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Showing posts with label grandchildren. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grandchildren. Show all posts

Saturday, February 24, 2018

For the Love of Oliver

Photograph by Joe D. Parker

 Oliver Hilton Parker is sunshine on this foggy day!  He has changed from baby boy to toddler as he begins to walk and explore. He is the first of our grandchildren to be a boy, and also the first to live with Joe and me. He is named for his great grandfather, Joe's Daddy - Oliver Byron Parker and his other grandfather, Kelly Hilton Edwards.. He and his Papa Joe have a special bond, a mutual admiration society. Each seems to know what the other is thinking and saying without any talking!

 I smile when I watch them together - the 80 year old grandfather and the almost 15 months boy.  They clearly adore each other Of course, Joe is crazy about all his granddaughters too. And without exception, Oliver's sister and all his girl cousins, his parents and all his other grandparents, aunts and uncles think he is special too.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


At the beginning of each day, and before the close of the day (plus some in betweens), I pray for our sons and their families. As I consider each grandchild by name, I realize the amazing gift I have been given in being called Granmary. I could not possibly capture enough photos to portray the images of relationship and connectedness, the giving and giving back. I have a deep sense of those who have gone before me, and held my hand, the hand that now holds the hands of these 6, smiling as I think of their hands holding their own children and grandchildren. I am grateful beyond words.
To have grandchildren is not only to be given something but to be given something back.
You are given back something of your children's childhood all those years ago. You are given back something of what it was like to be a young parent. You are given back something of your own childhood even, as on creaking knees you get down on the floor to play tiddlywinks, or sing about Old MacDonald and his farm, or watch Saturday morning cartoons till you're cross-eyed.
It is not only your own genes that are part of your grandchildren but the genes of all sorts of people they never knew but who, through them, will play some part in times and places they never dreamed of. And of course along with your genes, they will also carry their memories of you into those times and places too the afternoon you lay in the hammock with them watching the breezes blow, the face you made when one of them stuck out a tongue dyed Popsicle blue at you, the time you got a splinter out for one of them with the tweezers of your Swiss army knife. On some distant day they will hold grandchildren of their own with the same hands you once held them by as you searched the beach at low tide for Spanish gold.
In the meantime, they are the freshest and fairest you have. After you're gone, it is mainly because of them that the earth will not be as if you never walked on it.
~originally published in Beyond Words

Friday, August 11, 2017

He LIkes Me!

We have enjoyed an amazing adventure as a family in the last few weeks. It started in the garden. We had a bumper crop of dill that had sprawled from the herb bed over and around the vegetables. Some of it found its way into the many jars of pickles Kristen made with the companion crop of cucumbers. Teion brought in a bunch of the dill blossoms one evening when they were here for family dinner. This bouquet sat on our kitchen table where we enjoyed the beauty and the fragrance!
But the dill outside was growing more than flavor. We showed Nora tiny caterpillars that were munching away on the ferny leaves.  One night she brought in 2 tiny bunches of dill with caterpillars  hanging on that were only about an inch long!  She had them in some little containers, along with a bit of dill for their snacking. The next morning, one of the lids was ajar and the caterpillar was gone.

After a few hours, the little caterpillar was spotted a whole room away climbing on the tile at the back of a counter by the kitchen table. Maybe he smelled the dill on the table and was headed for breakfast! We put him in a large glass vase with more dill where he was soon joined with a number of similar caterpillars. We watched as the first caterpillar ate and grew fat.

This made for many conversations about what Nora began calling her paterkillars. The clear container allowed all of us to watch the progress and anticipate changes that would come. We added some sticks so there was a spot for shedding skin,  spinning a tiny thread out to hold a chrysalid.   We watched as the chrysalis changed color and were all cheering when "our" butterfly emerged, hanging limply and slowly moving the beautiful wings to strengthen and dry. When it was time to release the butterfly, Nora and her mom took the jar outside and Nora's butterfly friend sat on her arm gently for a few seconds before flitting away to the flowers in our garden.

So far, this process has been repeated 8 times!  Our swallowtail population is increasing!  Joe and I enjoyed doing this with Nora's dad and his brothers, and love doing it again.  The butterflies are beautiful, but the most beautiful of all is Nora's excitement and wonder!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oliver Byron Parker

Guest Post by Joe Parker

This is my father, Oliver Parker. Daddy and his twin sister, Dora, were born 112 years ago today on February 17, 1905. All of my family loved and are so proud of this great man in our lives and we miss him very, very much. This is a picture of Daddy at about age 12 with a friend.

Note:  My father-in-law, Oliver Parker, passed away before Joe and I were married, so I never met him. But he left a legacy of hard work, perserverance, faith, and love as communicated through the years to me by my husband and his brothers and sister. Now there is another Oliver Parker, his great grandson who bears his name - our baby grandson, Oliver Hilton Parker! 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Opal's Button Box

Nora's middle name is Opal.  Named for her great grandmother, my mother, Opal Terrell Teal, she does not yet realize all the ways she connects with her great-grandmother every day.  Since we share a home, she is with me often and does not yet know when she calls me - "Granmary" or climbs in my lap, she is connecting not only by relationship but in ways that I grandparent.  My own grandmother modeled grandparenting for me, but Opal did so by being a wonderful Nana to our boys. Then there are countless ways that come into everyday life - the results of my upbringing in a home with parents who valued faith and family.  Last week, Nora discovered the magic and mystery of Opal's Button Box.  The buttons in a discarded kitchen cannister are leftovers from not only her many years of sewing but also her mother's, my grandmother. They never threw buttons away but saved them carefully for reuse and repurposing. If a shirt could no longer be mended, they cut off the buttons and saved them,  using the fabric scraps in another way. There are baby buttons, the one or two buttons from a card of buttons purchased to march down the front of dresses and blouses and coats, shirt buttons, glass buttons, plastic buttons, wooden buttons, and metal buttons. Nora is only beginning to discover the thrill of handling them, and ways she can use them. So in this photo, she finds the fun in making print and pattern in play dough - all with Opal's buttons. Since then, she has carried them around in one of her own boxes and speaks with pride of her own buttons.  She says buT Tons, and I love it.  Today, she told me she needs more buttons.  She is acting true to her heritage.  Mother would be proud.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Heart Full of Gratitude

Today, January 20, 2017 is a day with a heart full of gratitude for me.

Forty-nine years ago, I almost died due to a massive postpartum hemorrhage. My newborn son was 1 week old. I was at home with him and my mother, who had come to help after his birth. My husband, Joe, was at work in San Antonio.  As a registered nurse, I recognized the severity immediately. I called the weekend answering service for my doctor, and I called my husband to come home as soon as he could. I should have called an ambulance. There was a lack of accurate information understood by the on-call physician, who probably thought I was overreacting, and Joe had to drive through flooded streets to get home.  By the time he got there and scooped me up into the back seat of our car, I was not able to talk anymore  I remember praying - for me, for Joe, for our baby son.  I was not aware of the fact that since the Nix Memorial Hospital building on the river in downtown San Antonio, had no wheel chair or stretcher where he was able to park, he carried me to the elevator and up to the floor where I was admitted. By the time I was evaluated, I could hear the nurses saying things like "blood pressure dropping" and "can't find a pulse" and could not speak to tell them not to give up.  It is absolutely true that a person who cannot respond hears.

By that time my own doctor had received the emergency message and arrived.  He personally helped to get blood started and pumped it in manually.  I remember the cold rushing up my arm. As soon as I was stabilized, I was taken to the O.R. to do what was necessary to stop the hemorrhage.  I  was hospitalized for a week.  I missed my baby. I worried about him and my sweet mom, suddenly thrust from the role of proud Nana holding her her first grandson to fill in full time for me. Joe tried to work and take care of all of us. 

I do not tell the story often, but today, one week after Sean's 49th birthday, I am flooded with thanksgiving for those 49 years of his life, and for those 49 years God-given to me. Joe is by my side.  We have two more sons. We have six precious grandchildren. I have been blessed with a full life, friends, and family. I look at the photo above, taken on the first evening of 2017, and can only say thank you.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Gift of Each Other

One of my greatest joys as a grandmother is witnessing the joy that my granddaughters have in being together, and now, the joy with which they have welcomed their new baby boy cousin.  I remember playing with my cousins when I was small, and am so glad they treasure their times together, the gift of each other.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Moving a House

I watched as a 3 story Victorian house got moved yesterday. The relocation happened without the loss of a single fish scale shingle or Gingerbread railing, although some of those were already badly in need of repair. Nothing shifted except a little piece of my heart. The movers were two of my sons and the hauling mechanism was my red pickup truck. Although our family did live in a Victorian house just like this one, much smaller people and furniture have occupied this house, a large doll house made for me by a paraplegic craftsman in Jakarta, Indonesia.  When I took a picture to him and asked if he could build a small one, he agreed and did a very good job of making a replica of our one- time home in Jacksonville, TX.  Remarkable, since he had never seen a real house like that one.
Remarkable, since he and his wife delivered it to me in a taxi. Remarkable because I had no grandchildren at that time.  Maybe I anticipated the sweet fact that I would eventually have 5 granddaughters.

This was never a house for grownups to have fun decorating. It was to play with, to imagine with, to wonder at.  And the little girls growing up in our family plus a number of visiting children have done just that.  I love that, and I was very fond of this doll house.  I will remain so, since it was relocated to my oldest son and his wife's garage. Fitting, because many years after our family left the original house, it became a place for celebrations and they were married in the front parlor of the house we loved and lived in for a short time.  In fact, the room where my son's bride dressed was his bedroom when he was 13!  I hope that they will enjoy having it to help tell their story as someday they become grandparents themselves.

Another exercise in letting go and holding on!  Another way to tell our story.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


2016 is already proving to be a year of great change. We are readying our home and garden for sale, with plans to buy a home with our youngest son and his family. Our oldest son and daughter - in - law have changes in their household with their oldest daughter moving to an apartment.  Our son Jeremy and his wife and daughters have moved from Texas to Nevada.  Plain to see this last from the photo, since they never had snow to dig this deep in Fort Worth!  I miss their being in Texas, of course but I am thankful they are settling into their new home and are having fun with all the snow!
I only have to watch the Monarchs in our back yard as they go through their cycles of caterpillar, chrysalis, and metamorphosis to be reminded that change is necessary for growth.  Enjoy your wings, sweet girls!

Friday, January 8, 2016


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Skye is 13!

Today is our lovely granddaughter's thirteenth birthday.  From the moment of her parents' excited news of her tiny beginning, she has been so much joy and gladness for me. In the months before her birth, I wrote a journal to her in the form of a letter, given to her parents on the day she was born, a tradition I have continued with each new grandchild.  I simply wanted to tell her she was already a part of our family story and would always be.  I wrote about happily we anticipated her arrival, of all the things we looked forward to sharing with her, and how we celebrate faith and family. From rocking and lullabies to planting flowers, building fairy gardens and baking macaroons, Skye continues to add delight to our time together. Thank you, and Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Making Music

I enjoy making music with my choir and handbell friends, but there is a different kind of pleasure in music with my grandchildren.  I have had so many good times with each of my granddaughters:  rocking and singing lullabies, swinging and singing,  playing CD's and singing along in the car as we drove somewhere, marching around the house singing and sounding out with everything from pot lids to maracas, trying out recorders and harmonicas, making drums out of boxes and cookie tins.  I remember Lauren's "Poor Mr. Spider" tape she loved playing over and over in the car and dancing with her. I played handbells with Skye's youth handbell group.  Maddie loved singing from the time she could talk and could sing Amazing Grace with perfect pitch when she was 2. Jordann loves making up songs on the piano and Nora does too.  Whether it is singing "Skip to My Lou" 20 times in a row or "A, You're Adorable" or tunes from The Sound of Music, music with these girls fills my heart!

Monday, August 24, 2015

School Days

Maddie and Jordann had their first day of the 2015-2016 school year last week. Now in 4th grade and 2nd grade, they headed back to school in uniforms, with book bag and back pack. Skye started her 7th grade year today. And Lauren is back in her college classes next week. I love this time of year. In our part of Texas, the temperatures are still too hot to think that Fall is almost here, but there are cues beyond the heat and the calendar page. Change is in the air. Back to school means schedule changes for everyone. Our church Wednesday night suppers begin again. Family music time and youth gatherings and handbell rehearsals get back into a rhythm and time is more structured.  I love the lazier days of summer, but there is something so satisfying about getting back into a familiar routine. There are new shoes, new clothes, new books, new projects, new teachers, and new friends. And even for those of us who don't start back to school, the beat changes. Think crisp mornings, leaves turning, pumpkins sprouting everywhere, caramel apples, and the fragrance of cinnamon.

When I was in the second grade, I was in a play called School Days.  I had a red checked dress and our group sang "School days, school days, dear old Golden Rule Days. Reading and writing, and 'rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hick'ry stick."  Hickory sticks are long gone, arithmetic an exercise in mathematics that is a puzzle to me,  reading and writing  may be done with computers and tablets. But school days are back and I am glad!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


One of Nora's first and favorite words is "shoes!"  Pronounced with a special lilt and emphasis! Whether it is used as she looks for her own little pink Nikes, or carries her Daddy's heavy shoe around, it is obvious she loves shoes.  This week I watched as she took her own shoes off and tried again and again to put on my sandals and walk.  I laughed with her as she tried, but my thoughts about the scene lasted for a long time after our giggles. It is a great privilege and a great responsibility to think about her wearing my shoes or following my footsteps.  It is serious business, being a grandmother.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Nora celebrated the Fourth of July with water!  She discovered the fun of sprinklers and splashing, tasting drops and chasing bubbles,  and made it all new again for the rest of us.  We lined our front sidewalk with tiny flags, grilled hot dogs and sweet corn and finished with homemade ice cream. But it was her little girl's excitement and laughter that made the day one we will always remember. I recently saw a billboard by the freeway that announced "Memories happen without warning." It was advertising vacations in Colorado, but we don't have to plan a trip or travel for the happening. On our back porch, on July 4, 2015, hearts filled up and ran over with happiness that is now a forever memory.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Nora's favorite new word is Wow!  When I am with her, my favorite word is Joy! I begin smiling this big, too. I pray she keeps this joie de vivre forever, and that I will remember that my smiles and enthusiasm can help to change clouds to sunshine for other people.  Thank you for a good life lesson, Nora.

Joie de vivre is a French phrase often used in English to express a cheerful enjoyment of life; an exultation of spirit.
" `It "can be a joy of conversation, joy of eating, joy of anything one might do…  may be seen as a joy of everything, a comprehensive joy, a philosophy of life, a Weltanschauung. Robert's Dictionnaire says joie issentiment exaltant ressenti par toute la conscience, that is, involves one's whole being." ` Wikipedia

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nora was only a few weeks old last Easter, but this year she proudly walked around for all to see her Easter outfit!  Her Dad held her proudly as he brought her into our church's Easter breakfast wearing all the special clothes her Mommy had assembled for her. We were amazed how long the hat stayed on her dark haired head.  Later, at home when her shoes and stockings were given up for sweet bare feet, her hat traded for bunny ears. I looked around at the gathering her parents had assembled - fond grandparents, aunts, uncles, and proud cousin, and remembered a sweet line from a Fernando Ortega song called "This Time Next Year."

"... hold her high, because we are lifted in her laughter!"  

posted with gratitude to Ben and Kristen and Nora, and also to Nora's other grandmother, Desiree, who outdid herself cooking our Easter brunch. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Not About the Rabbits

Recently a topic of conversation in a group of women friends: "What Easter stories or memories come to mind?"

I thought about Easters in the seventies when we decorated and hid eggs for our three little boys, dressed them up and took them to church and to visit grandparents. I thought about Easters in the past 15 years when I found just the right Easter dress to delight first one, then two, three, four, and now five sweet granddaughters! I smiled when I pictured the fun we have had with our little boys and these little girls decorating eggs, cookies, and cakes, and gathering our growing family around Grandma Terrell's dining table in our home.  Which led me to think of that same table surrounded by my grandparents, parents, my sister and me, and sometimes others.  Always my sister and I proudly wore Easter dresses sewed by Mother.  Often we had a coat, hat, and purse to match!  Those little girl Easters always included going to an outdoor Easter sunrise service in a rock ampitheater.  Those red rocks made for hard, cold seating and shivering little girls in the early hours.

I thought about all the Easter baskets and Easter bunnies these memories represent, including this stern looking celluloid blue and white bunny that was mine in 1941, my very first Easter.  I have no recollection of that Easter, of course, but the fact that this odd little rattle was something Mother kept and passed on to me is significant.  She remembered.

Remembering is really what matters after all. In all the little signs and symbols of Easter there is one common thread, one reason for each:  to help us remember. We remember that Christ came, that he lived to show us how to live, was crucified, laid in a grave, and that he rose on the third day.  We sing the Easter songs and celebrate with joy because we remember.

We practice resurrection and redemption.  Happy Easter!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Birthday, Maddie!

Nine years ago today in Birmingham, Alabama, we celebrated the birthday of a beautiful baby girl her parents named Madelyn Claire.  She brings us countless joys, blessing us with sunshine, laughter, and hugs.  We are grateful for her life and love.  Today we celebrate you, Maddie!  Happy Birthday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Pleasure of Your Company

I enjoy so many things about my granddaughters, all 5 of them. Since they range in age from 10 months to 21 years, there is wide variation, but some things are common to all. I am happy they like to be in our home.  Without fail, when they come if I am not on the front porch waiting, they knock and peer through the leaded glass on our front door and greet me with excitement!  I love conversation with them, Nora saying it all with her gestures and her eyes, and the others chattering away with me. Like most people who enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen, I welcome them there and that seems to be their favorite place inside. I like that they like to cook and ask to help with meals and treats. I welcome their pleasure in our shaded back yard or in the sunny garden, enjoying the fragrance of herbs or looking for butterfly caterpillars or climbing trees (well, Nora looks and smells, she does not yet climb trees) ! We have fun with sidewalk chalk, planting seeds, cutting flowers to dry, art projects, dressup, and tea parties.  One of my favorite pleasures is the joy they have in being with each other, as in the top photo of Skye and Nora.  But of all the things we enjoy, Nora tells us the best...