Tag Archive | Children

Grandkids?

I never nagged my children to have children. I told friends it didn’t matter, that there was no need for my genes to be passed on — in the grand scheme of things, I felt it didn’t matter and I meant it. Not for the first time — I was mistaken.

mom-and-remy-sm

I was smitten

There is something about being a grandparent. How can I explain it? It’s like a magical chain that pulls you to a brand new baby born to your very own children. I looked at that little bundle and was smitten. That’s all it took. Who would’ve thunk it?

My lucky grandson is well-loved. He is also being raised well by his parents, who are doing a far better job than I ever did — which is an additional plus.

However, one of the unexpected pleasures I’ve derived is

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Rafi could sure hit that baseball

revisiting the memories of raising his dad, who was a smiling little one who rapidly grew into the kid who could hit that baseball all the way to Century City. (According to his coach.) Looking back at Rafi as a toddler and little boy made me love his son, Remy, even more.

How intriguing it is to have a grandchild. Genetics which skipped a generation showed up. My grandson inherited my teeth! His dentist calls them “sharks’ teeth”. My own adult teeth grew in behind, beside and in front of my baby teeth, which never fell out on their own, requiring braces to straighten out the mess that ensued.

sharks-teeth

Sharks’ teeth

I apologized to Remy for this. Wearing braces is no fun, and since his parents take good care of him, he’s had each baby tooth extracted when another threatens to come through, which I’m sure is no pleasure either. I’m truly sorry he experiences discomfort because of me — but he does so bravely and without complaint.

Still, I like to imagine that one day, long after I’m gone, Remy will perhaps be telling a grandchild of his own that he inherited my teeth, and his grandchild inherited them from him. Who knows, these shark teeth may continue for generations to come. (The good thing about mine is the roots are so deep I’ve been told they’ll never fall out —  so far, they haven’t.)

Don Quixote book, (no authentic image exists of Cervantes

I hope Remy reads “Don Quixote”. I loved it.

Besides my bothersome teeth, Remy seems to have inherited my love of reading. Hurrah! I hope he derives as much pleasure from this pastime as I have throughout my life.

Here’s to you Remy!

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How to open a jar…..

Mom, look I'm telling you 2

photo by Susan Kauffmann

After our Arthritis exercise class the other day, friends gathered to chat over coffee. Isabel had given me a gift of a battery-operated jar opener. Goodness knows, I’d done battle with some stubborn tops lately and probably told her so. I said I couldn’t wait to get home to play with my new ‘toy’. This led to a discussion of our children and their toys.

My son, Rafi, was a ‘lets-see-whats-inside’ kid. When he was five, I thought he’d enjoy a walkie-talkie — okay, I would anyway. (This was before computers.) We both loved it and communicated with each other from room to room. The next day, after work, I returned home and found Rafi had taken it all apart. He thought he could put it back together. No more walkie-talkie. He was so sincere, you couldn’t get upset with him.

raf kid dancing

Rafi was a funny wonderful kid

 

70s toy Simon

70s toy Simon

The next thing Rafi took apart was the then-brand-new and very popular Simon game. I got the biggest kick out of it. It lit up! We loved it. If memory serves, it cost over $60, a hefty sum at the time — but well worth it. What happened?? The next evening I learned Rafi couldn’t resist taking Simon apart. He wanted to see how it worked. No more Simon.

I’m a slow learner and since I never grew up, I was soon entranced by a real working watch for children. An educational toy… The inner workings were clearly visible and coloured in bright red, green and yellow. It, too, didn’t last more than a day. Mr. ‘Take it Apart’ was at it again, and the loving woman who cared for him found it impossible to say no to him. That was the last toy I bought for Rafi  which could be taken apart.

I had several employers through Rafi’s growing up years. I asked if I might have any ready-to-be-discarded, no longer functional adding machines, telephones or radios. I’d tell little Rafi my boss wanted him to try to fix them. He happily took them apart with screwdrivers and spent hours working on them. He was perfectly happy — and so was I.

Balsa Wood Model Airplane

Balsa Wood Model Airplane

Rafi then became interested in building planes out of those kits kids used to play with. He put them together while I was at work. He never bothered reading the directions and there were always a piece or two left over. Yet, they seemed perfectly okay.

When we bought our first computer, my CPA husband and I thought we’d use it for accounting. It was a classic double disk drive — Microsoft?? Rafi had attended a summer computer class and he and his friends were playing/trading Apple computer games. These didn’t work on our computer, so we bought something perhaps called a ‘card’ (program?) to install. I planned to hire someone to do it since we wanted Rafi to be able to use it.

disk for our first computer

Remember these disks?

I’m still intimidated by computers, so imagine my concern when I got home from work to find the computer taken apart, and Rafi, about eight at the time, sitting there, cool as a cucumber, screwdriver in hand, putting the card in. I gulped. He did it. And, it worked. Not surprisingly, Rafi’s grown up to be a handy kind of guy.

One_Touch_Jar_Opener__61279.1431664533.380.380

automatic jar opener

So, what about my new automatic-battery-operated jar opener? Amy came over and the two of us experimented with my brand new toy. Press the button and it makes this fabulous noise, parts move, it does a little dance and removes the top —  just like that! It was so much fun, we opened every new jar I could find in my kitchen cabinets.

I’d love to do more. Have a few I can open? Just bring them over…..

A morning’s chat at the cafe

Muriel-8

photo by Susan Kauffmann

During the years I’ve breakfasted out, I’ve met a few characters. I find it interesting to hear what they have to say. Murray is one of these. He’d been to see his kids, yet seemed in a somber mood, so I asked if something was wrong.

‘I’ve been reading about elder abuse,’ he told me. ‘And I realize I’m being assaulted by my children. It’s devastating.’

‘What are you talking about?’ Your kids are lovely and wouldn’t assault anyone.’

‘Well, ‘assault’ may be the wrong word, but I almost fell over the

Toys on floor with little girl

I could have broken every bone in my body

baby’s stuffed dog lying right in the middle of the floor. Are you telling me it wasn’t on purpose? I could have broken every bone in my body.’

‘Murray, you don’t look where you’re going. That’s not Dorothy’s fault. YOU need to be more careful.’

‘She knows perfectly well I don’t look where I’m going. She should have moved it. Why didn’t she, Huh? I’ll tell you why….’

‘Come on Murray,’ I interrupted, ‘that’s ridiculous. You’re not a baby and Dorothy has a little one of her own to take care of. She shouldn’t have to worry about you too.’

‘Go ahead,’ he was petulant, ‘take her part. Who’s friend are you anyway?’

‘I’m your friend,’ I tried to calm him, ‘and I don’t want you running around with crazy notions about your children trying to hurt you.’

‘Oh, yeah! Trying to?’ his voice raised an octave, ‘What about that stupid electronic stuff they bought me for Christmas? I nearly poked my eyes out when I leaned over to read those buttons, and when I pushed the wrong one, the darn thing hit me right in the face. They know I don’t see well and don’t know how to use those contraptions. They did it on purpose I tell you!’

guy on phone

They know I don’t know how to use those contraptions

‘Oh Murray. It’s always a challenge to adjust to new technology and it’s good for us. You’ll enjoy it when you get used to it and you love music…..’

‘Sure, sure,’ he hadn’t heard me at all, ‘I tell you. Alex and Dorothy together…’

I couldn’t listen to this any longer and interrupted again.
‘Alex and Dorothy??? I think you’re really losing it. They wouldn’t hurt a fly!’

‘Maybe not a fly,’ Murray continued, ‘why should they hurt a fly? Their sick old father is another matter.’

‘What do mean ‘sick’? Are you sick? I always thought you were as healthy as a horse.’

Murray was on a roll. He wasn’t hearing me. He gets like that sometimes.

16388963-angry-mafia suitcase money

They want my money a few years earlier

‘They’re out to get me,’ he wailed, ‘they want my money a few years earlier. How long do I have anyway?’

‘C’mon, Murray,’ I sighed, ‘what did they really ever do to hurt you?’ He thought for a moment.

‘Aha! Alex bought me that Exercycle, that’s what.’

‘Exercise is good for you,’ I was at my wits end, ‘he got you the best bike money could buy. How can you possibly find fault with that?’

619-racing hosp hallway

I may need a heart transplant

‘I get a cramp in my left leg every time I use the stupid thing. Note, my LEFT leg, I want you to know that’s the one closest to the heart. It’s working its way up to my chest a little each time I use it. Soon I’ll need a pacemaker, then a bypass, maybe even a heart transplant, who knows? I won’t survive that Exercycle and Alex knows it — he figured it all out in that little brain of his. What have I done to deserve this in my old age? I’ll sue them.’

‘Sue? Are you nuts? Where do you think you’ll find a lawyer who’ll take on such a crazy case?’

‘Oh, yeah,’ he responded, ‘I hear Joe is going to sue his grandson for aggravated assault.’

‘What? How old is the kid?’

‘Eighteen months,’ Murray said, ‘ he gave Joe a Charley horse bouncing on his knees.’

It was time for me to go home.

**Note: I recognize elder abuse is a serious problem, but Murray obviously had it wrong.

Am I grateful? You bet I am!

photo by Susan Kauffmann

photo by Susan Kauffmann

It’s Thanksgiving time in Canada, and it comes soon in the States. This has always been a favorite time of year for me and it has nothing to do with turkey. I have so much to be grateful for — beloved family and friends, the adventure of life and the privilege of living long enough to appreciate it.

When my children were young I liked giving them paper and pencil at our Thanksgiving dinners so they could write down and share what they were grateful for. Amongst my treasured papers, I still have some of those lists, one which son Rafi wrote when he was about seven.

Son Rafi, his beautiful Chandra and me. They keep teaching me....

Son Rafi and his beautiful Chandra. They keep teaching me….

As for children? Where to begin? I’ve learned more from my children than they could ever learn from me — and they continue to teach me. I appreciate their intelligence and insight and at times, their honesty. I’m grateful for their continued love and forgiveness for the times I goof, and goodness knows I do. Parenting is no easy task. I believe we all fail in one way or another during the process.

I am grateful for this blog and to daughter Susan, who realized before I did how much I’d enjoy it. I’d never have been able to get it going without her, and she continues as unpaid trouble shooter. I am also grateful to each of you who take the time to read it, and delight in the fact you live in 73 countries, many of which I’ve never visited. Kudos too to son Rafi, who takes time out of his own busy life to help mom when she creates difficulties in her tenuous relationship with this computer, which I’m convinced doesn’t like me. Then there are the lovely

Grandson Remy, who makes being a grandma a real pleasure

Grandson Remy, a real pleasure

people these two have married, and my dear grandson Remy, all of whom accept and love me no matter what. I love them all back.

Now the real miracle — those who just ‘choose’ to love me, and

Robert and Jenna's twins, Eliana and Noah, extra treats in my life

Robert and Jenna’s Eliana and Noah

whom I love as if they were my very own — Amy, Rebecca and Brian, plus Robert and Jenna. How to explain these things? How lucky can you be? It’s gratifying to be loved by your own children, but to be given so much warmth, love and caring from others is a blessing beyond understanding.

My daughter Susan, me and my special additiional 'daughter' Amy

Daughter Susan, me, and my other special ‘daughter’ Amy

I would surely have been killed under Nazi rule

I would surely have been killed under Nazi rule

I am grateful to have spent my life in countries in which I have never had to live with war first hand. That’s a real biggie. I was a little girl during WWII and had I lived in Europe, probably would never have survived under Nazism. Not many humans have been so fortunate.

As a woman, I feel lucky NOT to have been born in a country where women have no freedom. Things may not have been fair for females during my working days, nor are they yet, still I know things could be much worse.

Women in Saudi Arabia, they are not even allowed to drive

Women in Saudi Arabia, they are not even allowed to drive

Susan's gift that keeps ongiving, my own little lilac tree

Susan’s gift that keeps on giving, my own little lilac tree

No one could have derived more pleasure from home ownership than I did. I would do a little walkabout in our garden each morning before leaving for work, marveling at each new leaf or promise of another blossom. Today, I live in an apartment I like, in a neighborhood and city I love. And on my balcony, I have a little lilac tree of my own which daughter Susan gave me years ago. It keeps blooming each year.

I am grateful for those in my book club and especially books, and still being able to read them. (Thank you Brian!) I am grateful for friendships and interesting conversations over coffee. I am grateful for those doctors who truly seem to care about me, and for kind strangers. I am grateful I can still take baths, which I love. I keep thinking of other things to list here, but I’d better stop. I can go on forever. Better just to say I am indeed grateful.

Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Family……

 

Muriel from BlogIt is Father’s Day and I am thinking about family and dear friends and how much they mean to me.

Recently I had a lovely visit from daughter Susan, and after that, a fabulous time with

my children, Rafi and Chandra in San Francisco before going on to Los Angeles to be spoiled yet again by my “other” children, Brian and Rebecca.

My son Rafi, when little, steals the spotlight at a fashion show

My son Rafi, when little, steals the spotlight at a fashion show

Although Susan has lived here and has many friends she could see, when she visited, she gave me the only

Susan and Rafi as children

Susan and Rafi as children

weekend she had, plus every moment she could manage. She helped me find and visit a gentle friend, who was extremely ill (and shed tears upon seeing him so changed). I shall always remember that Susan made seeing him for the last time possible.

Daughter Susan, me, and my "other" daughter Amy, during Susan's visit

Daughter Susan, me, and my “other” daughter Amy, during Susan’s visit

In picking a time which worked for both my San Francisco and Los Angeles families, I didn’t realize Mother’s Day would be happening while I was away. I had nothing for my daughter-in-law, who is one of the best mothers I know — not even a card. Still, we had a Mother’s Day I shall never forget — and Chandra helped to make it so. First thing that morning, she invited me to join her in bed. “We’ll be served breakfast in bed,” she announced. What fun! Sure! I was willing.

A weary but still beautiful Chandra with little Remy in 2007

A weary but still beautiful Chandra with little Remy in 2007

However, I had to climb UP there and I am, by now, just short of five feet and their

A favorite photo of my grandson Remy when he was younger

A favorite photo of my grandson Remy when he was younger

bed is HIGH. What a sight I was in my slippery nightgown and satin robe, trying to accomplish what seemed impossible. I kept sliding off! It was a ridiculous scene and the two of us howled with laughter. Rafi and Remy, were in the kitchen preparing a lavish, delicious breakfast. They were too busy making things perfect to be able to come see what was so funny.

I could have used a ladder

I could have used a ladder

“Try getting your bum up first…” (Laughter…) “I’m trying, I’m trying,” (Laughter….) When I managed that, I hung on to the edge of the bed for dear life and wiggled my way up until I got first one leg, and then (hurrah) the other up and finally— ah, ah, I was on! I probably hung on to Chandra too. Who knows? We were laughing so much, I can’t remember.

Son Rafi, his Chandra and Grandson Remy send me a hilarious birthday song. (I may get sued for this one.)

Son Rafi, his Chandra and Grandson Remy send me a hilarious birthday song.
(I may get sued for this one.)

More organized than I, Chandra had a thoughtful Mother’s Day card for me. On it, she had written several things she liked about me. The very first item was “the way you laugh”. That induced even more peals of laughter. The guys in the kitchen must have thought we were totally nuts. (She also gave me a lovely gift of clothes that actually fit!!!) After we demolished our meal and I was dressed, I decided the men deserved the “treat” of seeing me climb onto the bed. First I undertook it from the opposite side. No problem. Going back to the original side, once again it was a struggle.

“The bed is not the same height on the other side,” I declared. Rafi came back with a tape measure and actually checked. I was wrong. It was probably due to the different strengths of my own ancient muscles. Oh, well, we learn every day….

Grandson Remy now

Grandson Remy now

We later drove out to have lunch with Chandra’s mom and dad. It WAS Mother’s Day and after all, Annette raised a wonderful daughter for my son, grandson and me. Altogether a fabulous visit.

Rebecca and Brian regularly spoil me rotten in L.A.

Rebecca and Brian regularly spoil me rotten in L.A.

I love trains, so that’s how I traveled to L.A. to stay with Brian and Rebecca. Brian took the first day off to hang out with me, and hang out was pretty much all we did. I was a weary traveler and it was HOT, so we didn’t do all the lovely things he had planned. Fortunately, I got to have what I really needed — a two-hour “beauty” nap which helped make me more beautiful (Ahem!) and the rest of my visit a delight. I was treated again like a precious jewel.

Its our tradition and always my birthday when Rebecca, Brian and I go to Ruth's Chris Steak House

Its our tradition and always my birthday when Rebecca, Brian and I go to Ruth’s Chris Steak House

This post is meant to express my appreciation to those whom I love and who I am lucky to have in my life. No, I am not always perfect or right or nice, but those I love and who love me seem to accept my failings and forgive my transgressions and I am grateful…..

Here’s to you and yours!!!