Granny AGMA’s confession

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Dearest B-Man,

Hallelujah!

I finally get it! I get the whole grandparent thing!

Granny AGMA’s slow. Up until now, I was clueless.

Three of my grandparents had already passed by the time I was born. My sole grandparent – my father’s mother – was in her 70‘s, wracked with horrible rheumatoid arthritis and severe osteoporosis. In my memory, she looked like she was ancient.

Today, 75 is the new 55. But not back in the day.

She died when I was 6.

You dada and uncle really didn’t have grandparents either. Well they did. But they didn’t.

My father, your great grandfather, remarried a lovely woman named Louise after he divorced your great grandmother. Louise never had any children of her own, but she grew to love me as a daughter after I came to live with them in 1965.

Louise loved your dad and uncle too, but she wasn’t very maternal. She seemed a bit frightened of children. Besides, she was all about trying to keep my father happy. Not an easy task.

Great granddad was a narcissist. Like The Donald.

My dad “loved” your dada and uncle, but it was in his own, narcissistic way. Meaning that, he would never spend any time on them or with them if he had anything better to do. Which always seemed to be the case.

His great loss

I suspect my own mother would have been a superb grandma had she lived to meet her grandchildren…

Your grandpa’s (“Bumpa” as you call him!) parents had no clue how to parent or raise emotionally, mentally or spiritually healthy children. There was abuse on multiple levels. Bumpa managed to pull his life together and do quite well, but still bears the emotional scars. His siblings weren’t as fortunate.

When Bumpa and I realized his parents weren’t interested in being a part of your daddy and uncle’s life, we were relieved. They saw them once a year. Perfect.

They’re all gone now other than Bumpa’s mother, your great grandmother. Who’s never met you. And she hasn’t shown any interest in seeing you although we’ve offered to fly her to Chicago to visit.

Her great loss. And terribly sad.

When I found out 2+ years ago that I was going to be a grandma, I did all the right things. I cried for joy. I organized a baby shower for your mom. We traveled to Chicago to welcome you to the world.

But I still didn’t “get” the grandma thing.

Friends had been posting on Facebook for years how wonderful it was to be a grandparent; that it was the best thing ever.

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Blah, bIah, blah…

I thought they were possibly exaggerating a little bit. Or a lot.

Then, you arrived. You were very cute, adorable and cuddly. But I wasn’t sure of the “best thing ever” part.

And your folks, being first time parents, went a little crazy after you were born. There were lots of rules around seeing you. Those were kind of tense times and led to some family discord.

That was no fun.

And I was still trying to riddle out what was so fabulous about being a grandparent other than cuddling said cute, adorable baby.

Fast forward to last April when we found out you were going to be a big brother. Very exciting but…

Now I really needed to find a Remedial Grand Parenting class. I didn’t know how to do this supposedly epic grandma thing with you. Now there was going to be another baby.

Then you started walking. And talking – sort of. And you could understand what we were saying. And slowly, very slowly, we started falling under your spell.

A glimmer of understanding of all those goofy grandparent Facebook memes appeared.

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You totally sealed the deal last week.

I went to Chicago to help your mama out for a few days. Your sister’s fine, but your mom’s body isn’t taking to kindly to this pregnancy. She’s really, really tired.

And you aren’t. You’re a very active boy who has many interests.

Very.Active.

So I came to hang out with you so your mama could chill a bit before all hell breaks loose with a newborn in the house.

And you totally and completely enchanted me… So much so that I ignored my WordPress friends and my blog last week. WTF?

But I couldn’t take time out from our walks. It would take 20 minutes just to go to the end of the street. So many interesting things to pick up and study – dirt, leaves, rocks. I did discourage close examination of the dog dodo…

And I couldn’t take time out of our mornings together looking out the window for trucks and airplanes. Or playing with your toy trucks and Sammy.

And I absolutely couldn’t take time out of our afternoon visits to the park. You needed pushing on the swing and catching at the end of the slide. And chasing as you joyfully ran headlong into your next adventure.

So I get it now.

My job…no, my delight…is being able to slow down with you to help you discover the world. To talk with you about bugs and rocks and trees. To hang with you as you experience the joy of being alive. And to let you know how much you are loved. By me, your bumpa, your dada & mama, your uncle. And God.

Your mama and dada are busy and tired and stressed. I was there once so I totally get it. Lots of times they just don’t have the time or energy to go on 4 walks a day with you. And things are going to get crazy busy when your sister arrives in a few weeks.

But between all 4 of your grandparents – your mama’s parents adore you as well – you’ll still get plenty of time to discover the world. You lucky young man!

Yeah…I get it now.

I’ll love you forever; I’ll like you for always,

Granny AGMA

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The bad granny and the boys in spandex

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So my post last week was unexpected, and interrupted AGMA’s travel blog from her trip to Europe in July. I’m back in the swing of things now!

But rest easy. This is the third and last (keyword being last…) travel post. Then it’s back to the normal AGMA nonsense.

So in my last travel post, I was in Provence and had a mouth full of creeping crud from my prednisone. Remember?

From Provence, we trekked to the Principality of Andorra high up in the Pyrenees Mountains between the boarders of Spain and France.  You have to REALLY want to visit Andorra to get to Andorra. There is no easy way to get there.

And I REALLY wanted to visit Andorra. We were going to watch Stage 9 and 10 of the 2016 Tour de France.

Cyclists in spandex! My kinda creepy obsession…

I went to France in 2013 for the last week of the 100th Tour de France.  It was electrifying. I was hooked and have been trying to get back every since. Long suffering and patient Hubs agreed to take 3 days out of our trip to fuel AGMA’s creepy obsession.

What a guy.

We watched the cyclists on Stage 9 on their way up to a rain and hail filled finish from the comfort of the Andorran village of Ordino. No rain or hail 18K from the finish. My cowbell got a real workout.

And I found the perfect TdF T-shirt for my 20 month old grandson (pictured above.) Might as well get him indoctrinated early to his granny’s creepy obsession right?

The next day was a rest day. Normally, when I’m watching from home, I hate rest days. AGMA gets bored with no Tour to watch. But I loved the rest day in Andorra.

Rest day = cyclist stalking day.

The cyclists don’t really rest on rest days. They go out for a 2 to 3 hour easy ride in the morning so their bodies don’t freak out from no activity. They have to keep the engine running so to speak or it will shut down. And that’s not good.

Armed with my list of team hotels, I went in search of my favorite cyclists. Unfortunately, AGMA left our hotel too late to catch the teams going out for their rides, but I knew I had a chance of catching them when they got back.

AGMA went after Team Sky, a powerhouse cycling team based in Great Britain, and the team of two time TdF winner Chris Froome. He was also in the lead of this year’s TdF (with the yellow jersey) after Stage 9.

He went on to win the whole tamale this year and got his 3rd TdF win.

After waiting over an hour, the team finally came in from their ride. All but Chris Froome. The cell phone cameras went crazy. Mine included. Sadly, I lost most of those pictures the next day due to a smooth move on AGMA’s part.

I hate technology.

The fabulous thing about being a cycling fan is access. You get nearly unfetterd access to world class athletes like no other sport. You can just walk up and start talking to them and/or you can take a selfie with them and/or get their autograph. They looked tired so I opted for an autograph.

AGMA is a bad granny.

Instead of getting autographs on the notebook I brought, I got out my grandson’s cute TdF shirt, looked at the cyclists with pleading eyes and said, “Can you sign this for my grandson please?” How could they say no?

They couldn’t.

30 minutes later, Chris Froome finally rode in in his yellow jersey. The access thing doesn’t always apply to the yellow jersey – the teams tend to be very protective of their big “stars”. He pretty much stayed away from the small crowd of stalkers, but he was close enough for AGMA to get some great pictures. Most of which I lost.

He finally came up to the small group of remainig fans and signed a few autographs. I gave him the doe-eyed look and said, “Mr. Froome, could you sign this for my grandson please?” And he did.

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AGMA is a bad granny.

I have no intention of giving that T-shirt to my grandson. His parents have no appreciation of cycling. They might actually let him wear it. The horror!

AGMA’s going to wait until he gets older. Hopefully, with my influence and that of his uncle – my cycling crazy younger son – he’ll become a cycling fan too.

Then he can tell the story of how his crazy, cyclist stalking, spandex loving Nan met the best cyclist in the world and got his autograph for him.

It was a grrrrreat trip!

Oh yeah, after Andorra, we went to Lourdes, France which was amazing, then onto Pamplona, Spain for the Running of the Bulls which was insane. Totally insane!

We spent the last night of our trip, July 14th, in Barcelona before we flew home the next day.

July 14th is Bastille Day in France. The Tour de France went through Provence that day and up Mont Vonteux. Chris Froome actually RAN part of the way up due to a freak accident with a moto that crushed his bike. Nothing like that has ever happened in the TdF.  It was crazy.

It was also the day of the horrific attack in Nice that killed 85 innocent, peaceful people who were enjoying being out with friends and family, celebrating Bastille Day. Let’s hope that nothing like that ever happens again. It was beyond crazy.

AGMA went to bed that night incredibly sad, but determined to continue traveling. We can’t let this type of evil frighten us, and keep us from sowing the seeds of peace and understanding all over the world. If we stop traveling, the bad guys win.

And we can’t afford to let that happen.

Australia in November anybody?