Skip to main content

Raising Jake

             Jacob’s mommy needed a babysitter for the next eighteen months while she returned to college for an advanced degree, and I was two months into a hard-earned retirement and wasn’t very excited about this request.

My baby grandson was five months old, so he couldn’t talk, couldn’t crawl, and couldn’t stop filling his diaper.  Up to now, his life had been spent eating, sleeping, and smiling at everyone around him.  If I couldn’t take care of him, the alternative was to send him to a daycare.

I had announced my retirement after thirty-seven years in education. I took the engraved clock I was given as a memento for all my dedication (it has never worked and only gathers dust), and was looking forward to doing nothing but recovering my health and sanity. I suffered from a nervous tic in my right eye, a compulsive eating disorder, and work-induced PTSD. I no longer smiled nor slept and my blood pressure read like a Texas Lotto billboard. 

I don’t know who needed who more, but while I figured it out, I decided to help with Jake.  

For the next twelve months, I ditched my executive suits for Capri’s and Wal-Mart sweat pants. My power lunches downgraded to diet frozen dinners and PBJ’s, and I spent many happy hours at McDonald’s and the neighborhood park.

After years studying all about learning theories, educational innovations, and other academic mumbo-jumbo, it was time to put it into practice.  

When he wasn’t eating, sleeping, or filling his diaper, Jake and I read.  We started with one-word books and soon progressed to the peek-a-boos and the kind you press a button and it makes noise.

We explored everything both indoors and outside, and long before he could talk, we conversed.  He pointed to things when I asked him questions.  He went and got objects when I asked him for them.

He learned to crawl reaching for his favorite books, and he learned to stand picking out a book off his book shelf.  Once he learned to walk, he would toddle over to me with armloads of books he wanted us to read. He also learned to sing and dance to his grandma’s favorite music videos.  

At the end of one year, it was time to go our separate ways. I hated saying goodbye to Jacob, but he is very social and needed kids his own age.  I needed folks a little closer to mine. I was still available if he needed me, but we needed to send him to daycare.

Before we parted, he told me I was his best friend (and I was probably his first), but there will be many more friends in his life. I will always count him as one of mine.  The year I spent raising Jake changed me forever.


  1. I could just see you reading to Jake and playing at the park with him. Please keep your stories coming. I do so enjoy them!

  2. Thats my boy. Just like somebody very wise and very........old told me. Quality time is what counts not quantity.

    1. That's my boy - thank you, Joseph. I love you too, son.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt diffe

Dating Challenged

I stink at dating – always have.   I sputter.   I hyperventilate.   I fail miserably every time. I blame a pathetically underdeveloped gene that got little use before I married in my early twenties, then atrophied, gathering dust and rust, until I became single again in my fifties.   I decided to use this defect to my advantage when I needed to do some investigative reporting a few years back.   While on a newspaper writing assignment on Boomer-aged dating, I sacrificed my dignity and my vanity for the sake of the story (and I got several). Thank goodness, HoneyBunch saved me from all this when we married.  (He comes up with the best dates.) I’ve decided I will “show you mine if you show me yours.”   I will swap dating horror stories with you, but you have to promise to play along. The trick here is to tell about your worst date in 25 words or less.   You must keep it clean and you cannot name names. Our little contest will run only this week and before my next blogger posting.   Me

Twelve Female Hero Authors Who Influenced Me to be an Author

In honor of Women’s History Month, I decided to share twelve female authors who changed my life forever and who influenced me to try my hand at writing. Some are not widely popular so you might want to try them out. 1.    Charlotte Bront é – English – Her plotting and characters - Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester – are immortal.  2.    Louisa May Alcott – American – I loved how she created a family of Little Women that reminded me of my sisters.  3.    Jane Austen – English – Another author who knew how to build immortal characters. Two words:  Mr. Darcy. Two more words:  hubba hubba. 4.    Emily Dickinson – American - What a poet! Her innovation was pooh-poohed at first, but now we owe her for breaking all those punctuation barriers. 5.    Beverly Cleary – American – She created a little girl in Ramona that reminded me of me when I was a little girl.  I wish I had met Ms. Cleary’s books sooner instead of when I was in my 30’s. 6.    Judy Blume – American - He