family, grandchildren, parenting

Bullying. Just Stop It

It’s been a tough year for me.  It’s taken almost a year for me to admit it. I’ve been trying to come to grips with why, how, what.  It happened out of the blue.

BULLYING.

It never really occurred to me that I could be bullied by another adult. I’m a grandma for goodness sake.  I’m strong.  I’m smart.  I’m successful.  I’m independent. I’m even nice, usually. The bullying was subtle at first.  It took me a while to realize it was happening.  Then gradually, slowly, it became less subtle.

I tried to make nice with the bully because that’s what you’re supposed to do, right?   I tried to ignore it – pretend it wasn’t happening. I tried really hard.  I did everything you’d tell your child who is being bullied.  “Ignore it”  “You’re better than that” “They’re not worth it” “Don’t let it get to you”…

It was lonely.  You see the bully bullied others.  So if you (the “onlooker”) wanted to avoid being bullied, you stayed on the safe side of the bully. Pretended to be their friend.  Don’t cause any waves.  Just stay under the radar and you’ll be fine.  AND if you really wanted to stay on the safe side of the bully, for goodness sake, DO NOT stand up for the bullied (insert eye roll here).

Cycle-of-Bullying
Which one are you?

I needed a break from the bullying so I took a break from putting myself in places where I could be bullied.  I took a break from people who in my mind cared more about staying on the good side of the bully than taking care of the bully’s bullied.  Whether that was true or not, didn’t matter because in my bullied mind it was true.  And the break helped a   lot.

I won’t even begin to compare my experience with bullying to that of a child.  There is no comparison.  And heaven help the person who EVER … I mean EVER bullies one of my littles!   I’m simply pointing out that bullying can happen with adults too.  Sometimes in the work place.  Sometimes (a lot) on social media.  And even sometimes it can happen in the places you should feel the most safe – like church.

So let’s just be nice.  There’s a lot of pain and hurt in this world.  There’s a lot of hate.  I just listened to this great podcast called Why We Hate.  I’m not saying you have to agree with every opinion out there, but if you disagree, just be nice.  Listen a little.  Ask some honest and sincere questions.  I bet you’ll find more common ground with those that you disagree with than you think.

And just don’t be a bully.

There is one thing I’ve learned over the past year.  If you continue to harbor the pain that the bully has unfairly inflicted on you, then the bully wins.  I refuse to let that happen.  So I will forgive and move on.  I’ll hold my head high.  I’ll be more aware of those that are bullied.  I’ll be more courageous and stand with them.  I’ll do my part to stop the hate and keep the peace, at least in my little corner of the world.

I hope you will tell me the ways that I can be a better advocate for the bullied and how you have been an advocate for stopping the hate. Continue reading “Bullying. Just Stop It”

family, grandchildren, parenting, Uncategorized

Adopt a Little for a Day

The littles and their momma have been visiting “the other grandma” (maternal) for a few weeks while Dad finishes up work out of state. I’m insanely jealous.

She’s an amazing grandma too. She’s got the “grandma thing” perfected. I’m jealous but I’m happy for the littles and their momma. They get to play with cousins, aunts, uncles (there are a lot of them!) and just get loved on so much. It’s all good.

So to ease my aching, missing heart we adopted a couple of littles and treated them to a fun day. I figured it was good practice. Two, seven year-old boys – how hard could it be?

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This is a picture I took just after we parked the truck – so I’d have something… just in case I lost them!! Then I gave them a firm but loving lecture on “staying close”.

We took them to the Chippewa Valley Air Show. It was a perfectly cloudy day. Not ideal for watching airplanes but ideal if your goal is avoid sun burning other people’s children.

We bought $85 worth of food/snacks/and car trip toys. But good news – under 12 gets in FREE to the air show. We spent another $75 on air show food. I mean, who doesn’t want to eat a $10 frozen pizza with a $7 Coke?

The air show was fantastic – full of high flying jets and stunts, as I had hoped. We even got treated to the Blue Angels.

Our little seven year old charges? Not quite so interested in the air show. I mean there were GRASSHOPPERS to be caught and contained.

For the record, it was MY idea to put their grasshoppers in the empty water bottles.  Just saying …

What a great and exhausting day nonetheless. I’m not sure that the littles enjoyed it as much as I did. I was hoping they’d fall asleep in the car for the 90 minute drive home. Nope. Not a wink.

As we neared home, they begged us to let them come play at our house a little longer. I said a half hearted “I wish we could …” as I dialed their parents for immediate pick up on our return.

I guess I’m not quite ready for 7 year old littles. I need to build up some grandma stamina first!

empty nest, family, parenting, retirement

Seriously. Who Sped Up Time?

Since we’ve been married, we’ve lived about a decade in three cities.  My husband’s job has not taken us to exotic locations but across one country and into another.

The first decade – the baby decade – was spent in Edmonton, Canada.  Four of our boys were born there all at the same hospital.  I learned to be a mom there – from some amazing women.  It was home to West Edmonton Mall.  What’s not to like?  new-google-image-edmonton

The second decade – the young children decade was spent in London, Canada.  Yes indeed. There is a city in Canada called London.  I took my mothering job seriously and was so good at it.  I was the ultimate soccer mom.  Our youngest was born there – at home with a midwife.  Global_Twitter_Template_LondonOntario

The third decade – the teenage children decade – was spent in a small suburb of St. Paul Minnesota.  That is as exotic as we got.  I took everything I’d learned from Edmonton and London and tried to apply it to “St. Paul mom of teenagers” life.  It was hard.  It was busy. Still, I didn’t hate it.  My teenagers were busy and energetic and crazy.  I was crazy.  minnesota

I used that decade to not only take care of them but take care of me.  I went back to school.  Finished up my degree I’d put off for years.  Went from stay-at-home mom to working mom.  It was hard.

Slowly the kids started to graduate and move on to college.  Then weddings,  Then graduate school.  Some are still in college in some form.  I’m a navy mom now too. You already know I’m a grandma.

Our youngest graduated from high school a few weeks ago.  No fanfare.  No celebration. He graduated a semester early.  I’m going to be honest, he’s the least scholarly of our children (sorry honey – it’s no secret).  Still his brothers are baffled as to how he (of all of them) graduated early.   Apparently, it can be done.  When you really don’t like school – you can make it happen. You find ways.

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Yet another picture of the “young prince”.  #sorrynotsorry I paid a lot of money for this photo shoot and he’s not even having a graduation party or anything where I can show them off. 

That baby is leaving in a few weeks to go away to work in Wyoming.  He’s going to college out of state in the fall.  He’s hoping he’ll be able to stand school again by then.

So here we are.  All of sudden the nest is empty.  What in the world?  10 seconds ago it was chaos with five children.

I’m kind of excited about it.  I know, I should be crying in a puddle of tears.  I’m not.  I’ve worked hard for this empty nest.  Am I a bad mom because I’m not sad they’re all grown and gone?  I miss them.  Oh, how I miss them.  But I’ve done a good job.  We’ve done a good job.  What’s there to be sad about?

I’m looking forward to the next decade.  We’ve got some exciting plans in the works.  I’ll blog about that.

Tell me about your empty nest.  How’s it going?  What do I need to know?