Continuing upon my 30 days of new, I present number’s 5, 6, 7 & 8. While 5, 6 & 7 started out as part of this joyous voyage, 8 is quite bitter-sweet, hope you’re along for a ride.
#5 – My husband and I took our ten year old & 17 month old to the park. No not for the first time, but it was the first time our tiny tot slid on a slide (in the lap of both overly protective parents) and glided through the air on a swing. The first trip down the slide, the tiny tot had a look of WTF on her face. So we quickly shifted to the tot swing. First, her hands were balled up in front of her in the security of the enclosed swing… after a few slight breezes through her fine hair, the hands moved to the front of the swing enclosure and there were gasps of excitement that crept out of her mouth. Then, after a few more careless glides through space, she grabbed onto the chains and the joy leaped from her lips! A few more minutes into her swinging experience, she let go, thrust her little arms in the air and screamed with delight. What an amazing experience to see this child so thoroughly embrace a new experience and swallow it whole. All-the-while, our ten year old made friends, played hide and seek and seemed to have the time of his life all on his own… hmmmm.
#6 – Ash Wednesday. This was the first time I’ve been to church in as long as I can remember. I knew first thing in the morning I would be there. But it wasn’t until the afternoon, when it was time to pick my ten year old up from school, that I knew I’d share this brief time with him. In the back of my mind as we drove to the church, I knew this experience was for me, my son and two other people. While I sat there quietly with my child, he had quite a lot to tell me. He whispered things here and there while we waited for the service to begin. Then I saw this man walking to the pews from behind the choir area in the front of the church. For a brief moment, I thought to myself, what a pretty rose he’s carrying… I could use a flower today. The thought was fleeting. What seemed only a minute later, the man reached over my friend and my son and handed me the rose. WOW. The service was nice. I liked what the deacon had to say in his short homily. He praised all the parents that had brought children to the service. That made me smile, I mean that just spoke to me. Of all the days to go to church, then to decide I needed to take my son with me.
#6.5 – Post Ash Wednesday service, I dropped my son off and headed to my parents house to see my mother and grandmother. I wanted to pick up flowers for that visit to my mother, but a generous stranger had allowed me to cut that extra trip out by handing me a single gorgeous red rose. Upon driving up the long steep driveway, I smiled. My mom had no idea I was coming, bearing a sweet smelling gift and ashes. You see, religion is high on the priority list for my mother and my grandmother. But neither has been able to attend mass for quite some time now. My mother because she has been caring for my grandmother. And my grandmother simply can’t go anywhere, it’s too draining. As my mother opened the door she looked surprised. I handed her the rose and her eyes lit up, before we crossed her foyer, I grabbed her arm before she could move forward, I hugged her, “I brought you ashes.” Quickly she pulled back and brushed her bangs away from her forehead, I brushed my thumb across my forehead and carefully made the sign of the cross on hers… I was going to do the same for my grandmother, but she was so peaceful in her chair and her eyes lit up with excitement as I entered the room. My brain immediately told my heart, this isn’t the time to tell her she missed what would normally be an important mass for her. So I kissed her cheek, talked about the day, asked how she was, filled her in on her great grandchildren… It was a quick visit because I needed to get home to make a birthday dinner for my hubby. I told her I would be back with “blue eyes” (her nickname for my daughter) on Friday morning.
#7 – FRIDAY MORNING. I texted my mother to ask what time I should come over. She said it didn’t really matter come when I could. That’s when I knew this visit with my Gran would be different. I dropped my oldest off at school and immediately headed for the folks house with a little lady with a soiled diaper in tow. As I changed my baby’s diaper, my mother recounted how things had changed so drastically since 5pm the night before. And holy crap, how they changed throughout today. I spoke to my grandmother this morning, she was able to speak to me. This was hardly the talk we had just two days prior. My daughter sat sweetly on my knee cooing to her great grandmother, then she wandered off down the hall toward my parents voices. I spoke to my Gran. I could tell she had a case of dry mouth and asked her if she’d like some water. She said yes. I quickly stepped out of the room in a daze. My father had to help my Gran to a sitting position and I could tell right away she was in tremendous pain. I held a cup to her mouth and she sipped… two slow sips. Then I told her that I loved her and I’d let her rest.
#7 on March 7th was not a first I had planned. I went from 8am at my parent’s home, speaking to my grandmother, and she spoke back to me. She sat up, albeit with help and in pain. Then by 6:25pm when I went home, she wasn’t able to speak, only nod and look at me behind blue eyes that oozed pain of not being able to respond. I went into my Gran’s room before I left, I told her goodnight, I told her how much I love her. I told her that I spoke to my brother, and he told me to tell her let her know how much he loves her. Her eyes wide, her mouth tried to move, and I responded, “I know you love me too, I know you love my brother and I will tell him for you. I will be back with you in the morning.” I only hope God gives me at least one more chance to look into her blue eyes to tell her I do love her, she’s meant so much to me. She’s been there for me when I couldn’t turn to my own mother.
#8 – I didn’t have that one planned either, but it was another first, all in the same day as the gravity of #7 is setting in. I sat with my mom all day today. I gave my grandmother medicine when my mother wasn’t physically able to. I didn’t shed many tears and held it better as best I could. I don’t have the best relationship with my mom. But I’ve been working on that in my own way lately and thought I was doing good with it. That was until she rocked my world and told me she didn’t want to waste anymore time with me. I didn’t need to hear anything else, I don’t think I need to go back to my counselor. Just acknowledging that there has been wasted time is enough for me, that’s a first. That’s enough.
I wish I could put more thought, more animation and gravity into this post… but after today, I just don’t have it in me. Looking forward to the next of my firsts, no matter how difficult they may be. Today was the toughest day, but it was a great day.