Sunday, July 29, 2018

Meandering Thoughts

The memory of this day, fourteen years ago, can pop up in an instant. The phone call came. A little grandboy was on his way.  Rae and I made our way to the hospital, and for my part, with lots of butterflies.  It wasn't exactly the circumstances that fit a Norman Rockwell picture.  Long before my own kid knew he was about to be a dad, he'd signed on the dotted line to be in the Army National Guard and duty called. He left on July 5th.
The Captain was a lowly bootcamper then, sweating every bit of extra weight he  might have had off in July south Georgia.  Needless to say, I couldn't call and talk to him about it.  Ceece and I didn't know each other well and I just really had no idea what I should do, or more to the point, what I shouldn't.  I had decided though, a long time ago that I would show up. I'd rather be accused of doing something wrong, than doing nothing at all. I did know enough to just hang about quietly to see if I could be of help, and to skedaddle when and if told.
It was a very awkward situation for us all.  It was not my first rodeo, so I offered a cold cloth, asked for a popsicle and told her we could change the bedding if ever she felt uncomfortable.  She thought a popsicle sounded good, but her reflux was horrendous and didn't mix well with contractions and the excitement of the morning. It wasn't long until he was here, and how thrilled was I to be granted the courtesy of standing close and snapping away, capturing this long awaited day.
I wanted a big ol' bunch of kids.  Handy Man believed three was a big ol' bunch, done and done, so I really sort of grieved for all the rest I would never have and soon that morphed into great expectation of the next generation.  And there he was, early, but whole and healthy and perfect, thank the Lord.  I remember how red his lips were.  They put him in the incubator and sort of forgot he existed .  Again, not wanting to make a fuss, I just stood there while he kicked and squirmed about in the incubator and the doc set to putting things in order with Ceece.  Only half way through, the doctor got another call and just left her there in a very uncomfortable position, not finishing what needed doing.  Finally this person in scrubs walks in and scoops the baby up and is heading out the door and we're all like, "Who are you and where are you taking the baby?"  Leesh (Ceece's sister) went with the baby, who was going several floors away,  and I stayed with Ceece until the doc finally returned to the job at hand.
She got to moved to a room, at last,  still far from the baby.  We got to go see him, settled in the nursery and I felt elated that he and momma were safe, but broken hearted that his Daddy still had no idea he was even here, and Ceece didn't have the person she wanted most to share the experience with.
I rushed to the store to develop the pictures as quick as I could, then rushed to send them with the news to Georgia.
Again, I wasn't sure what to do, so went back to visit and then, before long he was home.  Ceece invited us over on Sunday afternoon to hold and coo at him.  Monday was his follow up appointment.  We were certain we would get another report that he was practically perfect in every way.  Little did we know.  At some point in this journey, he contracted a rare bacterial infection and his bilirubin was critically high.  They sent us straight to the children's hospital, where he landed immediately in intensive care.  The captain didn't yet know he had a baby and maybe now, well, who knew.  We were completely devastated.  So the waiting room is where we all lived for three weeks. After several days the devoted pediatrician finally figured out the mystery ailment, found the meds to treat it and our littlest bit, who by now was known as "Bean" began to recover.
Again, when the crisis had abated, I was still unsure how I would play into this picture.  Ceece had a wonderful relationship with her dad's parents, so I've often wondered if that played into it, but from day one she was very open to our being very involved.  I would go once a week and pick him up and return home for a few hours to sit on the porch and talk to him about all we could see.

I would pray for him, his mama and daddy, and read him books. Well, until Pap came home, then I was forced to relinquish him.  Finally the Captain graduated from boot camp,
 and never have you seen two people more smitten with each other than those two.

I kept him overnight on their first New Year's Eve and have every year since.  He was my absolute joy and delight.

 I didn't know I could love anyone like I did my own children, but love him just as fiercely I did and do.  I bought a completely ridiculous amount of toys and clothes and books and baby gear.

More than we had for our own as Handy Man likes to mention.
I pushed the swing a million miles, as well as singing hundreds of songs and making tons of stories about whatever his current fascination happened to be -helicopters, Davy Crockett and on and on. My joy!  He still is.  Yesterday I watched him amaze us at a swim meet, but more on that later.  Happiest Birthday to you Bean. I have no earthly idea how you could be so tall and so old.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Over? Hardly

So the service for David was lovely.  Our friend Steve did a great job.  Ol' Mother Hubbard shared about all the sweet and funny and lovely things, but reflected on the darkness with grace. Ol' Henry started the service with a sweet praise song about hope. I'm afraid I wasn't thinking clearly and failed to get a picture. Certainly that hope was a message we needed to hear.  Bo Steele sang Victory in Jesus,  Zach was next with Fear is a Liar and lastly, Jamie Johnson's Lead me Home. Friends kindly supplied the meal for this tribe and then it was off to the cemetery.
Aunt SuzQ took a rest on Kaye's headstone. She knew she wouldn't mind.

 Miss Linee and Baby Boy sang the family funeral song Never Been this Homesick Before.

Antebellie play her ukulele and sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

Then they told us we could go while they finished up, but we thought we'd come this far, we'd just finish up ourselves.  I'm always amazed at how differently people feel about such things.  That's okay. I guess we aren't a timid bunch and we wanted to see it through.  You know it is just the last thing you get to be a part of, and we weren't going to turn it over to a stranger.

For whatever reason, it comforted me to lay that boy back in his mother's arms.  There was no where else Kaye would've wanted him to be.
It is strange how the world just goes on.  Strange and hard.

Monday, July 16, 2018

The Grief Rolodex

Do you have one?  A brain that came equipped with a grief Rolodex?  My grief Rolodex has 4 cards.  That's not so many to manage it would seem.  Unfortunately though, I can't seem to control the way they flip.
There's the "Pragmatic Card." When that card is in a usable place it says, "Well, what did you expect. You are more than aware that certain bad habits and chronic depression point in a specific direction. You have now arrived at that destination."  Yeah, okay, I got it.
Then there is the "Mad Card."  You look about at the damage and you are just completely ticked that anyone would do such a thing.
Flip. Next up the "Naw, Didn't Happen Card."  I can move with amazing swiftness from understanding that this happens to being completely incredulous and sure that there  has to be some reasonable explanation and that we are just wrong.  David is somewhere and fine.

Lastly, we have the "Hysterical Card." This card I hate the most.  This is when my mind goes back to that little blonde, blue-eyed darling and tears flow and I feel very out of control.

 It is okay when I'm home by myself.  On Saturday, I ran into a friend in Target, who hadn't heard the news.  My brain flipped right to the "Pragmatic Card."  I was able to get through the entire explanation without an ounce of trouble.  Then, walking through the checkout, flip, tears.  I don't get it.  I spent ten hours with Mom yesterday who can only be described as pitiful and the "Mad Card" was flipped on all of those ten hours.  Hmm, I don't know.  It is just hard isn't it?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

It Takes a Village

Playdate had barely begun on Tuesday when I was made aware that there was a serious concern for David's welfare.  I had a yard full of kids and a list of fun for Science Playdate.   How grateful was I for Rae and Claire, Handy Man, Jenna Kyle and Bean, Bugg, Antebellie and Linee to take over for the agonizing wait to find that the concern was real and David was gone. I simply was barely able to put one foot in front of the other. Then the Cpt. who dropped what he was doing to deliver the news to his Uncle Jimi, while I raced with a heavy heart to my Mom.
I'm glad the kids were able to go on with their last Playdate inside that little innocent bubble of not yet knowing the cataclysmic change in our Village.
I tried to count all the grands, great grands and great, great ones.  The number has topped fifty.  That stopped me for a bit to feel a swell of gratefulness over the knowing that never has one been lost.  Then the tears that we can never say that again.
I'm flooded with memories. Taking care of him every day when Kaye went back to work and pretending he was mine.  I took David shopping, he was about three.  There was a current commercial on radio and TV for Digel.  We were talking about foods we liked and he quipped, "I like pickles, but they don't like me," quoting the commercial in his little boy voice that I still can hear.  Kaye taking his bottle  and telling him another baby needed it and David adamantly insisting she go to the store and buy that baby its own bottle. Trying to drop him at daycare and him pleading, "Just stay one more minute," and my heart breaking. When I stood in the emergency room for three hours in the middle of the night when he was fourteen while they stitched him up from a terrible car accident, so grateful as the surgeon said a just a small turn of his head in that wreck and there would have been nothing to save. His laugh and bright eyes on days when the world was an okay place for him.  Oh my. Thank you Lord for the grace that sustains us in these times.
My growing up Bean's view of Playdate-

Who can resist finding a treasure. A little water and salt mining.  This is the cheapest and easiest activity that delights young and old alike.

 Ahhh, free at last!

 Another favorite- those Orbeez.

 Yeah, not sure how this happened.

Next up, Dancing Raisins, only they didn't dance so well today.

Gobstoppers, how will colors saturate the water?

 Yes! Time for tools.  Time to dismantle the VCR lost in the last storm and the old fan that finally gave it up!

 But wait, I love puppies. I got to get this puppy out of here.

 This boy and his love of pictures of his feet.

 Got it!

 I got nothing on Miss Linee in the expressive storytelling department.

I'd like to know what brought on these expressions.

 Enough contrived science, let's get some natural science going.

 Be still my heart-tears.

 Lots of finds in the bucket.

A post nap Pixie girl. 

Wednesday was worse than Tuesday. Again, so thankful for Rae and Bugg and Jenna Kyle getting me through Woods Camp, after a long sob on the shoulder of a compassionate Ceece.