What’s missing?

There are a lot of things I miss about our two-year-old granddaughter ABC not living with us anymore. Here are a few:

  • Her imagination. She would jump up and down, usually on the couch, pretending she was splashing in puddles. She would accompany this by saying (loudly) “Muddy puddles!” over and over, but the sound of the letter P is sometimes hard to get out, so it would sound like “Muddy cuddles!” Or she would stand behind the ottoman and say (loudly) “Ding, Ding! Ice cream!” She would then ask everyone in the room what kind of ice cream they wanted, repeat whatever we told her – it was fun naming exotic flavors – and pretend to hand it to us, saying, “Thank you!”
  • The extra trips to the ice cream stand, because she and the rest of us were often thinking about ice cream.
  • Having someone handy to sing to or with. I would sing hymns or folk songs to her as she was trying to fall asleep. We would do long renditions of “Old MacDonald” with all the farm animals and some more unusual animals thrown in. Sesame Street songs and “The Wheels on the Bus” and the alphabet and nursery rhymes. I even learned a new song, “Sleeping Bunnies.” She would act it out, starting out pretend-sleeping, with snoring added in for good measure, and then wake up and hop. The song does end with “hop and stop” so she didn’t hop forever, although she would ask for several renditions in a row.
  • Unexpected dance breaks: She was fond of the theme from “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and, for some reason, the music they play on the local news while they show the stock market report. Most of the television we watch is recorded on our DVR and we would often back up and watch the stock report multiple times to allow for dancing. Okay, we would be watching the dancing more than the stocks.
  • Toy nostalgia: When E and T were little, they played with Little Tikes toys. Little Tikes no longer makes small toys, so it was nice see ABC playing with and loving the ones we had stored away. Her favorite was the school bus, which, like most US school buses, is yellow. She would get excited when she would see a school bus driving by, although she called every bus a school bus, whether it was or not. On the first videochat we did with them in London after the move, ABC was playing with a new, red, double-decker bus. London doesn’t have school buses; students walk or take public transport. I wonder how long it will take for “school bus” to drop out of ABC’s vocabulary.
  • ABC’s hugs and cuddles. Curling up on the couch with her for naptime, even when she would only sleep if she was lying on top of you, pinning you to the couch for the duration of the nap.
  • Perhaps what I miss most is having ABC’s mom, our daughter E, living here with us. She is great to talk with, as well as being thoughtful and knowledgeable. I would often ask her about current trends and understanding of words, so that I wouldn’t use words in a way that would be considered disrespectful by young adults. I learned about up-to-date baby and child care. E was able to take over a lot of the meal planning and preparing when I was needing to be with my parents over the months of Nana’s illness and was then busy with all the tasks that follow when someone passes away. I probably should have had her teach me to use the Instant Pot before she left, though…

SoCS: dress

Our granddaughter, ABC, who just moved to London, has lots of cute dresses. Well, she has had many sets of cute dresses in a variety of sizes. She often wears them with leggings, which were not available when her mom was little.

When E (ABC’s mom) was little, she didn’t wear dresses often as an infant. For her first birthday, though, she wore a white and lavender striped dress. She had just recently started walking on her own. She walked into the dining room and sat herself down on the carpet, spreading her dress around her, as though she was setting herself up for a photo op for her parents and grandparents.

Beth's first birthday

Thanks for the prompt, Linda, which brought back this sweet memory, just as my firstborn child and her firstborn are settling into their new life on the other side of the Atlantic.
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “dress.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/10/25/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-26-19/

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley!
https://www.quaintrevival.com/

SoCS: when words fail

Today, daughter E and granddaughter ABC arrived in London. E’s spousal visa finally came through, so this was a one-way trip. We are happy that E, L, and ABC will finally be able to live together as a family full-time, but, oh, words can’t adequately express how much we are going to miss having them here with us!
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “oh.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/10/18/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-oct-19-19/

SoCS badge by Pamela, at https://achronicalofhope.com/

SoCS: the reason for yawns this week

I have been yawning more than usual this past week.

Last Saturday night, daughter E was lying beside granddaughter ABC, reading her a bedtime story. ABC was having a drink of water from her covered tumbler and, in her excitement, hit her mom in the eye with the bottom of the tumbler.

E called for me and I rang into the room. Her eye was already swelling, so I got her an ice pack and calmed ABC down and got her to sleep.

E had been hit hard enough to see stars and lose her vision in that eye for a moment, so we weren’t surprised when she had a headache the next day. And the next. But then, she started to feel dizzy a lot and get nauseous. I was afraid she had a concussion, so we went into the doctors’ office. It turns out that the symptoms of concussion are very similar to the symptoms of bleeding in the orbital socket, which has a lot of nerves that are very sensitive.

The treatment is also similar to concussion: rest, quiet, avoiding activity and eye strain and loud noises, taking pain relievers, not lifting heavy things.

None of which is inherently easy with a toddler in the house.

It turned into everyone else in the house taking over as much of ABC’s care as possible.

Which brings us to yawning. I have been taking over the nighttime care, sleeping on the couch on the first floor rather than in my room on the second floor. ABC is a pretty restless sleeper, so I would go into her several times a night to cover her or sing her a song or read her a book to get her back to sleep. When my husband B would come down between 5:00 and 6:00, I would sneak back upstairs for another couple hours of sleep, but I admit that I have been tired and, thus, yawning a fair amount during the day.

Last night, ABC didn’t wake up at all, so I got to sleep for a long stretch myself, which was nice and resulted in much less yawning today.

Let’s hope it is the beginning of a trend.

(By the way, E is improving, so there is some hope that she will be able to be more active soon.)
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Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week was to write about the first thing we thought of after reading the word “yawn.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2019/02/15/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-16-19/

a rainbow at Mercy House

On Wednesday evening, I drove to Mercy House, the hospice residence where my mother lives, during a sun-shower after a heavy downpour. Given the time of day and the moisture in the air, I started to look for a rainbow. When I turned east, a full rainbow appeared before me, one end of it resting on Mercy House.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Phatar, a twelve-year-old who was also in residence at Mercy House, had become unresponsive and would pass away the following day, surrounded by the love of family, friends, and caregivers.

On Friday morning, the door to Phatar’s room was open, his bed made with the quilt pulled up. Near his pillow was a little memorial with a flower, the United States flag that had been on his door, a little poem that had been posted in his room, and his handprint in green paint on white canvas.

This morning at church, Father Clarence told Phatar’s story during the homily, about his cancer diagnosis, about his final months at Mercy House, about his desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and his baptism, and the comfort that brought him in his final weeks. There were smiles and tears as we listened.

Our mix of emotions in reacting to death is always complex, but I think most people have a particularly strong sense of sadness at the death of a child. It has also been sad watching Phatar’s mom these last months, suffering through every parent’s nightmare of the illness and death of their child. Still, I am grateful to have met Phatar and to know that he is now at peace.

The next time I see a rainbow, I will think of him.

on the move

Earlier this week, daughter E and granddaughter ABC left for an almost three month stay with son-in-law L and his parents in London.

The trip itself was not without drama. A four-hour layover in Detroit stretched to twelve. Fortunately, the waiting passengers bonded in support of those traveling with young children and ABC gained a number of honorary aunties and uncles.

After having ABC with us for nine months, other than her prior three week visit to London, it was difficult to say good-bye, especially for great-grandparents Nana and Paco. As if to give us all a gift before she left, ABC showed off her new mobility skills, doing a bit of crawling and some of her first unassisted steps when we were visiting with Nana and Paco.

For the past couple of months, ABC has wanted to be on her feet, often only holding on to one of our fingers. She was impatient with being down on the floor, so we thought she might never crawl, but she decided to both crawl and walk at the same time!

Walking at nine months is on the early side developmentally, especially given that ABC was born almost a month early, but ABC is strong and determined!

Fortunately, L had prepared with gates and other babyproofing measures.

L has been visiting with E and ABC nearly every day via video chat. Now, we will need to do that (though it won’t be daily), bolstered by photos and video clips that E posts. We will miss E and L’s birthdays and ABC’s first Easter and first birthday, all of which will be a preview of living on opposite sides of the Atlantic when E’s visa situation works out and she and dual-citizen ABC move to London permanently.

For now, we just need to get through the next eleven weeks.

Three Mother’s Days

Last year, Mother’s Day was subdued. Neither of my daughters was at home. B’s mom had died only a few weeks before. I was blessed to be able to have brunch with my parents, known here as Nana and Paco, although Nana was already dealing with the congestive heart failure which is still a feature of life taking considerable time and energy.

While Nana’s health is still a feature for Mother’s Day today and we will again be joining Nana and Paco for brunch at their senior living community, we have new and exciting happenings this year. Daughter E is in residence and expecting her first child in a few weeks. Baby will be our first grandchild and Nana and Paco’s first great-grandchild. Daughter T has already sent cards to all three generations from her present home in Missouri. Later in the day, my older sister and her husband will arrive for a few days’ visit and, tomorrow, E’s spouse L arrives for three months and my younger sister arrives to get ready for Nana’s birthday on Tuesday.

Next year, what will Mother’s Day bring? I hope that B and I will again be brunching with Nana and Paco.  It is likely E, L, and Baby will be living in London. T’s position in Missouri is supposed to end in December, but it is possible that she will stay a second year or move on to another position who-knows-where. If my sisters visit again from Nana’s birthday, it wouldn’t be in close proximity to Mother’s Day, which is as late a date as it can be this year.

Whatever happens in the next year, I know that next Mother’s Day will be marked by intergenerational love, no matter what circumstances separate us physically.