when did Moppie became Biya?

Our grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us,
as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings,
spouses, friends–and hardly ever our own grown children.

Ruth Goode

(the Mayor clownig around / Julie Cook / 2019)

The best-laid plans, right?

Somewhere between having kids and by the time those kids become “grown”…
the notion of having grandchildren, and becoming a grandparent, trickles
ever so sweetly into one’s thoughts.

And maybe even more so if you yourself had had a special relationship with your own grandparents.

Of course, you most certainly need to have some time in between your children leaving the nest
and their actually growing into their own before you can even allow yourself to
entertain the thought of more wee ones in your life!
But the older you get, the more those types of thoughts invade both your mind and heart.

And so all this grandparent talk came racing to the forefront of my thinking recently,
in a rather poignant way, when I was talking with a new acquaintance.
This new friend reminded me of what it means to want to be a grandparent.

This friend was recounting the day doctors had told her she had stage 4 breast cancer,
kidney cancer as well as liver cancer….giving her only 2 weeks to live.

The short-long of this story, of which was about 6 years ago or so,
and as we now see has had a truly a miraculous ending…is not what one might imagine.

When told you only have two weeks to live…I’m not certain what your first thoughts
are suppose to be.

Do you panic?
Do you get mad?
Are you resigned?
Or, in the case of my friend, do you think of what might have been?

When my own mother was told such at the age of 53, her first response was that she
really had wanted to play tennis again.
But that was pretty much my mom…

So what this new friend of mine had told me, that which was her initial thought after hearing such news,
was actually quite telling.

This was at a time in her life when her sons were still relatively young and just entering college.
The thought of them marrying and having their own children was a very distant fantasy.
Yet my friend revealed that when the doctors told her she had but weeks to live,
her first and only thought was…
“and to think, all I’ve ever wanted was to be a grandmother…”

And so yes, there is indeed something truly magical about being a grandparent.

I was fortunate in that I knew both of my grandmothers and one grandfather,
a man who I lost way too soon…when I was but only 7.

To this day, I cherish the memories I forged with each of them…
as they left important imprints on my very being.
They helped to mould me into who I am today.
But perhaps no more so than that of my grandfather as he continues to loom large and lovingly
in the memories of
the 7-year-old little girl who remains in my psyche.

And so one thing we know about grandparents is that grandparents have grandparent names.

My grandparents were known as Mimi, Nany, and Pop.

My dad was later ‘Pops’ to our son as was his brother, my uncle, to his own grandkids.

So when the time came in our own lives, when my husband and myself were to become grandparents,
the formation of names became a hot topic.

Our son wanted us to have more traditional names—names he was familiar with—those of
“grandmother and papa” since “pops” was a bit too sacred for him.

I, on the other hand, wanted to be more unique…
Names with character and staying power.
So I thought “Moppie and Poppie” sounded really cute.

Not too dorky or silly but really grandparent-like.

Our son hated both names but I stuck with my choice…
Despite the little fact that my husband constantly kept falling back on what he had heard his
own father called forever… “papa”

Still, I was determined.
I was going to be Moppie by gosh.

That was until the day I was actually called ‘Biya’ and my husband was called ‘Da’ by the one person
who the names were to be the most pertinent.

What the heck??
I get ‘Da’ as that is connected to what the Mayor calls her dad, DaDa—so it makes sense the older of the
dadas would be Da.
But Biya???

How and where she came up with Biya is beyond my soul.

When they call us on the phone and when she hears my voice—
it is immediately a constant shouting of BIYA, BIYA, BIYA…

My grandmother, Nany, got her name because her young nephew, my dad’s cousin, couldn’t say
‘Aunt Annie’—-so a butchered form came out as ‘nany’—and so Nany stuck.
And thus for about 70 years of her 86 year long life, she was Nany and Nany only to all of
us who knew and loved her.

But that still didn’t answer my wonderment as to how Moppie became Biya…

So when in doubt I did what we all do…I googled.

The word Biya is actually a real word.
Who knew??

It is Arabic in origin.
And it is a current word in both Pakistan and India…Sanskrit actually…
a word that means ‘goodness’, ‘courageous’ or more importantly, ‘gift to God’…

So in her 18-month-old infinite wisdom, The Mayor has deemed that I shall be of goodness and
a gift to God…

I’ll take that name in a heartbeat and I pray that I will be able to live up to this
most precious gift she’s given me.
Because she and her brother, the New Sheriff, are the best gifts my life could have ever received.

(The Maror showing a little love to her Sheriff)

(the Sheriff enjoying his first beach trip)

(the Mayor sporting shades for a day out at the beach)

Sun, moon and the love of a grandfather

“There are fathers who do not love their children;
there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson.”

Victor Hugo

(an older moon shot I’ve used before / Julie Cook / 2016)

I know that yesterday I had given us, or perhaps actually issued is a better word,
a laundry list of “issues” that we were going to need to play catch up with….
all sorts of pressing issues that had come down the pike while I was busy
with all things snow….

And yes, we shall indeed visit those issues…however, I was called into active duty, unbeknownst to my best laid plans, with active duty in my case being
the emergency holiday help at my husband’s store…

So now that I’m finally home, it’s late and I’m trying to prepare some sort of
hot meal of sustenance and get a post ready for tomorrow (which is now today if
you’re reading this), so I think we’ll hold up
on those more pressing topics until I have the proper time to do them justice….

And as life would have it, something interesting arrived in yesterday’s mail
that is now taking precedence.

You may recall that the I have a friend at Plough Publishing House who actually
happened upon my blog about a year ago or so.

That’s how we met.

She has been sending me sample copies of books that she thinks that I will enjoy…
and in turn will perhaps share with others….of which I have as time has allowed.

The small package that arrived in yesterday’s mail was one of those books.

A book that probably has made a bigger impact on my heart than my publisher friend
would have imagined.

Those of you who know me or have been reading this blog since this time last year…
know that I was knee deep in caring for my dad and stepmother.

Dad had an aggressive form of bladder cancer…he was diagnosed in late August and died
in March. Both he and my stepmother had also been diagnosed with varying degrees of
dementia quite sometime before that…
so needless to say we were just all in the middle of a downward spiral is putting it

It was a hard road for us all…with dad being an amazing example
quiet acceptance, perseverance and fortitude.

This time last year we already had 24 hour care as well as Hospice care…
plus I was driving over each and every day.

The last time dad had actually gotten out of the bed was on Christmas day when we
wheeled him to the table to enjoy Christmas dinner.
Naturally he didn’t have much of an appetite but he was most keen for the dessert.
So dessert it was.

Dad and my son had a very special bond.
My son was my dad’s only grandchild and Dad was more kid than dad…
so needless to say, they stayed in cahoots most of my son’s growing up.

(Christmas day 2016, Brenton and Dad)

My dad was always graciously generous to his grandson and to say that my son
was dad’s partner in crime was to have been putting it mildly.

I won’t go on as it seems I’ve written about all of this before and if I do go on,
I’ll simply loose focus over my original intent of this post and
cry more than I already am.

The book my friend sent me is actually a children’s book.
And I imagine it came my way because I will become a grandmother soon.
Yet the tale of the book resonated so much with me, not so much because I am
a soon to be grandparent,
but rather because it is a tale about a grandson and his grandfather.

It is a book written by a German author, Andreas Steinhofel and illustrated by a
German artist Nele Palmtag—and yet the tale is quite universal.

Max’s grandfather is in a nursing home because he has what is surmised to be
Alzheimers or some other form of dementia….’forgetting’ being the key word.
And nine year old Max, who adores his grandfather and misses their life together
before the nursing home, formulates a plan to “spring” his grandfather from the
nursing home…
in essence a plan to kidnap his grandfather.

And in so doing another member of the nursing home escapes by accident.
A long and spindly woman who is in search of the sun…as she dances
behind Max and his grandfather on their misadventure.

The tale is not a long read—-
I read it in less than an hour’s time.
Yet it is a deep read by adult standards.
It is funny, it is cute, it is painful, and it is very very real.

I think my 29 year old son would appreciate the story much more than his 9
year old self would have—as he now has the hindsight of understanding
Max’s deep longing.

I know that if my son could have kidnapped his “Pops” from that hospice bed he
would have….and off on one more adventure they would have gone.

But in this tale of last adventures, Max’s grandfather reassures Max, who is now desperately afraid that his grandfather, in his forgetfulness, will forget
he loves Max…explains to Max that he will always be there, loving Max,
even if it appears he has “forgotten.”

He explains to Max that when we look up into the sky we know the moon is there
because we can see it. Yet during those nights that the sky appears to be moonless,
which is only because of how the sun is shining on the opposite side of the moon—
the moon is indeed still there—just as his love will always be there for Max,
even if Max won’t be able to directly see it….

After finishing the story last night, I could not recount the tale to my husband
without crying…finding myself just having to stop talking as I allowed the tears
to wash down my face.

The story as read for a child would be fun, poignant as well as mischievous…
As for any adult touched by the stealing effects of memory loss or just the loss of
a loved one in general, will find the tale heartwarming and very poignant.

Just as I now fondly recall a life that once was…

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.

Psalm 143:8

Happy Father’s Day to the men in my life

“A father acts on behalf of his children by working, providing, intervening, struggling, and suffering for them. In so doing, he really stands in their place. He is not an isolated individual, but incorporates the selves of several people in his own self. Every attempt to live as if he were alone is a denial of the fact that he is actually responsible. He cannot escape the responsibility, which is his because he is a father. This reality refutes the fictitious notion that the isolated individual is the agent of all ethical behavior. It is not the isolated individual but the responsible person who is the proper agent to be considered in ethical reflection.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

To my husband–on the momentous occasion of our son’s wedding. It seems as if it was just yesterday that it was you who was teaching Brenton how to tie a tie. . .


To my dad, aka Pops—without who, so much in our lives would never have been. . .
(Dad in Savannah at Brenton’s Rehearsal dinner)

And to my Godpoppa, who without his ever constant vigil of love and direction and lots of redirection–without which I may have never have been. . .
(The Very Rev. David B. Collins, dean emeritus of the Cathedral of St Philip, at Brenton’s rehearsal dinner)

Thank you to the men in my life and a rousing HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the dads out there!!!

This time I don’t think chocolate will make it better…..


“Happy Father’s day! It’s not much…”

“OOOO Chocolate!!” (coming from a beaming face of an 85 year old)

“OH my Lord, Dale you can’t eat that, remember what the doctor said…”

“Dad why aren’t you taking your medicine?”

“Can I have the chocolate now?”

“Dale, my gosh…no you can’t have the chocolate…remember what the doctor said??!!”

“I thought he said that if I started feeling better in a couple of days I could go back to eating what I want.”

“Dad you have to go to the gastroenterologist on Tuesday.”

“No, he said if I felt better, I could………”

“My lord Dale! NO! Right here in front of Julie, I’m telling you……”

And so went the last visit to Dad’s.

“Can’t you tell he’s lost weight?!”


Dad, how much weight have you lost?”

“I think about 10 lbs.”


“None of his clothes fit. I need to take him to get all new pants”

“Well had I known he needed pants, I’d have gotten him pants instead of the movies and chocolate….”

“He won’t take his medicine, he’s not helping himself”

“Dad, why aren’t you taking your pills like you suppose to?”

Blank stare

“Dad do you want to go to a home?”

“Julie must be a fly on the wall here Dale—she’s simply repeating what I told you this morning…”

And he finally turns and looks at me….

“I won’t leave this house but in a box”

“Well Dad, you’re working your way to that box very quickly”

Jump forward to yesterday.

The phone rings

“Happy New Years!”

“Happy New Years to you too Dad, but I think it’s the 4th of July”

“Oh yeah, 4th of July”

“I wish I could have spoken with you yesterday but seems our phone wasn’t working”
(note, I call often only to get no answer…if he’s eating, wobbling to the bathroom, out to a movie, or watching the latest breaking all day news coverage, he won’t answer)

“Why wasn’t your phone working?”

“Seems someone forgot to pay the bill”


“Don’t fuss at me, it’s all taken care of…”

“Dad, how did this happen again?”

Don’t fuss at me, Gloria’s son and daughter-n-law came over yesterday and fixed it.”

“What do you mean they fixed it?”

“She helped me set it all up where it just gets pulled out automatically”

“Dad, I thought that’s what you were already doing. Dad it’s not their place to help you do that–its mine—Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Please don’t fuss at me…”

“Dad I’m not fussing—put Gloria on the phone”

“No, both of you will fuss at me”

“Dad, nobody is fussing, I just want to talk with Gloria”

“hello, what? I’ve been sick”

“….they just showed up, when they couldn’t get us on the phone or my, what do you call it?… cell phone. And it’s a good thing; they got the phone mess straightened out. It just had me all upset again and plus I’m sick. I told them you’ve been to sort his files and they’re in a mess again. I told them about you going to the bank and we thought things would get better…”

Much more conversation— “…Gloria, what about maybe assisted living?”

“Yes, I think that would be good– but I don’t like the one’s with elevators, those big high-rises. Something cute, like a little bungalow. I don’t want to live in the middle of Buckhead or Sandy Springs.”

“But that’s where ya’ll are now…”

“Well, I don’t know…”

I’ll drive up on Tuesday, is that okay”

“Oh yes Tuesday will be fine”

“I’ll work on his files and the papers—plus maybe we need to really talk about getting help—the house, the yard, it’s too much….”

“Yes, that will be wonderful”

And so began and continued the latest conversation.

He’s getting worse–more so mentally, not so much physically—but for this latest and should have been avoided bout of colitis…. The Alzheimer’s? Is that it? He just wants to be like a little kid—being catered to constantly. Never leaving the house or even getting up out of his chair. He’s now even shaving in his chair. Ugh….

“Hi Dad, what are you doing?”

“Oooo, I’m watching Flash Gordon!”

“The 1930’s flash Gordon Dad?”

“Oooo yes!” Complete with grin…
And he refuses to discuss moving, my taking over finances, or anything that is along the lines of grown-up responsibilities…telling my cousin the financial manager…”I don’t want Julie involved”

Why is that? Is it because he doesn’t trust me? Doesn’t want his “little girl” doing such? I don’t know. I’m almost 54, I think I’m grown up enough to help.

“Dad, have you spoken with your accountant yet?”

“No, but I’m working on it”

“Dad, you’ve been working on it”

“Don’t fuss at me”

And so it goes….I’ve tried stepping back—swooping in to tidy up and fix the disasters, little by little—getting things to a point of rolling along again, then BAM, he’s back in another pickle… the latest in an on-going litany of perdiciments. Bemoaning that everyone is fussing at him and to just leave him alone.
It is time to do and say the things he doesn’t want me to say and do…he refuses to leave the house. The house is too much. Even if there was a “sitter” who came in daily or even was there 24/7—there is still the maintenance of the 60 year old house, the leaks, the termites, the basement, the attic, the yard, the encroaching and changing growth of the city…. I don’t live there so I can’t just pop over everyday to check on them. If something happened, it’d take over an hour, with good traffic on the interstates, for me to get to them.

We need to sell the house and they need to move to a small assisted living community.
Or so I think that is the best idea. The most cost effective— or is it? What do I know?

There are no brothers or sisters to help in any of this—just me…and I don’t really know what I’m doing. They have been living very independent lives. My mom died almost 30 years ago and he and Gloria have been married almost 20 years…. it’s just that he’s stopped being a grown man—preferring to not be dad or pops…but a little boy who just wants life to be light, happy and continuously carefree. Which would be fine if he was willing to turn loose of all responsibilities concerning finances, allowing me to help—help paying the bills, etc.…

He’s my dad and I’ve never told him how things were going to be. Oh I’ve suggested strongly but not the “put the foot down you’re going to do as I say or else” kind of telling him what do to –because—he is my dad—you know, the dad who is the one who calls the shots, not the daughter…

I know he doesn’t want to leave the house. He’s lived in it since 1960. Gloria was good to come into a house that had the ghost of another woman. She’s made some changes but it’s still not the kind of house she ever wanted…but she knew he wouldn’t leave.

However now, I think there’s no choice.

I’ll go Tuesday and we’ll see.

I suddenly have a headache. This entire week of rain and gray gloomy skies has not helped how I’m now feeling today about all of this……the sun would at least help me feel a little hopeful.