There is a truth we don’t think about when we’re young

It’s just too easy to ignore…

how youth will win the early battles in life…

but age will, eventually, win the war. 


It’s inherent in our destiny…because every night we turn a page

and our youth, felt only moments ago, cedes another day to age.


It seems life is a constant struggle between age and youth…until…

age proves itself triumphant…as age forever will.


But there are moments as we grow older…as yet another page we turn…

when age consents to step aside and allow youth to return…


Like every time a Grandma holds her Grandson…

even for a little while

for as she sees him fall asleep in her arms…

it is her youth that smiles.


Her youth that causes her to reminisce …

her youth that brings her happiness and joy…

a youth transferred to the Grandma…

from the heart of a little boy.


And in this quiet moment shared together

all grandmas recognizes this truth…

and are happy age has stepped aside

and ceded this moment back to youth.

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Our children left the nest long ago…

It’s amazing how fast the years have gone by

but I don’t feel our nest has ever been empty…

and here’s my simple reason why:


I’ve always risen early…before the alarm starts beeping

before the sun pokes through the window…

while my family was still sleeping.


It’s a wonderful time…the morning…

because as the day rubs the night from its eyes…it seems

sitting alone…in the solitude…I could hear my family’s dreams.


Today I still wake early 

(Old habits are hard to break)

And though I no longer hear them dreaming…

as a walk through the house I make


I find the house is anything but quiet…

for on mornings such as these

the dreams that I once listened to…

have been replaced with memories.


It’s a wonderful thing…the morning

because as the day rubs the night from its eyes

You never know what memory

will rise up and come floating by…


And so I know this nest will never be empty…

no matter what time or what year…

because a nest can never be empty 

as long as their memories still live here.



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We all have our routines and habits in this world we are immersed…

from which side of the bed we sleep on…to which shoe we put on first.


Some of our routines make us feel safe…that’s what routines are for…

other routines fall by the wayside when we don’t need them anymore.


Like dinner time when our family was young…no meal would be complete

unless we looked around the table and saw everyone in their seat.


No seats were ever assigned…we would never think of that

It just became routine…we all had our places where we sat.


I’m not quite sure how it happens…

there’s a psychology to it I don’t doubt it

All I know is when I looked around the table…

there was something wonderful about it.


But children grow up…routines change…

and though at times it doesn’t seem fair…

there comes a day when we look around our table 

and our children are no longer sitting there.


Now, when they come to visit…

they finds seats wherever they are able

for as they bring their own families…

there are more seats around our table.


And it doesn’t matter who sits where…

as once again the meal is complete

when I look around the table and see everyone in a seat…


That there is a science…a psychology to this change…

again I do not doubt it…

All I know is when I looked around the table…

there is something wonderful about it.

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When she was young after their bedtime story was read

and she began to count her sheep

her mother would sit by her bed and hold her hand until she nodded off to sleep.


Her mom was there to comfort her when each day was through…

“I’ll always be here to hold your hand,” she’d say,

“because that’s what mother’s do”.


For years this was their nightly routine…when each day was through

until she thought it silly…until it was something she outgrew.


Then came the moment they were to say goodbye..

and when it was time for her mother to count sheep…

she was there to hold her hand…as she nodded off to sleep…


Her mother looked into her eyes moments before her life was through

“I’m here Mom.” she said, “to hold your hand,…because that’s what daughters do”.


And while she held her mother’s hand…and felt her breathe her last…

she also felt a link to all the mothers and daughters in her family…

who have held hands in the past.


And she smiled through her tears…as not another word was spoken

proud to be a part…of a chain that stayed unbroken.


That night after reading her daughter a bedtime story

and watching her count her sheep

she held her hand as she always did

until she nodded off to sleep.


Happy to be there to comfort her when her day is through

knowing they will always be there for one another…

because that’s what mothers and daughters do.

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Our family loves to get together to celebrate birthdays 

which, as everybody knows

is harder and harder to do each year…

as the family grows.


When you look at this year’s family photo…

you’ll notice masks (no hugging or kissing)

but what’s even more apparent 

are the family members who are missing.


Not everyone could be here this month to help us celebrate

Three are working in a different city and two are out of state.


But the great thing about this photo is…

when I focus…when I stare

I can see all five of them in the picture…

all five of them…standing there.


It seems whenever we take a family photo…

in whatever place we’ve been…

If there is someone missing at that moment…

my memory photo shops them in.


In fact if I look even closer…

I’m amazed at the family my memory adds…

I see Deborah’s parents standing there 

next to my Mom and Dad.


For that is the beauty of family…

if members have departed…

or are spread out across the map

our memory comes to the rescue 

by filling in the gaps.


In this year’s photo I see generations of our families…


Luckily they were here just here for the picture…

because…we didn’t make enough cake!

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There was a time they were too young…too young to understand.

When their parents told them how they lived in the tallest house in all the land


Although they knew their parents to be loving, intelligent and wise

they also knew every house in their neighborhood was exactly the same size.


There came a time…one day when their children heard them say

How their house has grown a little taller than it was just yesterday.


But Mom! Dad! The parents heard their now a little older children say

this house IS exactly the same size that it was just yesterday.


Their parents looked at one another held their hands…and smiled

Then looked into the eyes of each and every child.


No! Today we climbed the tree in our backyard, we tasted sugar cane,

we watched a caterpillar turn into a butterfly…and we played out in the rain.


Every day we are together…our house continues to grow

and today it’s four stories taller now than it was a day ago.


This house has many stories…and each time we add one more

It grows a little taller…without adding another floor.


Every item in this house adds a story…some are simple…some are grand

but they all go in to making this the tallest house in all the land.


When their children grew up and had families of their own

their children also came to understand…

How their families were blessed to be living

In the tallest houses in the land.

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Remember when our children and grandchildren were babies?

How we were immediately taken with their charms?

How we could not wait to pick them up and hold them in our arms?


To them we must have looked like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall 

To us they looked so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.


We realized these little miracles were so beautiful…so light

and we immediately fell in love with them…

it was…love at our first sight.


And we found different ways to express our love…

it seemed we had a knack

remember how we’d perch them on our shoulders…

or let them ride upon our backs?


And remember how there came a time, 

though we were still captivated by their charms

when they grew too big to pick up and hold within our arms?


When putting them on our shoulders or playing horsey on the rug

gave way to kisses on the cheeks, or a smile and a hug.


And how every now and then we stop…and ask ourselves 

as every day they grow taller…

Have they really grown that much…

or are we just getting smaller?


And now they look like giants…

so big 

so strong 

so tall

And I imagine to them we look so tiny…

so delicate 

so small.


But no matter how big they grow…

we’ll continue to be captivated by their charms

as we remember the babies…


we once held in our arms.

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Over the years watching Deborah bake cookies with our children and grandchildren

has always been a treat…

because after they do all the work…I get all the cookies I can eat.


Her cookies have been eaten in our house and on the beginning of many a trip

and I think I speak for the family when I say our favorite cookie is chocolate chip.


They’re made with peanut butter, chocolate chips, a cake mix 

and on a cookie sheet are formed

and they melt in your mouth if you’re lucky enough to eat them when they’re warm.


Cooking with Nana is easy…there’s no pressure…no strain…no stress

In Nana’s kitchen you’re supposed to have fun…and it’s okay to make a mess.


The other day I appreciated all the baking lessons Nana ever taught her

when I had occasion to bake chocolate chip cookies with Ava…our granddaughter.


Somewhere in the baking process…while watching Ava working with the dough 

I began to understand why Nana loves it so.


When I saw our smiles mirrored in the oven window 

while her chocolate chip cookies were baking

I realized the cookies weren’t as important as the memory we were making.


The cookies, although essential to the process, are actually secondary 

The time we spent together is the memory we’ll carry.


When Ava said, “These taste just like Nana’s.” It was music to my ears…

and if I was a sentimental fellow I might have shed some tears…


Thinking how Ava learned Nana’s lessons well

She made sure we had fun 

she was messy…not very neat…

and most importantly…

she did all the work

and I got all the cookies I could to eat.


Yes…I would have shed a few tears thinking how this memory turned out great…


If I wasn’t so busy eating cookies…I stopped counting…after eight.

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We have a tradition in our family…it’s as old as the wind…I’m guessing…

When a baby enters our world…the eldest member gives this blessing.


With the entire family gathered round…it’s a time for celebration

as this blessing is passed down to our newest generation:


May you grow up healthy and happy in a loving family

In a world that knows only of peace…where everyone is free.


May you be accepting of all people…and of all temptation…may you resist

and with every person of this world may you happily co-exist.


May you live to enjoy the seasons…winter, spring…summer and fall

May you respect the Earth and all her creations however great or small.


May you have success in life but realize you will fail too

and may you pick yourself up and try again…every time you do.


May you be surrounded by good friends wherever you may dwell

and may they know that you…are a good friend as well.


And finally may you grow up to be gentle, compassionate and wise

and may you always see the world through your innocent child eyes.


We’ve heard this blessing so many times we all know it by heart

We know every stanza, every rhyme, every sentence…every part…


And that is as it should be…for when we are the eldest at the celebration


It will be up to us to pass this blessing on…to our newest generation.

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