Tag Archives: Grandaddy


Last night Mythankfulboy got to participate in an hour of 1:1 baseball coaching, one of four, as a holiday gift from his Grandaddy.  It is so nice to watch your kid be 100% in the moment and learning something.  He was so excited/nervous that he couldn’t stand still; he bounced on his toes, passing the bat or a ball back and forth between his hands, as though any minute his whole body would burst into uncontrollable shaking.   It didn’t, and he had a great time, blisters not withstanding (that’ll teach him to make sure he has his batting gloves).

Home for leftovers, dishes, laundry, gaming, emails, facebook.  At the chalice lighting I showed B an Upworthy video of a family with whom I once worked, perhaps 15 years ago, brought to my attention by a colleague from that time (thanks MB!)  We talked about the impact you can have on peoples’ lives, if you choose to stop and listen and do what you can to help.  Well, I talked about that.  He mostly said, “Cool” and “That got over 3 million views!”

When I asked B for what he was thankful, he did the look-around-the-room-for-something-to-say routine, which I have learned means he never really had his mind with me in the first place.  He said, “I’m thankful for all the different ways you can blow out a candle”, and he began demonstrating them, resulting in the chalice going out before the ritual was over, and acrid smoke making us cough.  I have almost learned not to be annoyed by this not-really-present behavior, but to understand it as something that’s going to happen from time to time, or as something with which to work, either by drawing something out of whatever he says, or by giving more time and space to really think about the day and his life.  Tonight I was somewhere in the middle, so, once I ceased coughing, I asked if perhaps today he had gotten to do something he didn’t get to do everyday.

“Oh yeah!  Going to DD and getting coached!  That was awesome!  And I’m thankful for Bandaids that have Neosporin in them for blisters, and for you for taking me there even though it was stressful time-wise.  And for my haircut!”   We had, indeed, accomplished a haircut on the way home from baseball, stopping by a cool old-fashioned barber.  I said I was thankful for the barber shop, and that I hoped he liked his cut well enough to go back there.  Nothing PC about the place, but something very authentic, which was appealing.  He said, “So far so good, although I did have trouble getting all the product out of my hair.”

Old and new, good and eh, wisdom and wise-guy.  Given dedicated time and space, and an occasional nudge, reflection and connection are the reward.


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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Uncategorized


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The precious in-between

Mythankfulboy is 13 1/2, and has grown 3 inches in the last 5 months.  I know this because we measured him tonight.  He continues to be ambivalent about all this growth stuff.  He refuses to discuss the more-than-a-shadow-of-hair on his upper lip.  His reticence seems to be less embarrassment and more not knowing how to feel about it.  This summer he moved from kid sizes in shoes to men’s, and he definitely wasn’t happy about that, if for no other reason, because there was also a jump in price.  He still reaches for my hand from time to time, especially in the car or on the couch, and I hold my breath and try to be cool about it so I don’t break the spell.  I had no idea how precious this in-between place would be.

Tonight we had a spray bottle water fight before bed, which, of course, riled him up.  I was being a smart alec about something, and he seized the spray bottle that I keep handy for wetting down wrinkles in clothes in the hope they might lessen by the time I get to work.  He sprayed me while I had my back to him, and when I turned to threaten his life he sprayed me again, square in the face, then backed out of the room spraying anytime I got close.  I ignored the water dripping off of my nose and pursued him, and eventually I backed him in a corner and took the bottle back, soaking him thoroughly before hiding the bottle.  I suppose I can’t really fault him for having trouble settling down for bed.

Once he was finally in bed, I lit the chalice and asked for what he was thankful.  He said he was thankful for yoyo’s. It has been a while since this was on the tip of his tongue, but I didn’t question it.  He turned the gratitude question to me, and I said I was thankful for Grandaddy, my daddy, for all the work he has done in our home over the years – there is no spot in our home or yard from which you could throw a brickbat and avoid hitting something very obvious he has done for us.  Tonight it was his help over the phone with the way the dead dishwasher was wired, assuring me that there was nothing else I needed to do after having cut the cord he had wired directly to the fuse box and removing the unit.  B has been very intent on this project, himself, marching up and down the stairs to the fuse box, yanking wires and asking for feedback about whether he had the right one, and laying on the kitchen floor to cut the wire himself.

B said “Yeah, Grandaddy’s pretty great.”

I said, “So are you”, kissing his forehead.  He beamed up at me.

I beamed as I left him to fall asleep.

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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Sparks galore

Tonight, while I waited for mythankfulboy to brush his teeth and examine the peach fuzz on his upper lip in the mirror before heading to bed, I sat down at the piano and played a few hymns from “the gray” Unitarian Universalist hymnal, “Singing the Living Tradition”.  When he was done, I flipped to the back to the chalice lightings, and thought I’d start with the first one and see where it led us.

#447  “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  Albert Schweitzer

Bam! (as Rev Anne would say) Right off the bat – gratitude.  I read it as I lit our chalice.  B was surprised and gave me an inquisitive look.  “We’re trying something new tonight” I said in response, and asked “Who gives you a spark when your flame is low?”  “My momma”, he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice.  “Ok, well, yeah – that’s my job.  Anybody else?”  “Yeah” he said. “Your momma and your daddy and Little J from Ferry Beach and Big J from Ferry Beach.”  I smiled.

[The moment was disrupted by the computer turning on by itself – we’ve had an electrical poltergeist kind of evening.  Our dryer wouldn’t turn on, but was getting electricity (maybe a switch went bad?).  B hit a switch for a light in the kitchen and the living room light turned on instead.  Later the same light switch worked fine.]

“Who lights your spark?” he asked.  I answered predictably. “Well, you are the light of my life, kiddo.  And my daddy has always done this for me.  And my friends from Ferry Beach, of course.”

[I wasn’t quite done, when the computer in B’s room went off.  B and I stared at it as it came back on again and stayed on.]

We said our goodnights, and I blew out the chalice as I left the room.  He called me back in. “Hey mom – look at this!”  A funky metal wind-up toy he’s had for, oh, 5 years, and has sat on the bureau beside his bed for, oh, 3 years, was glowing.  We’d never seen it do that before.  Maybe it did it every night and we’d never noticed it before, or maybe it was just tonight.  I didn’t realize until I sat down to write this entry that all the electrical and glowing craziness went hand-in-hand with a chalice lighting that asked who provides the spark to rekindle our inner flame.

Perhaps I should listen.

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Posted by on March 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Tooth fairy plumbing bill

Tonight mythankfulboy lost a tooth while brushing his teeth, and it slipped down the drain.  So, I took apart the drain and found it for him.  He asked if the Tooth Fairy was going to bring him anything, and I told him the Tooth Fairy was sending him a bill for the plumbing work she had to do.  Although he’s usually a pretty easy audience for my silly humor, he didn’t seem to think that was all that funny…

At the chalice lighting, he was thankful for me, for the Tooth Fairy (proper order noted), for his Auntie J, and for Bertucci’s pizza.  The last two go together because we’re meeting Auntie J and her kids at Bertucci’s for lunch on Saturday morning.  I was thankful my daddy taught me how to take a drain apart, and for my neighbor who came over without even being asked and let the dog out when I worked late  It’s good to have a village for both child- and dog-rearing.

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Posted by on January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Aw Mom!

Tonight B attended the first night of a 6 week baseball camp, and man was he excited. His coach plays in the Minors, and there are only three kids in his group, so he’s getting lots of individual attention. Yay for B. Nothing nicer than making your kid happy. And yay for Grandaddy for helping us pay for it.

When we sat to do the chalice lighting, our evening thankfulness ritual, B was having a difficult time settling down, and was bouncing around and generally free-associating as he went. Right before I turned out the light (for better focus on the chalice candle) a silkscreen of three stylized sheep that I bought and hung on B’s wall when he was little caught my eye. I’ve always loved that print. It’s hard to put my finger on why. I remember I was with my sweet stepmother in an old barn-of-a-shop that was going out of business when I saw it and knew it was meant for our house, for my little boy’s room. He’s not so little now that he’s in middle school, but the print still hangs in his room. So, to return to the chalice lighting:

I turned the light back on and said “Do you know what I’m thankful for tonight? That sheep print”, at which point I pointed to it, and he looked over at it. When I thought he’d had enough time to register the picture I was talking about, I turned the light off again. I asked, “What about you?”

B said, “What did you say?”
Momma said, “I asked what you are thankful for tonight.”
B: “No. Before that.”
M: “The sheep.”
B: “What sheep?”
M: “The sheep in the picture.”
B: “Oh…. Wait – what?”
M: “I said I was thankful for the picture of the sheep on the wall. Remember I turned the light back on and you looked at it?”
B: “Oh yeah!”
M: “Honestly, B, sometimes it’s like talking to a door nail.” (a saying straight from my mother’s mouth)
B: “Aw Mom!”

So, when we finally got around to his telling me for what he was thankful, I did my best door nail impression:

B: “Baseball camp. And Grandaddy for sending me there.”
M: “Camp?”
B: “Yeah. Baseball camp.”
M: “Not summer camp at the Y.”
B: “Uh, no.”
M: “Oh, yeah. I’m sorry you don’t like it there.”
B: “At baseball camp?”
M: “Didn’t you say camp?”
B: “Yeah, baseball camp, but I said I was thankful for it, not that I didn’t like it!”
M: “Oh!” (changing my voice) “See? That’s what it’s like talking to you sometimes!”
B: “Aw Mom!”

I didn’t know, until I got to this point, how thankful I’d be for a good “Aw Mom!”, accompanied by peals of laughter. So grateful.

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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Balance and growth

Last night we got home for the first time in a week to find that Grandaddy was no longer there.  He had headed home in the middle of the day, and, as exhausted as we were, we missed him!  At the chalice lighting, B was thankful for how much Grandaddy got done “so fast”.  This was an interesting offering, because his grandfather had spent a lot of time fussing at him for not staying on task, not paying attention, not listening — I pointed out to B that, while Grandaddy was absolutely fast because he has so much experience with building, he was mostly fast because he kept his focus on his goal and worked really, really hard towards it.  Like, 15 hours with no lunch hard.  B nodded gravely.

So far, focus is not a strong suit for B, but then, he’s 10.  He’s got some time.  His teacher conference this week was positive — his teacher said that, while B’s attention wanders, he’s smart, is a good contributor to the class, and excels in all areas of the curriculum.  Nearing the end of his presentation, his teacher held up a piece of B’s written work and said “Has he always written like this?!”  At first I thought he was raising a concern, but then I realized he was very pleased with B’s work.  I confessed that I had worked with him on writing a year or so ago, on developing a central idea that would hook his reader and carrying it through his writing.  He said he was very impressed.  I shared this, again, with B, as a counterbalance to the inattention element.

Having said all this, I noted some of my strengths and weaknesses; I’m good at putting my thoughts into words, like he is, and at making people feel heard, but I am bad at remembering the details of what was said, and worse at getting paperwork done.  And so, I offered up in gratitude the ability to know where we excel and where we need work, because knowing both leads to balance and growth.  And that’s a good thing.

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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Grandaddy, 77 years old, drove 16 hours straight to get to our house, slept half an hour, then worked all day dragging wet, molding crap out of our basement, post Hurricane Sandy. If there were a word that combined “awe” with gratitude, I would use it. Needless to say, at the chalice lighting last night, B was thankful for Grandaddy “and all the progress he made”.

Grandaddy missed the chalice lighting. Bless his heart, he was already in bed.

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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


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