juthwara: (tired)
Ten years ago last Thursday, I was in our new house, still surrounded by boxes and half-done home improvements, when I got a phone call in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday. It was one of my mother's best friends, telling me that my parents had gotten in a car accident driving home from South Dakota.

Five years ago tonight, I got a phone call from my mother telling me my father had died. The end of July has historically not been kind to my family.

There's a psychologist with a weekly program on our local NPR station who's quadriplegic after a highway accident where a wheel came off of a semi and came through his windshield. He says the last thing he saw was a big black thing coming out of the sky onto him. As a psychologist, he said he's found that most people have a moment like that, where something huge comes out of the sky and changes life forever. By my mother's accident, we had been getting a steady rain of tires between dying grandparents, health problems and my father's diagnosis. But the accident was the really life changing, derailing event. I went from your typical young adult in my mid-twenties who didn't have to worry about much more than myself and my husband to giving up plans for a second Master's degree so I could take care of my parents. I don't think I have to explain what it was like to lose a beloved father to a terrible disease.

And yet, five and ten years later, life has gone on. My mother lives her life with the help of aides, and has traveled all over the world. I hate how condescending much of the language people use surrounding disability, so I recoil from adjectives like "heroic" or "inspiring," but I do admire her adventurousness and her willingness to travel despite the difficulties. Similarly, I go through my days pretty normally and spent today dealing with one kid getting over sickness, another starting to get sick and a lack of water from the water main break last night (it sent water shooting over the top of three story houses - pretty cool).

I'm not sure exactly what my point is here, except that I miss my father and I worry about my mother. Disaster rains down on us and somehow we keep limping along.

Saying good night

I miss you Dad. I wish you could have met your grandsons. They both look like you.
juthwara: (Default)
I got K a book the other night which has a two-piece jigsaw puzzle on each page. She's been ready for puzzles more complicated than one piece for a while, but it seems like most puzzles seem to leap from one piece directly up to eight, and I don't think she's quite ready for that (although she's doing incredibly well with shape matching these days, so she might be up to it). So this book seemed like a nice intermediate step.

It's a big hit. She'll go through and pull out all the pieces, and then pick up a piece, open the book and say, "Does it go here? Noooooo. Here? YES!"

And then you hear the thud of her parents dying of cute.

*****

I talked to my mother the other night and learned two things:

1. My cousin is getting married in Colorado this July, so she suggested that my brother and I go out with her. It's blowing my mind a bit, that the cousin who was a tiny baby at our family reunion in 1984 is getting married. Isn't she still a baby?

I'm looking forward to seeing that side of the family. I haven't seen most of them since, lordy, 2001. I'll get to see my favorite great aunt, Aunt Doris, who is just about the nicest great-aunt ever. She's 90 and still going strong. I'm looking forward to introducing K to her.

Part of why we're all going out is so we can spread Dad's ashes. He spent part of his growing up years in Colorado and he's always loved the mountains there. My uncle will be able to join us as well if we do it there. He said that he should be able to find us a back road to some out of the way place where we can scatter the ashes without running afoul of the law. The thought of going someplace like Estes Park is nice, but we don't want some friendly ranger wandering up to find out what we're doing.

"Oh, just spreading human remains, sir!"
"Yes, this is my husband. We're throwing him off a cliff."

2. My mother is contemplating buying a condo. It makes sense. One person doesn't really need a five bedroom house, especially since she can't get into half of it. She wouldn't have to worry about hiring people to plow in the winter and take care of the yard in the summer.

I can't say it's not a wrench to think about losing my childhood home, though. And the thought of shoveling out that basement - ai-yi-yi. Pardon me while I curl up in the fetal position here for a while. Thank goodness my brother and I have been progressively working over the years to chip away at Stuff Mountain when we're home for the holidays.

I'd like to pout about this, but it turns out I'm too mature to demand that my mother stay in a house that's too big for her just for my sake. Adulthood is inconvenient sometimes.

*****

I have to say this very quietly, in case K hears me and decides to never sleep again in a fit of toddler contrariness: bedtime hasn't been too bad for the past several days. Friday, K fell asleep early, woke up around ten and stayed awake for a while, but was clearly sleepy and content to stay in bed until she drifted back off on her own. Last night, she played quietly in her room after I put her down and was asleep by 9:30, then proceeded to sleep until nearly 9 this morning. Tonight, well, she was still awake when I went upstairs 20 minutes ago. But she's quiet and in her room. I really can't ask for anything more.

Do I dare hope that the nighttime chaos is coming to an end? Or have I just cursed us to seven more years of bad sleep?

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juthwara

May 2015

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