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Friday, January 8, 2016

A good day yesterday


I went to lunch with Beth and Ruth yesterday. We had a very nice server, who took good care of Ruth and me while we waited for Beth.  I screwed up my rudeness courage, told the server I liked her haircut and could I take a picture to show my granddaughter. She went down to camera level for the front, then the back, and told us in cosmetology terminology exactly how the cut is made. That was over my head.




She is growing out the same basic cut as Emily has, and this is its current iteration. After school I showed it to Emily, who needs a haircut. Emily would leave the long side a bit longer, but have the back cut identically. However, she is waiting for the teal to fade more so she can have it dyed purple (I think). I like the cut so much I’ll do it myself, next trip to the barber.




It’s only a week since the holidays ended, a week back to school and work. I try very hard to focus on the good and bright spots of being an old grandma in charge of two abandoned girls, and work on the hard spots in the background. Offstage. The second semester of the school year began Monday. It is going well for Emily; so well she has almost left us in spirit and is waiting for her body to transport to college, too.

I asked her jokingly if she has selected her roommate yet, and learned she is about to open that module of the Hiram website. I saw all this happening in my mind’s eye last fall. Band uniforms had to go to the cleaner after the last football game, and the dry cleaner receipt turned in. Seniors, however, had to turn in the uniform, too. I asked about the Memorial Day parade. “I won’t be marching in that!” replied the young woman who has lived and breathed marching band since I dropped her off for camp, four years ago.




But I can see the sadness index rising for Laura. She was ten when she landed here, a hardened little soul with no father, an absentee mother, the tail end of a string of siblings not much interested. I didn’t help a lot in the beginning. I treated Emily and Laura as a unit, sending them to the same summer and after school activities. Emily, of course, flourished and Laura tagged along. My great epiphany a couple of years ago sent Laura off on her own, to drama and art classes. She had the courage to try for and be accepted as a sixth grader to the jazz band.

Laura’s her own person now, with long hair of many colors, thanks to her art box of felt markers. She wears tall boots and denim jackets, and hasn’t resolved losing her first, false “boyfriend” last summer. Her father showed up for the first time in a year at Christmas and her sister is leaving in a few months. It’s tough to be fourteen. Her sad little face has come home no happier all week, and no changing it.

I climbed the many steps to Mrs. P’s art studio yesterday to fetch Laura, rounded the corner and heard peals of laughter from the studio. Mrs. P. hurried out. “I have to block you right here, while Laura finishes up. It’s a secret.” Mrs. P is half my size, and I laughed out loud. Laura came out laughing, and I got a hug. Next class is the big reveal of the fashion project they have worked on since summer. Emily and Aunt Janice are invited, too.

Laura’s Christmas blues are not banished, but they are lifting. Regular routine is a good thing, Mrs. P and her art class one of my salvations. We will work harder at happy these next several months; Emily will only be a phone call away, Laura will go to marching band camp in August and we’ll see what she thinks of being the only child.

There are no paper report cards during the year; the electronic cards were released yesterday. No matter the other issues in their lives, both these girls stay focused at school. Perhaps it’s the best constant in their lives. Each made the honor roll, with distinction. And Laura aces gym, now. It’s a long time since fifth grade, when she failed gym because she wouldn’t do push-ups.



Laura - A in gym


Emily

27 comments:

  1. It is a tough job, you are doing it well. I know I no longer have the patience. My kids would say I never had it.

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  2. The girls are so fortunate to have such a wise and understanding grandmother. I guess you'd say it's taken time, but you've really given both of them so much of yourself. You always make me wonder how I would have handled the same situation.....

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  3. The girls are so lucky to have you in their lives.

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  4. You do such good work. At a cost, and you do it anyway. Thank you.

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  5. Just gotta say it, you are a wonderful woman.

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  6. I, too, love the haircut! As for your girls, all of you have done a great job! Laura will perk up soon. Believe me! Linda@Wetcreek Blog

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  7. Be proud Grandma. Be very proud.

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    1. Do you write a blog, Marianne? I'm sure I would like to read it - but can't find a hint.

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  8. Hari om
    As 'boy-cuts' go, that is definitely tidy! Golly but these girls are a credit to your own determination and spunk, lady!!! YAM xx

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  9. I look up to you so much Joanne, truly. When my spine needs stiffening (which happens far too often) I come here and feel my resolve renewing itself. Thank you for being you. =)

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  10. I understand this tough job that you are doing. My oldest grandson is a senior this year and is planning to leave for the Marine Corps in the summer. His sister is sad but I don't think reality has really sunk in for her yet. They, too, saw their father at Christmas which brought about a bit of sadness and a bit more of 'hardened' understanding. It all makes me sad. You are doing a good job Joanne!

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  11. Wow, those reports are impressive, a reflection of your caring and their handwork. I bet Laura loves being the only child at home. I was thrilled when my older sister left.

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  12. You helped make Laura a strong young lady. Missing her sister may be difficult at first, but there are many advantages in being an only child. Most of all, she is loved and has a grandmother who is always looking out for her. She will thrive.

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  13. I like the hair, the g'daughter F. has much the same, with kind of a Ringo Starr twist.
    Admire what you're doing, and marvel. It's so much past my abilities.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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  14. I like that hair cut! I like Emily's possible choice of purple too for her next color. I bet she is counting down the days to graduation and then college when it starts. Laura might be surprised; she might really enjoy being the only child in the house, especially with Emily just being a phone call away.

    betty

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  15. Both girls should be impressed with themselves. You provided the stability and love while they applied themselves to be the best them they can be right now. I am proud of them and I only know them through your blog.

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  16. Failed gym because she wouldn't do push-ups? Ridiculous! I couldn't do a push up for a million dollars. She must have had her reasons. I feel for Laura. I'm the youngest of six and didn't have much care from the parents, though they provided us with food and a place to live. My life wasn't as hard as what your grands have been through, but I know the lack of love and the feel of being a burden, always in the way.

    Love,
    Janie

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  17. Well done, Laura and Emily! Clearly they're smart and dedicated. Take after their Grandma.

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  18. Awesome to see and read how these girls have thrived under your care. Their focus at school is really great and will stand both of them in good stead for years and years to come. I'm sure Laura will miss Emily but she now has some identity apart from big sis and should do well even if sad. It is only normal to be sad at the upcoming departure of her closest sibling. I like the haircut you've featured. I think it will look good on you and Emily both.

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  19. Really great to see how well the girls have done.
    It may be hard for a while for Laura to be an only child, but I think she will adjust well and quickly. She still has you as a constant along with her art and Emily, like you said is only a phone call away.

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  20. You are a very brave woman, Joanne - all my respect to you! And your grandchildren are lucky that they have you - with your stamina, no-nonsense attitude, your feeling heart and your dry humour!
    The haircut looks lovely - I am looking forward to the photo where you wear it too - I can imagine very well that it suits you.

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  21. You are just the best, most wonderful grandma, Joanne! I so admire you.

    The hairstyle is cute and so well done. I cut my own hair and it's always hit or miss. Mostly miss.

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  22. At 14, Laura seems well on her way to figuring out what makes her happy and to build the skills needed to navigate and manage sadness. Thanks to her Grandma.

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  23. Sounds like the story is coming up on a happy ending. Good job.

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  24. This is such a heart warming story. Best wishes to both girls.

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  25. I've said it before, you are a godsend to those girls.

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