Back to School

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

School started back this morning here in the upstate. My facebook page is filled with first day of school photos of kids either very excited or the middle school and high school kids with sleepy expressions and that first day of school look. I smile with each picture I see, as I remember the feeling of the first day of school and I think of my daughter’s first day of school each year.

It is the feeling on mornings like this that the school year looms ominously ahead. Going back to having to wake up early, starting a schedule again, and the uncertainty of what the year holds. To me, it is a reminder of when to plan my shopping trips so that I don’t end up behind school buses making the thirty minute trip to town more like forty-five minutes.

My Little Man started his school year last week. He is homeschooled, and in the fifth grade. I know his fifth grade teacher is much better than my own. Of course, I also know my youngest is an excellent teacher. Little Miss starts early September. She will head into second grade.

This fall, my younger sister will realize she is a retired teacher. She retired in June, but, like every year previous, she had the summer off. She is now realizing that there are no lesson plans to get ready, no classroom to prepare, that school is out forever. In years past, she said school was a word off limits for the month of July and August. I remember hearing that and still I smile. I can’t help but feel a bit melancholy for her this year. She touched so many lives which in turn will reach future generations. I admire her.

So, as I think of this new school year, all bright and shiny with new pens, pencils and crayons that have points I pray for each teacher, student, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and staff that helps everyone run. May this be a year of joy. A year of learning, not only head knowledge, but heart knowledge. May there be peace and safety on the school grounds and on the bus runs. May our Lord bless those who touch our precious ones with learning.

How did Mom know?

I have a memory of my Mom mentioning to me that someday you would have to check your appearance when you talked on the phone because you would be able to see the person you were talking to. I don’t know what precipitated the conversation or how it came about. I just remember her saying it. Someday you will see the person you are talking to.

At the time I thought it was a bizarre thought. Phones were on the wall (or table) and at the time you had to make certain the other party wasn’t talking on the party line. How in the world could you see a person on the phone?

My Mom died in 1966, and I often wonder what she would think of the technology of today. So much has changed and yes, now we can see the person we are talking to. Who would have thought?

Yesterday we had an impromptu conversation with our youngest daughter and our Little Man. It was delightful and made my day. We were able to see his new books he received for his birthday along with a new keyboard. He played us several songs and we all laughed and joked and talked. The time together did my heart good.

As we hung up I once more thought of the conversation with my Mom so many years ago. I smiled and said to myself, “Yes, Mom, we can see the people in a call. But, no, I didn’t change my clothes or even comb my hair. I was just me.”

Family loves you as you are and although technology can be frustrating and burdensome, yesterday it gave me a visit from my baby and her baby.

Cousins

It is said that cousins are your first friends. That may be true in many families, but, in ours the cousins live away from one another and the chance to be together is rare.

It is a joy to me when I get to see them together. Little Man is two years older than our Little Miss. At one time, the age difference was noticeable. Little Man could read and go about being a little boy, while Little Miss was a toddler and kept clinging to her cousin. This proved annoying at times for our grandson, but he was patient with his younger cousin.

There is a difference in the two of them and yet they have so many similarities that you don’t notice the difference.

The last time they were together there was no warm up time to reestablish boundaries or behavior. They saw each other and instantly bonded. The conversations were non stop. The squeals and laughter echoed in the house. The running kept ending with wrestling on the floor. They played their hearts out.

My heart was blessed by seeing this. These two precious gifts of mine filled my heart with such love and peace. Little Man will turn ten at the end of the month. He made me a grandmother. He stole my heart the first look at him. He has grown from being a chubby cheeked toddler to a young man. He knows no end to learning. He loves to learn, to read, to play piano. He researches each new topic and excels in knowledge of it. He continues to amaze me. Yes, I know all grandmothers think this and each of us think ours are unique and the brightest and smartest.

Our precious Little Miss will turn eight on her next birthday. She is also unique and bright and smart. She also has taught me much and the next few days will be concentrated on her.

These children are precious gifts from our Heavenly Father. He knew what our children needed and He knew how they would be as parents. Our Lord also knew Dale’s and my heart. He knew the joy we would feel in these grands. He knew what we would learn from these two.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NLT)

When the Lord knits us together He takes the best of the parents the grandparents, and so on. There are traits knit deeply in us that reflect those who came before us. The same is true for our grandchildren. They reflect so much of their families. They have Papa’s smile, Mama’s laughter, Nana’s love of details, Oma’s tenacity, Daddy’s love of singing, Mommy’s, well, she is just a mini-me of my daughter. I see the cousins resemblance, you can tell they are family. Our Lord does that for each of us. We are all unique and all a blend of the best traits.

On top of all of this daily our Lord sings a song over us. When I can catch a quiet time with these cousins, I can hear the echo of that song resounding in my heart.

Little Man Lesson #4

(Originally posted in July 2019, on my other blog, dearanonymousfriend)

“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)

On the occasion of our Little Man’s seventh birthday, hubby and I traveled to see him and spend time with him.  It was glorious!  I always come away with a lesson learned from him and this time was no exception.

Friday we spent a couple of hours with him in the pool.  It was a fun time with lots of laughter and splashing and rough-housing.  He showed us his jumps into the pool, his cannonball, his karate kick jump, and his vertical alligator jump.   All named appropriately, and each delivered with grace and style.  If they were to be judged by this Grammy, they would all be a 10.

We played cards, and Rock em, Sock em Robots.   It was a tie at the cards, but only because the game was interrupted by dinner and then forgotten for a bit.   I lost the battle of the robots, much to the glee of the seven year old.

The lesson I have learned this past weekend?  To live life with joy.  Embrace the fun that life holds.   Jump into the pool of life instead of gently lowering yourself into the tide and flow.  Most of all, hug, laugh and make funny noises when words fail you.

Don’t forget how wonderful fun is. Keep joy in your heart and let it flow out of you. Be excited with little events and times. All are precious gifts from our Lord.

Little Man Lesson #2

(Original post from September 2013, on dearanonymousfriend, my other blog)

Today my dear daughter started back to teaching pre-school.  She was as organized as much as she could be.  We got up, and she got ready to head out the door.

I even managed to keep our dear little man distracted so he did not see his Momma head off to work.  It was a quiet transition and I was so pleased.   I know it made his Momma a bit relieved that there were no tears or drama at the door.

As we started our morning, my phone rang.  It was my daughter… all organized but, wrong set of keys in hand.  Plus I had the fob to enter the building where they live.  She was outside the apartment building and needed the other set of keys.  So, grabbing our little man, I retrieved the correct keys and headed outside.

Jubilation at seeing his Momma is an understatement.  After all, it had been 20 minutes since the last time he had seen her.  We switched the keys and then she did the unspeakable.  She got back in the car and drove off.  She left little man and me standing beside the parking lot.

No, this did not go well.  Not at all.  Little man expressed his displeasure.  He cried like there was not going to be any happiness ever again on the face of this earth.  My heart broke with him.

We walked back into the apartment, all the time I tried to comfort him.  He was not willing to be consoled.

Once inside I looked at him and said, ‘Do you want to read a book?’   The tears dried and off he toddled to pick out a book to share.  He has many good books to share.

What I learned is this.  Yes, I can be broken-hearted.  I can feel like consolation is nowhere to be found.  I can cry.  It’s alright to do all of this.  But, then I can go and read a Book that is wonderful to share.  I can open this Book and sit with One who loves me and cares for me in my broken state.  My tears will be dried and I will be comforted as I sit in my Creator’s lap reading the words He has spoken.

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.  Psalm 34:17-18 (NLT)

A Little Man Lesson #1

“You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set.” Psalm 104:19(NLT)

(Reposted and reworked from Sept. 2013 on dearanonymousfriend, my other blog)

Last evening, after I had arrived at my precious daughter and son-in-law’s home, we took a walk.  It was a nice evening for a long walk and we covered a nice area.

We ended up at a park that they hadn’t explored.  We played on teeter totters and rocking horse type swings and slides and more swings.  There were gales of laughter and giggles (from me… the baby was laughing also).  We had a wonderful time.

As we were heading back to the stroller the baby bent down and picked up a leaf.  The leaf was starting to turn brown and was at the point of being able to be crunched, if stepped upon.  However this leaf was not meant to be crunched at this time.  My precious little man picked it up gently, and walked over to another tree and tried to put the leaf back onto the tree.

He looked a bit confused when the leaf refused to be put away, and his Momma explained that leaves fall and that is how it is.

I have thought of this all day long today.  First of all, we take for granted leaves on the ground.  Some may grumble that they have to be raked up and disposed of.  Others know that the leaves have abandoned their posts on the trees in preparation for winter.  These leaves are meant to be crunched on as a part of the passage from summer to fall.

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” Genesis 8:22 (NLT)

But, this leaf was gently picked up and considered.

Then, there was the attempt to put the leaf back onto the tree.  It was a precious gesture.  The baby knew that leaves belong on trees and therefore, it needed to put back onto the branches where the green leaves were hanging.

This is what I got from watching this.  I too often pass situations up, people also.  I see them ‘laying on the ground’ and don’t notice them.  The situations or people don’t vie for attention.  So, they are left to be trodden underfoot and ignored. Quietly suffering alone.

That, in itself, is powerful enough.  But, no, my precious 13 1/2 month teacher went on to show me more.  How often do we try to put things back into place when the time for them there is over?  How many times do we try to keep doing something when the end date is weeks or months ago?

Sometimes it is wiser to let things lie, let them go and move on to a new season of life.  This can be difficult, but there are situations where change is not only necessary, but vital.

Today, my lesson was refreshed, look for the things in others and in situations that may need a gentle pick-up, some attention, some prayer.

 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

Tearful Good-byes

I grew up with no grandparents alive. I didn’t realize the impact grandchildren have on your heart.

When our Little Man visits, we scheme to hide away so we can stay together. Unfortunately his parents have caught on to our plan. Tears run down my cheek as they leave the driveway. It happens every time.

When we visit Little Miss we do the leaving and although tears freely fall, I get distracted almost immediately as we travel down the interstate.

The past couple of weeks we have spent time with Little Miss and her family. I have had time with her that I didn’t have to share with her Grampy. This afternoon we did the final touches inside the lake house. Dale and my son-in-law are still working on projects outside.

Little Miss and her Mom just left. As I hugged her good-bye, she pleaded with me to go back home with her. She then continued to let me know how much she will miss me. As I sit alone in the finished living room here, my heart has a new crack through it.

“Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged” Proverbs 17:6a

I have such joy in my grandchildren. They are gifts to my heart. They have taught me and enriched my life.