Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Lesson In Trust

Many of you may have heard that I'm out of town this week watching my granddaughter. Watching a 6 1/2 week old for a week is something I haven't done in 20 years. People say it's like 'riding a bike'. That may be true. Riding a bike reminds me of my mini vacation just a few months ago with my daughter to Mackinac Island. The island of fudge, seagulls, walkers, horses, and LOTS of bikes. We saw people of all ages, sizes, athletic ability, and energy riding bikes around the island. There were single speed bikes, 3 speed, 7 speed, kid's bikes, and tandem bikes; but all had the option of having a fashionable (but practical) basket on the front. My daughter, being the witty one that she is, said that riding on the back of a tandem bike was a real lesson in trust. It teaches you real quick how to be part of a team, how to listen to your co-rider, and how not to make the world all about you.

So, with that in mind, me spending time with my granddaughter this week is not only a lesson of trust for me, but also for her parents. I commend them for knowing I will take excellent care of her while they're at work and for being able to trust me with their most worthy and newest family member. I think we've all done well so far this week. There have been a few tears and a few moments of anxiety, BUT there have also been smiles, giggles, hugs, and 3 nights in row of a little princess sleeping through the night. Yes, all is good on the western side of the mitten this week.

Here's to another 3 great days. I've already learned not to look at the calendar, not to answer the phone as 'King of kings Lutheran Church', and how to change a diaper in under 15 seconds! Like I said, 'We're all learning here.'

I hope your week is going good and you've learned something new as well; or at least been reminded of something you'd forgotten about. Let's face it, we can all use a little reminding from time to time.

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's A Badge of Honor

Today I officially begin a new chapter in my life. I've been a student, a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, an employee, a cancer survivor and now ... a grandmother. Six weeks ago my son and his wife brought a beautiful baby girl named Jane into the world, into our family, and into our hearts. Today I am on Day 1 of 'grandma duty'. I took a week's vacation to come and stay with the family and watch over little Jane while her mom went back to her job as a teacher today. She has students who depend on her, but I know her heart was home here with Jane. Jane and I are doing just fine and will be glad to see them when they get home. Although I was given strict instruction that if she conquered any milestones while they were gone to not tell them.

With my new found grandparenthood has come 2 major comments/questions from the people I see. I've either been told I look too young to be a grandma; which could be highly flattering. The other question is 'What do you want to be called?' That one threw me off balance at first, because my first response has always been 'Call me GRANDMA'. I guess I just didn't realize that there were so many choices; there's actually a website with 120 top grandparent nicknames. We could go with Grammy, Gram, Nana, Mee-maa, G-ma, Mimsy, Nanny, or Oma. But let's not leave the men out of the equation, they have options too; Gramps, Grandad, Papa, Grandpapy, and Pop.

Whatever Jane decides to call me when the time comes will be music to my ears, but the traditional 'Grandma' suits me just fine. I consider it to be a badge of honor; a badge that I will proudly wear.

What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up and why? I remember my kids refer to my mom as 'Grandma with the piano'.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

You Can't Always Take It Back

There's been a lot of controversy and ill feelings in the news lately; as if it isn't usually that way. Sure there are politics, but that could be a topic for a blog post in itself. We've had reports of teenage drivers being killed on the road because someone crossed over the line and hit them head on in their lane. And we've had sad reports of a firefighter being intentionally run down on the road while collecting donations for a charity. These were both serious, life-altering incidents that can't be taken back.

While I'm certainly not trying to compare useless words to the accidents I mentioned, words are one thing that we DO have control over. Nowadays people seem to hide behind their freedom of speech amendments in order to say whatever they want, as if it somehow gives them a pass to behave carelessly. Case and point; recently 2 co-hosts of the TV show 'The View' made careless comments about a Miss America contestant who wore her scrubs and gave a monologue for her talent portion of the competition. Needless to say the co-hosts' comments were misinformed, needless, and completely uncalled for. Nurses and viewers across the U.S. responded unfavorably resulting in the 2 co-hosts giving an on-air apology. The thing about apologies is that when they're only given once someone is confronted (and most likely pre-written by someone else) they don't tend to come across as believable. Many media reps have said before that even 'bad publicity is better than no publicity'.

Words are final; once they're spoken you can't always take them back. Everyone, especially those in front of a camera or on a platform, should be knowledgeable of what they say. Bashing or belittling others has always been the tact of a bully in order to make themselves feel better. While I do write a blog I understand that with the words that I choose to write comes a certain level of responsibility. My only hope is to share my viewpoint in a respectable way, nudge readers to think about consequences and choices, and slowly edge my little corner of the world into a more peaceful state.

My prayers go out to the families of those involved in the deadly car accidents; those whose lives were forever changed because of the avoidable actions of others. I cannot change what happened to them, as I cannot change a lot of things in this world. However, I (and you) CAN make a difference with our own words and actions. I am always reminded of the quote, 'Think twice, speak once.' If I still get it wrong, shame on me for missing the opportunity.

Monday, September 7, 2015

When You Find The Tables Have Turned

There's a saying about not judging someone until you've walked in their shoes for a day. There's a lot of wisdom there. It's easy for all of us to say, 'They could lose the weight if they really wanted to.' 'They could quit smoking if they had more will power.' 'They should be more positive, they're always so grumpy.' 

If life were only that simple then anyone could do IT, right? That's what we like to think until we're the one who's struggling to lose the 10# or trying to kick the bad habit. We're only human. It's natural for us to get frustrated with other people when we don't know or understand the 'why' or the 'why not' of a situation. It's when we actually take the time to ask and then listen that we'll have a chance of understanding what is behind the problem or the disappointment.

I understand that it's difficult and frustrating to stand by and watch someone move backwards or self-destruct, but disappointment and frustration are REAL emotions so I'm guessing that it's o.k. to feel and experience them. We want to help people help themselves. Nobody wants to stand by and watch someone falter, but sometimes people have situations that are beyond their control because of health, age, etc. In most situations our attitude is about the only thing we do have some input in. If given the right opportunities most of us can find a positive in any negative. We lose someone, but we're thankful for time we did have with them. We watch someone deteriorate from who they used to be, but we're thankful for the times when we see a light in their eyes and they remember our name. We stand by and watch someone abuse themselves, but are optimistic when they finally find their rock bottom because only then will they be able to fight their way back.

There will always be negatives in the world; that's practically a given. BUT there's always the hope for a positive. The other night I was feeling stressed as I sat with someone in the ER. I texted a friend and she reminded me that someone she works with is always looking for the positives in a situation. It's tough when they're referring to you and you realize you need to focus and look a little harder. I guess sometimes it comes back to the basics and it's about nothing more than perception. Is the glass half full or half empty? Personally, I like to think I'm more of a half full kind of gal.

The next time you find yourself unknowingly starting to judge someone - TURN THE TABLES. Stop and watch, then ask questions and stick around long enough to hear the answers. You might be surprised to hear the answers are different from what you thought.

Have you been looking for the positives lately?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Turning The Negative Into A Positive

Everyone has experienced a negative person at some point in their lives. Some people don't mean to be negative in their attitude, they just can't seem to help themselves. Other people come across as having a negative outlook because of something they've experienced. Perhaps they're lonely, or insecure, or even scared.

If you're a parent your child at some point was afraid of not having any friends, being bullied at school, or worried about missing you when you went out to dinner and left them with a babysitter for the first time. They might have been afraid and tearful the first time you left them at the doorway to preschool or sent them to camp. They may have been overwhelmed their first year of college staying in the dorm and having to do their laundry on their own. Our children grow up and will undoubtedly learn from their experiences and mature along the way. They will have their moments of feeling like they can't do it without you, but they will. They'll surprise you and they'll surprise themselves. They'll learn to notice the positive things in life. They'll learn to discard the negatives that can pull them back.

Then there are the people who can have you reaching into your cupboard for the biggest bottle of Tylenol you can find to try and curb your mounting headache. Some people (no age requirement) can be just plain cranky. Some can be exhausting. You have to dig extra deep at times to try to turn their negatives into positives, but it's worth it to keep trying. Don't let them rain on your parade or dim your light. Show them (over and over if needed) that there are positives in every situation. Sometimes, depending where a person is at, it's hard for them to find a bright spot. Help them find it; point it out. Doesn't matter if it's big or small; they all count.

With perseverance and a strong will you can help others find their positives. Your light will shine a little brighter and they'll start to notice. Your positive attitude might even rub off. Consider it a life experiment.