There's a reason odd things happen.
Grandma Frieda has been on my mind lately. She died in 1985. That's more than a quarter of a century since she asked me "Are your pants burning?"
She didn't like it when I stopped to visit and spent just an hour. She wanted more of me than one hour. I remember thinking I was too busy to sit around chatting with my grandmother. There would be time for that later.
"Are your pants burning?" was the last thing she asked me. She died before that promise I made to spend the afternoon came true.
What I wouldn't give to get time with her now. Because today is Grandparents Day, such a wish is even more in my heart.
It's an unfortunate fact that many grandparents don't get to see their grandchildren as much as they'd like, either as youngsters or adults. If only that could change. If only the remorse that squeezes my heart way too often would slip into the minds of adult grandkids or the children holding grandchildren away as punishment.
Punishment must be the reason. For something done or undone, a perceived slight.
I've been told of such a problem. The woman wrote: "They live right here in Fort Dodge, but I can't see them. I have so many bad days, they are hard to count. My heart breaks because of this, and there are other grandparents out there living with this situation. People don't like to talk about it because they feel ashamed."
Talk about broken hearts, and not just on Grandparents Day.
Pull out the soapbox, friends; I feel a speech coming on.
When my daughter was little and would get mad at me, I'd let her fuss for a while, then I'd sit her on the kitchen table so I was eye to eye and I'd say, "I don't like what you did, but I love you. You don't have to stay mad at me. Let's just start over. Let's be friends." Then we'd shake hands and hug.
Hugs can make anything OK - at least go a long way to making everything OK.
Of course, it's easier doing something like that with a little kid. Kids get over problems quickly. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to do this with adults. It just takes a large bite of humble pie to make it work.
Even if you don't like humble pie, the result is way too good to ignore.
If you blame your mother for something, don't like her new husband, don't like the color she painted the bathroom, it takes just one step to get past it.
If you've chastised your children for their choices in life, if you've pulled away because you see their paths as too rocky for you to handle, if you don't like to feel that you're an afterthought in their lives - none of that matters.
None of that matters so much a hug won't help. A hug and an "I Love You" will heal any hurt.
So long friends, until the next time when we're together.
Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.