Why is it that my grown daughter feels it is ok to ignore my phone calls? I know cell phones are invasive, and that you dont HAVE to answer them, but its her mother for God’s sake, wouldnt you think she’d pick up just to make sure everything is ok????? When she calls me, I answer. When her dad calls, 99% of the time, she answers. When I call? its a 50/50 chance she will pick up. Seriously.
You forget, when your children have grown, how interesting dinner with three little ones can be. Tonight we had our oldest daughter, her husband, and their three kids, 7, 4 and 2, over for dinner. First time we have sat more than the two of us at the table in the dining room in this new little house we have moved into. After we moved the table far enough out from the wall that the son in law could sit down, and positioned the two year old in his mommy’s lap since he obviously doesn’t do chairs….we realized 7 year old grandson had brought 2 walnuts, a hazelnut and some big nut I don’t know the name of to the table and was proceeding to try to crack a walnut with his fork, on the china, because his 4 year old sister had the cracker. I explained that, no we weren’t having nuts for dinner and scooped them into the plastic princess tea cup that the 2 year old had placed on the table. Ham loaf and garlic green beans didn’t appeal to the kids, but the corn dogs were a hit. 4 year old granddaughter ate 3, peeling the cornbread away and carefully cutting the hot dogs in small pieces, slathering them with ketchup and loving every bite. 2 year old grandson walked away from the table with 2, one in each hand. Intermittently biting the corn dogs and walking around 3 sides of the table, since the 4th side was full of his dad, crunched against the window, he probably ate almost as much as he smeared on the floor. 7 year old grandson ate two, watching the clock to make sure he and dad didn’t miss “skate night” — they had to leave at 5:00 on the dot. Amidst all this the 4 adults managed to down 2 ham loaves, a pound of green beans and broccoli salad. I really wanted a glass of wine but since they were both driving, well , it just didn’t seem fair.
At some point the two year old wandered the 4 steps into the living room ( remember, we bought a really small house) and i turned just in time to see him strip out of his diaper, poo flying across the room. Yes, poo. As my daughter ran to him and the son in law raced for wipes, Im thinking, maybe its time to potty train this guy….
This being a third child, daughter isn’t as conscientious about packing a diaper bag, and truth be told, when we had the big house and lived 5 minutes away from everyone I kept diapers and spare clothes for everyone in the dresser in the kids room. After he stripped out of his second diaper, no flying poo this time, but ruined diaper none the less, we had to go into creative mode….maybe a maxi pad stuck to his pants? No, not cool, so we just put him in a pair of soft sweat pants and hoped for the best. 20 minutes later he wandered into my bedroom, in the dark, and we heard “um, pee. pee mom.” fortunately soft sweat pants are very absorbent. we found one more pair of pants for him and packed them up to go home — before he ran out of alternatives!
Meanwhile the others were all eating fudge brownies and watching football.
All in all a successful night I’d say.
I should not complain.
Seriously should not. But, whatever, here it comes. A couple weeks ago our daughter confirmed that she needed to have minor surgery. Now, “minor” is a relative term. My.Daughter.Surgery. Those words do not blend well, so I had to go into mom mode, reminding myself that it was NOT about me, that I needed to be a resource and a source of strength. That I had to pray and accept the healing even before I saw it manifested. That I had to eat and sleep and not hover. That 3 phone calls a day with “how are you feeling?” is not appropriate or acceptable. I bought her new pajamas and slippers, made a casserole, took the day off work. “Why mom? Why are you taking off work?” Oh, I don’t know…..maybe because MY DAUGHTER IS HAVING SURGERY. “Just in case you need me for something that day”. “No, I’ll be fine”. Turns out her husband couldn’t get off that day and I was needed to do transport, sit in the waiting room drinking nasty coffee == but I was also afforded the wonderful sight of the doctor telling me that everything went well, everything looked great. Score!
Which would have been enough to make it a rough week, right? Wait for it, it gets better…
3 days before surgery we had our first snow storm of the season. Husband and son in law decided it was a good day to chop wood. (You can imagine what is coming, right?). Off they went. I did the grocery store run, stocked up on soup and chili ingredients, came home and cuddled up on the couch with coffee and my knitting. It occurred to me around noon, when there were 3 inches of snow on the ground and wicked cold, that I hadn’t heard anything. So I called. Husband assured me that they were loading the last truck and he would be home for lunch……. 2 hours later I tried his phone and the son in law….no answer… another hour passed, I finished knitting the mittens, and I tried him again. “Yeah, Im getting some xrays done”. WTF? “I fell, I think I broke a rib”. Truth is, he broke two, and had been in the ER for 3 hours, I mean, why call me? Why should I know my husband of 38 years and one day ( don’t even ask about the missed steak dinner reservations for that evening ) was in the ER?
And so began hell week. A week of cooking, shifting blankets, propping pillows, buying coffee, hugging babies, heating casseroles, handing out medicines….worrying. Scolding. Threatening to call an ambulance on Wednesday when he had decided he could sleep in the bed and then we couldn’t get him out of it. 45 hour work week…
So, last night I fell asleep at 7:00 pm. exhausted. And, of course I awoke at 3 am. I’m gonna need a nap.
When you parent you always wonder….will IT matter…? IT can be anything from using the time out chair to a trip to the beach to an extra story at night… to any of a multitude of moments that wrap themselves into the bundle that is parenting. Will IT matter?
This Christmas has been a mix of memories and precursors, misplaced Christmas dishes and a house too small to decorate the way I like to … which got me to thinking, will it matter?
Last week, I took my oldest grandchild ( 7 years old ) Christmas shopping. We’ve done it every year since she was born. Our son raised her alone the first 3 1/2 years of her life, mom walked out when she was 5 months old and left him with a mortgage, a dog she had to “rescue” and this precious little girl. So when Christmas came that first year, she was 10 months old and her daddy had done everything he could to make it a Christmas like he had always imagined he would have when he became a father. But, there was no one to buy him gifts so baby Ava and I went shopping. Everything she touched or smiled at I bought. He got a lego set, a pink polo shirt and, if I remember correctly , a gazing ball for the back yard. And so it began, the yearly Christmas shopping trip with our girl. When we went back to her house last week to wrap the presents she wrapped and bagged and wrote the tags. She looked at me and said, “so which of these are you taking to your house?” and I explained that they were staying at her house for her to give to family. Her face broke a bit when she looked at me and said “wait, we’re not going to your house this year , you know to open all the presents and eat and everything?? the whole family?” As I explained to her that “Yes, of course you will all come to my house, you will bring your presents then, everyone will be there” — she smiled and continued her task. And I knew, without a doubt, that IT mattered, the yearly Christmas traditions that are so much work and go way too fast, that result in huge piles of paper and misplaced pieces — that I always wonder if the kids are coming to just to appease me — they matter to Ava, and probably to all of them.
This morning my son came to pick up a gift for Ava that had been delivered here.He walked in and surveyed the piles of gifts under the tree. He smiled and said, “All red and white paper this year! It looks like a giant candy cane, awesome.” And, again, IT mattered. The buying and wrapping, the clutter and ribbons, matter. A candy cane. 35 years old and he sees the Candy cane in a pile of Christmas gifts. It matters.
Two weeks ago the youngest, 30 years old, called to ask me what I was doing on Christmas Eve. Our Christmas celebrations depend on when Ava is in town and what years the oldest daughter has to go to New Jersey to celebrate with inlaws….so it was a fair question. I said “not sure, hanging out, maybe church.” She immediately suggested a “7 fishes” celebration at her house — just us and my mom , everyone else had plans. She and her husband could have planned any number of parties or events for them and their kids, but they chose to spend Christmas Eve with us, her parents. It matters. All the years of gathering the family together at our house to play Christmas carols and open gifts, to eat and sometimes drink too much…matter. And, when it came to be her turn and she finally had a house big enough to feel comfortable entertaining in — It mattered. Then when her brother called to tell us what time his Christmas Eve celebration was starting, we all adjusted times so we could do both. and the traditions will continue. IT matters.
On the 18th. all the kids and all the spouses and all 7 grandchildren gathered at oldest daughter’s house to bake cookies. They do it every year, sometimes not everyone can make it, but this year it was full out everyone. Sprinkles and dough, ovens dinging and me and George just standing there grinning. It matters. All the years of gathering them in the kitchen and baking cookies and breads matter. And now, they continue it with their children, and since they are lucky enough to have siblings that they love, they do it together, bringing those cousins together to build memories.
I wonder sometimes if their dad and I are burdens, or insignificant in their lives, but this season has reminded me that it matters. We matter.
Merry Christmas everyone.
WordPress sent me a note today. I registered to blog with them 4 years ago….not sure how that feels, like yesterday or several lifetimes ago….
I write less lately. Please don’t mistake that for a lack of opinions :). It is the result of spending too many hours at a computer screen during the day. this job of mine has turned into its own sort of monster. My eyes, and brain, are tired at the end of the day.
This retirement thing seems to have taken a leave of absence.
I promised myself that the job would be “fun”. that i would not slip into old habits of caring too much, working too much, worrying too much. Right. There are great moments of joy in my work, but the push is palpable: do more, bring in more funding, bring in more schools, up your numbers, be the best supervisor ever, understand millennials, don’t let people walk on you, check on this and this and this. I’m exhausted.
But, this too shall pass. In the scheme of things I have nothing to complain about. Life is full, the beach house is awesome, you know the drill.
However, I am going to do some serious thinking after the first of the year. Maybe it’s time for some changes….
Oh, and Happy Anniversary WordPress. Glad you stuck around.
In the morning I will think again of my grandbabies. How will I face them. How can I speak of hope and peace and dreams and goals when we have let this man be elected President. I ache for our country, but especially for our grandbabies…
my kids lived far apart. If it took a plane ride or a road trip to get them together it would be easier to see them apart. but it is not space, but choice, that is tearing our family down. My kids grew up incredibly close. less than 5 years separated the three of them, and our house was full of laughter and noise and tears and hugs….
They grew up and became adults. Life got in the way and we had some ups and downs — but they had each other. we had barbecues and family dinners. Family vacations when all of us — 12 of us — stayed in one house for a week or more. Boat trips and impromptu beerpong in the back yard.
But then it changed. one of them has become joined to someone who has a power trip like non other. And it has torn my kids apart. Rarely do I get to see the 7 grandchildren together, to plan a party or a dinner and know they will all be here. I miss it. And, maybe it was inevitable, but it makes me sadder than I can say.
with this cell phone, tablet, facebook filled world is it makes you have the expectation that you can get ahold of someone all the time. And then, when you cant, when you have exhausted all the wonders of technology and they dont pick up, text back or respond to an IM,,, your head goes to the worst place. Ridiculous. Only to be cured by a ringing phone.
Tonight I went to my son’s house and spent some time, just talking with my granddaughter. We have seven grandchildren, blessings all, and I am fortunate that I get to see them each week, they have grown up surrounded by grammy and pop’s arms.
Tonight I needed some time with Ava. It was a horrible day. The air hung heavy with the killings of two black men, a friend of mine was arrested for a horrendous crime…..I felt dizzy and dark and so so sad.
But Ava and I went out and played with the fairy garden for a bit. and then we went up to her room and looked in her treasure box and talked about life, and disney world and summer camp. and nothing. just talked about nothing. And I was so happy that her world is still full of enough light that she can just do that. Spin in her chair, make fun of my singing, and hug me with those wonderful little arms when I have to leave.
Thanking God tonight for my babies. Praying that we can find a way to change this path our society seems to be running down.