As our middle son confirmed this weekend--between the babies, dog and cat, it is a three ring circus here these days. I love it. It is a challenge. I have the luxury of time to figure out the big dog, Tifa.
Tifa is not two years old, so she still has puppy qualities. She jumps the fence like a deer to go visit and play with the neighbors dogs if you do not watch her. But, I discovered that if the sprinkler is put in the corner of the yard where she usually jumps, then the sprinkler of water acts as a wall and keeps her in the yard.
Our oldest son brought her to us in June during some pre-deployment training. This gave his wife and kids the freedom to drive down from Seattle without the dog and cat. And it looks like our days with Tifa are numbered, as our daughter-in-law has found a house to rent in Houston, closer to her folks. And the house has a six foot fence which should contain Tifa just fine. I hope the yard has some trees with squirrels, as Tifa loves to tree squirrels.
Tifa is a good dog. She leans into you to be petted, and loves to stick her wet nose between your elbow and side when typing here on the computer for some affection. She is lean like a greyhound, but long hair like a border collie. Her tail can clear a coffee table, and beat on walls in the hallway. It is amazing to see her run. And thankfully, God provided us with an eight year old boy next door who comes over of an evening to help wear Tifa out. Pedro loves to throw tennis and raquet balls onto our roof so that they roll back into his hands. And Tifa and Pedro run and play and fetch the balls. They come inside for numerous breaks because it is so hot. So, I keep the frig stocked with boxes of apple juice. I figure it is a good trade: apple juice for dog exercising. Pedro likes to draw, too. And I found a ream of copy paper at Walmart for $3. Cheap.
(this is the time of year to stock up on drawing paper, spiral notebooks, and school supplies)
Now we were blessed with three boys. Three sons. I gave in pretty early, and caved to the bathroom humor, and let our boys be boys. They made guns from legos. They hated all things pink. I could not even get them to walk down the pink aisle at ToysRus! I would say, "look, paleontologist Barbie" but, there was no way they were gonna look.
Firstborn and his wife had a daughter. Amazing. We had no clue how to do girls. But, I finally had an excuse to buy dolls, pink outfits, and learn. They lived far away, so we enjoyed her when we could and from afar. We are so thankful for skype. Now she is four and a half. And I was told that there are certain words they would prefer I not use. Being a stubborn mom of boys, this is hard.
(had to pause there and put the dog outside, as she was licking the 4 and a half year old, trying to wake her up)
When firstborn calls from A-stan, I ask if he is drinking plenty of water. This is somehow irritating to firstborn. Firstborn has gone from Alaska to A-stan---a hundred degrees difference in temperature. He does not want to be asked how often he is urinating. Guess I could have asked how often he is crying---as tears are another indicator. Oh, well. Getting re-hydrated via an IV will be an unpleasant way to learn, but better than having your mom nag you.
Our middle son had problems with the native food over there. So, I asked firstborn about that, and was again rebuffed. I guess when you hit thirty, you know everything and no longer need a mother. Oh, well. He won't understand until his babies are thirty. Maybe he will parent them better. Different.
For a long time---especially during firstborn's high school and college years, I was a pro at irritating him. So, I strove to take it to new levels. Why not excell at what I am good at??
So, I have asked firstborn for a list of the no-no words: poop, _______, ______
Parenting adults is a challenge. Mostly, we are cheerleaders. Most times I remember to bite my tongue. off. But, sometimes, I like to use humor. And I am thankful that at least firstborn trusts me with his dog. and cat.
And I wish I could talk to my four grandparents. I have such fond memories of them. My Mother's folks were farmers. God-fearing, church going, self-sufficient, generous, sterling examples. I look back on the hundreds of meals, clean sheets, care, love, entertainment they provide me. wow. I was so blessed. They had gardens and canned the bounty. They worked hard from sun up to sun down. They loved me and my siblings and cousins wholeheartedly. Lived to attend my wedding, and the shower of pictures of my babies growing up. My grandma would call and she would be so encouraging.
My Dad's parents were fantastic people, too. But, they liked living large, and in the big town, and they liked to party. My Dad's Dad built his dream house, and worked hard, and insisted I be kind to my sister. But, when he was my age, he fell off that dream house, and died a few days later. My Dad's mom lived until my firstborn was my granddaughter's age. She was a great cook. Loved roses, rubarb, and she bought us new dresses. She encouraged us to dress like ladies. She, too was a great example to me. I watched her care for her own Mother as she lived into her nineties. And my Mother's Mom's mom---I had two great grandmothers until I was in junior high. Care and love and how-to was demonstrated to me daily.
I wonder what they would tell me about parenting a thirty year old....that great grandson they got to know and love. Oh, how fun it will be in heaven, to be reunited and catch up on the stories.