Thursday, January 30, 2020

The helping hand

Exhausted, I pulled strength from somewhere around my toes and took on what needed to be done. Flu. That awful, terrible thing that we all know. It knocks us off our feet, tossing us like rag dolls, refusing to let go. Rough, huh? Well, let me tell you something. When it hits our grandkids, it strikes at our hearts. Straight shot. You and I would trade places with them in a minute if we could, so we do the next best thing.

My son and family returned from ten days in Orlando, having the time of their lives making memories that will be relieved and cherished forever. Flying home to Oregon, Nolan got the flu. His temperature soared and the barfies found him. All ready to come home and resume the routine was met with an immediate halt. "Mom, can you help? We need Emma out of the house so she doesn't get it." Well, no need to ask. Everything takes a back burner and grandparenting at its roots takes place.

Millie, their Airdale, had already spent ten days with us. Now she would stay on along with a lively little miss. Now to complicate all this, the doc informs me that I have arthritis and bone spurs in my knee cap. For a grandma who has been active for years with her grandkids, this is not the best news. Getting up and down from the floor and going stairs takes great effort and tolerance of pain. Can't let that stop me!

My mother was a whirlwind of strength and endurance. As a parent and a grandparent, I get it. I can tolerate a great deal to make this a good time for Emma and show my son that I am more than able to help out.

Emma moved in for two days. We played games, went to horseback riding class, she went to school, we giggled a great deal and enjoyed our time together. She took care of bracing my knee, and I scrubbed her back. We made memories in the simpleness of everyday living.

Nolan finally was well enough to come and stay an afternoon with me while his sister was at school. I  even found time to dash off to the school for lunch with Emma. My son and Lisa knew that the kids were safe and well-cared for. I was never a parent who loved to send her grandkids off with their parents. I love living close enough to be part of all their lives. I never had that for my kids. I will not allow them to miss it.

My husband's son just had a new baby. I am thinking that the activity level with this one will be a little more reserved. But who knows? I may just find that this new one adds a bit more energy and strength to this old girl.

We are the blessed. We get to make memories for our loved ones. We are the authors of their past and the participant of their futures. MeMe. Yep, that's the best name I have ever been called. How about you?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Open each petal one by one

Paul Simon describe it best in "Sound of Silence": And in the naked light I saw ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking. People hearing without listening. People writing songs that voices never share. And no one dare....disturb the sound of silence.

A very real thing happens to many people after the first of the year. In case you did not know it, January is considered the month when people are most depressed. In fact, the third Monday is called Blue Monday. I know it is a difficult month for me. A let down after the holidays always finds me. Memories of sad events that took place during the holidays seem to linger after the first of the year. Dark stormy weather does nothing to help with my winter blues.

Depression is very real. I had no idea what it was when I was a kid. In fact, no one ever talked about feelings or expressed them for what they were. Sorrow, hurt, difficulties in life, (and the list goes on) were never shared. My examples were all considered strong people. In retrospect, I find that they failed their daughters by not expressing their feelings. People could be grumpy and angry. Maybe they were silent and off to themselves. I know I spent long periods of time alone with my thoughts. I never would have thought to share them. (I know, hard to believe I had such a problem.) 

I first realized what depression was after the birth of each of my two children. Each time I was at a bad place, trying to swim upstream. I did not ask for help nor did I admit the struggle I felt. Then I began writing. That I could do. The words were just for me, but this tool gave me insight. When I went through a terrible divorce, I found that I needed help beyond myself. And, in that reaching out, I found my strength.

In working with troubled teens, the biggest hurdles I found were in helping kids open up about their feelings. Anger would rage. Drugs might come into the picture. Some kids came to me with bruises on their bodies. They had no one to go to whom they could trust. I got it. I felt that way most of my youth. I learned a great deal from the depths of my feelings and by moving around this country. I learned that I could change from what I learned as a child. I found that I could only have healthy kids if I was open and honest about the feelings with which I dealt.

It is a time of year to understand and help others. January is a tough month. You are not alone if you are feeling down. Seek someone to talk to. There is no shame in admitting that the load is too heavy. In fact, you are doing yourself and your families a favor. If you know someone who is depressed, open a dialogue with that person and help him/her find their own help source. I like the following quote by Goldie Hawn. I leave you with this:

The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud --- the obstacles of life and its suffering. ... The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. ... Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one.”