#5, 6,7…8

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.

When It Rains…

When It Rains

101 Days of Blogging – Day 5 – Repossess Your Health

Five Repossess Your Health

Reclaim responsibility for your well-being; own your daily choices; minimize your reliance on the broken sick-care system.

Personal health and well-being can encompass many things to us all!  I think it all depends on Y.O.U. – Your Own Unique path…

For me, repossessing my health consisted of reorganizing my priorities.  From twenty-five to my early thirties I was consumed with finding the right career for me.  The thing that I got up to do every day that made me smile, sigh a sigh of relaxed relief, a thing that made me happy.  Now that I’m officially in my mid-thirties (a milestone that frightened me so…), I’m not so sure what that Monday through Friday, nine to five thing is.  I think I have a good clue, and I have some goals and plans to get there – but now at 35, I’m really not so worried about it.  Do I want to be successful?  Oh yes, I absolutely want to be?  Am I successful?  Actually yes, yes I am.  I may have some more roads, highways and byways (preferably trails) to travel to arrive where I want to professionally, but that is no longer my number one priority.Out of Order

Gosh, looking back I feel like a fool!  Why in the world would I have made my number one priority my job???  I do want to provide for my family, be self fulfilled and satisfied with professional accomplishments.  But I found out, my life would be much fuller at home.  My home, the place infested with dust and hair from my four precocious pets.  The place where my prized possessions rest in my kitchen cabinets (cuisinart pots and pans – I’m a ninja chef, incognito), where my pile of clean clothes lay on the floor on my side of the bed…  The place where my amazingly talented, unconditionally loving and beautiful husband resides…  The place where these two young beautiful souls reside…  Ahhhh, yes – not my house, my home.

Heart in HandsI wish I could put into words, just how special my home is to me, how important it is.  For whatever reason, I can’t begin to wrap my words around my safest place.

My home makes me rich, my family my compass.  My professional life will always keep me on my toes and keep me motivated.  But the whole reason I open my eyes every day and smile is my family.

My family is how I have repossessed my health.  Knowing this, makes me feel #GUTSY.

Join me for day 6 of 101 days of blogging Redefine Your Role – You are not a “healthcare consumer.” You are a human being. You may be experiencing an illness or other health challenge right now, but remember that good health is your body’s natural state.

Loving Life!

Loving Life!

FOUR – Celebrate What is Good

FourCelebrate What is Good

Look for signs of progress (beyond pounds lost) and rejoice when you find them. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you make your health a priority.

So I’ve taken a long break from 101 days of blogging… but only because I had the block.  Massive wall in my way, not letting my brain function, pain in the booty writer’s block.  Then something happened in December.  I took a short shopping trip a couple of weeks before Christmas with my parents.  At first I wasn’t going to go… I had a headache, too much bubbly and not enough sleep the evening before.  But after letting the voices scramble and ramble around my brain like a slow game of Yahtzee, I decided to go.

It was about a 50 minute jaunt across the bland brown desert.  The sky a tad bit grey, my parents not saying to much of anything that made sense to me, Coffee House melodies lightly played, and I remembered I forgot to pay a credit card bill that was due that day.  In all it’s glory, my smart phone failed (yet again) at logging into the cc website to make the payment – so I had to call and do the stupid payment over the phone, but it was automated!  It took me two tries to get the freaking payment made, all-the-while; odors of the dairies snuck their way into the car…Ick this is why I hate the drive to El Paso.

The mall was surprisingly open, not overrun with last minute shoppers like myself.  Store number one, nothing, nada, zilch!  Store number two, I end up having to call my eight year old and ask him what his dad’s shoe size is!  Yet another, FAIL!  Then I walked into Old Navy (of all places), wouldn’t you know I was able to tackle 90 percent of my shopping there???

Back to Macy’s (store number one), I run right into my mom, and then together we run into my dad.  They too got a lot of their shopping done in one store.  We collectively agreed, we were over shopping and mom said we were off to lunch!  Which was good, my stomach was aching, my head throbbing, hands shaking.  Something just didn’t feel right any more.gemstones-elephant-in-the-room-640x330

Sitting down at a high-top at one of my mom’s favorite grub spots, we each ordered off the eclectic menu and chatted about our family that would soon be coming into town, meals we would share, activities we would immerse ourselves in…the chatter went on and on, anything to avoid the elephant in the room.

For the past year, my dear father had been grappling with care decisions for my grandfather, whose health was rapidly declining due to the effects of a neurological disorder twisted with a form of dementia.  It’s amazing how these two diseases robbed a healthy person of mind/body function.  Last year at this time, my hubby and I met my dad and grandfather out for a snack and a drink, then my dad took my grandfather to a football game.  Fast forward six months – granddad was in a Veteran’s home because he needed specific care and was not able to get it from an in-home health service.

I’ve seen both of my parents lose a parent when I was younger.  It was upsetting to say the least.  But as a full-grown adult, to witness my father attempting to make decisions for his father (without the assistance of his siblings), really sunk my heart and dimmed my soul.

Mom went to the restaurant’s gift shop; it was as wild as the menu.  Dad and I sat silent while waiting for the check.  I couldn’t have timed his phone ringing any better.  It’s as if it were an emotional movie playing out in reality.  I held my breath, but he didn’t answer the call.  Instead, he signed the credit card slip for lunch and helped me down from my chair.  As we perused the gift shop, dad disappeared.  Mom and I got lost in the waves of one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments and whimsical gifts.  We laughed, chose some more gifts to give and were soon on our way home.

I liked spending time with them like this.  It made me remember what it was like growing up, made me miss my brother.  My eyes began to fill with tears.  I tasted one drop of salt on my lip when dad’s phone began to buzz again.  He quickly disabled blue tooth.  He listened, I listened, my mom grabbed his hand.  More tears dripped from my eyelids and slid down my cheeks.  I quickly brushed the emotion away from my skin as I caught my father’s eye in the rear view mirror.  His responses to the caller were short but courteous.  Silence.

Mom asked if it was the doctor.  Answer – yes.  Mom asked, “is it what we thought”.  Answer – yes.  I had no clue what their cloudy conversation was about, but just as quickly as they spoke, I decoded.  I felt like a little kid again, sitting there in the back seat of the family car.

That was a tiring ride home.  My eyes were heavy, my heart heavier as I unlocked my front door.  There before me, was a family of my own.  Suddenly, I didn’t feel like a little kid any more.  Just a sad lonely adult.  I barely was filled in on the goings-on, when I received a text message from my mother.  They were off to see my grandfather.  I asked if I should go, but they were already on their way out of town…  I filled my hubby in.  He was as he always is, my rock.  He wrapped his arms around me, my warm blanket of comfort.

A few hours later, my dad texted the family to say my grandfather was resting comfortably and that he was in God’s hands… A few hours after that, just after midnight, curiously, I received the same text message.  The next morning, my phone rang.  It was dad, he was seemingly cheerful.  Then oddly enough asked if I had received a text from him, I said yes, told him I received it twice.  He said that apparently he didn’t know how to text, and that just after midnight, my grandfather had passed.  I told my father I was so sorry for his loss, for our loss.  Silence.  “Dad?”  muffled sobs.  Later my mom told me that she listened to him call all the family members personally to let them know my grandfather had passed away.  He only cried when he told me.

2012 was an amazingly emotional ride.  My family grew stonger, my family swelled, it also dwindled.  But through it all, this is the first year I can say that I savored every high and every low.  I felt it all, let the light illuminate my way and actually dealt with my struggles head on…  There’s a lot going on in 2013, so much that I need to accomplish, time is ticking…as my brother told me late last year after our grandfather passed away, we are like vapor.

I can’t help but to say a little prayer of thanksgiving throughout my every day as I celebrate what is good. 

And with that, my writer’s block has vanished.  Every day that I get to live my life, there’s something new and meaningful to talk about.

Sunshine & Peace

#5 Repossess Your Health

Reclaim responsibility for your well-being; own your daily choices; minimize your reliance on the broken sick-care system.