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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Anniversary Blogfest: Judy Alter


My mixed-blessing summer
All the long school year, I walked across the street at three in the afternoon to pick up my kindergartener grandson, Jacob. I loved the way he would hug his teacher and get a hug in return. Then he’d tuck his hand in mine, because we don’t cross the street without holding on—particularly with all the crazy parents driving and breaking all kinds of safety rules in their haste to get their darlings. On pleasant days, other children sometimes stopped for a few minutes of wild play with Jacob. While they chased and tackled each other, I visited with their parents. Then it was inside and the usual question, “What do you want for a snack?” Once beyond that, I’d announce it was time for homework, and Jacob would regularly say, “I want to do it at my house tonight.” I would explain that it was a big help to his parents if we did it before they left work, and I held firm. Only after homework could Jacob wander out to play with my dogs or turn on the TV until his mom arrived, usually by 4:30 but sometimes as late as eight.

My summer was a vacation from Jacob—a decidedly mixed blessing. I missed him terribly, and I had a cupboard full of uneaten granola bars and a fridge of fruit yogurt. But I had those lovely long afternoons all to myself. I wrote, committing 40,000 words to paper in July alone, although I’m a sporadic writer—I write in bursts, two hours at the most, sometimes twice a day but sometimes only once. I read mysteries, though not nearly as much as I would have liked; and I napped—those late afternoon naps that are my idea of luxury. I spent long days at home alone, another mixed blessing when I longed for a human to talk to in person—the telephone isn’t the same.

School starts in three weeks, and I’ll be walking across the street again. I’ll be glad to have Jacob back in my daily life, but oh, I’ll miss those naps. And if I don’t write in the morning, I may not get any writing done all day.

Yes, vacation was a mixed blessing.

Find Judy online at

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Facebook author page:!/pages/Judy-Alter-Author/366948676705857


  1. Your comment about driving really hit home with me. I live on a street with a school and parents drive terrible. I am afraid to get my newspaper when parents are dropping off.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. I do envy you that little grandson since I have none. But I agree that being his sitter daily must cut into writing time. Real life has a way of doing that, but I suppose it keeps us grounded. I enjoyed your post and wish you success with your writing.

  3. You will miss him when he grows up, so enjoy all you can for now.

  4. I think it's great that you get to spend a lot of time with your grandson. I was raised by 2 wonderful parents but spent much time with my grandma. And she is one of the most wonderful women I know and I can only hope that I'm as great of a grandmother when my babies have babies. She helped to shape me into the woman I am today.

  5. I've done some babysitting off and on for my daughter for years. She has seven children. Now my son and his wife are having their first child and after she goes back to work I will be babysitting full time! That is going to really keep me busy! I know I will miss my free time but I'm sure it will be worth it. Time will go fast and he will be school most of the day before I know it.

  6. Hi Judy
    Your skeleton in a dead space sound interesting. I never vocation anymore stay at home here.
    Thank you!

  7. It's so fun to watch them grow up. I miss watching my granddaughter. She is 12 now. They sure do keep you busy.
    Sue B

  8. Thanks all for your comments. Debby, I agree about poor parental driving--they often block my driveway, which I think is rude, rude, rude. But I do value my time with Jacob, worry a little that he's growing up so fast but I know that we'll be close because of these years together. I'm lucky--if I juggle my time right, I have the best of both worlds--grandmothering and writing.

  9. Such a great time to enjoy while the child is small. They do grow up so terribly fast.

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  10. Jacob sounds like a sweetie! I'm glad you enjoyed your summer, but looking forward to the grandson time. Enjoy, because they sure do grow up fast. No grandbabies yet for me (yes, I can wait), but I know I'll enjoy them when they come.


  11. Grandchildren are such a joy.