And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.

There are so many milestones when it comes to raising a child, and even to enjoying a grandchild. But there are also so many milestones that we don’t hear about, or that we don’t see celebrated in the baby memory books or in greeting cards.

This last weekend, Olivia and I went what she calls “thrifting” and what I call “scrounging”. Which means we headed out to our favorite St. Vinnie’s and started digging through “stuff”. But most importantly, we dug through “clothes”. Olivia was looking specifically for some nice button-down blouses. She will likely be interviewing soon for grad school, and possibly for jobs, so she wanted to prepare.

She found some nice shirts really quickly, but then I suggested we look for some pants as well, and maybe even shoes. Going through the racks, I found some lovely professional slacks, in herringbone and in pinstripe and a solid. Olivia, who is typically in leggings or jeans, looked at them a little doubtfully. But off we went to the fitting room.

Which should have been called the transformation room. Because my little girl, who I’ve seen go through some mini-transformations with the purchase of such things as prom and homecoming dresses, suddenly went through a major transformation. She became…a professional person. A professional adult.


In the mirror, she turned this way, and she turned that way, and in my eyes, she turned completely into a new realm. She became someone who, someday soon, would have a daily wardrobe of, not jeans and t-shirts or hoodies featuring bands, video game characters or Anime characters, but crisp blouses and tailored slacks. She wouldn’t wear her Vans sneakers, but nice low-heeled oxfords or loafers. She wouldn’t haul a backpack over her shoulders, but a purse, or maybe even a briefcase.

She looked in the mirror and smiled. I looked in the mirror and marveled.

Ohmygoodness. The road it took to get here. But the road we never doubted.

And then there was the grandchild. Grandgirl Maya Mae, formerly known as Grandbaby Maya Mae, turned ten years old a few weeks ago. A decade of grandparenthood already gone by! Her parents gave her her heart’s desire for her present: a cell phone.

Which made my head spin a bit. Ten years old. A cell phone?

When my big kids, now 39, almost 37, and almost 36, were young, cell phones were really just coming into the picture. By high school, my kids really wanted their own phones, but I held off until they were in college, or in one son’s case, tried college, it wasn’t a fit, and he moved into a professional life. I just didn’t understand the need for the phones before then. I didn’t have a cell phone. The landline hanging on the wall would do just fine, thank you.

But then Olivia, born when my big kids were 16, 14, and 13, was a different story. By the time she was a teenager, cell phones were commonplace. I had one. My husband had one. The big kids, now adults, each had one. So in high school, Olivia received her first phone. But I never would have considered it in elementary school or middle school.

And now, Grandgirl Maya Mae has her own phone. And she’s ten years old. I shook my head with the puzzle of it.

Since the pandemic began, I’ve Zoomed with Maya most every night, and we read a book. Right now, we’re devouring our way through all of Katherine Applegate’s books, which are stunning. Typically, I message her parents at 8:30, asking them if Maya is ready. Then she heads to Zoom and so do I.

But now…I could text Maya directly. She has her own phone.

Which led to this interaction:

ME: All set, big kid?

MAYA: Yep!

MAYA: Yep!

MAYA: Yep!

Me: On my way!

MAYA: Yay!

MAYA: Yay!

MAYA: Yay!

(we read on Zoom)


ME: Guess what? I just ordered 3 more books by Katherine Applegate! And her new book is coming out in May!

MAYA: Yay!

MAYA: Yay!

MAYA: Yay!

Me: Love you, grandgirl.

MAYA: Love you too!

MAYA: Yay!

Me: Yay!

A whole ‘nother way to communicate. And a whole ‘nother way to see her enthusiasm for reading and…for talking to me. Grandma Kathie, formerly Gamma Kaffee.

And a whole ‘nother way to see our connection. Any time I want. Even when she’s not in front of me.


Milestones. A part of motherhood, a part of grandmotherhood. Amazing.

And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.

Olivia in turquoise button-down blouse with cuffs, black pinstripe pants, low-heeled oxfords. A grown-up!
Grandgirl Maya Mae on her 10th birthday.


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