Stop Rocking, Grandma


I’m taking a bit of a shortcut today because I posted to my other blog already. I’m sharing it here with you now. Enjoy!

3 Grandchildren, 2 Grandparents, 2 Cats

vintage_antique_black_rocking_chair_1_lgwI collect rocking chairs, at least I did for a while.  At one point I had 8 chairs and a small apartment, so there were even rocking chairs in the kitchen.  I’ve loved sitting in rocking chairs for as long as I can remember.  When I was a kid I loved sitting in the rocker that my mom gave to my dad when my oldest brother was born.  I have that chair now, upstairs in the bedroom that my granddaughters shared when they lived with us.

When the kids arrived it was important to establish a routine; I knew that even if I didn’t have any kids of my own.  Between my formal education and the years of caring for kids, I KNOW how important routine is for children’s growth and development; and their own feeling of safety for that matter.  But let’s call it what it really is:  a self-preservation…

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First Day, She Helped!


Three years and seven months ago I started my new job where I currently work. I love my job; probably because I get to use all the skills I’ve picked up along the way and feel as though I’m really helping people. There was one particular person on that first day, who was remarkably helpful and made me feel welcomed.

rosemaryOn March 23, 2009, I walked in through the front door at my new office and asked for Rosemary. Everyone knows her as “the women who runs the place”–which is often the case of the person in the position that directly supports the leader of the organization. I was greeted by a big, warm smile and, “we’ve been so excited for you to start today!” Right away I felt like I was an important part of the team and this would be a place I would stay for quite some time.

Rosemary brought me to her office, gave me all of the requisite orientation information, including a hefty schedule of meeting managers and directors. After a brief meeting with the big-guy (read CEO and my new boss) she delivered me to the Human Resources staff for further paperwork completion. The ladies in HR then showed me my new “office”. A small closet-like room with a desk, chair, bookshelf and file cabinet–and four light blue walls and a door. No windows, not even a nearby office with a window to seek out a bit of daylight. Hmmm.

bigclosetafter picAbout mid-day three staff showed up at my office door and asked, “Where’s our stuff?” What stuff I asked with look of absolute confusion on my face. One of the women replied, “Well, this was our storage closet when we were here last week.” My only response, since of course, I would have no idea where there things were, “This was a closet?!” Toward the end of the day it was time to regroup with Rosemary. When I told her about the visit I’d had from the staff looking for their supply closet, she laughed. It was supposed to be a secret; and of course now, it was worst kept secret of all time.

Rosemary has always been a person for me to count on for a word of encouragement and support over the last three years. When I was out recovering from thyroid cancer surgery, I got a card from her in the mail every week for the six weeks I was home. She is thoughtful and considerate, in addition to being quite good at her job. I try to remember to thank her in person as often as possible and today, thanks to the writing prompt about “firsts”, I get to thank her for helping me on the first day of my new job. Cheers, Rosemary!

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Who Really Listens?


listenWho listens to you, really listens? During different times in our lives, both sad and happy, there are go-to people who we seek out to share our news. It’s not always the same people. I think we tend to go to the same person for all of our happy news and change pace for all of our sad news. When I take a look at the history of my moments of need and who I turned to for an ear to bend, I’ve been blessed!

During my middle twenties my parents were divorcing. It turned my world upside down, even though it was a fairly expected outcome. When the bottom falls out of the world you’d known forever, it can help more than a little, to talk things out. One of my college friends, who I’d kept in touch with after graduation, is who I turned to on more than one occasion. I’d call when I was down, or go and visit when an in-person crying jag is the only way to work through what was bugging me

tin cansI hope she remembers our calls and visits with the same fondness that I have for them. We helped each other through several challenges along our path to who we’ve become today. When I read the quote I shared at the top of the post today, I thought of Tari; and today, I thank her!

Best Advice, Ever!


writing-challengesThe site that hosts my blog, WordPress.com, has this terrific tool for bloggers called the Weekly Writing Challenge. Today’s challenge, in essence, what’s the best or worst advice you’ve ever gotten? A perfect writing prompt for today’s thank you.

When my husband and I had guardianship of our three grandchildren there was so much to learn “on the job”. Navigating the educational, social, emotional, and basic daily needs of three kids between the ages of 5 and 12,was not a job for the faint of heart; which is not news to any parents out there reading this post. My family was super supportive in almost every way imaginable, however, where we lacked some expertise was in the legal system.

social-work2I work in an agency that provides services to many a foster and adoptive parent every day. The knowledge of and skill at negotiating the intricacies of probate courts, family courts, home visits, intra-state compacts, and state child welfare agencies, can make the layperson’s head just spin! In order to learn how to maximize the services that the grandkids might be able to access, I needed to call on the experienced and dedicated social workers who walked by my office door every day.

On my worst days, there was always someone I could find to offer a suggestion or recommendation. The struggle was typically evident on my face or in my voice, as I was asked by Michelle, Tina, Dana or Ardelle, “How’s it going with the kids?” The biggest challenge I faced was during the court hearings to determine whether or not the kids would return to their mother, or stay with us. An emotionally and physically draining process, plenty of advice was freely offered by my colleagues, and one bit of it early on is what kept me going: “Everything will be alright in the end; if it’s not, then you’re not at the end.”

After two weeks, that included four days of testimony, money spent on a hotel for my stepdaughter, and trying to keep a sense of normal in our days; it was time to let go. I had to believe we’d come to the end [of our legal battle], and that everything would, in fact, be alright.

The words of wisdom from my caring and insightful co-worker, were still ringing in my ears as I said good-bye to the kids and sent them on their way to Arizona. I’ve shared that advice with others since it was imparted on me, and I’m thankful for the committed ladies who families like mine every day!

Giving Without Expectation


Last week, on his birthday, I shared a thank you to my brother-in-law, Paul.  I have more than a few brothers-in-law and each is special; not only because they love my sisters!  My brother-in-law, Jon, also celebrated his birthday this month.  He and my sister have been together since college!  It rained like crazy on their wedding day.  So much so that the chauffeur driving the limo picked Jen up and carried her from the car to the building so she would not be soaking wet when she walked down the aisle.  Many rainy and sunny days have passed since that day.

Before our grandchildren came to live with us we had a few months to prepare for their arrival.  I’ve mentioned before that family and friends rallied support in so many ways–it would take more than 365 posts to say how much I appreciated it all.

at the zoo w cousins 2Knowing that both Steve and I would be working, and wouldn’t be able to stay home for the summer with the kids, we decided to send them to YMCA summer camp.  Kash had been to the Y the summer before and had a blast, so we knew he’d be happy to go back and show his sisters the ropes.  We’d planned for the cost of the flights from Arizona, but we were going to be more challenged to cover the  cost of ten weeks of camp for three kids.  Even with the financial aid from the Y, it was going to be tight.

I don’t recall exactly when I’d mentioned it to Jon, likely at a family party, of which there are many.  As always, Jon was quick to say he’d like to help–there was no hesitation.  That is of course, not why I’d said anything to him. I found myself overwhelmed by his offer, feeling enormous gratitude…and relief.

IMG_6598To say that Jon works hard would be a gross understatement.  He is by far, one of the most focused and hard-working men I know.  One of the things about Jon I appreciate and respect most, is his amazing generosity.  Sure, he offered to help get my grandkids to camp, but in addition to that, he was a great Uncle to the kids.  They loved doing things with Uncle Jon, Aunt Jen, Zach and Max.jon and boys

If you believe the old wives’ tale that rain on your wedding day brings good fortune, my sister’s life, as well as our whole family, was beyond blessed the day Jon became my brother-in-law!  Thanks, Jon!

11th Grade Homeroom


I love it when I see on Facebook pictures posted from high school days.  I must admit the only pictures I have are in my yearbook from senior year, which is sitting in a milk crate in my basement.  The wonder of Facebook certainly is the unexpected, and fun, finds that pop up almost daily.

Today I was surprised, pleasantly for sure, by seeing a photo posted of my 11th grade home room (it was 1979, so that’s why all the big hair). The questions began immediately asking who can identify anyone in the photo?   Many of us sitting on the bleachers in the gym for the photo shoot had been together in the same home room since 7th grade; you might think it wouldn’t be that difficult.

I’d been tagged in the post so I took a shot by enlarging the screen a bit to study the faces.  My response added another 5 names to those already mentioned.  (By the way, I’m in the front row on the right end.)

I hope as Facebook friends find treasures like this tucked away in their attics and basements, they continue to be posted.  Thanks to Theresa and Linda for posting and tagging this picture today.  It made me smile!

Homeroom Class 1979-80

Vacation All I Ever Wanted…


As of 6:00 pm today I am on vacation.  I’m not going anywhere special and I don’t intend to do anything outrageously spectacular.  It is simply that, for the next 9 days I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, in particular go to work.  I can sleep late, read the 4 books that have been awaiting my attention for a couple of months, do a sewing or a craft project…anything really.  I don’t remember the last time I took an entire week off from work, but I’m looking forward to this one!

The job I have now is one that does require me to make arrangements for bases to be covered while I’m not there.  I have several people who report to me who may need some kind of support over the next week.  Typically, I don’t worry at all about the folks I supervise, they are talented and quite capable. Even though they are fairly self-sufficient, I feel like they deserve to know that someone is there for them even if I’m away.

I realized as the clocked ticked closer to 6:00 pm, I hadn’t asked any of my colleagues to support my success by acting in my absence.  I picked up the phone 5:40 and dialed Stacy, not sure if she’d still be here at this hour on a Friday.   A wave of relief swept over me as I heard her answer the phone.  She quickly agreed to be my go-to person for the week.  She’ll sign requests and time sheets, and be able to answer any urgent concerns for my staff.

At 5:55 pm I recorded my voicemail greeting to let callers know I would not be  back until November 4th.  I updated the message and then activated the Out of Office Assistant on my email and packed a few folders into my briefcase.  Before I turned off my computer I sent an email to Lucia, Stan, Susan and Jacqui, to let them know that thanks to Stacy, I could take the week off and know they’d have someone go to for help if they needed to while I was on VACATION.  Thanks, Stacy!!

 

Please enjoy one of my favorite tunes from the ’80s, it’s been in my head all day today!