AJ, how nice of you to have me here today. And although I want to promote my book that released yesterday, I also want to talk with you about something uppermost in my mind, or rather someone: Grandchildren. Let me see, where did I put that picture album? AJ…AJ, don’t run off…
I love that my grandchildren are so smart. They’ve taught me a lot about life. Let me briefly explain. Here are life’s axioms as illustrated by my grandchildren.
We all want to be loved. My eldest grandchild, Tim, is twenty-four (How that happened, I’ve yet to figure out. I mean, I’m only twenty-nine). He’s single and looking. He’s in heaven when he meets someone he hopes is “the one” and destroyed when things don’t work out. This licensed electrician longs to be loved.
Just because things start out rough, doesn’t mean they won’t turn out great. Josh was diagnosed with ADD/HDD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder and a host of other things as a first grader. That kid could drive you up a wall quicker than anything. He WAS a handful! Teachers were known to break down and cry when they found out he was assigned to their class. Today he’s a junior in college, majoring in Art and Photography. He does volunteer work at a local retirement home; the elderly love his gentle ways and goofy humor.
Your life is enriched by reading. Eleni was born premature. When she entered school, teachers said she was slow. Her mother and I read to her, instilled the love of books and taught her libraries were magical places. By the age of ten, she was in love with reading. She’ll be a senior in high school in the fall and she’d sooner curl up with a good book than anything. An honor roll student, she’s already been accepted to Purdue. She’ll email me a list of books she’d like to read, and my Visa and I will make an online trip to Amazon. Eleni loves to learn through reading.
We have to love winning and seek to excel. That’s what drives us. Ryan lives to win, be it board games, football, soccer or band, where he’s first chair trumpet. We were playing Scrabble one day when Ryan placed the tiles “Q” and “Z” on the board and began counting his points. “Wait,” I asked, “what is QZ?” He heaved a sigh as if to imply I was a real doofus. Then he said it was the chemical symbol for the reaction of lemon juice and sugar. I narrowed my eyes. “Wait, that’s lemon-aide.” His eyes sparkled, and he nearly toppled out of the chair, giggling.
We have to have a goal. Gavin was born with the biggest feet I’ve ever seen on a newborn. He weighed ten pounds three ounces, and I swear five pounds of that was feet! He seemed clumsy, gangly. He couldn’t run without tripping over them. Yet he wanted to play baseball. He simply loved the game. As soon as he’d wolf down his breakfast, he’d be out in the back yard, pitching the ball or batting. Today his little league team plays in the Maryland State Championships. He’s had several grand slams this season. He’s already learned the value of setting a goal and working hard to achieve it.
Get over yourself. We are the way we are, accept it and move on. Our Lauren was born with her right arm ending an inch below the elbow joint. She only has one hand. Yet she swims, does gymnastics, rides and grooms horses, and tap dances. When she performs ballet on stage at her dance recitals, she is grace, strength and guts personified…and there’s not a dry eye in the house.
I think children bring so much to our lives.
They can bring a delightful element to our stories, too. In my debut book, Storm’s Interlude, Storm has three things he loves: Sunny, his twin sister, who’s dying of leukemia, his three-year old nephew, Sawyer, and the Triple-S, a ranch in Texas he’s inherited from his Native American father. Enter his twin sister’s new nurse, Rachel; a woman Storm, for his own reason, nicknames Mouse. I love strong women who turn adversities into advantages. Rachel has recently ended a romance with an abusive man. She’s determined never to get into that kind of relationship again. With that set-up, I’d like to share this excerpt:
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He hunkered in front of the child. “Want to ride with me for a while? We’ll go check on those new mustangs.”
“Yeah! Can I go wif Unkie Storm, Mommy?” The child was doing his happy dance.
“You’ll have to put on dry clothes. Jeans and a t-shirt.” Sunny was breathless as she collapsed onto a chaise lounge. “Whew, I’m tired.”
“You rest. I’ll get him dressed. Come on, partner.” Storm spared Rachel an irritated glance. “I hope you haven’t overextended my sister. She’s out of breath.”
“She just swam her first lap across the pool. Naturally, she’s out of breath.”
He grabbed Rachel’s arm and yanked her to him. “Laps? You have my sick sister swimming laps? Are you nuts?”
She winced at the pain. Her heart was beating like a bass beat on a rap song. She didn’t know if it was anger, fear or leftover desire from earlier this morning. Whichever, she didn’t like it. Her gaze went to his calloused hand squeezing her arm and then quickly swept to his hard, black eyes. “Kindly remove your hand.”
When it tightened, she glanced at Sawyer who had crawled onto his mother’s lap. For his sake, she whispered, “Not in front of the child.”
Storm’s dark eyes blinked twice and his grip loosened. He turned to his nephew. “Are you ready to get dry clothes on, buddy?”
“Are you being damned bossy to Wachel again?” Sawyer’s eyes were big as he cowered against his mommy.
“Sawyer Dalton Brentwood!” Sunny shook a finger at her son in admonition.
Storm hunkered down again in front of the boy. “It’s alright, sister. I was being damned bossy. Don’t growl at him.” He reached out to take Sawyer’s hand. The child pulled back. “I’m sorry if Unkie Storm scared you.”
“You haf’ta say ‘sowwy’ to Wachel.” Sawyer crawled off his mother’s lap and ran to Rachel, wrapping his little arms around her knees.
Storm stood and sighed, his hands on his hips. “You’re right, partner. Rachel, I’m sorry I snapped at you. I’ve always protected Sunny and, well, I’m just worried about her.”
“That’s okay.” When she had him alone, she’d tell him she didn’t like his grabbing her in anger. She’d tell him how she saw it as abuse. Not now in front of the child, but soon. She refused to put up with abuse from another man. One trip down that road had been enough.
“Now, kiss and make up.” Sunny beamed a mischievous smile.
Sawyer clapped his hands. “Yeah, Unkie Storm, kiss Wachel. I kissed her before. It was fun. Go ‘head. She don’t bite.”
Storm chuckled. “No, but I might.”
A duet of “Kiss her, kiss her,” erupted from Sunny and Sawyer.
Storm rolled his eyes and stepped closer.
Rachel shook her head. “No.”
He cupped her face in his hands, his eyes locked on hers and he lowered his head. Warm lips pressed a kiss to her forehead. She reached up and placed her hands on his forearms, torn between pushing him away and pulling him closer. He laid his forehead against hers. “I’m sorry I was so rough earlier.”
Perhaps now was the time to tell him how she felt, when he seemed open and receptive. “I don’t like abusive men. They frighten me. I avoid them at all costs.”
Storm went still, a muscle bunched in his cheek. His voice barely a whisper when he spoke, a whisper so sensually tender it spun a web of privacy around them as if they were the only two souls in the vast, beautiful hill country of Texas. “You think I could be abusive?” He stepped closer so their thighs touched. Her stomach fluttered in response.
Their eyes locked. Their breaths mingled. His one hand lightly stroked her neck. Warmth rushed through her. “Never, honey. Especially, never to you. I don’t abuse my animals and I don’t abuse women. God treasures both, and so do I.” He cupped her face. “I’m finding I treasure you.” His gaze swept to her open mouth. “Treasure you more than I have a right to, my sweet mouse.” He brought his mouth to hers and showed her how sweetly gentle and tender he could be.
“Wow, Unkie Storm, you kissed her a weally long time. You must be weally, weally sowwy.”
Please visit me sometime at my blog, Vintage Vonnie