Category Archives: grandparents

Because I Do Awesome Things


It started when I said, “Dylan, the sooner you go to sleep, the sooner you’ll be seven!”

Last night was the last night he would be six. Ever.

“Shut the light off!” he said immediately, but not before telling me and Riley that he would live to be 350.

“That’s really old, ” I said.

“No,” he said, “I mean 1,000!”

“I hope I live that long, too,” I said, “but that’s really, really old.”

“Will Dylan be in people heaven when he’s 1,000?” Riley interjected.  “I’ll miss him,” he said quietly.

For a split second, I wondered what to say.  I quickly realized I had no idea what to say, so I said, “Yes, but we’ll all be in people heaven in 1,000 years.  We’ll all be together.”  Then I tried to finish the conversation, because I meant to talk about Dylan’s birthday but ended up talking about death.  Of course.

“Okay, Dylan McMillan McSchmillan, go to sleep so you can turn seven.  I love you.  Good night.”

I turned off the light.  Dylan’s head hit his pillow, and Riley walked down the hall and climbed into my bed.  That’s the way bedtime rolls in our house.  Riley climbs into my bed and falls instantly asleep only to be moved back to his bed either by Mike (if he’s working late) or me.   The boy cannot-will-not-refuses to fall asleep in his own bed, but let’s ignore the dysfunction otherwise known as bedtime in my house, because that’s not what this post is about.

Before Riley closed his eyes, he had a few more questions about death and dying.  Of course.

“Mommy, will I go to people heaven someday?”

Crap.  “Yes, but it will be a long, long, long, long, long time from now.”

I saw his face turning sad.  “I’ll go to people heaven someday, too, and we’ll be there together.  And do you know what, we’ll get to see Harry.  Because dogs in dog heaven visit people in people heaven.”

“I miss Harry,” he said.

“Me, too.  I miss him every minute of the day, but do you remember where we carry people we love?” I asked.

“In our hearts,” he said.

“Right.  So, even though I can’t see Harry anymore, he’s in my heart.  I feel him and all of the people I love in my heart.  He’s in your heart, too.  Do you know what?”

“What?” he asked.

“Sometimes when you’re at school, I think about you and I miss you, and then I feel you in my heart, because I love you, and then I feel better,” I said.

“And Grandma and Grandpa?  Are they in my heart?”

“Yup.  Both Grandmas and both Grandpas.  Even when Daddy is at the office, we feel him in our hearts.  Everyone we love – whether they’re in heaven or here on Earth – is in our hearts.  Your heart, my heart, Dylan’s heart, Daddy’s heart, Harry’s heart…”

I rubbed his chest where his heart is, and we named all of the people he loves.  It took a while.

“Go to sleep, Monkey.  It’s late.”  I said.



“Are you in your heart?”

And all of a sudden, we weren’t talking about the people we love.  We were talking about loving ourselves.  My little boy wanted to know if I loved myself.  I paused.  I laughed nervously.  I opened my mouth, but nothing came out.  What was it about that simple question that was so hard to answer?  I wasn’t sure if I believed what I was about to say anymore than I was sure about everything I said about death and dying and heaven, but I said it anyways.  “Yes, I’m in my heart.”

I felt awkward.  I felt afraid.  I felt confused for not knowing for sure.

“Riley, are you in your heart?”

Without hesitation he said, “Yes.”

“Why are you in your heart, Riley?”  Maybe his answer would help me figure out mine.

His response was, “Because I do awesome things.”

I chuckled.  “You’re right, Monkey.  You do awesome things all the time.  Now go to sleep.”

I hope he feels that way until he’s 1,000 years old.

p.s.  Happy 7th Birthday, Dylan.  You do awesome things, too.

Are you in your heart?


Filed under bedtime, birthday, death, grandparents, guilt, Harry, heaven, Uncategorized

Most Bestest

Grandma Irene stayed with us for ten amazing days.  Here are some of the reasons her visit was so special:

There was never a sink full of dirty dishes.  Grandma loaded and unloaded the dishwasher. Every. Single. Day.  Sometimes more than once.

I never ran over the newspaper with my car when I backed out of the driveway to bring the kids to school because Grandma actually put on her shoes and fetched the newspaper every morning.  (She read it, too.)

Since Grandma was there to entertain the boys, I went to the bathroom by myself…with the door closed…several times.

As long as we’re talking about the bathroom… Grandma Irene inspired Riley to pee in the potty!  Unfortunately, she gave him an entire bag of Skittles from our Halloween stash as a reward.  The next morning, when he tinkled in the potty again, I cheered, clapped and gave him three Skittles in a bowl.  Do you know what he did?  He threw the bowl of Skittles at me because my attempt at portion control was an insult.  He wanted the whole bag of candy or nothing at all.  (FYI: He got nothing.)

Grandma chilled wine on a daily basis.  On one particularly stressful afternoon, I returned home at about 4:45pm after a long series of errands and activities with the kids and two wine glasses were lined up on the kitchen counter ready to be filled with cold and refreshing Pinot Grigio.  Ahh…

We went shopping!  (The shopaholic apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Where my weakness is Anthropologie, Grandma’s is bags. Expensive ones.)  One day, we shopped at Nordstrom and had lunch at Café Bistro @ Nordstrom, and on another day, we shopped at Bloomies and had lunch at their 59th& Lex Café.  We were ladies who lunch!

We saw “The Descendants,” an award winning, Oscar nominated film. (Regrettably, the last movie I saw in the theater was “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” and the only award that movie has a chance of winning is a Razzie.) Our matinee adventure was awesome.  There was no animation and no child sitting in my lap in the theater.  In fact, there were no children insight!  It was the ultimate daytime Mama-escape, and it included popcorn! 

Of course, the most bestest part about Grandma Irene’s visit was the time she spent with Dylan and Riley.  The day before she left, Dylan came home from school and said, “Grandma, I’m going to miss you so much,” and the morning she left, he asked me what day of the week she was coming back.  Riley had few words, but his (adorable) lower lip pout told the story of a little boy who would miss his Grandma with all his heart. 

Speaking of hearts, I often tell the boys that even if I’m not with them, I’m always in their hearts.  Right now, Grandma Irene is in all of our hearts (and the Skittles incident has been forgiven).

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Filed under grandparents, Mama-escape, movie, potty training, shopaholism, wine