Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A note for my readers. I have started a column on the side of these posts called Care List. If you have people or concerns you would like added, please let me know. I will rotate names out every so often.  No matter what your religion or belief, this place is for all of us to come together bringing our energy and support to one another. I am taking Natalie off the list because today she had good news....no cancer.

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's a Beginning

What happens when the plan doesn't go as 'planned'? What happens when everything you believed wasn't so? What happens when life plays out regardless of what you have for hopes and dreams?

"Mom, I didn't know it would be this way," said my son, the new father of twins. "Why didn't anyone tell us?"

Well, answer to that question is that you wouldn't have wanted the advice and wouldn't have taken it. I wouldn't have either when I had my babies.

The new thing now for expectant parents is called a birth plan. The doctor talks over the plan that the expecting parents have chosen. James and Lisa had planned to have a doula with them from the time labor pains became consistent until the babies were born. They wanted to have the twins naturally. Well, when Lisa suffered from preeclampsia, they hospitalized her. No labor at home. No doula. No  doula in the delivery room since Lisa was in an operating room. The babies did come naturally due to their mother's determination and strength. The entire first week of maternity/paternity leave was spent in the hospital. Another glitch.

The reality of having new babies in the home has been quite an adjustment for all of us with two instead of one. Scheduled feedings for preemies, double diaper duty and a dog trying to mother the babies keep us all busy. The family settling in easily is a fantasy.

"Honey, I'm glad you are going through this." I went on to explain that he and Lisa are type A personalities. This is going to be a challenge and a lesson in adapting to whatever pops up. Raising kids is unpredictable. Learning to adapt is a skill. I told him that I knew he could meet handle the unexpected changes and be stronger for it. He is on the best journey of his life despite the highs and lows.

"Mom, can you help me?" he asked when confronting another dirty diaper.

"I'd love to," I said.

It's a beginning.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Innocents and Evil

After days of struggle, the new babies came into the world. New life, new hopes, new dreams. Two small lives that bring with them their gifts. Small brains that will discover and create. Loving parents and others will teach these children what it is to be kind. We will encourage them to be strong and wise. We will tell them to be careful each time they walk out the door. We will have to tell them at evil lives in the world. The innocents and the evil.

While waiting at the hospital, my son received a long text on his phone. The text was from a drug dealer setting up a meeting. He was a distributor. A dealer. My son couldn't believe what he was reading. Nor could I. We know those dealers are peddling their goods. We know they are there, yet this was just too close to home. 

My son is a remarkable man. When we were on level orange alert, he came across an abandoned stroller and called mall security. Another time he was following and erratic driver. He called the police. The police asked that he follow her until they could catch up to them. When the police arrived, they thanked him. The woman had a medical problem. Recently, he drove all over our area looking for someone to care for an injured bird that Millie had tried to retrieve. My son is a remarkable man. He found a policeman at the hospital. The policeman took the information off or my son's phone. It was obvious that this dealer had texted to a wrong number. Evil resides next door. We just don't know which door.

Reality had stepped into the hospital that day. The innocents that we held in our arms were protected just a little more. The fears we felt for them was just a little more intense.

I don't know about you, but I want a world that is safe for my family. We all need to be aware. We all need to pay attention. We all need to pull together to create more good than there is bad in the world.

Two sweet babies came into the world pure and innocent....into a world not nearly good enough for them.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New Life in Long Hand

A community of in its own. A small room overcrowded. Children sleeping on the floor. Noise. Motion. Laughter and excitement. Some trying to catch a moments rest. Worry and concern sitting along side us. It is the maternity waiting room. It is a place of life and once in awhile death.

I left work on Saturday at 11am then headed over to spend time with my grandpup Millie. Only a couple of hours later my son and Lisa headed to the hospital. She was at thirty-six weeks in this pregnancy with twins. I explained to Millie what was going on then tucked her into her kennel and made my way to the hospital as well.

Lisa had developed preeclampsia and was at risk. Our hours at the hospital dragged on. My son begged us to go home. But there was no way that he was going to keep these mothers from waiting alongside their children. The labor went on and on. Decisions were made then changed. Lisa's body was fighting a battle. On Sunday night, they took her off all meds. We finally went home to sleep.

Monday was more of the same. By now the fear of major complications was settling in. Yet this little community in the waiting room continued to thrive. By now we knew many of the people and their situations. A ten pound boy had been born. A couple came back to visit their one pound baby in the NICU. One mother was in surgery. Everyone had shared their stories. We were a page in time with new life written in long hand.

A little after midnight on Monday sweet Emma emerged. She was rushed away from her mom and dad and intubated. Nolan came right behind her and was placed on his mother. Soon Emma was placed in her father's arms. James texted us to tell us the news. We knew we would have a long wait still to come while the new little family got acquainted. Lisa was still a concern.

Yesterday the little family came home. Poor Millie had been hurt at doggie day care and had new stitches in her ear. She was drugged when she met the twins, so we were not if she knew she had company. Lisa was healing well. The long time of waiting had ended and two lovely children had come home to be part of our family.

The crowded waiting room still hustles and bustles with joy and pain. The stories continue. The waiting and anticipation goes on. I can't forget those hours and stories. I can't forget those people who for a few day shared a life together.

Truly we live coming and going in small islands of life. Sometimes we bring a bit of it home. It is life written in long hand.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Bundle of Two

After thirty-six hours of labor and high risk for Mom and babes, two more grandchildren have joined my  family. It has been an exhausting few days filled with concern. On Monday Emma managed to finally break through to the outside. Her little eyes were black and blue and a hematoma rose up from her scalp. She was rushed over to intubate immediately. No longer had she appeared when Nolan rushed into the world. Both babies are fine. And beautiful.

It is an amazing thing, this thing of birth. One day you are waiting for new life and the next you are thrown into chaos you have never experienced before. I held my new granddaughter this morning wondering at her adventure, that from a warm dark tranquil nest into bright lights and the new experiences of hunger, clothing and creatures staring into her face. Her eyes crack open. Only a small crack, because it seems that no matter how high her eyebrows arch, her little eyelids seem to be very difficult to part. After a quick peek, she decided closed is better. Nolan on the other hand loves to smile. It starts on one side of his face then goes to the other often settling into the middle. It used to be believed it was gas. Not so much any more. I prefer to think theses smiles are caused by a peaceful mind listening to a new world.

I apologize for not writing. The babies were born on Monday, and I am still dragging. Tomorrow I go back to work but will still have baby time when possible.

Yes, I am busy with little fingers and little toes, downy heads and sweet mewling sounds. Blessings come in tiny bundles. Ours came in a bundle of two.

Friday, July 13, 2012

In the Gallery

We sat in the gallery watching Gabby do her gymnastics. Her dad, his girlfriend, Sydney and I were a good portion of the few sitting in the seats around us. I didn't pay much attention to the gallery. I was busy spending time with Sydney, while we watched her sister conquer new skills.

This morning my friend said that she thought it was nice that Gabby's dad and girlfriend stayed to watch her classes each week. I asked her why they wouldn't. I always stayed for practices sitting with other parents watching our children work together for a common goal. Baseball, soccer, whatever the task, I was always there. My friend seemed to startle at herself at a sudden awareness that she had never considered staying for practices. "I just dropped them off," she said. I swear I saw a light bulb click on above her head.

There is nothing wrong with dropping off the child. There is nothing wrong with waiting for the child. Perhaps I learned because my parents were never supportive of our activities. They showed up at recitals and concerts, but there was no support for our participation or pride in our accomplishments. Thus, I wasn't going to be that way with my children. I wanted to watch them practice and be there to talk about it afterwards. I never wanted to be the missing parent. I never have regretted that time watching them with pride and delight. I wouldn't have missed a moment of it. I do the same for my granddaughters.

When middle school and high school came along, my days of watching practices were curtailed. So, I got involved with them at school in other ways. We did plays together. When the high school was producing plays, we worked on sets and helped backstage. We supported our friends and family members by attending their functions.

We sat in the stands. "Dad, look. Gabby's up!" Sydney would say. Her sister worked on the balance beam. Pure grace and beauty. Every so often after Gabby did one of her tasks, she would look up at me. She knew I would be watching. She wasn't allowed to wave at us. I mouthed, "I love you." She smiled and threw her head back. I knew the language. "I love you, too."

Sitting in the stands is for the child, but more than anything, it is for the Grammy with a smile on her face. A gandma who wouldn't miss a minute.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Down with Curmudgeony....er, Curmudgeoning, er....

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter......Mark Twain

Two of my favorite people to quote are Mark Twain and Will Rogers. They call it as they see it, and sometimes they see it more clearly than I can put into my own words. Age is indeed an issue of mind over matter. 

So often I find myself in a conversation with friends who are my same age, regarding the change in the way we look at life. A pleasant change we wish had taken place when our children were young. A clarity that seems to settle in as the years pile up. What makes us old? Aches and pains? That's for sure. Narrow mindedness? Bitterness? That extra candle on the cake? What makes us seem old?

With wrinkled hands, he rummaged through his change purse. "This getting old isn't for the young," he said. "My body just can't keep up." Still he had a smile on his face. His bent shape and trembling hands did not keep him from his task of living, did not erase the smile from his face.

She brought the sympathy card to the counter. I could tell that she had purchased more than one in her later years. "Another one," she said. "It seems like all I do is by sympathy cards."

"It makes each day more precious doesn't it," I said. "I always think that it is a reminder of all I have in my life at any given moment." She smiled at me. I can't give relief from her loss, but I could give her a smile and maybe a bit of ease from her sadness.

Sure the body aches. Our kids have no idea how much it hurts at times, yet we are on an adventure. God isn't done with us yet. Often someone will comment on how lucky my granddaughters are to have such a fun Grams. Hey, I'm just doing what we all can do. I continually reinvent myself finding new parts of myself yet to be explored. Sure my joints ache when I sit on the ground or chase a fly ball across the yard, but I can always lick my wounds tomorrow for I only have today. I can learn new things on the computer, because the only thing holding me back is me. I can be creative and come up with new ideas, because my brain has lots of places that have yet to be explored. I can become a better person, because I care to be a better person. I can make a difference in the world and show those around me that old age is just a frame of mind. A frame of mine.

I have a friend who is bedridden. There is not a day that I don't go to see her that she doesn't have a smile on her face. She can do nothing more than move a couple of fingers. Yet she impacts my life making me a better person. She makes me want to live life for her. She is good friend because she listens and is my sounding board. They just discovered that she has a melanoma. Still her smile has not been erased. We can chose how we want to get old. Our aging bodies do not define us.

I hope that I don't give up my view of aging. I hope that I still embrace what I feel and embrace what I can learn when my body has decided that it is indeed very tired. I hope that I look forward to learning from the younger generation what is new and exciting in the world.

I refuse to be a curmudgeon. Remember, if you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Imagination Set Free

Surrounded by moss, lichen, twigs, acorns and tree bark we began our task. One never knew what might happen when you visited the Grammy.

Some time ago I happened upon a fairy garden at Al's Garden Center.  A little places to draw faeries to play. A swing. A gazebo. Small stepping stones. I fell in love. As a child I would have loved creating these little gardens. It never crossed my mind. I knew there were no faeries. Instead I played with small figures beneath the diningroom table and on the windowsill. I had no faerie garden, but I did have imagination.

Funny thing about imagination, it never goes away. If encouraged, it creates. If set free, it soars. No matter how much we age, we still have this wonderful thing called imagination. However, it is something we need to exercise. There are many people who released their imaginations. Some have even left it behind. Some look at those who embrace their imagination as being a bit quirky. I don't mind being quirky if I can have an imagination that allows me to write, an imagination that gives me creativity with my grandchildren, imagination that allows me to grow.

We sat surrounded by pieces of nature. We didn't need any plastic or a kit to show us what to do. The map in our imaginations lead us. Trial and error taught us. Each of us had our own individual ideas. And, all of them were wonderful. I think now we might work on a little yard where faeries can live and play. Maybe we will design a community hiding beneath shrubs and under trees. A hole in the old tree will make a wonderful place to hang a twine, faerie ladder.

We may not see the faeries. We don't need to. They live in our imaginations.....and in my son's lovely yard.

Twigs, lichen, moss, acorns and tree bark. Imagination set free.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Baby Waiting Game

Looks like this will be a bumpy week as was last week. Still waiting for twins but getting closer. Please keep James and Lisa in your thoughts. I will write when I can.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Way of the 4th

We only went to the fireworks once when we lived in Wisconsin when my daughter was small. James was a toddler at home with a sitter. The first rocket exploded and Stacey screamed covering her ears with her hands. It was the last time we took any child to fireworks until Stacey was around seven and James five. Up until then we held sparklers in the driveway. It wasn't much, but there was no screaming of children.

Fireworks fascinate and amaze. I don't mind fireworks. The idiots who go across the state line and bring home illegal fireworks, those who set them off in my street are what I do mind.

We lived on a cul de sac. I was watching the neighbor boys from the window overlooking the hill. The two teenagers managed to set a bush on fire. They stomped it out. Then another caught fire. This time their mom came out to cursing and swearing at the boys. Hm.

I remember many 4ths when I would find parts of rockets and debris from other types of fireworks  in my yard and on the house. Responsibility. Just a little responsibility. That's all I ask.

It seems with fireworks, as with many other things, that if it is illegal it holds a fascination for those who want to push the envelope. Illegal might be the key word here. I know that our neighbor boys did not obtain the fireworks on their own. I also know that their mom could not have be oblivious to the noise in the driveway.

When we moved Oregon, we went to neighborhood fireworks. There were only about ten people there each bringing their own fireworks. Since that time, that small fireworks display has turned into a display that draws hundreds. Families bring food and sit on the lawn eating while waiting for the sky to darken. Donations are taken to support the community fireworks. The fire department stands by 'just in case'.

I smile remembering my small daughter with her hands over her ears. We returned home before the display really got underway to sit with our dog and play with our children. Not a bad way to spend the 4th of July. Not bad at all.