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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Wake Up - The Lights On Outside

This weekend Brenda and I entertained our one and only granddaughter, KK. Since the beginning KK and Brenda were the very best of friends and for awhile I have to admit I felt a bit of an outcast. You know the feeling. Like being on the outside, on a frigid day, looking in.  Brenda and KK have an unspoken language, energy and shared understanding of their girly girl universe that I simply know nothing about. That said, KK just did not quite know I fit in her world.

Well, you know what they say, If it's cold inside, turn the heat up. So I did just that.  I made a slideshow of KK from birth. We both made a big muppet style hand puppet together. We baked cookies together and I let her play my keyboard. Knowing that she loves to talk on the cell phone, sing and play along with nursery rhymes on my keyboard, I composed a jazzy version of her favorite nursery rhyme songs and called it KK's Nursery Room, which I recorded  and Brenda sent to her via cell phone. She called back saying she loved the song and over a short period of time an unconditional affection grew.

Five things made this visit particularly special for me.  First of all, although KK seems to personally own just about every stuffed animal and doll ever made, she favors the puppet we both made together over most of her other stuffed friends.

The third took place Saturday morning when I was trying to catch a few more winks before rising and starting the day. I felt a small thud and peculiar presence on my pillow breathing gently on my nose.  After I managed to open one eye I saw the welcomed intruder eagerly smiling back at me. "Good Morning. Wake up granddad," she said. "The lights on outside." Could any moment be sweeter than that?

The rest of the day went much the same way as it began. She put me in a head lock and when I asked her why she was clinging, she said without hesitation, "Because I love you granddaddy." She certainly has her own way of expressing it. But I'll take what I can get. A few hours later I hear my two crazy girls burst into laughter following a big gold medal burp belted out by MaMarie. After KK had a good belly laugh over the whole thing, she then repeated the burping incident and laughed again and again.

Another incident that made this weekend visit particularly special is the fact that she finally became friends with our house cat, scamper. Scamper prides herself on being the center of attention which is slightly diminished when KK comes to visit. Needless to say this shifting of attention usually toys with her esteem. But not this time. KK learned how to rub Scamper's head just the way she likes it. From that moment on they became best bed buddies. When KK jumps on the bed Scamper remains and even trys to share in some of the fun.

Last but not least, our granddaughter was dubbed KK by yours truly. I always thought is was a grandparent's prerogative to call one's grandchild whatever he or she deemed appropriate and KK just seemed right for me. Well on the final day of her weekend visit we called her Kaylah. Quickly we were corrected.  "My name is KK", she exclaimed. Not only has she accepted her nick-name, she insisted on being called KK from that moment on.

The slideshow included the many trips we took to the park playing on the swings and blowing bubbles.  Well, I guess you know the rest of the story. The fact is KK loved her granddad all along. She just needed to see, hear and relive the many memories we made together in order to truly appreciate her place in my world.

KK and her cousin Mekaylah both have vibrant personalities. They are old souls and are fast learners. They will likely be the center of our next family reunions for years to come. The stories we'll tell about their antics and attainments will keep us all enthralled and entertained for hours. Not to mention the slideshows we'll show, songs they'll sing and stories we'll tell while watching them grow. The photos we will take and the family mementos we will craft. This will be a reunion like no other and Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Social web app will help us put it all together.

Happy family reunion planning to you and yours.

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