Monday, June 13, 2016

Milestones ~ Part One

Milestones ~ Those Rare and Precious Moments in Life

Rose Kennedy once said, "Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments." To me milestones are more than mere moments.  Milestones mark significant points of reference in life.  When one reaches these milestones, a celebration allows for those special moments associated with the milestone to occur.  Such moments are the treasured memories that we remember long after the event is over.

 The day a child is born marks the entry of the child into his or her journey into life.  This milestone brings significant change into the lives of the parents.  The grandparent sees the birth of a grandchild as milepost that signifies that the journey though life has progressed to middle age or beyond.

The child progresses from infancy to childhood to adolescence.  The grandparent watches in awe and disbelief as all those moments go through a myriad of  transitions during the first few decades of a grandchild's life.  The moments seem to roll along with a rate of speed much faster than the grandparent can believe. 

Suddenly the toys that were such fun for the grandchildren during those golden days of childhood are gathering dust in grandma's basement.  The grandchildren are no longer interested in dolls, stuffed animals, trucks, puzzles, coloring books, children's books, and trips to the zoo.  Pancakes made in the shape of Mickey Mouse are no longer requested after sleepovers at grandma's house.  In fact, sleepovers don't even take place.  The grandchild is too busy with sports, and friends, and events, and homework to have time for grandparents anymore.

Too soon, the grandchildren have skipped over the important stepping stones of leaving grade school, entering middle school, and then entering high school.  Too soon they have driver's licenses and are dressed for proms.  Too soon they become young adults and leave high school head out into the world where they must make their own way.  

Thankfully, milestones such as high school graduation are celebrated.  It gives the grandparent a chance to stop and take a deep breath before turning to face the new direction of the life journey the dearly beloved grandchild will take as he or she sallies forth into adulthood.  The Free Dictionary so aptly defines sallying forth as "a sally into the wide world beyond his home." The grandparent recognizes the pitfalls of so much that is in the world.  They know that the dearly loved grandchild is off on a venture with an uncertain outcome.

A Family Milestone:  Regan's Graduation

This past month, I attended my oldest granddaughter's graduation from high school.  My dear, sweet Regan, a beautiful granddaughter with whom I was never able to spend enough time marked that great milestone in her life:  high school graduation.

I flew from Colorado to Utah on Sunday, May 22.  My son Ryan, aka Regan's dad, picked me up at the air port.  In no time at all, I was in the middle of preparations for Regan's graduation party that would be attended by family.  Son Ryan loves to cook, so he jumped right into making a great celebratory meal.  Once he and wife Sheridan were in the kitchen, the entire family gathered in this family's favorite gathering place:  the kitchen.

Henry, Regan, Ryan, Sheridan, Parker, & Bridger
After an evening spent enjoying the company of family while eating great food, we were all off to bed.  I spent the night in borrowed pj's since my suitcase did not arrive from Colorado when I did.  (Note to self:  When you can fit into your oldest son's pajama bottoms, it is time for a diet.  Go on a diet!)

At one o'clock in the morning, I received a call from the airline telling me that my bag had arrived in Salt Lake from the trip it had taken to LA.  Did I wish to have driver wake me up when he arrived at the house with my bag, or should he leave it on the porch?  I said to leave it on the porch.

The next morning we were all off to Weber State College in Ogden, Utah, for Regan's graduation.  Her big day had finally arrived.

We were able to capture a quick family photo of Regan with her dad and with Sheridan and Sheridan's boys Henry and Max before we entered the ceremony.

Newly graduated, Regan was hugged by her very proud papa.  That girl has always held a great big special spot in her father's heart.  What a beauty she has become.  She is also one of the sweetest girl's ever.  Congratulations, Regan.

After graduation, we all went to lunch at an Ogden favorite, Rooster's.  Lunch was hosted by Regan's mom, Stephanie.  Regan is surrounded by beautiful women: her mom and her aunt Keicha.

Regan lovingly kissing her mom and thanking her for the party.

Regan with her mom Stephanie and her father Ryan.

Parker's Milestone: He publishes an article in a magazine.

While we were at the graduation party, I learned that grandson Parker, Regan's big brother, who just finished his second year at Utah State University, published his first magazine article in Outdoor Utah Adventure Guide 2016.  Parker, an outdoor enthusiast, who loves to hunt, fish, hike, and camp, is also studying to become a journalist.  His goal is to become a photo journalist.  He had landed a few gigs writing up coverage of lacrosse games for a lacrosse magazine during the last semester of school.  Then, he was able to write an article that was published in this travel magazine.   I am so proud of him!

The article, "The Canyon that Hides It All," is about Logan Canyon.  He did an excellent job writing about this beautiful canyon that is near Utah State where he goes to college and near Bear Lake where he spent so much of his childhood at a wonderful home right on the lake that once belonged to his paternal great-grandmother.  Parker is working in Bear Lake this summer.

This spunky, good natured, and good hearted young man, ended his second year of college by living in a campground in Logan Canyon.  He had a roommate situation that didn't work out at the very end of the semester.  It was too late in the semester to find alternative housing, and being the adventuresome young man that he is,  he lived in his car and in a campground for the last few weeks of school.  During the day, he spent many hours in the library studying.  His grades reflected his commitment to study and his hard work.  He tells me he is keeping a journal of all of his adventures.
Home Sweet Home
Parker with Regan's graduation flowers in front of his trusty Subaru.

Graduation from high school is a milestone that marks a juncture in life.  It is a turning point.

This grandmother has seen two grandchildren reach that milestone.  Next year two more will, God willing, also reach that rite of passage that marks the end of childhood and adolescence and marks the entry into adulthood.  I truly don't know where the time goes.

While I was in Utah, I was able to spend a bit of time with daughter Keicha also.  I was anxious to see her garden and some of the improvements on her home she has been making.  The rose bush I bought her to as a remembrance of Julie was in full bloom.

Easy Does It
Julie's memorial rose.

May can be a very difficult month for me.  
It was good to be with family marking milestones and building new memories.

I thought of how much Julie would have loved to see Regan become such a beautiful young woman.  
It really doesn't seem that long ago since Regan was a baby and Julie was feeding her a summertime supper at Great Grandma and Great Grandpa's house. 

During those milestone moments, such as graduations, I don't express my sorrow over Julie missing another important event in the lives her "true loves," her nieces and nephews.  

Sadly, I do experience a deep grief in the midst of joy, but the joy reminds me that we have much to celebrate in the accomplishments of the living.

Milestones are to be marked with joy, thanksgiving, gratitude and celebration.

I carry such hope for my grandchildren.
While they do sallie forth into ventures with unknown outcomes, they are only doing what all of us did as we moved into adulthood.

 I see great resilience in the two grandchildren whom have moved forward into adulthood.
For that I am grateful.
Resilience is such an important trait to cultivate.
I see their resilience in the way they approach life.
They demonstrate confidence, intelligence, good social skills, and determination.
They are hard workers.
They put others before themselves.


On Regan's graduation day, my heart is full of joy and anticipation for her as she steps forward to enter into the next phase of life.  

I see her kind and generous heart.
I know of her success in high school.
I know she is hard worker.
She has what it takes to realize her dreams.
She will take a gap year before starting college.
She will be teaching gymnastics to younger children in the gymnastics school where she once trained.
She will also be working in the family business:  Hip and Humble.


Julie left a message to us all.
It was found in her apartment.
I know this is her wish for Regan and for all of us:

I pray my grandchildren know that this is what I also want for them:  Live well.

You are greatly loved.
You are surrounded by family who loves you and will support you with love and encouragement when you need it.
You have a legacy of love to build on.
You are in my daily prayers.

What a joy it is to mark the milestones in the lives of those whom we love so deeply.
Congratulations, REGAN!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Traveling Woman

Without warning, I disappeared from the blogosphere in late May.  Even though I knew I'd be traveling for the next few weeks, I thought I'd be checking in on blogs and even writing a few posts on my own blog.  That hasn't happened.  I've been so busy that I took an unannounced blog break.  I hope to be fully back to reading and writing blog posts soon.

Since May 22, I have been on an amazing journey.  I'll give you a few of the highlights.


On May 23, my oldest granddaughter graduated from high school in Ogden, Utah.  Not only did I get to attend her graduation which marks a milestone in her life, I also was able to spend time with my oldest son and his family and with my oldest daughter and her daughter. My time with my Utah family is always so precious to me because I only see them once or twice a year.  

                                               Ryan and Regan

I flew back to Colorado on May 26th so that my husband and I could drive to the Western Slope of Colorado to where my mother lives so we could be with her on her 100th birthday. What a milestone this day was for my mother and her family.  I was blessed beyond measure to spend this day with her and with the family that gathered to mark this momentous occasion.  I promise I will write more about this day later.

                                                   Keicha, Mother, and Sally

A Journey

My husband and I then drove back to our side of the mountains, a journey that takes nearly six and a half hours, to return home on Monday, May 30.  We then flew out of the airport in Denver on June 1 to New Orleans.  I had a conference here this past weekend.  The rest of the time, we have eating our way through New Orleans.  Thankfully, we are also doing a lot of walking.  This is our first trip to New Orleans.  We have fallen in love with this amazing city!  

We return home on Wednesday, June 8th.  Until then, I will be on a blog break.  I hope to catch up with you all soon.