My grandson, Riley, is a great basketball player. He’s in fourth grade, and he flat-out tells me that no one in his class can play as well as he can. I’ve watched him, and I have to agree with him. You would think it might be hard to find some humble pie in a kid with that kind of statement, but not true. He will gladly compliment any good player.

So, here’s how I know: Yesterday, Baba (grandpa) and I are at Riley’s house (none of us can go in because the house is getting cleaned) and Baba and Riley start a pick-up game.

They finish a good round of Horse and One-on-One. I look over, and there they are, Baba and Riley, sprawled out on the grass — recouping.  So, I pick up the ball and start practicing my hook shot. Riley’s mama comes out and we go one-on-one. A couple of neighbor girls come up, and we now have four girls on the driveway shooting hoops.

Riley decides  he wants  to play. “Okay,” I say, “but we’re playing Ladyball.”

“What’s that?” His face tells me  he thinks I am joking.

“It’s when somebody on the other team shoots a basket, and you say, ‘Wow! Nice Shot!’ And when you foul them you say, ‘Oh, sorry. Your ball.’ It’s when we make up the rules as we go along, because we don’t need any rules. Everyone just knows they have to be nice.”

“Okay,” he says without hesitation, “I’m in.”

We play. He’s a ball hog of course. But he manages to pass occasionally to the little girl on his team. He is one of us — having a good time. And, as his grandmother, I am in hog heaven!

Baba soon comes up and decides to get in the game, but he hasn’t been paying attention to us; he’s been fixing Olivia’s bicycle pedal, and so he’s kinda been out of the loop. But, he jumps right in. “Hey,” he says, “I’ll play on Grandma’s team.” He quickly calls double dribbling on Riley and claims the ball.

“Uh-uh, Baba. We’re playing LadyBall,” Riley grins at Baba and takes back the ball. I could tell Riley loved that move. (After all, this is the kid that, at the ripe-old age of five, was teasing Baba and gave him the nickname of Fuzzy-whiskers).

Baba has a big question on his face and he looks at me.

“That’s right,” I proudly prop up Riley’s return, “LadyBall.”

“What’s LadyBall?” Baba looks at us as though we’re pulling his leg.

“It’s when we’re nice enough to make up the rules as we go along.”

“Oh-h-h, make up the rules as you go along,” Baba nods. “Only a lady would think of that,” and he politely hands the ball back to Riley. He smiles out of the corner of his eye.

We played LadyBall for at least an hour: my grandson, my daughter, and my love … and a few other kids. Not only was LadyBall possible, it was a blast!

And, I think Riley just might want to play again.  I know because I heard him compliment one of the players.

“Grandma can shoot!”

I heard it clear as a bell.

Who is Curly Grandma? She is a real grandma with seven grandchildren.  Her name comes from her first grandchild, Megan, who learned to distinguish her two grannies with adjectives (hence the Curly). Visit Curly Grandma at her website and learn all about writing letters to grandchildren. On her site, get lots of information and free stationery. And you can even buy her book Curly Grandma’s Letters: Writing to Kids and Capturing Your Autobiography (Tate Publishing; available on


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4 Responses to “LadyBall”

  1. Misti A Delaney Says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog and your book! I have been on the lookout for almost nine years, since my first grandchild was born 8,000 miles from me. (We’re now expecting our 5th and 6th grandchildren, 10,000 miles away!)

    I have been writing letters since the eldest was old enough to have the letters read to her, since that the only way I have to forge a relationship with the gorgeous young people. It’s so nice to find another Grandma who gets it. 😉


    • curlygrandma Says:

      Hello Misti, Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, we do get it, don’t we?:) Please forgive my tardy response. I am in the middle of renovating a house (I am living in it as we work on it. what a mess!) and I don’t get to the computer very often. My blog is suffering!

      10,000 miles! My goodness, you put things into perspective. I won’t ever again complain about distance! (You have made me realize that I am actually lucky!) I am so sorry that you live so far from your beloved little ones, and I can imagine how much you ache for them. Distance is a bitter pill when it comes to our lovely grands. But, yes. Letters do help fill that lonesome void.

      Good luck to you. Continue writing lots and lots of letters, for you are so very important to your grandchildren. How wonderful that they have you. They will benefit in so many ways through your correspondence. I truly believe that through your letters, you are teaching them and molding them into good little beings with a good sense of give and take. And, you are providing an avenue in which they can participate in one of the finer things in life! Write on, Misti!

      Curly Grandma

  2. Marie Howard Says:

    Curly Grandma I know you’re busy & probably won’t get this for a while, I found you while travelling around Australia earlier this year, thanks to the information I could get from the snippets out of your book which are on the net, my letters to the Grands were awesome, they adored the little(amateurish) pictures, I was Rembrant in their eyes. Since returning home I’ve ordered your book twice from ebay only to find it out of stock each time, today I’ve tried again from an online bookstore so here’s hoping because I have continued sending letters even though they only live 5 minutes away, we all get so much fun out of it. Never doubt the huge impact you have on people, I thank you with all my heart. Cheers Marie xx

    • curlygrandma Says:

      Hello Marie,
      It is so nice to meet grandparents who share the letter-writing passion. Connecting with grandkids in this manner is so rewarding. Fun for me. And, fun for my grandkids. My 6 year old granddaughter, Emily, has become a sure-fired letter writer, too. She writes letters to her sick grandpa, and it amazes me how quickly she understood that her letters affected him in such a positive way. She truly believes that each letter she sends to him entertains him, makes him smile, and even makes him better. On so many levels, writing letters to our grandkids enriches both their lives and ours. Keep on writing, Marie! And keep on drawing! Curly Grandma (I have sent you a personal email about the book).

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