.
  • Look for the good in everything every day. There is too much negativity in today’s world, too many people upset with each other and sad stories you’ll hear. Look for the all the positives around you. When you don’t see any positives, look at things from a different perspective.
  • Make the world a better place. There will always be anger between countries, between politicians and even between family. Some of these issues may affect you, while you may not even know about others. When the situation does affect you, listen intently and learn. Do your best to understand and make it better.
  • Have fun and laugh hard.

Times Change, Lessons Stay the Same

On our drive back from Indiana, I tried to recall what I told my daughters in the 80’s at their graduations. It was something like, “Enjoy your life, work hard and help others in need.” That advice wasn’t much different than what I was telling my four grandkids now. So, while times may have changed, some things will always remain the same.

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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