Morning chores

My (most of the time) adorably funny grandmother just spent the last few minutes taking my son’s socks out of his drawer and throwing them into the garbage one-by-one.  The de-cluttering of his dresser was followed by emptying the cutlery drawer and putting all of the spoons in her purse.  All of the placemats were removed from the table and stuffed behind a picture or her and my grandfather on their 50th wedding anniversary.  She served the cats four bowls of water, and a Oreo and then concluded  her morning chores by stuffing two jackets, one slipper, and a brown furry hat under a chair cushion.  Exhausted, she plopped herself down and asked when the party was going to start?!?

“I don’t know, Gram, but the house looks great!”

“I heard that he was coming back for the party.”

“Who is?”

“That’s not what the professionals said.”

“Oh, Grandma, you are pretty funny.”

She flashed that loopy toothless grin at me, patted my shoulder, and handed me ten bucks for the bus.

Grandma Dorothy

I ran inside for five minutes, to change her sheets as she had just ordered me to do.  By the time I came back outside to the porch, where I had left her, Grandma was gone.  I frantically searched the house, the yard, and the shed.  I ran across the street to my parent’s house and quickly learned that they hadn’t seen her either.  Rowan stayed with the neighbor and I made a quick plea on FB for prayers, and combed the streets with my mom and dad.

Grandma started her day off pretty rough.  She woke at 1am with the same neck pain she’s been suffering from for over a week.  She’s been to the ER once, the doctor’s twice and PT several times.  She’s on pain killers and muscle relaxers, and nothing seems to be easing her pain.  By 6am, she was up again for the rest of the day, disoriented and slightly combative.  She was convinced all day that someone was visiting and I was keeping her from seeing them.  She thought someone was going to the airport to drop them off and that she was going to go too.  Several times she started down the sidewalk in an attempt to make a break for it.  I led her back, but she kept trying to leave.  Eventually she sat down on the porch and told me to change her sheets.  Relieved that she was willing to let the whole airport thing go, I willingly obliged.

Shortly before I was going to give up, and call the cops, my 12 year old neighbor spotted her, in the passenger seat of a car, windows rolled up, two layers of clothes on(that’s how she dressed herself this morning), and sitting in 115 degrees for over twenty minutes.  She was physically fine, but mentally she’s a mess today.  She was going to sit there until someone took her to the airport.

The day went downhill fast from there.  She started to do some very bizarre things: chewing on a pillow, stripping naked in the living room, trying to put everything she picked up between her toes, trying to walk through walls, and saying some very random statements.  She outright refused to go to bed until 9:30, and this is from someone who has gone to bed before 8pm since I’ve known her!

The most heart-warming and heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever seen is my dad rub his mother’s back for over an hour, until she fell asleep

She’s fading fast, and I miss her already.

In like a lion…

Oh my gosh you guys, it’s been an insane couple of weeks.  The biggest event was my grandma breaking her ankle.  It’s left her immobile and completely dependant on me.  I went from being able to leave her on her own for a few hours to having to get a babysitter to stay with her if I needed to go to the grocery store.  The stress of the whole thing sent her into a downward spiral mentally.  She was convinced she was in a nursing home, that people were constantly coming in and out to visit her, she was having conversations on the phone with no one on the other end, and for the most part, she didn’t know who I was.  She’s fairly stabilized now, but, WOW!

What did Rowan do during the whole time?  Ride his bike!  As long as I’m wasn’t forcing him to eat, sleep or bathe, he was on his bike.  If it was raining, he was riding in circles around the dining room table.  My son loves him some wheels.  He doesn’t know it, but he’s getting his very own two-wheeler for his birthday.  Actually, he’s getting it within the next month probably.  I want him to be able to have it for the summer, and not have to wait until the end of August.  Stature wise he still fits on his tricycle, but mentally he’s in the Tour de France.  He just can’t go fast enough on a three-wheeled baby bike. 

There isn’t much else to update on, except maybe that Rowan harvested the first ripe strawberry from our garden, and kept telling people that, “I grewed it myself!”  Despite the look on his face, he enjoyed the fruits of his labor.  🙂

Here’s what else you’ve missed:

Here’s what’s up-bullet style!

  • We’re still alive!!!
  • Grandma is still alive!!!  She’s getting worse with every passing day, but then there are moments like this one, and it puts it all into perspective:


  • Both my dad and my uncle are getting cancer treatments this week.  Dad and mom had to travel for this one, so for the next week I’ll be holding down the fort.  Gratefully they are both doing well, but your continued prayers are much appreciated.
  • Rowan is, quite frankly, thriving.  He’s digging school, and excelling.  On non-school days he begs to go, and I don’t blame him-he gets to do stuff like this:

  • Personally, my patience, character, and will to do what is right is tried daily.  Between an extraordinarily strong-willed child, and a child-like adult that requires everything to be repeated three or four times, and then still insists that what you are telling her is wrong, I struggle.  I sometimes wonder if I’m cut out for this, but then the end of another day comes, and we’re all still breathing, and sometimes even laughing, and I realize it’s going to be all right.  If this is the growing experience people keep telling me it is, I’m gonna be darn near perfect when this is over. 
  • And finally, the picture you’ve all been eagerly anticipating: the ponytail picture!!  I was surprised how many people (mostly from F.B.) wanted photographic proof of the phenomenon that is my long(er)  hair.  I never guaranteed the quality of the photograph, so if it looks a little disheveled, hap-hazard, and like a two year old took it while standing on the lid of his toilet seat, it’s because it was!  So hold on to your britches, because here it is:


And just like that, the honeymoon is over.

I had to explain to my grandmother that her husband is dead.  He died over ten years ago, and today she asked when he was getting home from work.  I sat her down, told her he was in heaven, and she was crushed.  She seemed to understand though, and after sorting out who I was, where her sons were, and what she had on her meatloaf at lunch, she was able to carry on with her afternoon. 

I, on the other hand, have not been able to shake the feeling of utter sadness.  Not only did I have to re-experience the grief I have felt over his death, I am finally beginning to understand what my life is going to be.  I know I’m going to have to do this again.  I’m going to have to tell my grandmother that her husband of more than 50 years has long since passed, and she’s going to have to grieve again and again.  It’s heartbreaking.  And it’s exhausting.  And I don’t want to do it.  But I will, because I know it’s what I’m supposed to do, what I’m called to do, and what’s in my heart to do.

It’s sad knowing that my 2.5 year old that has never met the man, understands that Mommy’s Bapa is in heaven, but the woman who spent a lifetime with him can’t get a handle on his whereabouts. 

Every time I think about my grandma these days, the chorus from a song, by I can’t remember who, pops into my head:

Mom’s a little girl again

Talking to herself

Laughing with her friend

Some folks say she’s at the end

But me, I think it’s preschool for heaven

So while my precious grandmother continues to deteriorate, loosing her sense of self, and loosing her sense of control, I will sit in my room, sneaking bites from the hollow chocolate easter bunny I have hidden in the bottom drawer of my desk, and pray.  Right now, it’s all I know to do.

We’re Alive!

My access to the internet is pretty limited right now, but I have a few moments of peace, alone time, and the gall to sit in my car with my laptop, and steal my neighbor’s wi-fi.  I know, I’m corrupt.

Last Sunday Rowan and I officially spent our first night in the new house.  He kept me awake all night by sleeping all night.  In his own bed.  IN HIS OWN ROOM!  I couldn’t help but check on him every few hours, and every little squeak and creak I heard was him falling out of bed, crying for me, my grandma having a heart attack, her slipping and falling, or someone breaking in to steal my family.  Of course none of these things happened….Rowan happily crawled into bed with me early the next morning, and my Grandmother emerged from her room, happy, but totally clueless that we had even slept there the previous night.  

The second night was better, but the third night brought a bad reaction to Gram’s new Alzheimer’s medication.  There was puking.  Much, much puking.  It started during the night, and kept on coming up the next day.  We immediately stopped that med, and she’s started a new one, that other than making her moody, and a little weak, she has responded well to.  (She’s remembered my name three days in a row!)

Rowan has been a champ.  On Monday he started “school.”  It was red day, so he threw on his red sweats, packed his backpack, and started his school career.


He did his Mama proud.

We are physically and emotionally adjusting to these new circumstances, but my little family is strong, and close.  I have all the faith in the world this is going to be an adventure we’ll all remember. 

The best part of this is that Bapa is only a driveway away. 😀


Change is scary.  It’s scary, and it’s hard, and it’s exciting and mysterious.  I’m feeling all of these things at the moment, and it’s exhausting.

Rowan and I are moving.  It’s not far, but it’s still change, rendering it scary by default.  We are going to be caring for my 91-year-old grandmother with Alzheimer’s.  She can no longer live alone, and she has a three bedroom house, so it only makes sense. 

I’ll get my own bedroom, the one I’ve been longing for, and Rowan will get his own room with a big bed, and we’ll get our own bathroom to boot.  Grandma will get companionship, security, and three square meals a day.  It’s a win-win.

It’s also a HUGE commitment on my part.  Sure, I’m already committed to raising Rowan, what’s another being to care for?  Honestly, it’s not the physical work that frightens me.  Watching my beloved Grandmother lose her sense of self, her sense of reality, and her sense of me is what worries me the most.  I don’t want to watch her die.

What a way to show her how much I love her though.  What an amazing opportunity to express absolute devotion and appreciation.  I have the chance to care for the matriarch of this family.  To give back to the woman who raised my dad, loves her grandchildren and great-grandchildren unconditionally, and gives without limit to anyone in need-that’s an experience I can’t pass up.

Tomorrow we will start to gradually clean out her office and guest room and start to move our things in.  We will ease into a routine, allowing all of us to feel each other out, figure out what works, and eliminate the things that don’t.  I don’t know exactly when we’ll start sleeping there, but I imagine by next weekend we’ll be close to living there full-time.

In addition to moving, another change is taking place: Rowan is starting school!  On Monday’s and Tuesday’s, he and I will be going to his friend Ezra’s house, where I will be homeschooling both of them.  They are a day apart in age, terribly funny together, and have a combined IQ that’s probably three times what mine is.  Rowan is jumping out of his skin with excitement, while I’m just thrilled to be able to teach again.  Ezra is the youngest of four boys, and ready for some one-on-one (sort of…).  It’s another win-win!

I know this move is something I’m meant to do.  It’s going to make for long and tiresome days.  I will cry and wonder how I can manage.   There will be issues that I won’t know how to deal with, and times I come close to giving up.  I will have to learn to ask for help, and then learn how to accept it. 

I imagine I learn a lot in the coming months.