Bill, James and the Tot

grace

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?

Dammit.

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.

WTF??

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I spent my summer vacation

deadmau

There have been numerous requests, nay demands, that I provide a follow-up post to my last AGMA “I’m going to the beach” post.

The postmortem, as I call it.

To those of you who really couldn’t give a rat’s ass, stop now and tune into another fun, isn’t-a-world-with-Donald-Trump-in-it-strange post next week.  To those of you who asked, be careful what you wish for.  Here goes…

Overall, I will say that it was no worse than I expected.  This is actually kind of a sort of a lie because I believe in miracles.  I always hold out this Pollyanna hope somewhere in my cold, frozen heart that everybody in my family will realize how precious everybody else in our family is and change their cranky ways.  But it didn’t happen.

*sigh*

Did I mention that I had a 20 mile training run the morning I left?  Yup.  After the run, I had to hurry home, shower, finish packing and get all the baby crap together, get the house semi-together and get everything down to the garage to wait for my son to pick me up.  I live in a four story townhouse.  It’s two flights of stairs from our garage up to the master BR.  You can guess how I felt when finally I crawled into my son’s car after two hours of running up and down the stairs.

Ouch.

It’s a five hour drive to the beach.  For probably two hours, we listened to DeadMau5. Okay, maybe it was only for thirty minutes but it seemed like two hours.  It actually seemed like a lifetime.  If you aren’t familiar with DM5’s incredibly rich musical sounds (I’m literally choking as I write this…) check it out here.  It felt like somebody was driving hot rivets into my head.

My apologies to you DeadMau5 fans out there of which I’m sure AGMA has many…

My husband had left Atlanta early to pick up my son, DIL and the cutest grandson in the world from the airport near the beach.  I received the message that all went well with the pick-up.  1st hurdle successfully navigated.

1 down, 340 left.

My younger son and I arrived at the beach around 6 PM.  I was hungry, exhaused from my 2:30 AM wake-up and 20 mile run, with my head split open from the Mau5Man music.  And everybody was waiting for me to go shopping and cook dinner.  I went to the grocery store and bought a frozen pizza.

The 2nd hurdle didn’t go so well.  I got the stink eye.

Only 339 hurdles left.

Now that I think back on it, without going into detail, it’s amazing how there can be so much drama over nothing in only a three days.  And, sadly, as expected, the drama all originated from my son and DIL.  In all fairness, my DIL was sick.  But then it seems as if my DIL is always sick when we’re around.  Cause and effect perhaps?

Hmmmm…

My grandson didn’t sleep well at all the first night.  And he was up bright and early the next morning.  Both my son and DIL were dog tired for a good part of the trip.  But it didn’t help that they drank so much at night and stayed up late.  Duh.

I know nothing; I see nothing.

On the positive side, the rest of my family was great!  My younger son was fun and good company.  My nieces and their husbands were wonderful, and it was great to see and hang out with their kids.  My brother and I only had very superficial conversations so it was pleasant.  He was on his good behavior.  My SIL was as expected.  I asked her all of the “how have you been, what have you been doing, how’s your sister?” questions and she asked zero about my husband or myself.  But it worked for me.  She didn’t give me the stink eye once.  That I saw.

My sister was also on her good behavior too.  She drank, but evidently not so much that she got fall down drunk.  We usually left the “party” fairly early in the evening when she was still drinking, but it appears as if she maintained control.  Relief doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling.

And my family loved, loved, loved my grandson.  But seriously, what’s not to love? He’s cute and smiley and chubby and, gosh darn it, just all around adorable.  But I’m not biased…

All he had to do was smile at me when I walked into whatever room he was in and blinding sunshine instantly cut through the clouds generated by my son and DIL.  My heart melted and I was a babbling pool of mush for the next 15 minutes.

And for those of you wondering, I did drink.  The first night.  I had to because of the frozen pizza dinner fiasco and the stink eye.  I had a pomegranate vodka martini and two beers.  Guess I must have still been dehydrated from my 20 mile run – I had sweated like Jackie Gleason trying to keep up with the June Taylor Dancers. (That’s a reference only those of a certain age will “get”.)  I had a pounding headache in the morning and was not on top of the the AGMA game.  That was a tough day.

I didn’t drink again for the next two days.  My Australian nephew-in-law thought I was crazy that I opted out of adult beverages.  Gotta love the Aussies!

My husband and I spent two nights in Charleston, SC after my kids left and we checked out of the condo.  I’m sad to say that I only started to relax and felt like I could be myself when we checked into our hotel.  I didn’t realize how tense I was until I wasn’t tense anymore.  Does that make sense?

So would I do it again?  Probably.  If I weigh the pro’s and con’s, it was worth all of the hard work and money spent and headaches (literally!) and heartaches to spend time with my wonderful grandson, my younger son and my nieces and their families. Plus, as much as they are ambivalent about my family and myself, it was good to see my brother and SIL after 2 years.

I know – there is something seriously wrong with me.

But, for the love of God, please, please don’t make me listen to DeadMau5 again!  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive a second encounter.

Thump, thump, thump…