Dear Writers

Inspired by the song “Dear Hate” by Maren Morris  

Dear Writers,

Please keep writing.  Your stories are so very important. Your stories have an impact and make a difference.

Never stop sharing.

Your voice.

It is you that helps us stay connected as a people… all people…. the human race.

Yes, there is diversity in this world.  But… but your stories help us see our commonalities and our sameness.  We can share a laugh, tear or righteous indignation over a story. We can relate.

To each other.

Have empathy.

For each other.

So dear writer…….please keep writing.

Very Sincerely,



Little Grandma

Little Grandma (1)


Walking into the intensive care unit at the nursing home, I look around anxiously for my grandma.  She’s my dad’s mom, named “Little Grandma” by my cousin Rachel when she was just 4 years old to differentiate her from “Big Grandma”, my mom’s mom.  The name stuck.

Scanning the room, my eyes rest on her, sitting in her wheelchair, body slumped and sleeping while sitting there.  She looks so tiny, overwhelmed by the size of the chair surrounding her.  She’s 102 years old this year and the last time I saw her was a year ago.

Growing up, “Little Grandma” was there for me, filled with warmth and confidence in me and never doubting my abilities.  As I grew into my teen years, she listened and supported me.  She was a wonderful force for good in my life.  But I’ve moved away to Wyoming while she has stayed in Wisconsin and I miss being close to her.

Quietly, I walk over to the wheelchair and pull a chair next to her.  I sit by her “good” ear and gently touch her arm.  “Grandma, it’s Vanessa, I came to see you.”  It takes her a minute to comprehend that it’s me… “Vanessa?”


And so we’re off, reminiscing, chatting and laughing for 4 hours.

The nurse comes by and asks me… is she engaging with you?  She looks incredulous.  She doesn’t normally engage with us, she says.

I have had a week here and my purpose has been to spend time with grandma.  I spent each day with her.  Her mood varied and sometimes seemed in a fog and yet I seem to be able to reach her and we talked and she held my hand and I felt like I’d gone back in time and became her small granddaughter again.


Moving from 3 Bathrooms to 1

Problems with downsizing from three bathrooms to just one.

  • Finding a place for 3 soap dishes
  • How did I collect so many cleaning supplies?  (I find myself cleaning more to use them up!)
  • Scheduling morning showers!
  • Ummmm….. consolidating make-up and hair products
  • Prioritizing pictures, rugs and shower curtains

Perks with downsizing from three bathrooms to just one.

  • Less cleaning, Yippee!
  • Less waste, buying and using just what I need
  • Simplified life
  • Same as above – consolidating make-up and hair products (Embarrassing how much I had)
  • Use only cherished decorations
  • Sharing one bathroom for just two of us.. reminds me of growing up with a family of 5 and sharing one bathroom, as a child.. I didn’t notice.
  • Reminds me to be grateful and appreciate what I have

We all Need a Little Sass, Lessons From a Ten-Year Old


  • Sometimes you need a little attitude to get through the day.  When her classmate makes fun of her shirt…. her reply “If you can’t say something nice… don’t say anything!  I like this shirt.”
  • Sometimes you just have to create things and keep improving them.  She created slime, too sticky and so kept working at improving the recipe until she had just what she wanted. Now she’s working on the container for it.
  • Sometimes you need to ignore when someone rolls their eyes at you.  When that happens, she finds more like-minded friends and loses the ones that are more interested in drama than having fun. Those girls that want their “alone” recess.  Let them have it!
  • Sometimes you just need to write a funny poem to brighten your day.  When things go bump and you hurt your rump, just sit on a stump until you can jump and don’t be a  frumpy chump.  (Written at breakfast and had all her sisters giggling)
  • Sometimes you just need to know… you’re awesome.  One day I gave her a compliment about her creativity and her reply.. “I know.. I’m awesome!”  (followed by a big grin and a hug)
  • Sometimes we need to question the “rules.”  “Can I walk to the Loaf and Jug with my friend?”  Her mom’s reply – “No.”   “When will you trust me?” “I know I can do it.”
    “Please give me a chance!”
  • Sometimes you need to have the confidence and swag of a ten year old.

A Letter of Gratitude

I wanted to share a letter I wrote to the principal of my granddaughters school this year.  I changed the names, but kept the content.  I wanted to share this because we don’t always know the impact we’re making as educators.  This is one small slice of one life where teachers made a difference.

Hi Mrs. Principal,

A word of gratitude…..

I’m Grandmother to the girls that arrived at your doorstep last fall, brand new, to your elementary school.

I wanted to take some time this morning to acknowledge what a blessing your school and staff (in particular your 2nd, 4th and 5th grade teachers ) have been to my beautiful granddaughters all year long.

You couldn’t know it and I’ll spare you the details, but they had a very rough summer just before entering  your elementary school.  They came to you in the fall, from small town Wyoming.  They did not know anyone nor have any friends, and coming to a much bigger school, they were worried and unsure. Everything in their world was changing.

The culture at your school and these teachers made a difference for three young ladies. As grandma, I had the joy of having the girls each morning before school.  As we ate breakfast, they would excitedly share things about school.  Not once, all year long, not one time, did any of them say they did not want to go to school.

You made a difference.

My granddaughter in second grade grew 25 points in math this year.  I was proud and grateful, but honestly that is not what I valued the most about her year with this very talented teacher.  It was her caring attitude and ability to provide my granddaughter  a safe place amongst all the chaos that I appreciated.  She made a difference.

Another granddaughter was in the fourth grade class and she also grew a huge amount in her academics. Her teacher’s hands on approach and her willingness to put in the extra effort of creating these wonderful projects and hands on learning was just what my granddaughter needed.  Being new, she struggled with friends this year and her teacher was there to help her work through these problems.  She made a difference.

Another granddaughter was in the 5th grade class and yes, once again this daughter grew in her academics.  She also grew from a shy, quiet girl to a confident young lady.  Her teacher could made her laugh and helped her feel that she was an important part of that classroom.  He made a difference.

I know this email is a bit long-winded and I thank you for your patience in taking the time to read it.  I wanted you to know at a personal level the impact that you and your school have made for this lovely little family. Your school made a difference.

Have a good and refreshing summer.  #You deserve it!


Grandma Nessi




Inspired by @shiftparadigm Mark E. Weston Ph.D

Date: May 23, 2017

To: Self

Re: advice

Remember to get out in the sunshine, keep moving and improving.  Don’t take life so seriously.  Smile.  YOLO


Time With a Three Year Old….

Pet scan today.. but luckily,

I had the four granddaughters from after school until nine last night…3, 8, 10 and 11. While the older girls watched TV, played on their kindles and did homework, the three year old and I played.  I haven’t smiled, danced and acted that silly in a very long time. In a word, it felt, refreshing.

As we walk in the door, “Grandma- juicy please”

Me:  “Just a minute, let me put my things up and we’ll get some juice.”

“Juicy, juicy, please please, in my blue cup” said jumping up and down tugging on my pant leg and looking up at me with blinking eyes and a wide grin.

Me:  “Your cup is pink, here you go”

“I steal your spot grandma”  said as she runs to my favorite chair, giggling, sippy cup in hand.

Me: “No you don’t!” racing her to my chair.

Then, dinner of mac and cheese and hot dogs sliced open with cheese and wrapped in a crescent and green beans.

Loading the dishwasher, going outside to find ants.

“They don’t bite me!” said delightedly as she squishes the ant between her thumb and pointer finger.

Dancing to the troll song, Moana and when the older girls joined us, Meghan Trainer and Taylor Swift.

Reading her favorite books at grandmas house – Jillian Jiggs, Where the Wild Things Are, and Cat in the Hat.

Taking turns brushing hair before bed.  Singing quiet songs, making up the words.

Quiet even breathing, watching her sleep.