Our five-year-old grandson Noah Paul suddenly became attached to a Wonder Crew Super Buddy Doll that his mom got him last year. He named him Baby Will after a friend's older brother. Baby Will originally came dressed in a red shirt and pants with matching cape and mask. Recently my daughter found a set of boy pajamas that came with tiny orange slippers. He also got a zip front hoodie, pretend earphones and backpack containing a little water bottle and cell phone. Noah tells me that I am Baby Will's grandma and that he is just too young to go to Primrose School, so he stays home. Baby Will sleeps with him and is often included in activities he does at home.
This reminded me of my son Pete's doll, Baby Joey (made by Fischer-Price), who came dressed in jeans, a baseball jacket and blue sneakers that tied. He had a lot of fun with him when he was Noah's age. One Christmas, the girls received Cabbage Patch dolls from their grandparents. Peter begged for one, so we returned a toy we had purchased and traded it in for a Cabbage Patch doll. The three of them player endlessly with these new babies, pretending and making up stories.
Noah and I talk about all the things you need to do for a baby (feeding, changing, bathing, etc.) He likes to tell me that he rocks Baby Will to sleep. Lena has a very realistic baby doll with a weighted bottom that she named Witten after tight end Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys. He wears three-month baby clothes, including Dallas Cowboys onesies. Noah joins in when she plays with her doll, now that he has one of his own. It's as much fun for us as it is for them!
Recently Andy and I marked our 50th wedding anniversary. We were celebrated with all three of our offspring and their families, as well as my sister and her husband and my nephew Doug and his family during a great trip to Nashville and Franklin, TN.
Andy and I were quite different in many ways, but when you're young and in love, these things seem unimportant. I was a pediatrician's daughter from Ottawa Hills, an upscale area surrounded by Toledo, and he was the son of Polish immigrants who had come to America when he was thirteen. He was Catholic and I was Lutheran. I know my parents immediately liked Andy, but they may have wondered how this would work. We were young (24 and 26) when we wed. I was a fifth grade teacher and Andy was an engineer with Manville Corporation.
Then Andy was transferred to Denver, CO, where his company had relocated. It was the first of a dozen moves that took us around the country, from Denver to the outskirts of Philadelphia, to Williamsburg, VA, back to the Philadelphia area, to Delaware and finally to Texas. Like many families, we have had our share of ups and downs, including job losses and new opportunities, adolescent travails, the painful loss of family members and friends and health issues for both of us as we aged. On the plus side, we have three great kids, fulfilling jobs, beloved pets and wonderful friends. Our move to Texas brought us close to our daughters and three grandchildren, which makes us happy every day.
Some may wonder what keeps a couple together for five decades. I believe that love, patience and tolerance has a lot to do with it. Sure, there are little things that drive each other crazy, but you learn overlook them to keep the peace. Giving one another space and flexibility to pursue their interests is important, too. In the end, it all seems to go by in the blink of an eye. If we're lucky, there will be many years ahead to enjoy the blessings of life.
"Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky."
Rainer Maria Rilke
The Barabasz/Francis/Blokzyl families packed in as many activities as possible during the month of December.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.