Today is my Grandma Barb’s 84th birthday.  I woke up smiling about the fun evening we spent celebrating with her last night.

She sat at the head of the table – as always.

She ate mostaciolli until her heart was content, and then asked for “just a little bit more” – as always.

She fired off her most honest opinions, which required me to interrupt and provide necessary clarification to my wide-eyed children, “Kids, you are not allowed to say that about other people.  Ever.”

My Grandma sighed with great reluctance.  She even went so far as to agree with me last night.  Then she added a firm, “But it’s true…”

As always.

My grandma has no filter.  She gets straight to the point, without wasting time on fluffy cushions to ease the blow.  I’m a lot like my Grandma, only I have a great appreciation for accent pillows.  Carefully placed cushions deliver the hard truth with soft love.  Too much fluff feels staged and fake.  But enough soft edges put in just the right places?  Well, then you feel safe enough to kick your feet up and stay awhile.

In light of my Grandma’s birthday, I’d like to share a blog that I’ve posted before.  I have learned so much from her, and I am very lucky to have her in my life.

Here’s to keeping it real, Grams.  I love you.  And I thank you.


The Naked Truth

Posted by  on Feb 12, 2013

Ten years into parenting, you would think I’d have it all figured out.  But every day presents a new challenge, unknown territory, and foreign hurdles.  Parenting is never as black and white as what you script it to be in your head, so it’s impossible to be fully prepared.

Like when you’re eating dinner with your kids – You never expect the next innocent question out of your son’s mouth will be, “Mommy, why is ‘pussy’ a bad word?”  Nor do you envision having to tackle a question like this in front of your eight-year-old twin daughters.  You also don’t picture your husband absent from this momentus occasion due to a late appointment.

The biggest parenting moments are always surrounded by gray area.  From household to household, not one situation is ever exactly the same.  Thus, the reason there is no handbook.  You are forced to think on your feet the best you can; knowing that whatever explanation you offer is going to be followed by at least fifty “Why’s?”.  So you’d better be prepared to back-up your answer.

In moments such as these, I always head straight for the truth.  As my children discover the harsh realities of life, I prefer the information come directly from me.  I want them to learn to trust that Mom is a good resource when it comes to talking about the big issues.

So after taking a deep breath, I explained that “pussy” is an inappropriate word used to describe a girl’s private parts.  The “Why’s?” came rolling in.  I explained the specific private part that the term applied to, followed by more questions.  We had more than covered the basics, so I brought the conversation to a close.

Gabe understood more quickly than his little sisters.  I could see their little minds spinning.  They love to be in the know.  But they’re too little to understand the need for a filter or censorship.

“Girls, the p-word is just as bad as the f-word.  You are not allowed to talk about this at school.  If you do, you could get suspended,”  I warned them.

Their eyes grew wide.  Their mouths fell open.  They got the seriousness of the situation.  The discussion was finally over, much to my relief.

I know there will be more conversations like this to follow, because now I have established my credibility.  Just like my grandma did with me when I was ten – I asked her what a blow-job was, and she told me.  I have never forgotten the conversation, or the gratitude I felt when she treated me like a person instead of a porcelain doll.  To this day, I can talk to her about anything because she thought on her feet, and went straight to the truth.