where does time go?

With Grandkids010

Nana and me. I was about a year and a half. She put my swimsuit on backwards.

“Sooooorry.” Three-year-old me put my hands on my hips. I was standing, feet planted, just inside my bedroom door.

“What do you mean, ‘Sorry’?” asked my Nana.

“You can’t sleep here.”

“I can’t?”


“Why not?”

I pointed a chubby finger toward the bed, a full-sized white metal frame I’d inherited from my great grandmother. On top of a light blue comforter, every doll and stuffed animal I owned was placed in neat rows. My favorite doll, a Cabbage Patch Kid named Packey, sat in the center.

“Packey is sleeping here.”

“Is that so.” My Nana took a step forward and peered around the corner into the room.”It looks like all of your dolls are sleeping there!”

“Yes.” I gave a firm nod.

“Well, then, where am I going to sleep?”

“I dunno.” I paused and looked around, as though searching for a suitable place. Suddenly my mom’s cat walked into the room and started rubbing up against my Nana’s ankles. She bent down to pet him. I started giggling. “Maybe you can sleep with Clyde!”

Nana chuckled. “With Clyde?! You’re silly!”

With Grandkids014

Santa Nana :)

Today was my Nana’s birthday. She would have been 85. She passed away two months ago, almost six months to the day after my Grandpa Joe. And while I know she’s gone to a better place, I still miss her sometimes. I still go for my evening runs and am saddened that she will never again look upon the stars or see the sun rise. Still sad that I’ll never hear her voice again or listen to one of her crazy jokes. She loved telling the story about Packey.

It seems only yesterday that I was standing in my darkened apartment in Tennessee, talking to her on the phone and wishing her a happy birthday—her 80th. I’d just gotten off of work. She always wanted me to drive from Chattanooga, my college town, to Ohio to visit her and Grandpa Joe. I never did.

And now I’m simply wondering: Where does time go?

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Nana and toddler Derek

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Nana with young Derek and I. Notice Derek’s cowboy boots. :)


Both Nana and Grandpa Joe . . .


. . . LOVED animals.

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Young Nana

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50 thoughts

  1. TIME……Really astounding….!! Gives us alot….Then takes them back aft a certain phase… Sometime leaving behind some bitterness and sometime sweet memories to dwell upon… Hold onto all the sweetness Jessica… That’s what only can be reasonable to love and live life with whatever it gives us….I have nothing to say more except thinking your Nana’s now at better place and watching you from there with beautiful smile upon her face and blessing you…..!! ~ Kazi

  2. Ahhh, what a lovely homage to your late grandparents! I love the story with the cabbage patch doll. Sounds like they loved you very much!
    I’m sorry you had to lose these two lovely people!

    • You’re so sweet, Andrea! Yes, they were special people. I didn’t know my grandfather very well, but my Nana was pretty close. It’s sad that sometimes we don’t realize what we have until it’s gone!… Thanks so much for reading! :)

    • Aww, Danny. I’m sorry to hear that, but it means a lot that you shared… Time comes for all of us, I guess. It’s what we do in the meantime that matters. ;) Hugs, jess

  3. If it seems to go by too quickly, then let’s hope it is because of how much quality, fun time you’ve been having with loved ones. After this life our dearest family members and friends never actually leave us. They’re always around to see us through, encourage, love, and if necessary protect us even though we may not physically see them or hear them.

    I’m quite sure “Nana” is always smiling and giggling at you Jessica. :)

    • Thank you, Professor. I sure hope so! I’m just glad she’s not in pain anymore. But she will always be missed. And I think you’re right—she’s probably smiling at me now. Or shaking her finger! ;)

  4. I need to do something like this.

    I had the joy of living on the family farm with my Grandma while I was in college. I remember the struggles we had when I first got there. The 19-year-old who wanted to sleep in and laze around vs. the 79-year-old who believed firmly in the “early to bed, early to rise” thing and had given a lifetime to hard work. We butted heads on a daily basis for the first little while, but we learned to live with each other, and we learned from each other, and I am definitely the better for the lessons she taught me about responsibility and getting the job done. Everytime I sweep the sidewalk after mowing the yard, I think of her and the little details she taught me to appreciate…

    • Awww… Just this comment made me smile. Yes, you should write something. It would be wonderful, and I’d look forward to reading it. I’ve never had the privilege of living close to either set of grandparents. My Nana was always across the country, and my dad’s parents lived eight hours away and, later, several states away. We usually only saw them about once a year… Grandparents are amazing people…

      Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  5. Crisp cool morning here in Montana and I wake to your interlude –
    Nana – and I wonder what kind of Nana you will be –
    You had a great example – and yet travel and adventure call –
    Do you still have everything in neat rows in your life – not wanting anyone to move them?
    Time – the pendulum swings –

    • I’m very organized for the most part—about the things that are important to me, anyway… As far as my my life goes, though, almost nothing feels neat and tidy right now! I have so many posts churning in the back of my mind… Trying to come up with something cohesive for readers but so far not having any luck… My dad tells me he worries I’ll end up alone at 60 if I up and move away again. I tell him that if that’s what’s meant to be, then that’s what’s meant to be. I can’t base my life around things I don’t know!

      Hmm. Your comment about “not wanting anyone to move them” just struck a chord upon a third reading. So much in my life has been moved without my permission and sometimes even without my knowledge over the last three years. That has been hard for me. In general, yes, I like to do the moving myself. Which is why if I choose to go abroad again (actually, it’s not an “if” but a “when”), I will have no regrets.

      Thanks for keeping me on my toes, Hoss…

  6. Your writing and imagery brought to mind one of my favorite quotes about Time by Henry Van Dyke. He said:

    Time is…
    too slow for those who wait,
    too long for those who grieve,
    too short for those who rejoice.
    But for those who love
    time is eternity.

    Beautiful memories Jessica.

  7. Sorry to hear about your grandmother Jessica, it sounds like you had a really special bond with her. I relate to the bit you wrote – ‘She always wanted me to drive from Chattanooga, my college town, to Ohio to visit her and Grandpa Joe. I never did.’

    I was traveling around the world when my grandmother passed. And it’s only now that I have children and see their connection with my mother, that I wish I could return to that time, visited more often and indulged in that bond. If I knew what I know now, things would have been different!

    • It seems life is often that way, doesn’t it? “If I’d known then what I know now…”

      I’ve always felt that there’s no reason for regret if we always make the best decisions we can based on the knowledge we have at the time. We shouldn’t ever feel guilty for what we didn’t know. It’s also true that, as we age, priorities change…

      But I know what you mean. I would do a lot of things differently, too, looking back. And yet it’s a Catch-22, because much of what has happened in my life has made me who I am. And would I change that? Without knowing what the “other” looks like, it’s hard to say!

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment! Love keeping in touch with you. :) Best, Jess

  8. I’m sorry you missed your grandma and on her passing. Grandmas are heaven sent. I miss mine too. But you know what? We’ll always have the good memories with us. No one can take that away :D Take care Jessica.

    • Thank you, Sam! You’re such a sweetheart. And you’re so right. We’ll always have those memories. I am smiling now remembering mine! Hope you’re having a great week! xo jess

      • I am struggling to awake during the day (a die hard nocturnal), lol… My elder girl just turned 24 this week. How times flies and in near future I might become a grandma too, lol…

      • I saw your post about your daughter’s birthday. Yes, time flies. You really don’t look old enough to have a 24-year-old, though, dear!… And I’m pretty much nocturnal these days, too. :P

      • Thank you Jessica, you’re a sweetie to say that, lol… guess Asians being more petite looked “younger” than their age ;-) TCM says our body detoxifies different parts of our internal organs at given time starting from 9pm so we should start to wind down and rest so it could do its job. I’ve been trying for years to have a night’s rest but alas… Hope you get back your sleeping pattern right soon :D

      • Is that so? I still say I’m just getting prepped for going abroad—so the jet lag isn’t so bad. Haha! But, yes, Asians definitely tend to look younger than their Western counterparts. I’m doing my best to stay out of the sun so I can try to keep up! :D

  9. it took me 5 years to even think about my Mum without horrendous guilt and pain after she died, I’m so glad you can think of your Nan with smiles, I’m quite sure we all want to be remembered so sweetly.

    • I’m sorry to hear that about your Mum… I hope you can think of her more easily now. My Nana was actually a very tough character and definitely not always easy to be around or equally loved by all. But she was sweet on my brother and I, and we on her. And she was our Nana! That made all the difference.

      Thanks for sharing! Hope you’re having a great day. :)

  10. Wonderful memories… Love the pictures. I know Nana is in a great place now… And yes you will see her again along with Joe. But where in the world is Packey?
    Stay blessed and my your memory of them bring you hope and joy.

    • Haha, Walter. I think Packey might be one of my few surviving childhood toys. Think my mom has her saved in a box somewhere… Do dolls go to heaven? Lol.

      You stay blessed, too, friend! Hope you’re having a great day. :)

  11. I have tears because this makes me think of my own Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. It makes me think of opportunities lost but mostly of how lucky I and my children were to have four grandparents while growing up. My Mom is almost gone now but I’m still able to tell her how much I enjoyed having her as a Mom. I loved all the photos you posted. Poignant.

    • Awww, I’m glad I could remind you of your grandparents, Terri… They really are special people, and we take them for granted when we’re small. Not that there’s any blame in that—we just don’t know any better… I will always miss my Nana and think of her… Glad you enjoyed the photos. John and Karen Cress scanned them all for us for the memorial service. There were a lot of them that I’d never even seen before.

  12. An incredibly beautiful tribute to your Grandma Jess. Your writing just took me into your childhood for a moment. Gosh Nana sounds like a fantastic lady – full of spunk and vibrance. I can imagine you must miss her so – but I know she lives on through you and those who loved her in this life. It is so true that time just goes so fast. I was thinking of my grandma just today actually — could here her calling me “princess” and telling me EAT! These are precious photos — treasure them always ~ love and blessings, Robyn

  13. Such a beautiful post…and you are very lucky to have such a wonderful Grandma, and sharing your memories makes me think of great times with mine. So thank you for this amazing post and for allowing me to sit back and think about my Grandma too.

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