Thursday, October 05, 2006

So…it’s been another two weeks since I visited my blog. I really enjoy all of your blogs more than adding to my own! You should know that I’m stitching vicariously through all of you….I’m doing stitch-alongs in my head, ooohing and aaaahing over your exchanges, lusting after your shop and festival purchases, and completely appreciating all of your project progress and finishes. And if my present life just won’t cooperate with my stitching life, then…(for now) I’m just happy that you’re all here for me to read about.

Soccer, cross-country, band, and work. That’s my life. But I don’t want to miss a minute of it because it has recently dawned on me how short these years are with my kids, and although over the years I’ve griped about the driving and the waiting and the bad weather and the concession stand duty and the late (or nonexistent) dinners, I will absolutely miss it when it’s over. John’s senior year has brought all of this home to me and suddenly the time seems so much more……precious?

Speaking of precious time, I went to see my parents last week for a nice long weekend. My dad seemed a bit worse – he’s sleeping more, and he has more “worried” time in his wakeful hours.

He’s started motions with his hands. I remember them with Dave’s uncle, and I hear it’s common. It’s as if Dad’s sewing something or making something. Once it was as if he was making a snowball, and then he bent down and released it, as if to let it roll to the floor.

Here’s a crazy wish. I wish I could enter that world he’s in for a little while and see what’s going on in there so I’d know how to respond to him. Because now Dad is almost nonverbal. Every now and then he says something understandable, so if you want to catch it, you really have to be paying attention.

And I hate that my visits end with tears. I worry about how awful that must make him feel. But I kind of lost it when I left this time. I had packed the car and I was ready to go, and he had just come out of bed, so I said, “Dad, I’m so glad that you got up so I could say goodbye to you.” And he said, “Well…I love you.” I swear it wasn’t just an automatic response. I know it. And I didn’t mean to cry, but I couldn’t help it. Then I beat myself up all the way home.

As for my mom – she’s awesome. I’m not saying that she’s handling all of this perfectly well, but she’s doing better than she was a year ago. And better than 6 months ago. Taking care of my dad is an incredible amount of work, and most of it right now is mental. Thinking ahead. Anticipating his needs. Making decisions. Trying to understand him. Giving Dad the opportunity to try to do things, but knowing that he really can’t do anything. Dealing with the grief over the losses that happen daily. And all the while, not totally freaking out over an uncertain future.

Mom has taken lots of positive steps, like getting a dog for company. She’s arranged for a visiting nurse, and though the nurse is there for Dad, she is a wonderful resource and comfort for my mother, even if it’s only once a week. Mom joined Weight Watchers and is doing fabulously – lost 21+ pounds. And she’s made steps to sell the big family home and move into something smaller and more accessible for them. She’s really quite remarkable.

Mom and I had a nice weekend together. Mostly, we cooked, and it came to me that she’s been having a hard time planning meals. Mom was never what you could call a good cook….my dad was the cook of the house. He loved to cook. And now he’s kind of picky, so she gets discouraged.

Funny thing though – he ate everything that we cooked all weekend long. He ate platefuls at every meal, and believe me, I’m a passable cook, but I’m no Julia Child. It makes me wonder about the energy around the “family meal”. As if conversation and company will stimulate us to eat well, no matter our age or infirmity. And with Mom and I talking and laughing, the energy was positive, whereas when they are alone, Mom tries, but it’s hard to have a conversation with yourself. So I’ll bet their meals are quiet.

Ah well. That’s the Dad report.

I’ve been plugging away at “You’re a Star”, but I’m still less than halfway along. Eighteen squares, 17 stitches by 17 stitches, with identical stars inside the squares, and some simple lettering, and I’ve been at this for over 6 months! I may set a new record for lingering projects!

I continue to run and enjoy the peace of it. Sometimes when the music is just right and my pace is comfortable, I feel like I'm floating. And I want to close my eyes and just float. So sometimes I actually do close my eyes. I know I'm going to fall on my face one day, but until then...it feels so good. So I'll live dangerously!

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