Hanging With Savvy



My wife and I watch our granddaughter each Friday. It is the highlight of our week. Savannah, whom we call Savvy, will be two on March 14th. I have written about her before, here and here.

This week I had her all to myself, as my wife was out of town. My energy level waxes and wanes unpredictably due to my drug treatments for cancer. So, I’d arranged it with our son and daughter-in-law to take Savvy first thing in the morning, when I would be fresh. They would pick her up after she napped.

She arrived at 7:30. Off came the coat and her shoes and socks. Following a dish of eggs and toast, we set to coloring, reading, wrestling, playing marimbas, stacking and sorting blocks and cups, emptying the pots and pans from the cupboards, and etc. 

The morning wore on and I suggested a stroller ride through the neighborhood. She enthusiastically agreed. On went the shoes and socks and her puffy coat. She proudly pulled its hood up and over her ears.



Outside, the morning was cool and overcast. She insisted upon walking. I pushed the stroller alongside, herding her clear of the street. We went to a nearby playground, a healthy four blocks away. She never faltered. She walked the entire way, to and fro, with her hands tucked into her coat pockets, singing songs, and babbling contentedly.

Back home, she ate a fig bar and drank a cup of water. After a change, we sat together looking at photos on the iPad. Soon, she was yawning and I laid her down for a nap. She slept for 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Her mom arrived shortly thereafter, and they left for other adventures.


Often, time spent with our granddaughter goes much like it did this past Friday. At my age, and given the tenuous nature of my health, keeping the company of someone attuned to the world’s simple wonders is a tremendous gift. Life is short and peace of mind fleeting. Yet, seeing things through the eyes of a child refreshes one’s perspective. Such is the blessing of grand-parenting.


Tagged: cancer, Granddaughter, Hood River


Or That Was The Week That Was.

I can hardly believe that a week has gone by already. The time seems to drag when I am waiting for Mike to get back from dialysis, only for it to pass far too quickly when we are together. There is also the fact that we lose three days a week as Mike is often fatigued by the dialysis and he still has a low hb. Still as Mike says, he is still upright.

It is election day today. It fills me with dread. I fear for what will happen if the media is right about the outcome. As a child I naively thought that the MP for the area you lived actually did what his constituency wanted. As Jasper Carrot jokingly said last night, that they actually asked people how they wanted them to vote on really important issues like Health, Education, Laws and Welfare.  Of course they never ask. They never listen to the man on the street. Even if you find a party whose policies you agree with, there is no guarantee they will get a seat, far too many “safe” seats in England’s two party system. I despise politics, can you tell?

My granddaughter’s present is still collecting dust, I have decided for now to say no more to my daughter, to watch and wait. So on Saturday I made cupcakes and used the pink glitter I had bought originally to put on the cake I was going to bake with my other daughter, the one who decided to do it by herself. Luckily Princess Charlotte was born on the day I baked them so we ate them in her honour. 

I think I am possibly getting a bit senile, I saw this in a shop locally and I just had to have it.

It cheers me up, whirling away in the garden like a rather dangerous circular saw. Hopefully the bloomin pigeons might fly too close and stop eating my veg!

A Tenebrific event

I have found a new word to describe my sadness “tenebrific” it comes from the Latin and means producing darkness. My youngest daughter is the source. Last Tuesday was my granddaughter’s first birthday. I sent a card, but kept her gift here. It is still here. 

On Saturday my other two daughters came round for a visit while Mike was having his dialysis. The eldest had made a special birthday cake and had travelled up to celebrate her niece’s birthday. I talked to them about how sad D. is making me. How upset I am that I have only seen my granddaughter three times. How I had invited her round only for her to forget, promising she would give me another date that was good for her. That was a month ago. 

On Saturday afternoon after, the party at my ex-husband’s second home here in Wolverhampton, my son and daughter-in-law came to visit. Whilst they were talking to me and Mike I saw my d-i-l sending photos of their niece from his phone to hers. They didn’t offer to show them to me, I think they had been told not to. 

It was nice to see three of my five children, the youngest son is too far away to pop down for the afternoon. But the feeling of happiness that I should have felt was over shadowed by the tenebrific rejection of my attempts to make things better with my daughter. 

I keep being told that she will eventually soften or that my granddaughter will make her own mind up when she is old enough. I’m not sure my heart can wait. 

Birdie’s pain.

Today Birdie wrote about her empty nest syndrome. She isn’t alone, I too feel her pain. A few weeks ago I invited my youngest to come round for pizza. We finally agreed on 29th March as between us we had various clashes in our diaries (well I had one, she just wasn’t available.) Yesterday I woke up full of excitement that I would get to see her for the first time since she collected her birthday card on Jan 7th. Anticipation that I might get to see and hold my little granddaughter. At noon I sent her a text confirming she was still coming and to check what pizza her and her boyfriend wanted. She didn’t reply, finally after sending a message to his phone at 3 o’clock she got in touch, she had forgotten. She couldn’t make now it as it was too late, she’d got to bath her daughter soon. She will message me at some point when she can find time for me. 

I miss them all so much. Five babies all gone, five meals I no longer cook, millions of cakes that never get eaten, cast aside for their independent lives. May be next time my youngest wants money I’ll tell her I’m too busy. 

Why do all the other moms on FB have perfect children who visit every weekend and bring them presents?

Notes to My Granddaughter

It's My Party and I Can Cry If I Want To.

Savannah Joan Smith born 3-14-14 at 11:30 PM

On the day you arrived, cotton ball clouds floated in a blueberry sky. Occasionally, they gathered and rinsed the town with warm showers. Then, spring breezes dried and swept the streets of Hood River, the city where you were born.

March 14th is Pi Day, which commemorates the symmetry of pi, a mathematical constant and an irrational number. You also share a birthday with Albert Einstein. Comfort with numbers awaits.

You measured 22+ inches from the top of your head, covered in curly dark hair, to the bottom of your soft wrinkled feet. You weighed 9.2 lb. Your Grandma Marilyn and I, along with two other sets of grandparents on your Mom’s side, and two foster aunties, attended your arrival. We waited from nine in the morning until eleven thirty that night.

Savvy Holding Dad's Hand.

Savvy Holding Dad’s Hand.

You had a bit of a crash landing, the result of a protracted labor. Your Mom’s contractions began just after midnight. She dilated fully by early evening and pushed for two hours. Around 10:30, the attending Doc recommended a C-section. It was a good call.

Our first sighting was a photo from the surgical theater. You are grasping Dad’s finger. You lay on your back, exhausted as a warrior recovering from battle. Bandages cover wounds inflicted for tests. An IV allows the administration of antibiotics. A monitor rests upon your belly so nurses could listen to your heart and lungs. A nasal cannula delivers supplemental oxygen and gel protects your eyes. In a way, it’s fitting: your Dad jumps off cliffs for fun and Mom takes no prisoners on the volleyball court. Your badges of courage fit right in with the crowd who’s going to show you the way.

So Much to See

So Much to See

Three days later, you went home, where your first dog buddies lived. Toby, Bruce, Betty, and Roo sniffed you out and approved. The cats, Don and Juan, absorbed your unique energy. Mom and Dad had help from Grandpas Ed and Jeff and Grandmas Jennifer and Debbie. Their trailers sat perched just outside the front gate.

Several days later, Aunt Court and her boyfriend, Angel, flew up from California. Aunt Kelly drove down from Seattle and two weeks farther on, Uncle Noah visited. We live 10 miles down the road, so Grandma Marilyn and I stopped by every other day, as did friends of your Mom and Dad.

Early on you wore out your parents with fussy moments, messy diapers, and feeding times. You did well teaching them routines to suit your needs. They adapted because that is their job and they love you. The three of you have much to teach each other.

Mother's Milk Coma

Mother’s Milk Coma

Before long, you went on outings to the Doc’s office, to the hardware with the boys, and our house for dinner. That night you resisted settling. Up and down, squalling a bit, feeding a bit, rocking and listening to the crickets on your musical bed. Grandparents held you, as did your Great Aunt Linda, Great Uncle Greg and cousins, Joe and Tillie. Your restlessness prevailed. At departure, though, we could not wait to see you again.

You’ve begun to thrive. Your voice projects well and you are not shy about asking for what you want. You nurse with enthusiasm and have gained a full pound. Your quiet times and your wandering, wondering dark eyes charm everyone. Now, we await your first smile.


“Little Miss Tabitha.”  

My sweet  grandaughter is almost eleven months old.  She brings so much joy into my life.
     Tabi is walking around furniture and starting to say a few words.  Last week I  moved one of her toys and she said, “no, no no!”  She gives her doll “loves,”  laughs at my dogs, and loves to read books.  I am so glad she lives nearby.
     Tabi is the center of attention.  When our family gathers, she sits on her blanket and plays with her toys and we circle around her and watch in amazement and awe.  I love being a grandmother!

And now for those living in my area…I am renting out my preschool building and supplies.  Please help me spread the word.  Ghttp://www.facebook.com/?ref=homeo here for more information.

Intense Suspense

 So much has happened over the last few weeks.  We had a great Christmas.  I saved my energy for the important things, and tried to let the little things go without feeling to guilty.  
        My granddaughter Tabitha
 on Christmas Eve.   
      My best Christmas present came a week early when a large envelope came in the mail from “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”  It was addressed to my son.  We knew it would be coming, and gathered all the family and a few friends together as he opened it.  It was a mission call.  Jace has been sent on an LDS mission to  the San Juan, Puerto Rico mission.  He will be leaving March 23rd.  He will be gone for two years! 

My oldest son Tyler holding his daughter. 
(He went on a mission to Guam)
 and Jace reading his mission call. 
 There was some intense suspense!

     This is a blessing and a sacrifice.   To understand more about an LDS mission go here.  
     Jace, as well as our family, are in for an incredible experience.  It will be really hard for me to let him go!  It is a leap of faith for me.  But I know it is the right thing.  He will be sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Puerto Rico. He will be learning spanish. We all have a lot of growing to do in the next couple years.  
    Happy New Year to all, and may good things come your way.

Puerto Rico!