Every morning I stop to check on the flowers on my way into my Loved One’s house. Let me tell you, these guys have been through the wringer since they first popped their sprouts above ground a few weeks ago. The temperature has been all over the place in the past week and these flowers haven’t given up. I was sure they were a goner when they were buried under the heavy snow on Sunday but lo and behold, this morning they had actually multiplied and I’m predicting that by afternoon they will be standing at attention in full bloom.
Over the past four months, my life has taken yet another turn and I’ve found myself headed in a direction much different than I expected. It was only recently when someone commented on how I had lost touch of my life that I realized that I could no longer use the circumstances as an excuse. It is time for me to accept that this is what my life is. I’m part of the sandwich generation, actually a double decker or club sandwich- depending on which term you use. I’m caring for multiple generations, in addition to my own kids- who are technically grown up and not requiring as much attention. It’s not something that happened to me. It might not be the path I would have chosen but it looks like it chose me and this is where I am. In all cases I’m given this precious opportunity to spend time caring for and being with people in my life that might not have played such a prominent role in my life under different circumstances. I might have talked to my loved one and visited regularly but not known the relationship that ours has developed into as her health declines. And the little guys would have probably been my dear grandsons who I love dearly and baby sat and spent time with but didn’t know as much as I do these two since they spend half their time with us. All of these relationships are deeper and fuller than I thought they could be. And for that I’m grateful.
As for those flowers? Every morning I’ll pause to check their progress and admire their strength, beauty and perseverance and they will forever remind me of this heartbreaking yet special time with people I love.
Fortune cookies (or fortunate cookies, as four year old Beej calls them) are a big deal in our home. I found it interesting to see what my fortune was- considering my life these days.
“Time is precious…”
After a nasty fall in 2017 and numerous hospital stays with declining health over the past few months, my loved one is not doing well. Never does time seem more precious than when you realize that someone you love isn’t going to be around much longer.
And so it begins! You can imagine my surprise when Kris, my middle kid and fellow NaNo participant, mentioned that she was planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo, which takes place in April (and July) last week. Oh shoot- that meant it was time for Blogging from A to Z! How did this happen? What happened to the month of March??? I proceeded to panic and start frantically searching for those A to Z lists I had been compiling throughout the year. (I found none of them.)
Despite the demands on my time these days, I am determined to participate. After looking for theme ideas, driving myself crazy, and admitting that I had to work within the constraints that are part of my days, I decided to give myself a break and I came up with my own photo challenge for the month, borrowed from multiple photo challenges that I found from a variety of sources. As much as I wanted to challenge myself, I realize that just getting through 26 days of blogging will be challenge enough. I did photos last year but those were mostly from archives. This year the only stipulation I’m putting on myself is that they are taken now, not years ago.
So, here’s my list and my first A-Z post.
“Family is a unique gift that needs to be appreciated and treasured, even when they’re driving you crazy. As much as they make you mad, interrupt you, annoy you, curse at you, try to control you, these are the people who know you the best and who love you.” – Jenna Morasca
If I could be doing anything right now….anything, what would it be? I do think about this in those quiet moments. I would love to sleep but for some reason my brain is not hard-wired to sleep. I’ve always been this way….. I’m not a sleeper. I need to write. Like, I really need to write- the words are swirling around in my head. And they are getting louder and louder. Unfortunately the voices and sounds outside my head are even louder still. Sitting in a beautiful garden reading a book would be pure heaven. I’m sure there are so many cool finds at the thrift stores that I could wander their aisles for hours. I have a kid (okay, he might be 23 years old but he’s still my baby) who I desperately want to visit at his new school. And my little guys aren’t so little anymore. CJ is creeping up on me in height and Beej is creeping up on me in vocabulary skills. I miss my hours, my day-to day- ness with them. I just want to sit at a table with my best friends and talk and talk and talk and then laugh about something completely silly and then talk some more.
I’m bone-weary. It takes every ounce of effort I can muster to make myself move each morning. But something funny happens when I step inside the doors of the facility where my loved one is regaining her strength. I am able to tap into a super secret supply of stored energy and I get through the day. Those other things- those things that I took for granted two months ago…. they just fade away.
And my loved one and I catch up on what’s been going on since I left (sometimes less than 12 hours ago). She tells me the night time happenings and I fill her in on my walk to her room, who I saw, what they were doing. We discuss the day ahead. And we dream about the near future when she’s back home where she belongs and desperately wants to be.
At meal time we arrive early to get prime seating in the dining room. It might be the highlight of our day- seeing what happens next. Since the facility is both assisted living and post-acute care, the residents are an interesting blend. And one of our favorite things to do has always been to people-watch.
When we aren’t hanging out in the dining room, we engage in another of our favorite past-times. I recently dug up past magazine anniversary issues of our favorite long time running television show. We pour over them, asking each other, “Do you remember…?” This activity keeps us entertained for hours. “How old was X-character then?” she might ask. I reach for my phone or iPad and look it up. One question might lead us on an endless number of further questions. And we laugh at how little we remember or just the opposite- how we can recall what a character was wearing when they said something memorable.
Some days others come and visit and/or help out, and I squeeze in other responsibilities. Free time is a distant memory. But those times when we are at lunch or dinner, angling for the best view overlooking the entire dining room, enjoying the antics of our fellow diners or when we are huddled up in my loved one’s room desperately trying to remember when a character who is now in their possible mid 30’s was actually born and shaking our heads at how much times has flown, I don’t need anything more to affirm that I’m right where I should be.
Two weeks ago I could tell you what was happening every day from that point on until today. I might have had to pause to remember which family members would be working or in this state or traveling, but I had it all figured out. Other than feeling a little tired in anticipation of the jam-packed two weeks, I was ready.
I’m not sure when things began to unravel, but unravel they did. The days got away from me and I felt like I was always behind, trying to keep up. I held on to some strands longer than others. I was able to keep up with my writing until last Wednesday when I slipped down the side of the mountain and now that I’m nearly at the bottom and the Friday deadline is looming, I’m not quite sure how this will play out. Oddly enough, other than total exhaustion on Thanksgiving day and a volatile three year old who spent the day sharing his many mood swings smack dab in the middle of the kitchen during food prep, the meal was prepared, edible, and somewhat on time. We are wrapping up a busy two weeks and preparing to pick up the pieces of everyday life until the next holiday hits!
I am thankful, grateful, and blessed for-
Celebrating our youngest family member’s birthday as only a preschooler can!
The pictures might be slightly blurry with wonky colors, but the memories are sharp and in focus.