Reuniting with the Grandkids

Dad with Jimmy (8) and Jonah (6)

Starting Over Again and Again

I have started and restarted this entry. It’s hard when there has been a divorce. There are so many emotions. So many hurt feelings. So many sides to a single story.

We adults have been hurt by the divorce and the withholding of the kids. But, who has been hurt the most are the kids. And, I hope we adults can be mature enough to realize that it doesn’t really matter what we think or what we want … what matters is what these two precious children need.

They act grown up, but the reality is that they are not men in little people suits. They are still children. Still little beings in desperate need of love and attention and acceptance. From their mother, from their dad, from their grandparents, and from anyone else who is in their lives at any given time.

These two precious souls have been giving out way too many signals that they need more than they are getting from us. We adults must provide what they need. Now. Before we lose them.

Two Weekends in a Row!

After not seeing the children for nearly a year, we were blessed to have them for two weekends in a row during August 2015. If things don’t change between now and Friday, we may luck out and get to see them this coming weekend as well. For their sake and ours, I hope so!

In the meantime, I want to post some memories here. There was so much fun and so much love passed around the past two weekends. It will be good to return here to remember.

When the kids are here, we stay very, very busy. They have lots of requests … and as a doting dad and grandparents, we try to honor as many of them as we are able. They’ve requested a trip to the park. We haven’t fit that in yet. If they come next weekend, maybe we will have a “park day!”

Swim, Swim, Swim

I am not often all that delighted to have a swimming pool. I do love to swim, but it seems it is rarely convenient to do so. So, the pool is a hog of money, chemicals, water, and time without providing much pleasure. But, when the grandkids come to visit, I am so glad we have it. We spend a lot of time out in it – diving, swimming, jumping, playing!

Look at me!! No Floaties!!


WATCH!!! Here I go!


Grandma – always with a camera!!!



Barney: Be careful!!!! You’re going to be hurt!!!!

The kids, the adults, and the dogs all have a barrel of fun playing out in the pool. I really didn’t realize quite how much fun Cotton and Barney have until I started looking at the pictures. Nearly every one has at least one of the two dogs in it! Barney is the most likely to appear.

Yesterday, poor Barney boy wore himself out completely because he couldn’t decide where he needed to be to protect everyone! We were not cooperating and all staying in one spot so he ran from one end to the other; from one side to the other. His feet were so sore this morning that he was walking very gingerly.

Barney: Jimmy!!!! Get away!!! He’s going to throw you!!!


Barney: Jonah!!!! Be careful!!!! You’re falling into the water!!!!



Cotton: It’s okay!! I’ll get these splashes.


Cotton: There!! I chased it away!!


But, we did more than just swim while the boys were visiting. One of the things they wanted to do was take a walk on the nature trail by our house. We weren’t able to do it the first weekend, but we managed to go the second weekend, despite the fact that their daddy was not feeling well at all.

A Walk on the Trail

We all love the nature trail behind the house. It is a lovely place, even during August in Texas when temperatures are as often as not in the 100’s with all-too-high humidity levels. Trees overhang much of the trail, shading the hot, hot sun. I had heard there were many, many copperheads on the trail this year so I had not braved it all summer.

The boys really wanted to go see if the Fernandez Field was still there. Last year, there was a big pile of rocks where they had a lot of fun playing. They wanted to play there again if it was still there.




Well, the pile of rocks was much smaller this year than last. But, it was still there. So, they marked the pile as theirs and then made themselves a bed. It doesn’t take much to make kids happy! And, if the kids are happy, the adults are happy!!

And … so are the dogs!!! Cotton, Barney and Chloe were in heaven during the walk. They had their boys here and they were on the nature trail – one of their favorite places. They did a lot of smiling!




We walked to the end of the trail, where there was yet another photo op!! The kids are very patient with Grandma and her camera. Or, so I thought. I did notice during edit that there weren’t as many smiles as I thought there were while I was shooting the pictures. Oh well…









The kids found sticks along the trail that reminded them of pistols and shotguns. We all had our hands full with the found treasures. When I went out to water my plants this morning, I carried away an armful of sticks off of the glider in the backyard, remembering what fun the kids had with them while we were on the trail. Strangely, as soon as we reached home, the sticks became just that – sticks. No more playing with them.


I didn’t get any pictures, except on my phone, while we were at the DAWG agility field. We all got up early and made it to the field. On the first weekend, Jimmy got the opportunity to run Cupcake, a friend’s dog. He did an excellent job, but something has intimated him so he wasn’t interested in trying again this past weekend.

Nevertheless, everyone was glad to be out at the field. Both weekends, we had milk, donuts, and lots of fun!

On the way home from agility on the first weekend, Jonah asked if we could go out to eat. At first, I said no, but then I asked him where it was he wanted to go to eat. He responded with, “McDonalds.”

Well … I know the food is not all that healthy, but the kids love to go there to play. So, once we took Cotton home, we packed it up and headed to McDonalds.



I didn’t manage to get all that many great photos, but the kids had a lot of fun. They played in the tunnels with one another and with the other kids who came and went for at least an hour. It was a nice, cool place to play and they got lots of exercise.

Since the McDonalds they enjoy most is near Kohls, we went over there after playtime to see if we could find a couple of outfits for them to start school in. It was tax-free weekend so there were plenty of people shopping, but we managed to find some cute clothes without too much effort. Each boy also ended up with a new stuffed toy to take home to remind them of the time they spent with us.

Hoping for One More Weekend

The ex-wife has said that the boys can return this coming weekend. I hope she doesn’t change her mind. It is for the good of both young boys and my son … and for grandma and grandpa …. for them to visit. They need to know how much they are loved. No matter how much time passes. Some things stay the same. Especially, our love for them.


Gratitude is good! And I’m filled with it!

I have only one son and we’ve been estranged for awhile. It was really hard on him when he learned I had lung cancer. I’ve been his rock for most of his life and the thought that he might lose that freaked him out. Things got even more difficult for him when his wife left him and took his three boys with her only a month or so after I learned I was sick.

For nearly a year, we had little contact and what little we had, was not great. He asked me if we couldn’t let bygones be bygones … so there’s no real need to converse about the particulars. But, I want to set the stage for why I am grateful today.

My son has had a lot of trauma and drama in his life. For many years he chose to look at the negatives rather than the positives. He remembered the bad things that happened to him but could not recall the good times. Despite the fact that I live my life looking at the bright side most of the time, I could never convince him that doing so would make him a much happier person. He went through many years drugged on legal drugs obtained through the Veteran’s Administration. They were the only way he could cope with life.

I was not particularly excited when I learned that he and his girlfriend would be coming to town last week. In fact, it took lots of prayer and remembering the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son to even agree to see them, much less allow them to come to my home. As I said, there was lots of water under the bridge and letting those bygones be bygones is not as easily done as requested.

After I was diagnosed with cancer, I decided that life was way too short to spend it in the middle of dramatic situations. I explained to him that I now avoid drama like the plague and could not put up with him bringing any when he arrived here. He agreed, but I wasn’t wholly convinced we could avoid it.

I am delighted to say that I was wrong. Way wrong. My son is as happy as I can remember seeing him for years and years. His girlfriend has done what I was unable to do – taught him to examine a situation and look for the good in it. For the first time in 20 years or more, he is contented. Confident. Happy from the inside out. Do you know what joy that brings a mom? A dad? Gratitude.



The reason my son came home was to go to court to finalize his divorce. The divorce went pretty much like he wanted, giving him liberal visitation rights. The boys have always been his reason for being … they make him whole. The knowledge that he can legally see them every other weekend, holidays, and school breaks fills him with joy.

Needless to say, he wanted to see the boys the first weekend after the divorce finalized. Unfortunately, that weekend was their Mom’s weekend. She didn’t have to allow him to see the kids if she chose not to. That would mean he would either not get to see the kids at all while he was in town or that he would have to stay an entire week longer so that he could see them on “his” weekend.

Fortunately, his ex-wife agreed to let the kids come over on that weekend. She drove them all the way to our house – a trip clear across Dallas. And allowed them to stay from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. Gratitude.


My son had not seen his boys for 13 months. The way they had been torn apart left us apprehensive about what their reaction to their dad would be when they finally reunited. Their last memories of their dad were not good ones. We expected that they might be reticent or worse, especially the baby, who was only 3 when they were separated. 

Imagine how happy we all were when the boys arrived and ran yelling and screaming into their dad’s arms – excited beyond words to see him again. There was not one second needed to warm up. While they had never once brought him up to me during the time he was gone, it was obvious they missed him terribly. Far more than we could realize.


The boys noticed the change in their dad. They could see and sense the contentment. The entire weekend passed without him raising his voice a single time. He laughed with them and played with them and hugged them close. And loved them. Oh so much.

When the time came for their mom to take them back home, it was very emotional. It was doubly hard because my son and his girlfriend were leaving for their home out of state the following day. No one knows when the next reunion will occur. One thing we do know though is this: God willing, there WILL be another reunion and it won’t take another 13 months to occur.














Merry Christmas

It is nearly time to turn in for the night and prepare for a big day tomorrow! My mom, my brother with his Boxer Bo, my three grandsons, and my daughter-in-law (ex) will be descending on us at various times tomorrow morning. The cooking (lasagna and spaghetti) is mostly done, the house is partly cleaned, the presents are wrapped!! I’m going to get up bright and early in the morning to finish cleaning (as much as I plan to clean, anyway) … I was just too tired tonight to finish it up.

While I relish the idea of spending the blessed day with my family, I am also excited to see Christmas come and go. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all of my heart and I am pleased that we have a day to celebrate His birth … but I am afraid it has become so commercialized that I am not really sure how much celebrating of His birth we do anymore. It has been constant work here for the past several days – shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, wrapping … other than going to the orthopedic surgeon one last time on 12/26 so he can release me, I plan to relax, relax, relax!!! Except that I will probably want to take down the tree. I don’t like leaving it up much past Christmas…

I just read a blog written by an acquaintance who is battling colon cancer. She has a humorous outlook on life and she mentioned in her blog today that she is actually grateful for cancer in some ways. I agree with her. I know it sounds silly. But, sometimes it takes something really major to make you realize that sweating the small stuff is really pretty silly.

I think I probably smile more and laugh harder and enjoy life far more now than I ever did before. Standing in lines, facing crowds, crazy traffic – all things that used to send me over the edge – generally are accepted much more readily now. (Not always. I am still ME!) Those are small things compared to battling for your life 🙂 Cancer helps you put things into perspective.

Well … it is nearly 11 PM and I have vowed I will get up at 5 to finish my cleaning chores before the family arrives. I guess I should go to sleep and dream of ol’ Saint Nick coming tomorrow.

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas! May your holiday be filled with joy, peace, and love … and health!