With my granddaughter just turning eight, I thought about me being eight. That would have been 1959. Such a long time ago. So much has changed but In many ways, little girls are so much the same. They still believe in fairy tales, get excited about a skirt that twills when they spin around, love bows in their hair, and adore nail polish. They pride themselves on how many times they can rotate on a bar on the playground and how well they can do a cartwheel. They treasure those times when they get to wear big girl shoes, lip gloss and something that sparkles.
Eight is also the age when little girls have deep thoughts and their imaginations run wild. They read “chapter” books with few illustrations and can picture themselves in the story. They also want to tell their own story because they have a lot to share.
I decided to get my new eight year old a diary. I got my first one at about the same age. I wrote every night before going to bed and then locked it up so no one could see my “secrets.”
My own mother kept a diary for the better part of her whole life. She was very devoted. The one thing she said she failed to accomplish in life that she wanted to do was to write a book. I told her she did write a book. I kept her sixty some years of diaries after she passed on at the age of 83. What a story… they are truly a treasure.
Now her great granddaughter can write her thoughts down, record what happens in her life, and start her own biography. As time passes, she will enjoy going back to reread what took place on a particular day, at a certain age, or on a special occassion. The time has come to pass down the key.
One of my favorite things to do since becoming a grandmother is the opportunity I have had to work with children. Being retired I have the time now to volunteer in my granddaughter’s classroom and help with lessons and projects. I always wanted to be a school teacher, so this fulfills that yearning. Not only do I have the satisfaction of working with kids, I also get to go to school all over again and relearn things I have completely forgotten.
Today is a pretty special day. The second graders are doing oral book reports. Their assignment was to read a biography about a famous person. They had to write a written report and then come to school dressed as their character and give an oral presentation from memory. They aren’t allowed to read from notes on their index cards and must tell their story in first person, as if they are that person, telling about themselves.
Today, we are Helen Keller. During this last month, my granddaughter read “Helen Keller, Light for the Blind.” We watched a movie about her childhood when Annie Sullivan came into her life. She learned about this remarkable woman who had a huge impact on the world. Today as Helen, she will share the fact that she was the first blind and deaf person to earn a college degree. She wrote and published twelve books. She traveled to many countries and gave lectures. She is famous for teaching others how to overcome adversity and that no matter what your disabililty, you can do anything.
Yesterday as we were viewing images of our hero we had found on the internet, my granddaughter said, “Oh, look at this one Gramma. Isn’t she beautiful!” Yes Helen Keller – you are. You are BEAUTIFUL!
In the town I live in, we have an outdoor skating rink especially popular around the holidays. A few years ago, when my grandson was not quite two and visiting for Christmas, I of course wanted to create good memories of time spent at Gramma’s house. During the week we had enjoyed a lot of the usual activities popular during this festive time of the year. We baked and decorated cookies, viewed the neighborhoods with the best lights, sang carols, had visits from friends and other relatives, saw the newly released kids Christmas movie, shopped til we dropped and had lots of playtime and giggles. As the week was winding down and we were running out of new things to do, I suddenly had a GREAT idea! Why don’t I take the kids to the ice rink for a session of skating! The rink was filled with smiling skaters, frolicking around to the beat of the Christmas music. We all felt the joy as we rented the skates and paid for the 90 minute session.
After 20 minutes of trying on and lacing skates, my son and daughter-in-law took my grandson and granddaughter out on the ice. I was going to sit back, take pictures and enjoy their FUN from the sidelines. Neither grandchild had ever skated before so they had to be held up and pushed around the rink. The first time around I saw smiles and happy faces. “Oh good,” I thought… this really was a GREAT idea! A few rounds later I noticed the expressions had changed. My daughter-in-law said her back was getting sore from bending over and took a break. I ventured out with little booties they offered that I could walk in and helped push the kids. While they’re slipping and sliding, my grandson is clearly ceasing to have fun. His pants are wet, his feet are sore, his jacket is hiked up exposing his belly to the cold, he’s crying and wants to go see Mommy!! Wonderful… I then spot my son leaning against the rail holding on to my four year old granddaughter, looking spent. It’s definitely time for a break.
After having some snacks, warming the kids, and resting our feet, we go for round two. I am poised with camera in hand, rocking to the beat of the carols, yelling encouraging words like “Great Job!!” from the sidelines all the while hoping to see smiles return as they round the bend. I still need my pictures! We only have 30 minutes left. “Ok! Look at you! You’ve got it! Let me see that BIG happy face…………”
“Hey everybody… I have a GREAT idea!! Let’s go get ice-cream!” Smiles return and I get my pictures! 🙂
For kids, a trip to the dentist every 6 months is like going to a carnival. Upon arrival, we are greeted by a high energy receptionist who acts like she has been waiting all day for us to get there. She is all smiles as she compliments my granddaughter’s choice of “Hello Kitty” t-shirts and stylish black boots. She wants to know all about her day at school as she checks us in.
While we wait our turn, we are ushered to a play area filled with brightly colored chairs and numerous video game stations from which to choose. My granddaughter picks one and begins playing. Within minutes, another enthusiastic young assistant walks in with her camera. She positions my granddaughter in front of a brightly colored mural painted with animals and snaps her picture. She takes two, just to make sure she has a good one.
A few minutes later, the dental hygenist comes in and says she is ready. She is also all smiles and immedialtely starts up a conversation, making my granddaughter feel like she is the most exciting patient she has had all day. “We’ll need some x-rays,” she says and places my granddaughter in a chair and covers her with a bright yellow printed protective shield. After the x-rays, she opens a large cabinet filled with an assortment of stickers. She says to take two and we pick “Hello Kitty” – they’ll work with the t-shirt.
As we make our way to the room for our check-up, she asks my granddaughter what flavor of toothpaste she would like her to use. There’s strawberry, watermelon, cookie dough, chocolate, mint, bubblegum, blueberry, cherry and orange. Bubblegum it is!
As my granddaughter is led to a long reclining chair, she is given large glasses, a set of headphones and a choice of two movies to watch while the cleaning takes place. (I am thinking – why doesn’t my dentist offer this?) After the hygenist is finished, the dentist comes in, gives my granddaughter a reassuring pat and praises her for excellent x-rays. “Your teeth look beautiful! You are brushing and flossing very well!”
As the dentist finishes the examination, the hygenist asks what color balloon my granddaughter would like. There’s yellow, dark blue, light blue, pink, red, orange and green. She picks light blue.
We make our way out, but not before picking up a goodie bag. In it we find a new toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, a toy ring, a happy face sticker and the picture they took at the beginning of our visit.
And wait… there’s one more thing! The happy receptionist jumps for joy and hands us a final sticker with the words “NO CAVITY CLUB!” Everyone claps as we head out the door. “Can’t wait to see you in 6 months!”
My grandsons, ages 5 and 2 1/2 gave me one of the most precious gifts for Christmas. I absolutely LOVE this with all my heart! We often FaceTime – (they live 500+ miles away.) When we do, we act silly, we laugh and just talk about what it is that’s going on that particular day. “Look at this, look at that GramGram… look what I can do!” I don’t care what it is… it’s just time spent with my sweet boys. Most of the time it amounts to just being together – for the moment. Nothing expected – just GramGram time with my little rascals.
They jump around, they act silly, they run in and out of the room, they are rambunctious little bundles of energy. They laugh with those “children laughs” that can absolutely turn a not so great day into the most beautiful day ever. I can’t get enough of them. They make me smile and warm my heart.
And when we are ready to say goodbye… it always ends with “I Love You to the Moon and Back…” We throw kisses to each other, catch them, and rub them into our hearts, where those kisses will stay… FOREVER! And how did they know I needed pot holders and an oven mitt with their handprints? Maybe because they know I love them to the moon… and back.