Novel Synopsis, Life, and Nana

The plan had been for me to ahead to our new home in Alabama and spend three to six months handling the renovations and repairs, while Bigstreetrod would visit back and forth until our Oklahoma house sold. Ahh. I pictured visiting  with our son and grandchildren living only minutes away and creating a comfortable new home to suit a new phase of our lives. I anticipated solitude for peaceful gardening and passionate writing. I had a new vision for my life, this final third part of the journey, where I’ve come to know who I am and what I want. Oh, joy!

Well, life is very much like a novel synopsis. Neither of them are given to going along as planned.

PJ-HatWithin weeks of moving, I joined the ranks of grandparents who are parenting for the second time around, when I took on the daily care of one of our grandchildren. Enter Sweetie Pie, a high-spirited two-year-old boy, and exit  unpacking and decorating and writing, and really a whole lot of knowing who I am and what I’m about. God really does have a sense of humor. I find myself in much the same position I was in when I began a writing career some twenty-eight years ago; I’m juggling the need and ambition to write and the desire to nurture a little boy. When I think of it, both passions are quite similar. With writing and with raising a child, one is learning all the time about oneself and life.

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.  ~Polish Proverb

Thankfully we are in the support position, not full-time parenting. Our single-parent son is a reliable and caring father. Each evening, Sweetie-Pie runs into his daddy’s arms, and goes home, which leaves me the evenings free to write. Or so I have told myself with good intention. However, by then I can do little more than throw myself into bed to fall asleep with my glasses down my nose and a book on my chest.

“Nana, come on.” “Nana, run…chase me.” “Nana, play cars.” “Nannnaaa…Nannnaaaa!”

One day during the first week, I took Sweetie-Pie with me to the pool supply store. While I transacted business, Sweetie Pie proceeded to knock over signs, throw things into spas, empty the water-cooler on the floor, and dump M&Ms on the carpet. Red with embarrassment, not to mention hair on end, I finally managed to corral him. I, the woman with books sold around the world, mature and knowing who she was and where she was going, felt totally inept.

An older gentleman spoke to me as I was leaving. “You wouldn’t take anything for him,” he said in his soft, Southern drawl.

“Well, if anyone took him, they would bring him back,” I said, panting.

The man chuckled and said that his own grandson had not been worth anything when small. Then, proudly, “But now he’s nine, and he’s turnin’ out pretty good, a great boy.”

The man’s eyes, very blue, I suddenly realized, became intent. He said, “Grandparents can make all the difference. Mine did for me. I would not be sittin’ here right now, having the good life I have, if it had not been for my grandparents. They made all the difference.”

I carried his words with me as I drove back home and got Sweetie-Pie a popsicle and me a cold tea, throwing myself down in a porch chair to catch my breath. I realized the man was my angel sent to boost me. Every time I remember, I smile.

To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. ~Marilyn French

PJ-StickThis month Bigstreetrod, aka Papa, finally joined me permanently in Alabama. We have instituted firmly the ‘hold my hand’ rule when going into a store, even if Sweetie-Pie is wily and often gets away from Nana, who admittedly is not strong in the discipline department. Papa is. We’re a good team.With the two of us, things are easier, though I have to say that at times we are both wilted in the porch chairs. My hat is off to you grandparents who manage more than one.We now have Sweetie-Pie enrolled in pre-school two short days a week. That gives us time to catch our breath, unpack a box or two, while he gets time with other children.

I keep trying to find my way back to the writer that I was and the life I had envisioned, although it doesn’t seem quite as important as before.  As I read what I have written, I laugh. It is a mixture about writing and about raising a precious little one. Such is my life.

Even as Bigstreetrod was bringing more boxes into the house from the moving POD, stacking them around my desk, I said to him: “Tuesdays are going to be my days to write. They are from now on inviolable.  I just have to write to keep track of myself.”

He looks a little perplexed. “You can have Thursdays, too.” It is Thursday, so he can’t figure out why I am talking about Tuesday. I’m preparing for the closest day to come when I will have time.

This may all be a little disjointed. I originally had thirty minutes but have stretched it to an hour and a half, and I can tell I didn’t stick to any one theme. No matter. I have written and found myself, and I can breathe again. Now I rush away to pick up Sweetie-Pie from pre-school.  I’m excited as I think of the greeting I will receive, when that little boy jumps into my arms. We’ll have cookies on the way home and point out big trucks and “‘tool buses.”

I will proof this tonight, if I don’t fall asleep first. Maybe I will post it as it is.

CurtissAnn, aka Nana.

8 thoughts on “Novel Synopsis, Life, and Nana

  1. Oh Nana CurtissAnn, that story is lovely! You are making some wonderful memories with Sweetie Pie. I love that first photo, I can only assume that he is wearing Nana’s gardening hat.


  2. Hi, my daughter is 3 and tires me out!! It’s worth it though despite how tired you feel. To see them grow before your eyes is just wonderful. My daughter loves her grandparents, we don’t see them often enough as they don’t live close by.
    A lovely post & beautifully written. Made me smile


  3. He needs you. And thus you need him. I’m so glad Bigstreetrod is now by your side. You will find your way as you always have. It might not have been all roses, and I lost her at 13, but had my great-grandmother not taken me in as a baby, I don’t know where I’d have ended up. Hopefully not with my mother, who ended up losing all six of her children. He just needs you now to play cars. (Or so he thinks…)


  4. Hi CurtissAnn,

    Don’t know if you revised your post or not, but it captures a wonderful slice of your life. Congratulations on embracing the joys and not just the frustrations.

    I’m kind of relieved that you still might not entirely know who you are … I wonder if any of us ever really do!



  5. Oh, dear CurtissAnn, I have to laugh and give you a big hug. I have no grandchildren, but I can match you. My daughter moved back IN on May 1st–and is still here! lol! OK, maybe not funny every day, but in this context, pretty funny. Yes, we don’t know what will come our way. For sure. And I have tried so hard to carve out time to “finish my book.” And actually, I did tear is apart, reorder it and it’s being looked at by a publisher. So I got that far. But the battle to keep My Time as My Time really has been a bit of a struggle, because the Mother Heart (not unlike the Grandmother Heart) just wants the best for her child, regardless of how old she/he is. And this was our summer, dear. Your grandson needs you, as you know. He will thank you every day of his adult life. And it’s probably fodder for your next book, right? My Grandmother saved my butt. And you are saving his. God bless you, dearest. xoxo


  6. What beautiful writing! I remember when my youngest was two. There wasn’t enough energy in the world! And I was considerably younger then. They grow up so quickly, and she will be 18 in a little over a month, graduating next year, and off to college next fall. It doesn’t seem possible. Sometimes I just want to say, “just a little more time.” She is a competent woman ready to take on life and I know she will do a great job, but it isn’t going to be the same with no kiddos around.

    Missing you.


  7. Whew! At least you are not sick…when you have not posted or twittered anything for this long in the past, it has usually been because you’ve been sick. I was thinking about you today.

    I’m so sorry your son is now a single parent. Does he have Sweetie Pie’s Lil Sis also?

    Well, you may have less energy than you did twenty-eight years ago, but tons more wisdom, plus the experience of raising a boy to adulthood.
    And the knowledge of how fast it all zooms by.

    What a precious picture of him with the sticks, ready to do battle. LOL

    FWIW, if you want an example of how great an influence a grandma can make on her grandchild, read Sandra Lee’s (Food Network star)autobiography. Sandra only lived with her til she was five years old, but her grandma impacted her life in a profound way, planting the seeds of the wonderful career she has today.

    Stock up on energy drinks!


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