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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Stepping In to Make a Wedding Perfect

Stepping In to Make a Wedding Perfect

When I was principal at Lincoln Northstar High School, I was blessed to have so many refugee and immigrant students. I loved hearing their stories and helping their families navigate the United States. But one student—a 15-year-old born in Togo, Africa—became my life-long friend.

Finding His North Star

His name is Vincent. Vincent was intelligent, bilingual in English and French, social and successful in several clubs at Northstar. Vincent’s mother was a single parent to three boys. They didn’t have extended family in Lincoln, but they did well. Over the years, I watched Vincent grow in his career and personal relationships. He met a wonderful young woman, Elizabeth, and introduced her to me at Thanksgiving dinner.

Love in the Time of COVID-19

Then, during the height of the pandemic, Vincent and Elizabeth called me. They wanted to meet with me. When they arrived, Vincent announced they were getting married. Since neither of them were religious, they wondered if I would officiate their wedding. I quickly said yes.

Planning a Pandemic Wedding

They weren’t having their wedding until 2022, which gave me plenty of time to get ordained. I contacted a friend who knew how to get an officiant certificate online. She talked me through the process. Done.

Later, I had to plan the ceremony. Throughout the process, I asked for their input, posed questions to the couple and continued my research. Little by little, everything came together. That’s when I started to get nervous. What if their big day wasn’t perfect? Not a day went by without me thinking of how I could make things better for them.

Up until the rehearsal, I had kept quiet and did what I was told. But that night while everyone scrambled, my principal voice came out. I directed staff that hadn’t worked a wedding before. I reorganized the processional and recessional when the mothers of the couple couldn’t see as they sat on the outside of their rows. Vincent and Elizabeth gave me a thumbs up.

Becoming a Substitute Grandma

The next day, the wedding went off without a hitch. The food and venue were perfect, and the couple looked radiant—their love for each other on full display. I still felt guilty about butting in, but I reminded myself that’s what grandmas do, even substitute grandmas. They work hard to make things perfect, stepping in when something is off. And while I’m not ready to officiate at another wedding, I know I can be a substitute grandma any time I’m needed.

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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The Art of Digging

The Art of Digging

Our granddaughter has been playing volleyball since she was five years old, and I hate to say it’s coming to an end.

On the Leaderboard

When she was in elementary school, she was short but made up for her lack of height with her hustle. It’s almost as if she was born to play. She followed all the rules, understood the game, and moved around the court with ease and grace. In middle school, she continued to learn the ins and outs of the game and improved her skills. While in high school, she started as a libero for three years, improving majorly every year. Her name is still on the leaderboard at Southeast High School for her number of digs!

Small But Mighty

Following her success in high school, she was accepted to play in college at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Even though she was only a five-foot-two libero, she excelled as a Kangaroo. While playing at UMKC, she garnered awards and multiple recognitions for her digs—including the conference libero of the year.

After graduating from UMKC, she had a COVID-19 year, so she decided to travel to another state. Butler University in Indianapolis made her an offer, so she spent her year as a Bulldog nine hours from Lincoln. We make the trip to Indiana as often as we can. She is still known for digging the volleyball off the court floor and getting it into position for her team members. But even now, I’m still waiting on her growth spurt.

The Final Home Game

Last week, we went to Butler to see her play in her final home game. It was an honor to be there. For “Senior Night” at one of the matches, she told me to watch the big screen during the introductions. I waited with great anticipation but had no clue what she was talking about. Finally, my granddaughter came on the screen and recognized me as one of her female mentors who inspires her every day. I teared up.

After the game, I asked her why she recognized me and not her mom. She said everyone else was recognizing their mothers, and she wanted to do something different. I wasn’t sure whether it was a compliment, but I took it as one.

Can You Dig It?

A phrase used by my generation that once meant “Do you understand it?” takes on a whole new meaning. My granddaughter can certainly dig it. Her ability and tenacity on and off the court are about ready to be unleashed on the world. She’ll teach the world to dig it!

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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Working Girl: An Unexpected Creative Journey

Working Girl: An Unexpected Creative Journey

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

What Will She Do Forever?

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

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

Starting Her Professional Journey

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

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

Harnessing Her Creativity

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

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

No More Old-School Thinking

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

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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Grandmas Will Always Be There

Grandmas Will Always Be There

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

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

Spending Time in Colorado

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

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

Nothing. Not one postcard.

Why are there No Postcards?

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

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

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

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

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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How I Keep My Grandkids Positive During Current Events

How I Keep My Grandkids Positive During Current Events

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

My Grandkids are Worried About the State of the World

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

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

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

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

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

Helping them Stay Positive

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

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

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

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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Trying to Get Better at Pickleball

Trying to Get Better at Pickleball

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

Practicing Pickleball

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

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

Getting Help from My Grandson

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

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

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

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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Reconnecting With My Substitute Grandkids

Reconnecting With My Substitute Grandkids

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

Taking Part in Community Activism

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

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

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

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

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

Reconnecting With Former Students

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

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

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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Bringing Nebraska to My Grandkids

Bringing Nebraska to My Grandkids

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

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

Talking to my Grandkids About Their Plans

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

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

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

Bringing Nebraska to Them

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

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

Nancy Becker

Nancy Becker

Grandkids & Grandparents

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

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