GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 22

The author is flanked by her grandsons, Marcus (on left) and Charles. Saying goodbye By Judy Pugh My grandson has been the center of my life…until now. M y daughter, Staff Sergeant Daylena Gonza- lez, is coming home. She’s been serving with the U.S. Air Force in Djibouti, Africa, for six months. Her husband, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Ernesto Gonzalez, is still in Iraq, where he has been for the past year. Where am I? I am in Long Beach, California, serving as sole caregiver for their son, my grandson, 2-year-old Marcus. This morning, everything I do causes me to reflect that this is the last time I will do it. The last day that I will dress Marcus. The last time I will pack his lunch and his backpack before dropping him off at day care. Marcus has become my confidant (even though he rarely knew what I was talking about, he always listened and acted like he did), my running mate, my baby and my touchstone (he was always there to comfort me, though he didn’t understand why I was sad). Am I about to become just another relative? I load Marcus in his car seat and look at his face in the rearview mirror. There were times when I thought I couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t care for Marcus full-time. In those times, I talked to my mother in heaven and begged her to help me; if anyone could, it was she. And, as always, my mother, Grace Irene Smith, reminded me that I am strong. “You’re my daughter, and you can do anything.” I always remind Daylena of the same thing. Traffic is light this time of morning; I’m able to reminisce about when I took Marcus to the park. We stood at the edge of the pond, threw pieces of bread in the water and laughed as the ducks fought for the prize. Suddenly, close by, there was a loud quacking. A flock was running toward us. “Marcus, run!” I screamed. “Drop the bread!” He ran toward me, away from them, but still with a whole piece of bread in his hand. “Drop the bread!” I repeated. These ducks were not about to stop, and his little legs couldn’t go fast enough. I snatched the bread, threw it at the charging flock, swooped Marcus into the stroller and, pushing him, took off running. It is so early in the morning that the baggage claim area is like a ghost town. Marcus runs around and around the carousels, and I’m chasing him. I check the “arrivals” screen: Daylena’s plane has landed. I am eager to see my baby girl— ecstatic that she’s coming home safely, for although there has not been a war raging in Djibouti, there have been violence and civil unrest. Marcus and I walk toward the door she’ll be entering into the baggage claim area. I catch sight of Daylena’s face and wave. 22 GRAND MARCH 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - March 2009

GRAND Magazine - March 2009
GRAND View
Contents
GRAND Central
Isn't it GRAND?
The Hippest Grand of All?
Saying Goodbye
Necessities, Not
The Perils of the Purse
Take Care
Sexy at Sixty
50 ‘Hidden Treasure’ State Parks
Resources
GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - intro
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND Magazine - March 2009
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 3
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND View
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 5
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 7
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 8
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 9
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 10
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND Central
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 12
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 13
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 14
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 15
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 16
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Isn't it GRAND?
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - The Hippest Grand of All?
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 19
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 20
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 21
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Saying Goodbye
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 23
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 24
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 25
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Necessities, Not
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 27
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - The Perils of the Purse
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 29
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Take Care
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 31
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 32
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 33
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Sexy at Sixty
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 35
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 50 ‘Hidden Treasure’ State Parks
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 37
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 38
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 39
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 40
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 42
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - 43
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Cover3
GRAND Magazine - March 2009 - Cover4
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