Unwrapping Gifts

What a terrific way to look at things! Dr. Ned Hallowell talks to folks about ADD and puts it succinctly when describing them as having a Ferrari engine but paired with bicycle brakes. This is worth a watch!

No Excuses Thursday!

Success Starts Here Freeway Style Desert Landscape

I am privileged to have been selected to be a guest blogger over at the 10 Minute Novelists website today.  I wrote the content a few weeks ago (before NaNoWriMo started), sent it to the wonderful creator to tweak and then this morning woke up and remembered (and figuratively rushed over to the site then sat here in awestruck wonder staring at the screen, but quickly shook it off to put a plug up on Facebook).

This group is a wonderful warm welcoming haven for writers and I can’t recommend it enough.  These people are respectful, but also snarky, talented, terrific writers.  So, go check it out!

And Write.

 

Image courtesy of morgueFile.

A Place to Belong

10 minute novelists badge

There is a group called 10 Minute Novelists that is a young whippersnapper by internet standards (I can say I was there from the beginning), but is mighty and growing.

This group of writers of many genres and styles exists because one woman decided to create a safe haven for those of us looking for support and community and a place where we could be ourselves AND feel understood.

I highly recommend you check out the website, Facebook page and Twitter to see all the terrific goings-on.  See in cyberspace, Authors!

The Simple Things

Butternut squash roasting

Maybe it’s an innocent question like the one my 7-year-old asked this morning.

“What was your first word, Mommy?”

“I don’t know, Sweetie.”

And, I probably never will.  When you have a parent with dementia that’s how you roll.  Now, in fairness, she didn’t always remember those little details when she was still herself, so if I start to have too big a pity party nudge me, will ya?!

These little moments are reminders from God to enjoy these times and appreciate the simple things.  Try to get this information while you can and tuck it away.  Appreciate that you’ve had your mother in your life into her 80s and know that there are families out there right now reeling from the loss of a parent or facing some difficult times where they are praying and enjoying their time now.  These people are working to be “present”.

I was standing outside church yesterday talking with another woman and remarked at how busy this month of October is getting.  It seems I’m always focused on the future because each weekend seems packed with activities.  I even heard myself say, “It’s so easy not to be present in the now when always anticipating the next appointment or engagement.”

Wow, thanks for that nudge, Big Guy.

So today, I am working hard at enjoying the now and celebrating the victories of the ones around me (both physically and in my heart).  And I plan to toast them later with a cup of Butternut Squash soup!  Cheers!

Legacy

seussism - legacy

It’s funny how one word like legacy can bring to mind so many different pictures. There’s a musical ability passed down from one generation to the next. There’s an affinity and gift with plants that can be shared by individuals. Then there’s the kind of legacy someone leaves behind with a life well lived.

Last Friday and Saturday a young man’s life was celebrated. People from his past — high school, college, work colleagues, members of committees he was on (and started) family and friends along the highway of life — came to show his wife and three children how much he meant to them.

In the weeks and months leading up to his death people shared their thoughts and emotions about David with his wife and the rest of us on his Caring Bridge site. Even if you only knew him from one facet of his diamond-shaped life, you felt lucky enough to have gotten that AND this glimpse into the rest of it, to include the incredible faith-filled marriage he and his lovely bride shared.

It is these things which are a legacy left behind for his children and the rest of God’s children to benefit from and learn to become better people by. He had a worry of not being remembered. How can this be? This man, whom people I asked to pray for him have changed their lives and habits because of, thought we might forget him. It doesn’t work that way, though, you see. The one’s who get it really right are sometimes the ones that are plucked to leave a big, open, gaping, sucking hole behind and the rest of us have to honor his memory by doing the right thing and loving one another and being kind and seeing those who might otherwise go unnoticed and sprinkling smiles in our wake like a flower girl dribbling petals at a wedding.

David, you are gone from this world, but will not be forgotten and we are all better for having known you and getting to know your wonderful family. Prayers abound for their ability to miss and grieve you in their own way and time while remembering your gift for wit and humor.  I hope someday to have as much grace and courage as you and Janet showed along your journey.  Forever a Friar, my friend.

Journey

motherduck

The day before yesterday, I drove up to NJ from VA to take our mom to the nursing home where she will be staying from now on. She has been living with our oldest sister for part of the time since our dad died a year and a half ago. He was her primary caregiver.

We sisters were all discussing, this weekend, how it feels as though the older generation (of which both our parents were the only remaining sibling, with two sisters-in-law left on my dad’s side) is already gone and how that platform has already fully collapsed onto ours…making our generation the oldest guys standing. It’s a surreal feeling in that we are now the top of the heap. And yet, our mother is still here…sort of. The curtain has been drawn on her life, somewhat. She is still here to talk to, hug and see, sort of. But, yet, she’s gone in so many ways, too.

When I went to pick her up on Saturday she didn’t know who I was. She kept asking me things like, “Are you going to meet your mother?” and “Where do I know you from?” which can be approached either with a sense of humor or some patience with some tears sprinkled in…or both.

I have to say, when she first looked at me with the ‘Are you kidding around with me?’ look on her face when I told her I was her daughter, it felt as though a thoroughbred had kicked me in the chest. Upon relating this to my middle sister she responded wisely, “Yeah, it’s different when she forgets someone else. When it’s you…ugh.” True that.

When we got to the nursing home, I unpacked the chicken sandwiches and drinks I had picked up at Wendy’s drive thru on the way over (a nod to Dad) and positioned her in a wheelchair outside so we could enjoy the breezes and fresh air. There was a man sitting outside with his stepdaughter and they were giving me pointers on the wheelchair’s operation and where and how to lock the wheels, etc. We chatted a bit about the weather and politics and I realized that 7 months earlier Mother would have loved to chat about the ‘folks in Washington’ with this like-minded individual. Yet, today, she didn’t even know I was one of her chicks. Dear Irony, You stink. Love, Me.

As I was leaving the building with tears streaming down my cheeks, I felt compelled to report to the nurses and aides that I couldn’t say goodbye. I told her I was going to the restroom and just…left. It felt like I was abandoning her and yet I knew that this was the best thing for her. She had already been in a daughter’s home with an aide or two (at times) and was too much too handle. But, it still feels cruel.

It makes me wonder why God allows this, but I really think that she is an instrument in his plan to teach the rest of us lessons on patience, acceptance, love, grieving, loss and appreciation for what is. Because you know what? It is what it is. And as my daughter’s 7-year-old friend says, “You get what you get.”

I called Mother today and she knew who I was, asked to speak to my daughter by name and even waxed eloquent (one of her favorite phrases) about how wonderful the ladies in the place were being to her. It’s the little gifts we need to savor and tuck away. Thank you, Mother, for all the countless lessons you’ve taught us and continue to. I love you. We all do.

Light bulb moment

lightbulb

I turned on a light switch in our laundry room this morning and poof a light bulb went off, er, on, actually. I remembered nearly a year ago moving in to this house and being positively twitchy about the fact that a) the light switch for the laundry room is in the laundry room (not as bizarre as that sounds since the switch is behind the door in this teeny tiny room and the door has to be somewhat closed to get to the switch) and b) the room is windowless and therefore dark much of the time and gets more so as you close the door to find the switch located over the utility sink and under a shelf – baaaaad idea, and c) the switch is the middle of three switches. The other two are for the garage and the kitchen over the table. Yes, technically, the laundry is “in the middle” of those two other rooms, but c’mon people. When you move into a home that hasn’t been cleaned properly, smells musty and is not what the doctor ordered (but has since been rectified) you can get peeved about the “little things”.

My brain then shifted gears and did the analogous thing it usually does and I realized that with time, many things seem to lose their all-fired importance or hurt or the sharp edges they used to have when we were “in the moment”. I immediately thought how the hurt I felt immediately after my Dad died has softened some. It’s not ever-present any longer and I have tender, happy memory-filled moments now, too.

Then this tricky brain of mine did the jump to the reactions I have to my mom’s dementia. I used to get frustrated and irritated and impatient. That doesn’t happen nearly as frequently as it did in the beginning. And watching her progression is watching a softening as well…at least to this point. She’ll allow me to provide her the word she’s desperately searching for. Early on that was a personal affront.

Another thing that came to mind was our secondary infertility. It used to consume me. I would be checking dates and reading articles and be hyper-focused on it. Now, I’m only reminded when I read about another’s struggle or when our dear daughter asks for a sibling. I keep telling her to pray and heck, hit Santa up, we’re still open to the miracle, but so far our numbers are steady.

It was a great reminder to me that God’s in charge and if I wait long enough the pains will ebb.

Photo by Chance Agrella from freerangestock.com