So, this morning, skimming through my “on this day” page on Facebook, (Good Lord what did we do without Facebook…) I stumble upon this little blog that I started years ago….( and then obviously became distracted and forgot ) . Dont have time right now to review it but quite impressed with the little balloons I have climbing up the page….. Be back later…unless some shiny object distracts me…
is humbled with gratitude. I look around, and though I complain sometimes , I know I am blessed beyond measure, lucky beyond my dreams and protected beyond understanding. .
My kids are healthy. Physically and emotionally. Bumps in the road, yes. But solid, healthy and building strong futures.
My grandchildren are healthy. Physically, developmentally and emotionally. they laugh, cry, explore. they smack each other and hug each other. they take each other’s toys and bring each other gifts. They call me grammy and melt my heart.
My husband is healthy. Present and involved. Tonight he cooked dinner as I lay on the couch nursing a hurt back. I complained — didnt like the pork chop or the rice. When he went to pick up my medicine he brought home a nice fresh fruit salad — ,my number one favorite treat.
My mother spent the night. thunderstorms took out her power so we went over and picked her up. Actually husband did, I was pulling branches off the road….
I have a new respect for those who work in the geriatric field.
Mom spends a bit of time here, but went room to room commenting “thats new, isnt it?” to every piece of furniture, carpet or knick knack she spotted ..Noooooo, Ive had that since our first house, since the second house,,,,Noooo, that stained glass has been hanging in my kitchen for 18 years. yup.
She doesnt do steps, years of restless leg syndrome coupled with ” I dont want to walk” syndrome has left her legs weak and wobbley. But my bedrooms are upstairs. So I followed her up, impressed with her strength — she made it up there pretty well. I was concerned that she would see the pictures of her and my dad on the desk in the guest room and get upset, i was hoping that they would make her smile, but neither. she didnt notice them. She noticed the bookshelf, “is that new?” and the beleek lamp “thats beautiful” but not a glance at the pictures of the man she loved, who we lost 4 years ago.
Morning came early. I get up around 6 to take a walk and spend some time knitting before getting ready for work. she met me in the hall — I asked her to wait a second while I threw on a tee shirt and shorts, then we would get her down the stairs.
She didnt wait, of course. Im in the bathroom, shirt half on, and I hear the “babump”.
“Oh Cindy, I fell, I hurt my knee.”
Opened the door to my room and there she sat. perched on her butt on the landing — she either lost her footing or her knee went out. Thank God she just did a hard sit down, and didn’t slide the whole way down the stairs. the knee is fine, no swelling, we got her down the stairs without further excitement and she sits in the kitchen now, nursing a cup of coffee and a bowl of cereal.
I have a new respect for geriatric caregivers.
Last evening I attended, and participated in, an amazing event. Young teachers and community leaders gathered to gether with youth and had roundtable discussions about education, and community and trust. I left there uplifted, enamored with the people I had met and the resolve that resonated through the room . We can make a difference.
And I returned home to turn on the television to see flashing lights and hear sirens. A mass shooting in Charleston. 9 people dead, murdered at the hands of a young sick soul. Where does a 21 year old find that much anger and hatred. How does a church, where people are gathered in prayer, become a bloodbath. And I am ashamed. of my race. of my country for allowing guns to be handed out like Star Wars litesabers, of the future that we are leaving to our children.
and I weep. And I pray.
excuse my convoluted rambling today, and if you stopped in to catch a light hearted rambling about life, turn away friend, turn away.
Yesterday. on facebook, I read:” RIP” ……….. followed by the name of an old friend of my youngest daughter. slid down the page and saw several other notes “you were the best man’, “always there to help someone out”, “I hope you finally found peace”. No answers there, but a rumbling in my head that hinted the worst. I called her, asked what had happened, and in that monotone that says she is processing something that is too large to process, she told me his story.
“Yeah, he had moved to California, was coming back, had been clean for a while, met up with someone, got ahold of something, OD’d and has been on life support for 48 hours. They shut it off today and he died at noon, today.”
Damn it. Another under thirty child with hope and a family, friends that love him and a future to run towards, died with a needle stuck in his arm. Damn Heroin. And this society that can figure out the answer to ANYTHING, we still have no cure, no preventative measures that work and hundreds of kids dying every year.
And, my daughter has lost another friend. I have lost count, over the years, of the number of people she has lost. the tragedies that she has had to think through. I am saddened, frustrated and scared for the future of this generation.
Are you freaking kidding me? Diabetes? Seriously? Its like we took a chronological timeline of my dads medical history and dumped it into me. His open heart surgery at 52. My stents? You guessed it, 52. Sleep apnea diagnosis shortly thereafter. And now, at 57, “Cindy, looking at those numbers, we’re talking diabetes, just like your dad”. Oh hell. And like dad, overweight, busy as all get out but also very static lifestyle. I work, behind a desk, my hobbies? Knitting, spinning, sewing ( in all honesty I do use my serger standing up, does that count?),reading…playing with my grandbabies. Most of these involve very little aerobic or strength building exercise….the good news is I don’t and never have smoked, my cholesterol is maintaining good numbers with the medication….but, diabetes? Oh hell.
Answered the phone and relayed the visit to my husband. When I got home tonight he was chopping a vegetable salad into our biggest salad bowl, rotisseried chicken on the side. Assuring me it would be ok, we would lose weight together, walk together, eat better, together. And now, 2 hours later. Im hungry. hes asleep in his chair, lucky dog, but Im hungry. time for some whole grain cereal and skim milk. Yum.
So, I guess I have to take this seriously, walk a mile a day, watch my diet, lower stress. Oh hell.
I put a wreath, and a flag, and a solar rose on my dad’s grave this weekend. And, I wondered, as I shoved the stake for the rose down into the ground, why it is that every time I go to dad’s grave it is obvious that no one else has been there since I left the last time. I take mom once a month, and I try to get there once in between our visits. Not because I haven’t worked through the grief process, or because it makes me feel important, but because I remember the way dad used to tend the graves of our grandparents, and how he didn’t want anyone to think no one cared, no one missed them. I think that he would have expected, and appreciated, that I am carrying on the job == finding sweet little flower arrangements and that ridiculous solar rose to brighten up a rather solitude spot on the outskirts of the city. But, I cant help wonder, where are all the people he helped? Drove places, bailed out of jail, sat with, gave money too, built things for and with. Seriously. I dont expect them to all flock to his grave on a regular basis, but on Fathers Day or Memorial Day or around the Holidays, on his birthday or his and moms anniversary, wouldn’t it make sense if the people who supposedly loved him, who wailed and cried when he passed, took a minute and put a flower or a seashell or a picture, on his grave?
Now, I know not everyone is cemetary comfortable. Probably because I went with dad when he tended the grandparents graves, I am a little more comfortable than most in there, but really, a minute to brush the grass clippings off his name, or say a prayer, or cuss him out for dying before you were ready to lose him, something people. Something.
When you’re 5 Mother’s Day is a pretty big deal. You spread toast with jelly, add the card you made in Kindergarten and carry the tray to mom who is “sleeping” past her normal 5:00 am wake up call and serve her breakfast in bed. By the time you are 12, you go all commercial and depend on dad or another willing driver to take you to the mall where you expand Hallmark’s coffer and choose a card — which can range from sentimental ” best mom ever” to a farting “how do you put up with me” piece of poetry. And, if you’re lucky, dad throws in $10. so you can get her some flowers, or a piece of jewelry…In that strange period of time which marks the transition from high school senior to college freshman you see mom as a bit ( ok,a lot ) of embarrassment a good deal of the time. So Mother’s Day gets the traditional treatment, maybe you and your siblings take her to brunch ( which consists of 45 minutes in line, past the time of your reservation and room temperature bacon served alongside something they call scrambled eggs and a massive hunk of prime rib, or ham….) . During college Mother’s Day is, well its another Sunday after another “oh my God, the semester is almost over” Saturday night. You call, and if you can you visit, hoping someone is making bloody Mary’s or mimosas, you know, “hair of the dog…”
Then, you graduate. You get all melancholy that first year you have your own place, your own bills, your own, well, life. And Mother’s day rolls around and you make plans to spend the day with mom, and when you get there she comments on your hair, and those jeans and asks if you’ve brushed your teeth or paid your college loan…and you wonder, “What the heck is this lady doing? Trying to tell me what to do?” And you realize there are now two WOMEN in the conversation. You realize, she doesnt…so you suck it up.
And then, its YOUR first Mother’s Day. Glory of Glories you have birthed a child! Trumpets announce the arrival and you sit royally in your throne awaiting the massive parade of guests and gifts. NOT. Your husband gets you one of those ” 3 for $10.” bouquets at Acme, the baby pukes all over the one clean blouse that fits those massive breastfeeding boobs and you are exhausted after 3 hours sleep. Mom calls to ask when you are coming over and you secretly wish you were in Austrailia, with Alexander….
Years come and go and your children repeat the cycle. You are amazed at how wonderful that jelly toast tastes, how your children chose the most perfect card — Hallmark must have studied my life to write this one — You treasure the bacon and sing songs while you wait in line.
If you are lucky, and blessed, you will experience Mother’s day as a grandmother. Yesterday as my husband and I sat on the beach, breathing in the salt and the calm, I pondered this day, my 7th. as a grammy. I marvel at my daughters and their amazing babies — at their patience and work ethic and the different, yet equally effective lifestyle that they are living and raising their children in. I treasure the way my son stepped in and raised his Ava, on his own, after her mom walked out on him, and her, at 5 months. I laugh when I realize that I have had 6 grandchildren in 6 years, and now number 7 is on the way…
My husband sat a triad of gift bags on the counter on Friday. He and two of the grandsons had gone shopping for my Mother’s Day gift. Funny man — doesn’t he realize? My Mother’s Day gifts surround me every day.
Happy Mother’s Day. Enjoy the ride.
thought of dad tonight. sitting on the grass, all my grandchildren in one place, all my kids there….all of us watching Ryan play T ball….all of 5 years old and has an entourage…
but I thought of dad. how many games, practices, matches and performances did he sit through. Carrying flowers or snacks, peppermints in his pocket, trying to figure out how to work his camera….happy as can be, hat cocked to one side on his head, watching his grandchild do whatever it was one of my kids was doing at the moment. Thanks dad. You werent perfect, but you gave me such quiet guidance in the things grandparents need to do to make their kids, and grandkids, feel special.