Sunday, December 13, 2015

Gramasylum has its own space now.

Thank you to all of you who have been reading my grandmother stories here. As of last Friday Gramasylum has its own little cyberspace. is up and running. This is a dream that has been in the making for about five or six months. I am so excited it has come true. I would have languished a long time in the "trying to get it done" category.  My talented daughter Anne helped me make it happen in one afternoon. All the related posts have been transferred to that site and tonight I posted the first brand new blog to that site. I will blog there at least once a week about the crazy love of a grandmother. I also invite readers to share their grandparent stories and with permission I will post some of those. I hope you become a regular visitor at Gramasylum and, if you  enjoy it, tell your friends and relatives.

Soon, I will resume blogging here about life and ministry. I hope you will continue to come here too, to enjoy what I am learning about making life and ministry a seamless garment. It is not easy. But it is the heart of the life of faith because we are all called to live whatever life we have been given for the sake of others and the sake of Christ's kingdom. Life and ministry really are a seamless garment. I hope you will enjoy both blogs.

Peace and joy to you and yours this blessed Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Four Year Old Asks The Six Million Dollar Question

The latest cause for Gramasylum arrived almost five months ago. Colette Rose, is number four grandchild so I have not had the concentrated time with her that I had with her sister Laurel who was the first Blankman grandchild. The time discrepancy shows. Colette, called Coco so as to keep up  with Lolo, is not as crazy about Cece as Cece is about her.....yet. This one is very partial to her mother and the feeding accoutrements that she alone possesses. I got her to take a bottle once so far. I had her in the front carrier thingy-majingy, and when she was beginning to nod off, I put the bottle in her mouth and she began sucking and actually took most of the bottle. I felt so accomplished! Figured we had made great strides toward mutual admiration.

Then came last weekend. I drove to their house in San Diego to take care of Coco so mom and dad could go to a Christmas production of The Grinch with big sister Laurel. Let's just say we did okay. But there was no taking a bottle this time. And the Cokes, another name for this latest little bundle, is also very particular about how she is to be held and what the person who is holding her is supposed to be doing. Basically, Coco prefers you up and moving...all the time. And even when she falls asleep, she must have some kind of an internal level mechanism. As soon as you try to sit down or lay down, and she is no longer perpendicular to the floor, her eyes pop open and she protests substantially enough to get you up and moving again.

Later in the afternoon the parental returned with Lolo. Coco was very pleased to see her mom and to be reunited with the accoutrements only her mother can provide. Then the parental units left again to go to a party. This time leaving big sister Laurel with Cece, too. Lolo was anxious to play with Cece. It was not to be. Coco was in charge. There are few games that can be played, and no books that can be read while holding, and walking around and bouncing a five month old baby. So, each time Lolo asked if I could play with her, I had to respond that we would have to wait until Coco was asleep. I think Lolo had enough experience with her little sister to know this was not likely going to happen any time soon.

Lo finally spoke her mind.

"Where's Papa," Laurel asked?

"Papa is at home," I responded.

"Why didn't he come to help take care of the baby," Lo inquired further?

"His favorite team has a football game," I explained, "and Papa wanted to watch it."

Laurel now placed her hand on her hip and twisted her mouth in the way one does when one is puzzled or irritated. Then she asked the six million dollar question.

"What's more important? Football or helping to take care of the baby," Laurel asked with serious conviction?

Wow. Not quite four and a half years old and this little woman understands priorities! How was I to answer this serious challenge?

"That's a great question, Lo," I responded. Truth be known, my mouth was a little twisted, too. I had asked Papa the same question.

Then I passed off the responsibility to answer the question to the one who was responsible for the question being asked. "You'll have to ask Papa that," I added.

What's more important? From the mouths of babes. In Papa's defense, when Lo visits he is at her beck and call and is also a pretty crazy grandparent. After she visited the last time he explained that he doesn't always feel like playing what she wants to play. But, he realizes that there will come a day when she will not ask him to play with her anymore. So, he will take advantage of it while she is still asking. Have you ever seen an over sixty man playing Barbies? Trust me. It makes up for several football game absences!

What's more important? Coco finally did go to sleep and hard enough so that I laid her down and she stayed asleep. I then helped Lolo take a bath, and brush her teeth and get jammied up. Lolo and I got to play and read a book before mom and dad returned home. I kissed her goodbye and her daddy brought her outside to wave goodbye to me as I backed out of their driveway to head home.

I had been on duty about nine hours. It was late. I had about an hour drive home. And, I had to preach the next morning! But what is more important? This day called for a crazy grandma. I'm so thankful that I  have the credentials!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Kiwi Ear Love

Gramasylum has been on the shelf for three weeks. The first week of November I got word my mother was not doing well. We moved her to a new care facility and so I made flight plans to go see her. The day before I was scheduled to leave I got word she was declining pretty fast. I arrived on a Thursday evening. My mother passed away Saturday at 6 p.m. It was fast. I was there holding her hand and stroking her hair as she left this world. All three of my sisters and my brother were there, too. And, she knew we were there. It was a sad, precious, and sacred time. I am so grateful that I was able to be there, that my siblingss were all there together. Believe it or not it set the tone for Thanksgiving coming up the very next week. Gramasylum took to the shelf for these three weeks (almost four) but my own mother's dying actually energized my resolve to be as crazy a grandma as possible. So. Gramasylum is back. With renewed energy!

It started with a simple observation about a t-shirt. Sitting at the counter for Thanksgiving dinner Laurel commented about the dinosaur on Kasen's t-shirt. Laurel, 4, identified it as a T Rex. Kasen, 3, replied, "No, it's a dinosaur." Laurel continued the conversation insisting that it was a T Rex.  Kasen continued to correct her telling her it was a dinosaur. The tone and volume intensified. Laurel tried very patiently to tutor Kasen in the particulars of the varieties of dinosaurs. Kasen was not to be tutored. His resolve matched her patience perfectly. The conversation was going nowhere good.

The adults at the big table were now fully engaged in following the argument ensuing at the counter. And no one was intervening, yet. A sneak peak toward the counter without disrupting the 
going-nowhere conversation revealed the arms of both children were now folded tight and the jaws were set. The volley began.

"You are a pillow with a flower on it," Kasen retorted!

"You are an ear with a kiwi in it," Laurel proclaimed!

“Yeah, well you are a pickle in water,” Kasen volleyed back!

The adults were now laughing so hard turkey and dressing and potatoes were flying everywhere. Where did this pseudo name-calling come from? We could not wait to hear what was next. Then it turned serious.

"Then I am not going to talk to you anymore,” Laurel declared!

"I'm not going to talk to you," Kasen countered!

"Well then, I am not going to be play with you ever, ever again," Laurel replied.

"And I am not going to be your friend," Kasen countered.

Ok. Time for the adults to get involved. Kiwis and flowers are one thing. Breaking cousin love is entirely another. I approached the counter and did not try to tutor on dinosaurs and T Rexes, but on the importance of staying in relationship. I can imagine them in ten years heading out the door together to walk the beach. And in twelve or thirteen years driving away in a car to go to the mall or a movie or a game with friends. One day they could be a huge support to each other—not just cousins, but friends. I am not sure how much of what I told them they understood. But a few minutes later they were arm in arm running down the hall laughing and being as silly as usual. Such fun. Such a blessing. Only one of the many blessings I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. Kiwi ear, pickle in water, flower on a pillow--I just love these little people and their crazy talk. 

Would love to hear from some of you Gramasylum readers! What crazy things are you doing these days with your granz or are your granz doing with you? Post a comment below. We all need the enouragment to be crazy.