One-Liner Wednesday: Happy 96th!

banner with two hearts saying 96 YEARS LOVED

A gift from my sister to honor our dad, known here as Paco, on his 96th birthday last week. ❤

Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesdays! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2021/03/31/one-liner-wednesday-had-to-run/

A new arrival!

I’m happy to share the news that B and I have a new granddaughter! Daughter E gave birth to her second daughter, Jillian Grace, earlier this week. Proud daddy L was able to be there despite the pandemic hoopla and now-big-sister ABC was able to meet Jillian Grace when they were able to take her home at only twelve hours old! As I usually do initials here at Top of JC’s Mind to protect family privacy, I’ll hereafter refer to Jillian Grace as JG.

This photo was taken in the hospital with the very cute Pooh sleeper:

In keeping with the literary clothing theme, here is a photo taken the next day wearing a “Very Hungry Caterpillar” outfit. The script says “tiny and very hungry” which is a) adorable and b) true, although JG managed to wait until 38 weeks to be born while ABC appeared at 36 weeks and so was even tinier. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is a family favorite by Eric Carle, who lived for many years in western Massachusetts and used to visit and sign copies of his books at B’s mom’s school.

Of course, B and I and Auntie T wish we could rush over and cuddle JG, play and sing with ABC, and hug and help out E and L, but they are in London, UK and we are in upstate New York in the US. With pandemic travel restrictions, it’s difficult to go there, although we are hoping we will be able to visit this fall. Fortunately, L’s parents, known here as Lolo and Lola, are on hand and we are able to exchanged messages and videochat.

And there is still the promise of hugs.

Someday.

SoCS: counting

Like most two-year-olds, ABC loves counting. She most often wants to count to ten. The way she tends to do it is, “One, two, eight, nine, ten!” This is especially true if she is counting while someone is hiding spiders for her. When her daddy was here in August, he did crafts with her – and some crafts that he did himself for her. One of her favorite things that he made were pipe cleaner spiders with googly eyes. ABC loves to have us hide them and then go looking for them, thus the attempts at counting to ten – as quickly as possible!

You may be asking, “Why spiders?” We tend to have spiders that build webs on the outdoor side of our kitchen window frames. Not wanting to have her be afraid of the spiders, we would point them out to her and she would often stand on a stool or have someone hold her so she could watch them. She would say, “Hello, spider!” a bit of the fear of spiders seeped through, though, so that evolved into “Hello, spider! Yuck!” although she still isn’t afraid of them. (Note for those of you who live in places with poisonous spiders. We don’t have any in the immediate area, especially living outdoors.)

So, for now, we’re having hunts for googly eyed spiders, who, when they aren’t being hunted, live in her bedroom on webs that her dad made.
adaspider.jpg

And every once in a while, ABC counts to ten with all the digits…
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The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “ent/net/ten.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/09/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-sept-28-19/

SoCS badge by Pamela, at https://achronicalofhope.com/

a special gift

My younger sister came to visit Nana and Paco recently. She was excited to give Nana a special gift.

Under the wrapping paper and green ribbon was a box holding Nana’s father’s pocketwatch!

Her father had worked for the railroad and had used the watch to keep to the schedule when he was foreman of the maintenance crew. When I was growing up, I remember that he always carried it attached with a thick gold chain. He would wind it every day and it kept excellent time.

When he passed away in the early ’70s, I had hoped that my grandmother would keep the watch or give it to my mother, but she gave it to my uncle who lived out of state. I never expected to see the watch again.

My uncle passed away a number of years ago and my sister contacted our cousin to see if he still had the watch. He did and immediately sent it to her.

She brought it to an expert in antique watches who cleaned it and got it running again. He said it was in excellent shape for a watch of that vintage.

I’m so grateful to my cousin and my sister that her father’s watch has come home to Nana, its thick gold chain linking the generations together.

seeing the unseen

As some readers will recall, older daughter E is currently living with us while her spouse L, a British citizen, is in London with his family. He will be arriving soon for a three month stay to encompass the final weeks of E’s pregnancy, the arrival of Baby, and the early weeks of cuddling, bonding, and diaper/nappy changing. (Have I mentioned lately how dysfunctional and/or in flux the immigration policies of both the US and the UK are?)

In L’s absence, one of my happy duties is to accompany E to the obstetrician’s office. Fortunately, the pregnancy has been progressing smoothly and Baby seems to be thriving and growing according to schedule.

I was pregnant thirty-one and twenty-seven years ago, so a lot has changed in prenatal care. Fetal heart monitors have gotten a lot more compact and easier to use. There is a lot less belly prodding and measuring than when I was expecting. There are more blood tests and standard glucose testing. My daughter received a booster for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis so that Baby will have stronger resistance at birth to help prevent whooping cough until the infant vaccines can kick in.

The biggest change, though, is the use of ultrasound. I never had an ultrasound when I was pregnant. While they were available, they were not yet routine and there was no diagnostic reason to order one. As women had for millennia, I relied on hope and faith that all was well, bolstered by the experienced hands and measuring tape of my health providers.

It has been a revelation to be there for E’s ultrasound exams. Most of the time, we have been able to have L join us via skype, which has been nice. E and I have been able to watch as the technician measures the length of Baby’s femur and the circumference of the head. I have been amazed to see the the entire backbone, tiny fingers and toes, all the chambers of the heart beating over 150 times a minutes, the stomach, the bladder, and other organs. From the last ultrasound, we know that Baby weighs about 3 pounds, 10 ounces (1.65 kg) at 31 weeks. We could even seen some fringe of hair atop Baby’s head, not surprising given that both E and L were born with thick heads of hair.

This last detail was particularly poignant for me, because the first detail we knew about baby E was that she had hair on her head, a fact conveyed to us by the maternity nurse who first examined me at the hospital after I arrived late on a Friday night in April with ruptured membranes at 36 weeks. I was only a centimeter dilated, but she could feel the hair on E’s head as it nestled down, getting ready to enter the world. It wasn’t until the early hours of Sunday morning that we would know the hair was strawberry blonde and belonged to our little girl.

We didn’t know that morning, as we welcomed our first child into the world, how wonderful, complicated, heart-warming, and heart-rending parenting would be. We didn’t know the depths of fear, joy, and love we would experience.

And we didn’t know that, thirty-one years later, we would be on hand to witness that cycle of family begin anew for her and her husband as parents, for B and me as grandparents, and for Nana and Paco as great-grandparents.

Even though it is the most common story in the world, its power isn’t diminished. Love makes the ordinary extraordinary.

Father Daughter Wedding Dance – I Think My Husband Dislocated a Hip

For anyone who needs a smile or chuckle today, watch this father/daughter wedding dance video!

Travel Tales of Life

Our daughter’s wedding to her Prince Charming exceeded all expectations of celebration. The traditional Father Daughter wedding dance was no exception. For those of you convinced I am the wild and crazy one of the duo the illusion shall now be shattered.

Calgary Peace Bridge WeddingPhoto credit – Bretton Dyte Photography

Below is a video of the Dad and Daughter shenanigans thanks to our son.Things really get shaking at the 55 second mark. Watch for the well choreographed Macarena – Spice Girl transition. The big finale of the Gangnam style extravaganza is my personal favorite. No matter how many times I watch it I end up snorting with laughter.

Many of you were very kind as to do a dance to the sun gods for the wedding and we extend our sincere thanks for your efforts. The rain did stop late in the day, and turned to snow. Perhaps you were facing the…

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Veterans’ Day with Dad

Today, the United States and many other countries honor their military veterans. What began as a commemoration of the end of the Great War became a time to honor all veterans when it turned out that “the war to end all wars” sadly was not.

When I was growing up, it seemed that most of the men I knew were veterans. My dad served as a SeaBee ( US Navy Construction Battalion) in both World War II and the Korean Conflict. Because WWII involved so many people, most of my friends’ fathers and uncles had served, too. There were a few women who had served as well, but there were not many opportunities for them in the military at that time. Perhaps because so many had served, these veterans did not tend to talk much about their service, choosing instead to just about building their peacetime lives.

I also knew some Vietnam vets. In my rural area, the Vietnam vets were treated respectfully, but sadly we saw on the news that in other places they were unjustly vilified for an unpopular war. When I was a child, the draft was still ongoing, which led some men to become teachers solely to escape being drafted, as teaching was a protected profession. While some went on to become fine teachers, some of these men should never have become teachers and did a poor job of it for thirty years until they could retire. I have experienced this legacy as both a student and a parent.

The US military has been all-volunteer for the last several decades. In contrast to my dad’s generation when a large percentage of young adult males served in the military, now only a tiny percentage of eligible men and women serve. I can count on my fingers the number of people I know from our circle of friends, neighbors, and my spouse’s co-workers who are currently serving, including a high-school classmate of my daughter’s – and daughter of one of my husband’s co-workers – who was a top-ranked cadet at West Point. Meanwhile, the strains of thirteen years of war have fallen on a small number of military personnel, including National Guard troops, and their families. I don’t have an answer for this problem, but it does – or should – weigh heavily on the national consciousness and conscience.

Today, I’ll be celebrating at a lunch with my dad at a local restaurant that is honoring vets with a free meal to thank them for their service. It’s ironic that after decades of not making a big deal about their military service that so much recognition has more recently come to the veterans of World War II. My dad often wears a SeaBee cap when he goes out and receives thanks from passersby or fellow store customers. Once his cap even led to a pay it forward situation.

The ranks of World War II veterans have thinned considerably with time. With so few people currently serving in the military, in seventy years there will be hardly any veterans my dad’s age.

He will turn ninety in March.

I wish peace, security, respect, and good health to all veterans, in the US and around the world. Thank you for your service.

Thanks, Dad.

Father’s Day

In the United States, today is Father’s Day.

Many of my Facebook friends are also middle-aged and have been posting photos of their dads, with messages about how much they miss them. It has brought home to me how fortunate I am to still have my father here and nearby to celebrate with today.

It’s not that he is young; he’s 89.

It’s not that he hasn’t had health issues, including three different cancer diagnoses and a double bypass.

It’s not that he has a great family history. His father and all three of his siblings who made it into their 70’s have been afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

Yet, my dad has managed to bounce back from illness, stay sharp, and keep active.

At least a good share of that is helped by my mom. They exercise together and she keeps any eye on his diet. They are careful to make all their doctor visits and lab tests and to take their medications properly. They laugh often. They stayed engaged with their community.

Most of all, they have been there for me and my sisters and our families, no matter how scattered we were.

I have been the luckiest daughter, though, because my parents retired near us, twenty-five years ago this month. I can’t imagine how life would have been without them nearby for all but three years of my elder daughter’s and all of my younger daughter’s lives.

My dad does follow my blog by email, so he will see this post.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I hope you enjoy the fresh strawberry pie we have chilling in the fridge for after dinner.