“The Power of Small Things,” column for Jan. 27, 2015

Small things can make a big difference. When a baby enters a family, for example, life changes for everyone _ parents, siblings, family pets _ even for the nana.

For the past half hour I’ve been sitting on a bean bag playing “prison guard.” To my right, the room is filled with delights: Cars, trucks, trains, books and billions of Legos.

To my left is a different kind of delight: Bunkbeds holding two small prisoners. [Read more…]

“Love Will Lift You,” column for Jan. 20, 2015

From the start, I sensed something special about him. I didn’t know he was blind and suffered cerebral palsy. Born premature, my brother spent his first months in an incubator. I was 4 years old, clueless about babies.

“What is that?” I said the day he finally came home.

“That’s your brother,” said my mother. “Call him Joe.” [Read more…]

“Waiting on Nana Call,” column for Jan. 13, 2015

Nana duty is not for sissies. It requires you to do things you once did as a mother: Feeding, tending and cleaning up after little people who seem to think they own your soul simply because, for some reason, you love them more than life.

But here’s the big difference. As a mother, you were young. As a nana, you are not.

You can tell yourself you’re still young at heart, but you cannot fool your body.  [Read more…]

“A Thank You Note to Start the Year,” column for Jan. 6, 2014

Some people are good at saying thank you. My daughter and daughter-in-law and my husband’s niece, for example. They’re the kind of people who make you feel bad about giving them a gift because you know they’ll insist on taking time out of their very full lives to write you a lovely note of thanks.

Not that saying thank you isn’t important. Of course it is. That’s why it’s one of the first things we teach our children, long before they learn to write. [Read more…]

“Scenes of our Lives,” column for Dec. 31, 2014

We’ve watched a lot of movies together, he and I. You might say it’s one of our traditions. The first film I took him to see was “The Godfather.” He was 4 months old. I figured if he got fussy, I’d either nurse him to sleep or make his dad take him outside until the credits rolled. I needn’t have worried. The boy was a born movie buff. He slept through the whole thing.

From there we progressed through “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Chariots of Fire,” “E.T.” and, OK, I’ll admit it, “Silence of the Lambs.” By then he was old enough to go to movies on his own, but didn’t mind being seen with his mom. [Read more…]

“Here’s to a Happy, Exciting and Dull New Year,” column for Dec. 23, 2014

I meant to write a Christmas letter, the kind that organized, interesting, happy people write to say they’re still organized, interesting and happy. But I kept getting distracted and pretty soon I started thinking I’d make it a New Year’s letter and pretend that was my intention all along. [Read more…]

“A Christmas Story, Old and New,” column for Dec. 16, 2014

This is a Christmas story. I’ve told it before, but Christmas stories beg to be retold time and again, lest their truth be lost to anyone, especially the teller.

Besides, Christmas stories are woven with a thread of magic that makes each new telling a bit different from the past, both in how it’s told and how it’s heard.

This is my story. But I hope in some way, it will be yours, too. [Read more…]

“A Grownup Kind of Christmas,” column for Dec. 9, 2014

If you think Christmas is just for kids, you’ve probably never had the pleasure of knowing my friend Fred. Fred loves Christmas. So do I. Maybe you do, too. But Fred takes it to a different level.

[Read more…]

“Moment by Moment ….” column for Dec. 2, 2014

Life is made of moments. Some are better than others. But they all fit together in the end. On the last day of a two-week, whirlwind, 1,500-mile road trip in sunny California, it rained.

I love rain. I took it as a parting gift. And I hated to leave, so it matched my mood. [Read more…]

“On the Road to Making Memories,” column for Nov. 25, 2014

Somewhere on the road between our home in Las Vegas, and the coast of California, where we planned to spend Thanksgiving week with our family, we stopped to eat.

The restaurant was filled with old photos and antiques, not quite a Cracker Barrel, but close. Waiting to be seated, I saw something that made me smile. [Read more…]