So, You’re One Year Old!

Happy Birthday to Granddaughter! She turns one today.

Instead of looking back on her birth and the past year, I’m looking with eyes focused on NOW with eager anticipation of her nows to come.

What’s she like?

Ah…a bit of Heaven on earth!

She’s a redheaded marvel with a smile that won’t stop.

A beautiful mix of Mom and of Dad, she reflects them perfectly – in looks, in attitude, in mannerisms.

It’s cute to watch and even cuter when I remember – payback is coming. 🙂  This is going to be good.

Perched on the brink of independence she’s ready to strike true fear in the hearts of her parents – and grandparents alike.

You know how it is – they go from no motion to slow motion to…well…now you see her and now you don’t.

She’s taking her first steps and will soon find that crawling is for babies.  A toddler she’ll be shortly.  There will be no stopping her.

Her little finger is powerful – she has everyone wrapped around it. And, her index finger…ah, with it she controls her daddy.  A firm look and a point in his direction wilts him.

What do you get the perfect granddaughter?  Good question – I scoured the toy store at length and the only thing I found that spoke to me was for ages 2+.

What was it? It was a…bulldozer.  Yes, it was.

What did I get her?  I can’t tell you. Her birthday party isn’t until tomorrow.  I don’t want to give away the surprise.  😉


Grandparent’s Day

Last night, while online, I stumbled upon a mention of Grandparent’s Day.

“When’s Grandparent’s Day?” I asked Hubby.

“No idea.” was his reply.

I googled it and the date September 8, 2013 popped up.

“It’s today,” I said with surprise. “I thought it was always the second Sunday in September.”

Hubby waited patiently.

“Wait, today’s the 8th…that makes today the second Sunday in September! We missed it!” I said with dismay.

Immediately my mind went to our granddaughter, to my mother (and dad) and to Hubby’s, to my beloved grandparents and great-grandparents, and – to my children who were as unaware that it was grandparent’s day as I was.

Fond memories of my own grandparents flickered through my mind and with deep longing I missed them…missed those times with them…missed the ability to talk with them, be with them, love them.

We three (Hubby, Daughter, me) enjoyed lunch and the afternoon with Mom.  Had I remembered that it was Grandparent’s day, we would have made it something special…apparently everyone forgot.

Hubby and I went for a walk late yesterday and as we rounded the curve and headed up the hill that runs beside her house and leads to ours, we found her sitting on the patio watching hummingbirds and missing my dad.  We stopped in and sat with her.

I wonder how many more Grandparent’s Days she will see.  If I have anything to do about it, this was the last she will pass without celebration. A wonderful Grandmother she is, and a wonderful GrandMom she has been to her Grands. No Grandmother ever loved her grandchildren more or was prouder of them.

Happy Grandparent’s Day to all you grandparents out there!  Better late than never!


Born on this day in 1908 to sharecroppers, Viola Susan Frances Oliver began the journey that would take over 96 years to complete.

She lost her mother at age 2 and lived with her grandmother, grandfather, dad and little brother, Euphrates. Nanny’s father never spoke with her of her mother…refused to share any details of her death.  All she knew was that her mother died.

She came down with Small Pox at age 4 and was so sick for so long that she had to learn to walk again.  Until a few years before her death, she had a place on her lower leg that refused to heal and continued to ooze enough to require a covering.

Her childhood was lived without the conveniences of electricity, indoor plumbing, or iceboxes. Too keep milk cold, it was placed in the spring that bubbled up out of the ground – always cold, always clean.

Deprived of an education (her daddy felt girls didn’t need schooling), she taught herself to read and do arithmetic.  Good thing – her sporadic school attendance ended before 4th grade.

“You can’t go there, you can’t do that…you’re a girl” was often told her by her dad. She envied her brother and his ability to be with their dad…simply because he was a boy.

World War 1 (The Great War) touched her, as it did all.

The flu epidemic that tore across the world in 1918 and ripped apart families touched her, and her family, too, claiming several close to her – an uncle (her father’s brother) and a cousin (his daughter).  Her father married her Aunt Emma – the widow of his brother.

At age 19, she married Poppy (he was 21) on a covered bridge on the 26th of October.  The setting was, no doubt, picturesque…the bridge…the creek…the brilliant Autumn foliage.  This was before Kodak and cell phones, so there were no pictures.  The preacher who performed the ceremony became her brother-in-law when he pronounced them husband and wife. He went by the nickname “Son Johnny.”

Nanny and Poppy lived with Maw Thomas on the “Old Thomas Place.” Paw had died several years prior.  (If memory serves me correctly, he was kicked by a horse, or a mule.)

My mother was born a year and a month after they married – after a bout of what Nanny thought was a belly ache from eating turnips.

When it appeared labor was well underway, one of Poppy’s younger brothers set out on their mule to get the doctor.  He arrived in time to deliver her and then promptly left.  There was no prenatal or postnatal care for Nanny – and no pediatrician to check the baby or to give 6 weeks shots.  And, there were no 6 weeks shots to give.

When her mother in law attempted to tell her what to do and how to care for her newborn daughter, Nanny said to her, “Maw when you had your babies, you did exactly as you pleased with them and I’ll bet no one told you how to raise them. Isn’t that right?”  Maw was reported to have said, “That’s right!  I raised my babies exactly as I saw fit.”  Nanny replied, “And, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”  And, she did.

Her firstborn – my mother – was the first thing that was truly hers.

It was said that when my mother was born, her daddy was sent out to check his traps and when he returned was allowed into the house to see his wife and new baby.  Momma had been cleaned up and wrapped up, then placed on the old black trunk that sat beside the bed. Poppy came in and started to sit down on the trunk beside the bed and Nanny screamed, “NO! Don’t sit there, you’ll sit on the baby!”

A son came along a couple of years later.

And, then when my mom was 4 and her brother was 2, Poppy came down with TB (tuberculosis) and Nanny moved her family (and their cow) from miles out in the country to the big city so her husband could receive treatment at the TB Sanatorium.  Her children were placed there as well for 2 or 3 months – as a precaution.

While in the hospital, word arrived that Poppy’s mother had died after supper one night from a massive heart attack.  Nanny obtained permission for Poppy and their children to leave the hospital for several days.  She then contacted a mail carrier that she knew and arranged for him to take them back to the country for the funeral.  They arrived at the end of the service, just as they were closing the casket.

She had no car and no transportation.  She lived miles from the Sanatorium and so walked there to be with her family when she wasn’t working.  Yes, she had to support herself and her young family.

She worked WPA jobs before they let her go – she made too much.

The first was a sewing job where she had to provide her own sewing machine (heavy machine with a huge cabinet) and walk to and from work each day.  The second was at a meat cannery.  She said the beef smelled so good cooking…she wished she could have eaten some.

Times were hard…far harder than any of us know or understand.

Poppy was unable to work. One lung remained collapsed and though he no longer tested positive, he continued to take medication to suppress and treat TB.

My mom and her brother were poster kids for TB when they were 8 and 6.

They were poor and on Welfare.  When she worked, she made too much for Welfare, but not enough to support her family. Nanny was afraid her children would be taken from her because she was unable to provide all they wanted and needed.

A third child was born 17 years after the first – daughter #2.

Her husband never fully recovered his strength and suffered a stroke that left him unable to work.

And, then a heart attack claimed him when I was 6.

Nanny was on her own.

6 years later, her only son died of a massive heart attack…no warning…just a phone call in the night saying he was gone.

She lived a hard life, but her heart remained tender.

Viola Thomas, or Nanny as I knew her, was an amazing woman.  She was self made, and made of stern stuff.  My dad once said of her, “She’s a tough ol’ bird!”

I can’t imagine the hardships and heartbreaks she had from her earliest memories.  Yet she never complained, never was bitter, never let her circumstances get her down.

Her laughter, silenced years ago by death, still rings in my ears when I think of her.

She loved life.  She loved her family.  And, she loved her God.  And, all three loved her back.

I love you, Nanny.  And, I miss you so much!  Happy 105th Birthday!!

3 Months Old

Yesterday, Granddaughter turned 3 months old.

On Facebook, several days prior, I noticed her mom mentioned Granddaughter was put to bed on her tummy and in the morning she was on her back.

“We have a roller,” is how her mom described her.

I smiled.

The fun is just beginning for them.

Granddaughter is growing toward independence already.

Ah, yes…the fun is just beginning….

Friday, Son shared a video on Facebook.  Granddaughter was laughing.

Her laughter was light, bubbly…contagious.  I could not help myself…I giggled, too.

I could have listened to that precious girl laugh all day long!  I smile even now as I recall how her laughter sounded.

And, the cute baby coos she made as she attempted to talk to her mom…ah, so precious. One day soon those coos will become words and she will begin to communicate on a level beyond wails and giggles.

I pray for Granddaughter, and for her parents.  May God grant them wisdom beyond their years and experience.

I love you Granddaughter! I hope to see you soon and to giggle right along with you. 🙂

sophia 4 weeks old

How is it possible that Sophia is now FOUR weeks old?

Can it be?

I look at the calendar and, yes, I see it has indeed been four weeks, but still I can’t believe it.

Her Mommy said last week that she’s back into her pre-preg jeans (after 30 years I’m still not, but I’m working on it).

I’ve seen pictures of Sophia on Facebook and noted the changes in her – like her eyes open and her awareness of things around her.

If I could change one thing, I would change where I live…or perhaps where they live.  Oh, yes I would.  Next door to them is where I would place myself.

No, no – don’t go there because I wouldn’t – I’m not intrusive.  I would just like to be where I could see her, watch her as she comes and goes and be available for whatever may be needed.

Without my own transportation, I may as well live 400 miles from her for all the good it does me to live only 10 miles away.

Sophia, Big Momma loves you…loves you so much it hurts sometimes because I’m not in your life more than I am.

I love you – Happy 4th Week Birthday!

Drowning Before Your Eyes

Last night, while scrolling through my Facebook page, I came across a shared link from Rescuing drowning children: How to know when someone is in trouble – Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning.

The shared link backtracked to Mario Vittone’s 2010 post Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning.  I checked Mario’s About page and selected one descriptive line from among the 20 or so available.

Mario is a leading expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea.

Yeah…he’s qualified to write a piece on drowning.

Clicking on Facebook links is not something I practice on a regular basis, but the title interested me.

You see, I have a new granddaughter.  Her Mommy and Daddy have a pool in their backyard and that means Sophia will play in it.

And, that means there is a possibility that Sophia could drown. (I know – kids can drown in the bathtub, in a bucket of water, at the beach….)

I’ve seen and experienced how quickly children can get into trouble while in the water.  It only takes a few seconds.  And, it can happen before your eyes…as you watch…without you realizing what’s happening.

Mario’s piece on drowning begins with the story of a captain who sees a little girl who is drowning. Her parents, in the water also, are only 10 feet away from her but have no idea the girl is moments away from slipping beneath the water. (After reading his About page, I wonder if he is the captain.)

As I read his words, I wondered how her parents could be so close and yet not realize what was happening.  In his next paragraph, Mario shared why her parents didn’t know…didn’t recognize she was drowning.

I’ll admit.  It sent a chill through me.

It’s important information – I don’t want you to miss it because you don’t have time to click to his link.  Here it is:

The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:[Source for what follows: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14)]

  1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

A drowning person cannot tell us they are in trouble.

Believe me – I know.  My own dad pulled me up and out of the water when I was young.  And, I grabbed my own son by the only thing sticking above the water’s surface…the hair of his head…and pulled him out.

Mario goes on to say that people who are able to yell for help and are thrashing around are experiencing aquatic distress. And, unlike true drowning victims, those experiencing aquatic distress can still assist in their own rescue by grabbing lifelines, throw rings, etc. (This is what we see most often depicted on TV and in movies.) But, we need to understand that aquatic distress doesn’t last long.  And, we need to know that this is not always present before the instinctive drowning response kicks in.

Mario offers other signs of drowning to look for when children, teens and adults are in the water:

  • Head bobbing low in the water, with mouth at water level
  • Head tilted back with mouth open
  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
  • Eyes closed
  • Hair over forehead or eyes – no attempt to remove it
  • Not using legs – Vertical in the water
  • Hyperventilating or gasping
  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
  • Trying to roll over on the back
  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

So, what’s important to remember?  If everything looks OK, don’t be too sure. They may be drowning and not look like it. To make sure, ask them “Are you okay?” If they can answer, they probably are. If they can’t, you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

Never leave children alone in the water.

Parents/Caregivers – Children + water = NOISE. When they get quiet you need to find out why.

Dear Sophia

(Written yesterday)

May 24, 2013

Your daddy wrote the following on Facebook this morning about 5:30:  “And here…we…go.”

Early this morning, your mommy went to the hospital because her doctor had told her on Wednesday that at 5 a.m. you would begin your trip that would bring you here.

Of course, your trip here began a long time ago when Mommy and Daddy fell in love and got married. And, then a few months later they said, “Guess what? We are going to have a baby girl in May and her name is Sophia Marie!”

And, you know what?  They were right!

Nine months later here we are, sitting around the hospital anxiously and excitedly awaiting your arrival.

I have to admit, I wonder what you will look like.  Will you have your mom’s dark hair and eyes and tan easily?  Or will you favor your dad and possess his blue-green eyes and fair complexion?

I also wonder what you will be like.  Will you cry a lot like your daddy did and find it hard to sleep sometimes?  Or, will you be one to fall asleep quickly, making funny baby smiles as you dream baby dreams?

What will you like to do? Will you prefer mud pies over apple?  What will be your favorite food? Color? Animal?

Will you like me and find my house a safe refuge and fun-filled place?

Ah, Sophia, my mind cannot yet hold all the thoughts I want to think of you.

How can it?  I don’t yet know you. I don’t yet feel a connection to you…with you.  I’ve not been around you while you have been in your mommy’s tummy.  I’ve seen your picture on Facebook – you were so tiny and cute.  I’ve been with you three times and each time I wanted to place my hands on your mommy’s tummy and feel you move and whisper sweet words to you.  I’ve wanted to read books to you and let you hear my laughter.

I already love you – love you more than I ever thought possible. I cannot imagine the love I will have for you and the joy I will feel when I first see you.

I hope I am able to spend a lot of time with you, Sophia.  I hope you will want to spend time with me.

Would you believe I’ve not yet decided on a name for you to call me? Grandma seems so blah, you know? And, I don’t want to be a blah grandmother.

You have been on the way almost 2 hours now.  In another hour, PaPa and I will leave for the hospital.  We want to be there when your dad comes into the waiting room and announces that you are here!

I love you, Sophia. With all my heart.  And, I pray for your safe arrival and that God blesses you with a good, long and happy life. God has already blessed you with a wonderful, loving Mommy and Daddy who will take good care of you and teach you what you need to know.

I remember the day your daddy was born and how I felt when I first saw him.  I think that will be magnified 100x when I see you.

Safe trip, Sophia!  I will see you soon!

Love always,

Granmudder (or, Granmuddy, Mamala, MeMom, MawZ, Grandma…Granmomma…Na-Me….)

PS – You will be 7 months old when Christmas arrives!  WhooHoo!


(Written today)  Sophia arrived about 2:20 yesterday afternoon. (Mommy and Daddy did well.)

  • weight – 7.11 lbs
  • length – 20 inches
  • hair – yes and it’s strawberry blond
  • eyes – green eyes
  • color – ruddy, deepening when she cries
  • fingers – 10 and long
  • toes – her dad says she has all of them
  • face – round and full, expressive
  • temperament – relaxed, calm, stirs when she has a need, hint of a temper
  • voice – mews like a kitten, wail is timorous and quivering, cry is a precious announcement of her presence
  • complete package – perfect

It was love at first sight for Hubby and me.  Hubby fell hard – smitten even before she was born. She will have him wrapped around her little finger in no time.

I understand now why grandparents go on and on about their grandchildren.  I was amazed to see how quickly my heart opened to Sophia and how strongly my love for her was the instant I saw her.

I would give my life for this baby – without thought, without hesitation, without regret.

Dear God, craft and create in me the grandmother Sophia needs me to be and empower me to be all and do all I should for and with her.  Be with Sophia. Bless her, protect her, provide for her every need…. Bless her parents and grant them wisdom for the days and years ahead. Empower them to love her and teach her – to grow her into a healthy, happy woman capable of engaging life with all she is, living fully in the present and leaning hard toward the future.  Bless her grandparents and aunts and uncle, her cousin and the multitude of friends as they love, care for and assist this young family.

New Title

Wednesday afternoon, a post was made on Facebook by our daughter-in-love which said Sophia would be born Friday.

Wednesday was her due date – and her OB/GYN appointment.

Her announcement of Sophia’s birth two days hence caused me to wonder if she (or, perhaps her doctor) is psychic. 😉

My guess, as I type this Thursday morning, is that the doctor decided to schedule Sophia’s appearance for Friday – convenient for Mom and for Doctor, and in Sophia’s best interest.

Hubby asked me yesterday how I feel about becoming a grandmother.  I shrugged my shoulders and told him I don’t really feel anything – yet.



If all goes according to plan, by my next post, I will have a new title and my world will have flipped upside down.  And, I will have become one of those crazy women who carries a mini photo album in her large purse filled with pictures of her grandchild, toys, wipes and tissues – and the occasional Cheerio.

(Post Script) It’s Friday morning, 6:33. A quick check reveals a Facebook update posted an hour ago from Son stating “And here…we…go.”  Labor was to be induced at 5 a.m. I’m assuming the process has started and all is going well.  In a couple of hours, Hubby and I will head to the hospital to await the arrival of Sophia Marie.  Ask me how I feel right now.  🙂 There are no words to describe it.

Choosing a Name

Who would have thought selecting a name for your first grandchild to call you would be difficult?

When I imagine stretching out my arms to a granddaughter and saying, “Come to _______” I go blank.

For years I said “Big Momma” would be my designation.  But, when we learned Son would become a Dad, Daughter nixed the “Big Momma” idea.

It would appear that being a Southern grandmother is not enough reason to be “Big Momma.” Apparently, for some people, grandmother names have cultural connotations.

If I’ll not be “Big Momma,” who will I be?

Hubby had mentioned the possibility of G-M for me and G-P for him.  After repeating them several times we realized I would become “Jim” and he would become “Jeep.”  Funny.  But, I don’t see myself as a “Jim” and he’s certainly not a “Jeep.”

Daughter-in-love shared grandmother names that are taken: GrandMom, Grammy, Nana and Memaw. That helps, but it also complicates things, at least for me.  When I was a child my grandmothers were Nanny and MeMaw – distinct sounding names without the possibility of confusion.

I considered using either “Me, Mom” (the signature I use when writing my son).

But, MeMom is too close to MeMaw – and Grammy rules out Granny, Granma and others similar.  My children had a GrandMom and GrandMa – and when young would confuse the two names.

Unique is not my goal, but it could help my grandchild differentiate between the individuals who love her/him and are involved in his/her life.

Who would have thought this would be so difficult?

A search online for “grandmother names” led me to the Ultimate Guide to Grandparent Names which offered traditional, trendy, playful and international grandmother names.

Among those on the trendy list were:

Fo-Ma, Faux Ma
Uma, Umma

Um…no.  I don’t see myself in that list.  Apparently I’m not “trendy.”

The playful list is even wilder.

Doodie, Dooty
Khakie, Kakie
QueenB/Queen Bee

Hmmm…I’m not so much “sugar and spice and everything nice.”  I have a little “snips and snails and puppy dog tails” thrown in for good measure.

And, that’s “Big Momma” for certain.

Perhaps a twist on the traditional “Grandmother” will yield a satisfactory nickname and one that expresses my traditional self, trendy self, and playful self.

I’d much rather make mud pies than apple. And, though I know it’s been said that cleanliness is next to godliness, I tend to lean toward getting close enough to God’s good earth to get some on me.

I think I will be…Granmudder – Muddee, if I decide to shorten it.

Now, all Granmudder and PaPa have to do is wait.  And, that’s harder than selecting a name for Granddaughter to call me. 😉