Happy 15th Birthday, Joell!

A very happy birthday to our grandson Joell. The Babe, (a/k/a Grandpa) is in Maryland celebrating with part of the family this Thanksgiving. Because he’s been filing live reports since he arrived Wednesday, we have up to the minute photos and feedback. It does everyone good to remind ourselves how important we all are to each other. I stayed home with the dogs and the two quilts I need to finish for Christmas and mail off to Colorado. Busy time for sure.

We haven’t seen Joell for a year, and at that time were sure shocked to see the result of his growth spurt. His voice emits from his feet, I swear. I imagine it’s deeper now. He is a competition swimmer, so he has a swimmer’s body, lean but muscular, and so strong! His passion for swimming was nothing compared to his passion for mountain biking. He is in races every weekend, holiday, and special occasion. His dad describes him as a beast. I do believe that’s a great word.

Beast aside, Joell has always had such a kind heart. Since he was a little boy, he’s helped the underdog feel superior, the left out feel part of the family, and everyone feels his love. I cannot wait to see how far he goes, armed with life experiences that no one his age has. He’s been to Hawaii for Christmas several times, has seen the Pope’s motorcade, and has visited the White House on numerous occasions. The list is much longer and even more distinguished. You could probably make a movie about it and keep the interest of a varied audience.

Joell, we are so proud of you. The man you are becoming is just around the corner. You will continue to shine as a good human, son, grandson, cousin, nephew, student, and especially friend. The picture below shows his workbench in the family garage. He has become pretty proficient at servicing his mountain bike. The neighborhood kids have an additional bonus to his friendship; he can fix their bikes with some expertise many of their dad’s don’t have. Way to go, kiddo! It’s been a joy being with you for all the birthdays we’ve been able to travel to your home to celebrate you! You know how Miss Kathy loves birthdays. And yours holds many, many special memories for us all. I’ve loved watching your parents decorate the dining room for your parties over the years. They have just as much fun and excitement as you have!

Enjoy the photo collage below. It’s been a hard couple years for the Babe and me, losing all the people we have following the pandemic, and now with the life change of the Babe’s second retirement from the VFW. He needed this reminder that all that is worth it in life is in the members of our blended family. Our five adult children and our five grandchildren are reminding us what a wonderful place this world is during these times. And that is all that matters. Happy Birthday, Joell. And have some cake for me!

To everyone reading, I thank you for indulging me today. Celebrating birthdays is important to me, celebrating each and every person helps them become themselves, whomever they are meant to be. As you have your deserts today, send a good birthday wish to this extraordinary young man. The world is watching him. He’s a good one. Let’s see each other again tomorrow. Quilting and Yellowstone are ahead of me for the rest of the time until the Babe comes home. How about you?

Day Two; Fighting the Beast

It was a beautiful reunion last evening, Joell ran to greet Grandpa Dan, and Grandpa was blown away; his grandson is almost as tall as he is! The young man is pure muscle, love, and gigantic heart. We’ll visit again later, and I must have photos of all of us. We are so blessed. Silly I didn’t think of photos last night, was too busy enjoying the evening.

As I looked at Joell and Gavin pal-ing around last night while Addison was at Dance, it did my heart good. Joell was patient with him, a “little” kid. It appeared Gavin thought his cousin is cool. Joell and Addison are the same age, (6 months apart), 14. Gavin is super smart and gets a little carried away, as little boys do sometimes. That’s what family does. I’m so lucky to have the step-kids I do. Love them and their spouses just like my own. The Babe is proud!

Sneezing fits, Mucinex, lots of fluids, and doubt are all fighting in my brain this morning. Itchy eyes, drainage, all the junk is happening, and I’m just about officially done with the whole mess. With a lot of free time on the calendar (sort of), I should be working on some stuff. I’m at my limit today. Rest will win out. Can I share something with you?

If you know anyone who has a chronic illness, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc., know I am grateful to get just a cold or an allergy flare up. It will go away. The other stuff won’t. Yes, I’m grateful for that sort of thing. Somedays that’s all you’ve got in the world of chronic conditions. Your friend or family member may feel the same about their days. The thing that’s hard is the mind fog that goes with all of the above. It will clear, but doggone it! We’ve got stuff to create!

My apologies for being brief today. I need to take some allergy stuff and have a nap before we meet up with family for dinner. Take care and have a beautiful day. See you tomorrow!

This Guy

What can we say about a grandson who has grown into a young man over the past couple of years? He is an athletic, smart, a kind-hearted young man, and the apple of his parent’s eye(s). We’ve watched him grow from a little guy to this deep-voiced, tall, muscular teenager. He is a world traveler, European back packer, mountain biker, former Ju Jitsu student, baseball player He once attended a Cal Ripken baseball camp and asked Mr. Ripken if he was ever afraid of the ball coming at him @ 90mph? Mr. Ripken told him yes, he has been afraid of the ball sometimes.

Part of becoming a player is learning to calm your fears. How cool is that? He is unafraid to try something new, to speak up in a crowd, and to help someone who may need it. They have brought him up to share his gifts with others, donate birthday gifts to the USMC Toys for Tots drive and delivered meals on wheels with his mom. His life has balance, enrichment, and support. They’re a wonderful family and we love them a bunch. We get to see them in October when they visit, and hope to keep in touch more with his new fully functioning cell phone.

In 13 1/2 years, this guy has grown into a part of what he’ll be the rest of his life. His heart is enormous, with love and compassion for everyone. His body is robust and nourished well. Although he’s an only child, he has many friends in the various groups he takes part in; school, swimming, mountain bike (training now), indoor swim, and who knows what he’ll pick once he gets into high school.

He is in a Spanish Immersion Program since pre-school. I admire the program as it will be necessary to speak two languages in these times. It will make you much more employable. Translators are critical now, for medical facilities, social services, and employment. My years in Human Resources hit home with the needs of the workplace now. He’ll do great with being bi-lingual.

The one thing that makes us miss him less? He is in Maryland, we’re in Nebraska. With that distance, it’s easy to lose each other in the distance. What we try to communicate to him is we think of him often, are proud of him, and we are all under the same sun, moon, and stars. We can try for a Facetime call when he’s not busy going to lessons, practices, doing homework, etc. Just remember, we love you, Joell. That will continue on forever. We’ve known and loved you all your life. Besos and love!

Grand parenting from a distance is hard. Yes, we could travel, but the Babe (and I) don’t want any exposure to COVID. We’re vaccinated. It appears not to matter with this mutated strain. We don’t want to be carriers, or become ill. I would guess we’ll go back to masks. The schools are considering it as we speak. This disease is no joke. We will make adjustments in life, and do what we can. As the song goes. We have to do what we can, and love one another through it. Our love goes to our families, scattered all over America. California, Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Maryland, and other’s I’ve probably forgotten. Spread some love around today. We all need it. See you tomorrow!