Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

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Drizzles Can Become Showers

Turning the Corner

Today, my husband and I took our grandsons to the park so their Mommy and Daddy could have a break (and my husband and I could enjoy the cutie-pies). It was a beautiful, sunny day with gorgeous blue sky, but very hot and dry, so we headed out in the mid to late afternoon, after the heat of the day.

As the kids rode their bikes in the residential area and we followed behind them, I thought of how it hasn’t rained here in Southern California much for the past two years. We are in the midst of a drought. Something so mundane as rain is so huge for us. While some of us (especially East Coasters like me) may have grown up taking rain for granted, we no longer do that.

These days we kind of have to ration our water. As dictated by the Department of Water and Power. Yep.

girl-with-umbrella

There’s a limit to how much water we can use to sprinkle on our grass. Also, we have to limit the length of our showers, and how often we run our electric dishwashers and washing machines. (think: full load before using).

No longer do we see a green lawn and get impressed. These days we look down upon people who have the gall to have a gorgeous green lawn (not so nice of us, but hey, we’re human).

When a little drizzle of rain happens here in LA, we get really excited, because we have so little water coming through rain these days. And it’s a big problem.

So a little thing – rain – has become a big thing to appreciate and long for.

As my husband and I were walking about a half block behind the kids and chatting, I thought of the simplicity and purity of this activity. Nothing fancy. A walk to the park. We had packed a few shovels for the sand, some balls, a mitt, and a big beach ball that needed to be blown up. And a few other playthings that they chose.

As simple and mundane as a trip to the park is, it’s such a necessary and joyful part of childhood. It’s huge.

From the choosing which things to take to the park to sharing what they did take, to waiting patiently at the end of each block, to staying within mine and my husband’s views, they practiced discipline.

When we got to the park, there was an ice cream truck and we bought them a colorful Ices cone. So much fun for them and refreshing in the heat.

They played ball with each other and took turns with the one mitt that they could find in the house. Cooperation. Fresh air. Exercise. Good old fashioned fun.

The kids giggled and laughed as they threw the ball back and forth, and I thought about how little kids need to make them happy. And as we walked home, there was a slight breeze, I thought of how we just pray for the little things to be good in our lives.

Some of these little things include ours and our children’s health, along with their good characters and happy dispositions.

As much as we can put in lots of effort to raise good kids, the ultimate result is not up to us. We have to hope and pray for the best.

musickids

And when we get that – pure, unadulterated, uncomplicated fun (and maybe even a little rain??), we are very….happy!

Let’s hope and pray that we learn to view the little things in our lives as big and important, and enjoy them all for the beauty they bring. Every drop of rain counts! We here in California should know!

What little things have meant a lot to you in your lives? Please share below something “small” that brings pleasure.

 


Stay Out of It…or not?

The question often comes up for many of us whether or not to get involved. Recently, I attended an evening class with some members of my synagogue, and we got into a somewhat lively (read: heated!) discussion. A particular scenario was described in which one woman’s daughter noted that her classmates were breaking a particular rule. The question for this woman was whether or not to counsel her daughter to report on the classmates.

Well, rather than discuss that back and forth of the various women in the group regarding this discussion (did I mention it got heated?), I will relate something that happened with my 4-year old grandson. (you thought I could go for one entire post without boasting – I mean describing him? Well, think again!).

And from that story of my grandson, we can (hopefully) glean some insight into how we, as adults can act.

Anyway, my daughter-in-law described to me the following conversation between herself, the Mommy and my (darling) grandson:

Child: Two boys in school today were fighting so badly, and were not letting Mashiach (the Messiah) come! I was so worried, and I tried telling them to stop fighting.

Mom: So did they stop?

Child: No, (looking sad) – they didn’t. They kept fighting and fighting.

Mom: So what happened?

Child: I tried more, and they still didn’t listen. So I told the teacher and she got them to be friends again.

My daughter-in-law then proceeded to explain to her son how G-d is proud of him for caring so much. But G-d really wants him to take care of himself – first and foremost.  Maybe those boys didn’t listen to him. It’s okay. He can’t change that.  As long as he is always nice to his friends (which he is…), (and doesn’t get hurt by the bullies? — is what this grandmother was thinking silently..??)

I’m not sure what else she told him, but it sounds like that was a powerful message for one 4-year old guy!

And I choose to take that message with me for my own everyday life!


Future Bath Tubs and Playgrounds

A 6-YEAR-OLD WAS ASKED WHERE HIS GRANDMA LIVED. ”OH,” HE SAID, ”SHE LIVES AT THE AIRPORT, AND WHEN WE WANT HER, WE JUST GO GET HER. THEN WHEN WE’RE DONE HAVING HER VISIT, WE TAKE HER BACK TO THE AIRPORT” Author unknown

Yes – Grandma is always available whenever we want.  Hmmm.

I was thinking along those lines the other day and I suddenly had a fantasy. Right now, we grandmothers are able thank G-d to care for our grandchildren when they need us. We are there for them, as long as we want to (and have the strength)  and then we go home (or send them home, if they are at our house).  Unlike the kids’ perception in which they – the children – are done having us so we leave…we know the truth. Right?

But never mind all that. What if it came a time when G-d forbid, we couldn’t care for our kids? We couldn’t care for them – not because we didn’t have the energy – but simply because the stuff they had around their house, and the technology that they used, were way too advanced for our Baby Boomer Generation minds.

So here goes my fantasy. Imagine in the year 2020, I want to give my little grandson – (or grand-daughter!) born in the year 2018 a bath. So I go take the kid to the bathroom, get him or her undressed, and lo and behold I look at the bathtub and it does not resemble the one I have at home – in my circa 1990-2000 remodeled home. Instead the bathtub is suspended up high, and there is a staircase to get there. The knobs are not the usual – left for hot, and right for cold – but they are buttons on the wall which I have no clue how to use.

Another fantasy: Imagine in the year 2025, I want to take my grandkids to the park. I walk with them to the park, and we find the playground equipment, but somehow nothing looks the same as how I remembered swings back in the olden days of the 1980’s or even in the times of my older grandsons – born in the 2010’s.

What is a grandmother to do? Is she to ask a kid nearby to help her? (in the case of the park?)

Is she supposed to risk G-d forbid burning the 2-year old, by using the wrong temperature of water, and/or not being able to climb the steps to the raised tub?

I really don’t know what I’m going to do. I tell you – I’m pretty grateful that right now I’m kind of savvy and know how to use a computer, how to do things that are similar to the skill set of my grandkids.

But when I think of the future, I tell you – I’m pretty scared.

I guess this is where faith and trust really kick in. Because when it comes down to it, if we can’t give our grandchildren baths and take them to the park, what is left to the grandmother-grandchild relationship?

Trust in G-d, and all my scary science fiction fantasies will either not materialize in a negative way, or my grandchildren will patiently teach me the ins and the outs of the skills.  I will march along to the tunes of the new inventions.

Otherwise, I will be sent home by the kids on the first plane (rocket ship by then?) out of their hometown.  What use will the kids have for us if we can’t even keep up with their technology?


Back to Bubby Basics

When it comes down to it, simple is often best. When things get broken down to manageable steps, life is so much easier. My friend shared that with me the other day. She told me how she had babysat her grandchildren and found that life has become so complicated these days. My friend felt that she couldn’t help her grandkids with the math homework, because the “new” math has concepts that are so foreign to us Bubbies. Similarly, this friend noted that Hebrew words are so different than the traditional Hebrew language that we remember growing up with in our Hebrew day schools. Today’s modern Hebrew has become more of an imitation English, that my friend felt that the Hebrew homework was also too complex for her to oversee her grandkids completing.

My friend confessed that the only thing she was able to handle when her grandkids were over at her house, was giving them baths, reading books to them, and taking them to the park.

That’s it. Well, to me that was great news. At least some things never change. I mean, here we are in the 21st century, using computers, blackberries, I-phones, DVD’s, and so much technology that our children’s day-to-day activities barely resemble that of our own childhood. And if we are to care of our children and grandchildren, we need to relate to their world.

So thank goodness that parks are still around, bathtubs more or less operate the same way, and books are still around. If nothing else, how are we to preserve a Bubby/grandchild relationship with such a large gap in technology, education, and language?

Here’s to bathtime, rubber duckies, shovels and pails and The Cat in the Hat. — all skills that a bubby from any century can handle.


The Monkey Bar Mantra

This week, I switched the screen-saver on my phone.

The new picture is one of my grandson at the park pulling himself with his little hands across a horizontal ladder atop a swing set. You know the kind of playground equipment that the kid stretches upward and grips the first rung with one hand, while his little pre-school body dangles beneath the structure? Then, he edges his body forward, placing his other hand on the second rung, before leaving go of the first rung. He quickly transfers that fist from the first rung to go around  the third rung. This continues rung by rung (with all of us observing, holding our breaths) while his mouth contorts in concentration, his eyes squint in the sun, his face drips perspiration, his fists hold on for dear life, and his cheeks grow steadily redder. Continue reading


A Kodak Moment or a Joyful Moment

Picture Perfect at the Park

Today was a beautiful day, and my husband and I decided to take the day off and spend some time with our kids and grandkids. We met at a lovely park around 45 miles from LA (a bit far for going to the park – but we like to be creative and try new parks all the time!). This particular park had a lake, a playground, a sand area, and gorgeous grass, mountains and even a quaint wooden bridge that goes across the lake.

After parking our car, and walking around, exploring the scenery, lovely mountains, and pointing out the “duckies” to the kids, we finally found a nice shady area where we parked ourselves and watched the kids run around. (my husband and I sat comfortably while our son and daughter-in-law ran after the kids!). Continue reading


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