Loving Grandbabies


Anticipation was building the whole month of May. Finally, my grandbabies rolled in from South Carolina to spend a whole week at Grandma’s house last Saturday. Plans were made and parties were in place.

Grandpa and I met a mini-bus in the driveway to open sliding doors before the hum of an engine-turned off. Action heroes we were, straight from a giant movie screen except without the buttered popcorn or milk duds. “Babies of Two” tumbled out with their wee big sister of two and a half years. Yes, they were tired but thrilled to be FREE from the restraint of buckled car seats filled with crumbles of animal crackers. Grandpa lifted one grandchild while a toddler hugged his hairy, bare leg. Crying with joy, I picked up another who wrapped her arms and legs around me like a baby gorilla you’d see clinging to her mother at the zoo.

I lost my heart (times three) for all the neighbors to see. Right there and then on a driveway paved in burnt red bricks. Kissing silky hair, I soaked the warmth of soft, baby skin from tip to toe, never wanting to let them go. Soon, all drifted into a bubble bath, before being bundled in hooded towels. Then it was off to rock in a spindled chair. Little gorilla baby never left my lap, patting my back with her little hand to the rhythm of the chair. Pat…rocking back…pat…rocking forward…pat…rocking back…pat…rocking forward.

The next day it was a party at our favorite train venue where babies, toddlers, and kids played freely before eating pizza and breaking a piñata filled with unexpected treats. Later that night, the older cousins (ages 4 & 2) had a sleepover in front of our big screen where they snuggled under sheets of cotton blue to watch Barbie movies while sharing popcorn and sipping apple juice. In between, the girls of red hair and blonde curls put on a show while dancing and singing songs. I must say it was quite an impromptu production. If only I would have known in advance, surely I could have sold a few tickets within the neighborhood!

Yesterday, my younger daughter-in-law’s parents hosted a splendid BBQ with delicious food where everyone gathered from several sides of the family. Children of all ages played with toys, swam in the pool and bonded like never before.

I’ve always known how very blessed I am to have these little babies in my life. As my eyes darted around to catch sight of all five of them, I couldn’t help but ponder the beginning of their forever cousin relationships. The youngest two were dressed in twin polka dot bikinis while splish-splashing in a baby pool. Around and around, my only grandson tackled a riding toy while blowing kisses to all of the girls, and far to the right, feet of four jumped into a speckled pool so cool.

Seconds later, I glanced at my oldest son’s wife, who lightly traced her barely there belly bump. Yes, they’ve just announced a new baby-to-be expected around  Christmastime.

Another grandbaby to love for me. Oh, I can’t wait to see!

 

 

 

Sweet Innocence


Grace in Pink Coak

 

My grand-daughter is one of the greatest gifts to me,

A tender child of sweet innocence.

She reads books in make-believe languages,

Sounding out words in lilting voices while blowing kisses into air.

She smells perfume in buttered flowers scattered where others view weeds,

Chasing butterflies within fields where moths often fly.

She sees worms on warm sidewalks wiggling with wonder,

Grown-ups step purposely, never asking themselves, “why?”

She lifts miniature  hands high in the sky reaching for magic snowflakes,

Hoping they’ll be here tomorrow and the next day and the next…

 

She hears blue birds singing precious melodies,  

Others couldn’t care less.

She finds treasures in broken twigs or shimmering rocks resting in shallow ponds, 

No one else thinks twice about.

Each and every day brings brand new joy for her,

Spilling over with love, enough to tip a pot of paint.

I can’t believe my luck,

To share this gift from God above.

If I could make one simple wish upon a star for her,

It would be to keep her sweet innocence forever and a day or more….

Gifts That Only God Can Provide


Yesterday I was flooded with last year’s same day of memories. My ‘Babies of Two’ amazon.com/author/2babiesauthor celebrated their first birthday. A year ago they had been born into this world, taken from their mother’s womb with hopes and prayers that all would be well. It was December 18th 2014.

Last January began and blossomed just as my youngest son met and married a beautiful girl. Before long, springtime was in the air. New life sprouted here and there and everywhere. Grass turned lush and green, flowers bloomed with scents so sweet and birds began to tweet. Soon came an announcement that a new baby was expected the following year. A few weeks later, a surprise for everyone. “We’re going to have twins!”

Often, I drove my daughter-in-law to her doctor’s appointments where an ultrasound machine was in the room. Lights were tuned down low. My face felt all aglow. Directly in front of us was a large screen shining as though lit from behind. Shades of black and white appeared with undertones of dove gray. Little shapes unknown became grand-babies right before my eyes! I thought my heart would stop then and there.

‘Babies of Two’ were not due until early 2015, the time of year when snow starts to settle on branches of trees and into the tracks of animals on curving paths in between. But, from early October until nearly the end, tiny lives and that of their mother were often in jeopardy. Every precaution was taken to prevent and stop early labor until finally nothing more could be done. God had decided the day had come.

Early in the afternoon of December 18th, 2014‘Babies of Two’ arrived one by one. My son was in the delivery room where he comforted his wife while his daughters of newborn were carefully delivered. Immediately afterward they were whisked off to a Special Care Nursery to be monitored 24/7.

Exactly one week later, in the moon of Christmas night, ‘Babies of Two’ snuggled and cuddled next to each other in a cradle of their very own. Out of the hospital and under the roof of their very first home.

Gifts that only God can provide…

The Magic of Gingerbread


Gingerbread. A word to stir in ceramic colored bowls of molasses memories atop kitchen counters at Christmastime. Frosted lips of little children upon their mother’s cheeks with imprints of white icing left behind. Warm cups of cocoa atop plastic tablecloths decorated with Santa. Mini mallows floating to the top. Treats of striped canes of sugar hanging to the sides waiting for Mama to test the temperature. Ahhh, just right!

Gingerbread houses have a distinct history behind the craft dating back to the 17th century when baking them became an acknowledged and esteemed profession. After the publication of Hansel and Gretel, the Grimm’s fairy tale in 1812, some of the first gingerbread houses were made in Germany at Christmastime. Not long afterward they became popular here in America. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingerbread_house.

Late in November, the Grove Park Inn http://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park held an annual National Gingerbread Competition, http://www.romanticasheville.com/gingerbread.htm. It was simply by chance that I happened to stop and stroll through the hotel’s massive halls during the same week of the contest. How lucky to catch sight of the pure artistry that was on display. Gingerbread? I would have never guessed.

While stopping to view each entry, audible “Ooohs and Ahhhs” were heard inches to my right. Children and adults alike were taken in by their next sight. Each house had its own theme, its own story to tell and all one had to do was stop to see. “Look at me,” kids made of sprinkled sugar whispered quietly.

I lost count of the number of Gingerbread Houses entered into the competition. Nor did I know of all the rules with the exception that every piece was required to be edible. Gazing at the intricate details in construction, it was amazing. There were herds of candy cotton sheep, valleys of painted sugar snow, miniature acres of black licorice fencing and much more than I ever could have imagined. So tempting it was to snatch a chocolate shingle off of a roof or two!

At the end of the day, I wandered into the lobby to order a cup of hot chocolate from an adorable cottage decorated in red brick gingerbread fashion. To the left of a green gumdrop was a recipe card listing a vast quantity of baking ingredients. Such a surprise to learn that the sweet girl behind the counter was standing inside an actual house made of the same!

This coming weekend, I’ll be baking my own Gingerbread House where the oven will spill until it fills my home with scents of cinnamon and molasses and cloves. Luckily, the final baked confection won’t be entered into any competition. Yet, surely my little grandchildren will be delighted with my attempt at artistry.

Yes, there is a plastic table-cloth decorated with Santa where my family will gather round full of excitement. Christmas memories will be made of imprinted baby lips frosted upon my cheeks. Warm cups of cocoa will be served with mini mallows floating to the top, striped canes of sugar hanging to the sides. And, in the quiet of the night their mama will test the temperature.

Ahhh, just right.

Smile for Me!


Last week was a busy one for me.  Bones were creaking, knees were swelling and occasionally my head began to throb.  Upper lids fell to lower due to lack of sleep.  I didn’t peek, my husband told me so.  Did I care?  Oh, no!  My heart was full.  In fact it overflowed.

Springing forth from buckled seats in a car with South Carolina plates was a young family, tired and ready to rest after many hours on the road.  My youngest son and daughter-in-law together with a sweet toddler and ‘Babies of Two.’  Home for their first visit after three long months.  Years to me.

For nine eves of dark and eight days of rays, the gift of time was shared between two households.  Within those hours not a second was wasted.  A birthday was celebrated with cousins’ who bounced in a blown-up house.  Babies were rocked, diapers were changed and a first ‘Sleepover’ was tucked under the stars.

In between naps and bottles, toys and giggles, I tried my best to work.  Sneaking softly into my turret office space, keys of few were pressed on a computer.  Hopefully, correct words would appear on the screen.  Not much time to press “DEL” or “BACKSPACE” in order to think new thoughts or start sentences again before an infant’s cry.

One day last mid-week, a photo shoot. “Let’s get all the grandchildren together in the park.  When will I have this chance again?”  Five of them, remember?  Ages 3, 2, 1 and twins of nine months.  Feed them lunch.  Playtime.  No naps.  We’re in a crunch.

As the professional set up her shots, grown-ups wrangled toddlers and crawlers.  Suddenly, the three-year old ran like the wind.  A sprinter for sure when high school begins!  Finally, it was time to smile for the camera.  No problem, I thought.  Lots of them captured at home.  Yet on this day it was nearly impossible.  Babies cried, a tantrum ensued and others wearing diapers clenched gums tightly on pacifiers in pink and blue.  No letting go to show a pearly tooth or two.

At one point in the shoot, I remember hearing our photographer whisper under her breath, “It’s like herding a bunch of cats!”  Fearing she had failed, tears began to well within the corners of her dark brown eyes.   Still, it wasn’t her fault.  She had given it her best shot….No pun intended.

Long before our allotted hour, we called it quits.  Any pictures snapped would be gold within shutters of black.  Time capsules of treasures within my family’s life.

Squirming babies, toddlers having tantrums plus a preschooler running free.  My heart spills with joy to feel that each and every child is inside of me. 

 

 

 

May Memory


There they were.  As a child, I first discovered them while skipping along my maternal grandmother’s winding, weathered sidewalk path.  It led to beautiful backyard gardens of assorted tulip beds and pastel peonies planted along an aging wrought iron fence.  They were nearly growing wild in patches abutting cool cement basement blocks under Grandma’s kitchen window.  I kneeled too low for her to see or catch me there…I’d snip off a stem or two, until before I knew, I had almost more than I could hide or carry!

Sneaking off behind the back of my Grandpa’s shingled garage, I’d sit in the sun.  Crossing gangly legs on moist grass of green, newborn spring rosied my face.  Then, between youthful growing forefingers, I’d gingerly roll textured leaves, gently touching the tiniest white bells I’d ever seen.  Did they ring?  Lifting them closely to my ear, I swore ‘twinkling’ sounds could nearly be heard.  Ahh, my imagination.  An aroma wafted just below my nose, smelling sweeter than any colored rose!  The scent reminded me of Grandma’s perfume upon kissing the folds of her neck or the plump of her soft powered cheek.

As I grew up and older into a teen, “Lilly of the Valley” was always my favorite flower together with my favorite scent.  Memories from childhood carried on, I think.  When the time came for me to marry, I so wanted this blossom to be part of my wedding bouquet. Over thirty years ago this month, when the florist told me and my then, “finance” that a single stem would cost $15.00, I opted to carry silk instead.  I still had the beauty while the fragrance floated throughout my vast imagination…..

Guess what?  I truly did hear the twinkling of my favorite ‘Lilly’ bells ringing during that glorious sun filled afternoon!

May Memories to last a Lifetime.

*one of my favorite posts of May

 

Hearts of Dolls


Bittersweet.  A taste inside my mouth trickling down the back of my throat.  All the way down, down, down to the pink of my heart.

Today would have been my mother’s 79th birthday, yet she’s been gone for over four years.  She left this world far too soon.  Thankfully, my belief in God is comforting.  I believe she is at peace.

This morning, I spent time in my grand-children’s nursery playing with dolls.  Yes, you read my words correctly.  I played with dolls.  Baby dolls, Barbie dolls and Madame Alexander dolls plus every other brand in-between.

A very special cabinet once owned by my mother protects these treasures which were all part of her collection.  Together they were given to me by my father after she passed away. Shortly after he emptied his home, I wrote of this in a post entitled Cabinet Full of Heart http://wp.me/p41md8-14b .

Today this grand piece of glass with little wood is the center of my grand-children’s nursery.  It’s the first thing eyes of wide see upon entering their room.  Every visit, we sit and stare until a girl of little picks her chosen one for the day.  She holds it gently, combs hair of long or short and sleeps beside limbs of four during an hour of nap.

So yes, this morning on my mother’s birthday, the day after my own and my husband’s too, I played with dolls.  The very best present I could have given to her, all wrapped up in an imaginary pink bow of satin sent with love.   Later, when toddlers with curls and babies too, come to visit, she’ll be looking down upon us wearing feathered wings with dreams come true.

Never too old to lose the child within one’s heart. 

Curlers In My Head


This morning, Grandpa woke me up from the slumber in my bed.  He shook my arm and shook my head.  He rubbed my nose with the tip of his.  He kissed my cheek while lifting curlers in my head.

“What are you doing Grandpa?  Why are you looking under curlers in my head?”

Reaching behind, silky hair slipped through the tight roll of a curler.  Soft and spongy, it was.  Before grandpa’s big eyes of brown, showers of colors fell down, down, down.

“Grandpa, I feel nothing under the curlers in my head!  Please, please, won’t you look again?”

Grandpa asked me to get out of bed.

“Get up, climb out,” he said!  “Wash your face, wear a dress and comb your hair.  I tell you, something is under the curlers in your head!

“We have to go.  We must do it now!”

I did what Grandpa said.  I washed my face, put on a dress and combed my hair.  My curlers of pink lay in the sink.  I looked at them and looked again.  I did not see anything under the inside of them.

Afterward, Grandpa waited for me in the car.  I sat next to him with my black purse atop my lap.  His two hands were on the wheel, driving me carefully ahead.

“Where are we going, Grandpa,” I asked looking out the window?

“It’s a surprise, Grandma,” he answered.  “Whatever was under the curlers in your head may still be there.”

Together, we drove down dirt roads and chipped cement, past woodlands and trees of green.  Soon, we found ourselves within a city of big where buildings so tall raised windows high into the sky.  Storefronts stood on sidewalks, opening new doors to me.  Grandpa pulled over to the curb.  Getting out, he came over to my side, offering his hand to help me out.

“Grandpa, what is this place?  What are we doing?”

“Not we, YOU.”  Go inside, others are waiting.  I will see you very soon.”

Clutching my purse close to my heart, I opened the front door to the nearest arch.  A handle of polished brass with twinkling bells played a pretty melody, making my ears sing a tune.   Inside were enchanted rooms made for Grandmothers and grand-daughters, alone.  Soon my own surrounded me, dressed in party dresses shaded in sherbet. Quickly, they told me this was all part of Grandpa’s surprise. 

First, we shared a tea-party on flowered china made in France.  A maid wearing a black dress tied with a ruffled apron, poured us tea from a bottomless silver pot.  Grand-daughters of of all sizes and shapes rested white napkins atop their laps while eating cucumber sandwiches of the palest green.  Next, a very fine Madame polished our fingernails in glowing bright pink before helping us choose a different flowered sticker to grow on the end of every other one.

Near the end of the day, a tall man wearing skinny red pants, washed and cut Grandma’s hair.   Afterwards, he added great big C.U.R.L.E.R.S.   All of Grandma’s grand-daughters gathered round to watch.

“Is that YOU, Grandma,” the oldest one asked?

“It doesn’t look like Grandma,” whispered another who wore a worried look upon her face.

When Grandma’s hair was dry, the hair dresser began to take out curlers.  Two or three fell to the floor.  Suddenly all of the others followed, one-by-one.  Slowly, they began to roll toward Grandma’s grand-daughters.  Clapping their hands in delight, each child picked up round brushes of blue, dropping rainbow dust shaken from the inside.

“Oh, my,” exclaimed the hairdresser’s head atop skinny red pants!  “There is something under your curlers!”

“No, there can’t be,” Grandma answered, turning to look at herself in a giant silvered mirror.

By this time all of Grandma’s curlers were out of her hair.  She bent her head down nearly to the floor.  She shook it back and forth as hard as she could.  As much as she would.

Before the young man styled Grandma’s hair with a comb and a brush, he lifted each curl, winding it up and down and all around with his long and thin fingers until Grandma’s hair looked beautiful.

“Don’t worry, what I saw under the curlers in your head wasn’t bad, only good.”

“What was it, what did you see,” Grandma asked?  “No one has ever told me.”

“I’ve only seen it once or twice before,” he said.  “I believe it to be the dust of magic.  You and your grand-daughters have been given a gift.”

Magic dust?  I’ve never heard of such a thing before.  Are you sure it’s REAL?

“Oh, yes,” the young man said with a knowing smile.  “But, only to those who truly believe…..like very special grandmothers and grand-daughters.”

“And, to think I never would have known without Grandpa looking under the curlers in my head,” grinned Grandma!!

The End

 

Copyright Kim Gosselin 2015

 

 

Old and Newness


Life.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  How fast it flies before our eyes.  No more has this picture reel of reality flashed before my own than in the last couple of days that I’ve helped to care for my grand-baby twins.

They are two months old now and have finally grown to new-born size.  Bundles of innocence swaddled in blankets of gauze.   Flannel sleepers printed in dancing rainbow elephants.  Buttons, zippers and covered snaps of Downey soft against the delicacies of skin gently massaged in baby lotion hinted in shades of pink.  Oh what a scent so sweet!  Hundreds of kisses skip over growing curls of silken black hair on otherwise bald heads.  Too many invisible prints of lips to count.  Never enough for “Grandma.”

Yesterday, while changing the ‘younger’ of the two girls, we had a private conversation.  Staring back at blue-green eyes contented, there was no doubt she recognized my voice.  Normally she isn’t too fond of being naked, even for a short minute.  But, this time she looked at me wide-eyed, as if in amazement.  “What are you saying to me, Grandma,” she wondered?

While covering her in cotton, stories were whispered about Mommy, Daddy and her precious sisters.  I reminded her of the love they shared together, and how one day they would open a chubby fist in order for her to grasp a golden string.   Someday not so far away she would pull a magic wooden moon of painted yellow to float future dreams on four wheels a wobbling.

Spring was coming soon so I traced word pictures on her tummy, creating stroller walks we’d take while rays of sun soaked the curve of our backs.   With wheels bumping over gravel, God would warm our fronts for us to view wildflowers along a path in surprise colors she had never seen before.  E.V.E.R.  Can you imagine that?

Slipping a tiny curled fist through a soft cotton sleeve, the last of two bent legs stuffed into the bottom of a ‘dragons’ foot.  It was an emerald-green grinning face together with grey felt claws hanging from side to side.  Zipping her up, I wound the music on her party-colored mobile of merry-go-round animals to simply gaze at her.  She grasped my finger, holding on tight.  My heart spilled over while drinking her in.

This littlest grand-baby of mine listened to melodies of music while turning her head to and fro to the sound of them.  And, then she stopped to stare straight through me.  Kicking her ‘dragon claws’ in wild delight, she struggled to make first sounds while opening a rosebud mouth.  Smiling at me, yes truly smiling at me, her lips arched upward singing her first “Coo” to the tune of the music.

Life.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  The lives of my little grand-babies are just beginning while mine is….well, on the other side of theirs.  The love I have for all five of them pushes me with renewed inspiration to share with all the world.

Not quite ready to call it a day…or a month…or even a year.  Right here, right now, I see myself writing forever in this cozy office space within the comfort of old and new books surrounding me.  I must remember that inspiration is a newness forever in my mind, never to grow old or disappear.