Bill, James and the Tot


Last week was crazy.

AGMA had to work all week (the horror!!) and then we went to visit the Grands on Friday.

Between those two things, and the fact that tRump is indeed President and that it was NOT a bad dream, I was exhausted.

But visiting the Grands is always fun even if visiting with their parents is less than fun.  Long story that you don’t want to hear…

AGMA’s hoping time will bring them around.  Again.

Things weren’t too good before and after B, the oldest, was born.  We didn’t feel very welcomed when we would visit and got served a lot of cold shoulder.  With no sauce.

But after V was born nearly 3 years ago, things got much, much better.  The reason why is a mystery, but we were encouraged to visit often.  And when we were there, we felt very loved and welcomed.

After years of being emotionally distanced by them, it felt like a fairy tale ending where everybody lives happily ever after.

But, how does that old saying go…nothing lasts forever?


I noticed the change starting when DIL was 6 months along with their 3rd.  The distance started creeping back in.

Then we were told that we could not be there for the birth or even afterwards for the foreseeable future to meet our new grandchild.


“Ah oh,” AGMA thought,  “they be going crazy again just like they did after B was born.”

And yes indeed.  They have.

They did invite us up to meet TT two weeks after he was born, but the notice was so last minute that airfares were quite high.  So Hubs decided to stay home.  I was NOT going to miss meeting my new grandson so I pulled out the credit card, swallowed my pride and bought the $400 ticket.

Thought a miscommunication, we also booked a trip for both Hubs and I to come up this past weekend.  I don’t think our son or DIL wanted us there, but the tickets were bought…

And Hubs finally got to meet TT (8 weeks old now.)  He was TOTALLY smitten.  I mean, he’s even crustier than AGMA, and he was complete jelly around the little guy.  He must have taken 200 pictures of him.

I now believe in love at first sight.

Who knows how long he would have had to have waited before we got “approval” for a visit?

Our welcome was cool, but at this point, AGMA didn’t care.  I was over their cray cray.  I just wanted to see my grandkids.  And to make sure they know they are loved by their Nana and Bumpa.

During our visit, as I was lying on a couch with TT sleeping peacefully on my chest (OMG – does it get any better than that???),  I started praying for him.  I prayed that he would grow up to be a man like my recently departed friends, Bill and James.

Bill was a Deacon at my church.  I got to know him through volunteering for 2 years with our morning sandwich ministry.  AGMA’s church is in downtown Atlanta which has a massive homeless population.  Every Monday through Friday, we hand out bag lunches, bottles of water and cups of coffee to homeless men and women until 9:30 or until we run out.  I volunteered on Mondays.

Bill was in charge of this ministry and also the food pantry that gave out groceries to people in need.

Bill retired about 5 years ago.  What I didn’t know at the time was that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimers.  He continued to attend church and try to sing in the choir until about 2 years ago.

He was a gentle man of great faith, and devotion to both God and his family.  He also had great compassion for “the least of these.”

He saw God in the needy and destitute rejected by society.

He passed away on August 9th at 70 due to complications from Alzheimers.

James really wasn’t a friend, but I felt like he was.  He was a monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, just outside of Atlanta.  He’d been a priest for 20 years before he decided to enter the Monastery in 1994.

AGMA started going to retreats at the Monastery in the mid-2000’s.  It’s in a beautiful setting and I loved interacting with the monks.  They are witty, intelligent, engaging individuals who have lots of outside interests.  I spoke with Fr. James a few times and loved his humor and down to earth attitude.

James was a photographer and a writer.  He published 6 books, two of which contain his photographs of scenes around the Monastery along with inspirational writings.  He also wrote for various publications like the Georgia Bulletin, the Living Faith devotional and the local newspaper to name a few.

AGMA knew that he was a man of great gentleness, humility, and faith though his photographs and his words.  He had the ability to turn something very ordinary into something sacred and extraordinary.

He saw God in the simple, commonplace things around him.

He passed away on August 15 at 71 due to complications from a lung biopsy.

And so I prayed for that tiny precious little boy sleeping peacefully on me, lulled by my heartbeat.  I prayed that Bill and James would intervene somehow to help him grow into a man who, like them, would be compassionate, loving, faithful and able to see the sacred and holy in the ordinary.  That he could see the divine in those marginalized by society.  That he would have a heart capable of great love, great kindness and great forgiveness.

And my resentment of the cray cray of his parents dissolved into prayers for their marriage, and their physical, mental and emotional health as they try to navigate life in these uncertain times with 3 little children.

Thanks Bill and James, for not only watching over my sweet TaterTot but for giving AGMA a much needed attitude adjustment.

I’m sure I’ll be talking to ya’ll again soon.







16 thoughts on “Bill, James and the Tot

  1. Oh dear, what a shame that you are having to deal with these relationship issues at the expense of otherwise idyllic grandparenting time. There are never any easy answers, including any answer to how this happens in the first place. As a friend of mine says, all you can do is “wear beige and keep your mouth shut.” Much easier said than done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh darned…I look terrible in beige!! 🙂 I do a lot of mouth shutting of late – the wisdom of age. Ha! I’ve had people tell me in the past that I should speak up and call them out on this stuff, but I honestly don’t see how that makes things better. I would probably make things worse. Hoping that we can get up there in a month or two, and not have to wait until the new year to see them again. Please send those positive thoughts out for me Jane! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It has been over 10 tears since we have seen or talked to our children or grandchildren. The Grandchildren are all in their teens now, so we did have a lot of time with them while they were younger. We didn’t get the adjustment, so we just basically gave up trying. Thanks for sharing this story. It is comforting to know that not all families are like the Cleavers. Not that that makes it right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh dear…I hate to think that you’ve had such a long separation from the kids and grandkids. I am so very sorry… But I understand how it can happen – far more easily than one would think. It’s quite difficult to have to endure the indignities that they can hurl at you. It makes no sense to me at all and tells of a deep woundedness in their hearts and souls. I always worry about the grandkids and what that woundedness forces them to endure and how their view of the world gets distorted.

      But I’m so glad that you got to spend time with the grands when they were young – those memories are still with them I know.

      And if you EVER meet a family like the Cleavers, let me know. In all but a few rare instances, everybody I know is struggling with those relationships. Sometimes it’s the kids being jerks and sometimes it’s the parents being unrealistic about things. And sometimes it’s both!

      I keep thinking of the movie Home Alone with Kevin talks his neighbor into calling his son that he hasn’t seen for years. Maybe it’s time to start reaching out again understanding that you will probably get rejected. But I’ve found that persistence in the name of love is a very powerful thing. Wishing you the best my friend no matter what!


  3. I’m sorry you’re having family issues. Maybe it just takes a little more time. I wasn’t overly fond of my mother-in-law at first because I thought she was criticizing my housekeeping and child-rearing abilities. She would go through my house and finish whatever work she thought needed done, even to the point of dusting the baseboards. One tine, she folded a basket of wash – not realizing it was dirty wash waiting to go into the basement. I got my knickers all in a bunch over all that. It turned out she really was just being helpful because having been a divorced mother with custody of three young children, she knew how hard it was to work, keep house and raise a family. The pivoting point was when I had a miscarriage, and without a word, she came over to watch my other child and while there, she cleaned up the blood, replaced the throw rugs, and managed to keep my other daughter from freaking out. She never asked for any thanks, she just did it. We get along very well now. Hopefully your DIL will come around, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had what I thought was that turning point 3 years ago. Similar situation (but no miscarriage). I came up to help with the first when she was sick carrying the 2nd. After that, things were amazing! Now with the 3rd here, not so much. And it’s not just my DIL – my son has reverted to being nasty (in the written word). The difference is that this time, I realize that it’s totally NOT me. I’m no different than I was 12 years ago when they were datings, to 9 years ago when they were married to 3 years ago when I seemed to walk on water, to now. I have a history of blaming myself for things that really have nothing to do with me (goes back to some early childhood trauma I experienced), but I realize that I am not the one with the issue. So I pray for them and pray for the grands and try to give extravagent love without taking personally the hurt they inflict. I find giving unconditional love a very powerful thing!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m not a fan of my child’s father, however I Believe children are greatly benefited by grandparents!
    In fact, I have a wonderful relationship with my ex in-laws, and I knew about their family reunion before their son did. His mom called me to make sure that I could make it, and if it was my time to have the boy, he would be there. Of course I am coming, maybe a little to snub my ex, but mainly because I love my son having this big family and lots of cousins and grandparents who Adore him.
    His grandfather, age 76, decided to learn to make cakes Just for his grandson.
    My child is not spoiled at all HA!
    Maybe because I had him 3 months shy of 40 (he’ll be 9 in 2 weeks & I’ll be 49 in December) I have a different view but I wish more people could step away from themselves and realize how amazing it is having more people who love your offspring.
    Those babies are blessed to have you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment restores my faith in humanity Graceless! Thank you for sharing your experience with your ex-IL’s with me. I’m so happy that you all have a consensus to have a relationship despite the divorce! So much healthier for everybody involved and so much healthier for your son. Bravo to your for letting wisdom and maturity govern the situation! My besties in high school (class of ’71) both had their first at 40. I don’t think it’s all that unusual now, but back then, it was not the norm. I think having younger kids has keep them young! Today, hubs read about a woman in India who had IV fertilization and had twins in her 70’s. What???? Now that’s just crazy talk!

      Liked by 1 person

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