Playing Catch-Up.

With three appointments for Mom this week, a visitation and then funeral for our friend. Everything is behind; the laundry, the Hello Fresh meals from last week need cooked before they spoil, my kid book and other projects are on hold momentarily, and my mind and heart are else-where. This happens to me after losses.

I’ve mentioned before how the Babe and I have lost many people in the last two years. With Janet, now the count is eight in 20 months. They were all ages and walks of life; they were ALS, COVID, Congestive Heart Failure, COPD/Congestive Heart Failure, Kidney Cancer & old age, Sepsis/Lung Infection, Lymphoma, and Cancer/Strokes/Dementia. What a list.

In my grief, I’m thinking and remembering how it was to get through every day after Dad died. It was hard, with him dying December 7th, Christmas on the horizon, and his birthday on January 1. All those events within 30 days of his death really left us scrambling to figure out how to cope.

I’m enjoying seeing all the FB photos posted of Janet with family, friends, and acquaintances. It made realize we didn’t have any photos of us together; all our pictures were of the kids. That’s how things were back in the 80s. No selfies or group selfies. But I have wonderful memories and many reasons to smile.

Today was a late day appointment with Mom, and she’s pretty frustrated. It took such a long time to get there, then to find out, we made a useless trip. Things happen, and she gets really upset. We are indeed the sandwich generation: elderly parents and grandkids. My in-laws are deceased, and Mom is the only one left. She is requiring more care and time the older she becomes. The grand kids are spreading their wings and Mom’s needing hers clipped. How about that?

It’s time to relax and try to get some sleep. I’m so glad I do not have to leave the house tomorrow. Meals are prepared and only need nuking, and I plan to visit my children’s book again. My friend’s grandson Donnie IV may like my book about Roxie and Gavin. He saw his grandpa very sad yesterday. He is too, and will remember yesterday for a long time. He stepped in front of us and called out to Grandpa, giving him hugs and kisses. It was so sweet. This is what makes life worth living, and it’s what keeps us going on.

Have a beautiful evening, and we’ll see each other tomorrow. Be safe out there.

Wacky Wednesday

It was a dark and stormy night in Nebraska last night. Luckily, we were not in the hail and strong winds. Just lots of rain. We were at a Gretna ball field watching Gavin and saw the black clouds jet across the sky. The damage is extensive into Omaha. With the hail, auto repair shops will be busy for the next year. So will roofers, guttering companies, window companies, and the farmers will probably lose a lot this year. Too late to plant new, it’s just a shame. It happens.

Our mom lived in the area hit by hail (again). I swear, the number of roof replacements Mom has done (with insurance) is unreal. It’s a very high roof, square, four gables, and it’s hard to find someone even willing to climb up and look for an estimate. If I were nearly 93, I wouldn’t want to be having to do this over and over. I’d be finding a nice assisted living center somewhere. But then, that’s me.

It’s getting tougher to take Mom out. She’s wobbly, even with the PT and OT she’s having, and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to handle her alone. Loading and unloading her walker, the stress of watching her, wondering if we’re going to get home in one piece. Not borrowing trouble from tomorrow, you understand, just trying to be cautious.

We can never predict how things will unfold for us. From one day to the next, we can only do the best we can do, remaining positive as we can. We learn something from every experience and every moment we live. Our lives reflect all those lessons and experiences.

Lastly, if you have the opportunity, listen to the eloquent talk Matthew McConaughey gave in Washington, D.C., today. He speaks not as a movie star, he speaks as a hometown boy, a father, a husband, a responsible human, and concerned citizen. He’s speaking in a manner that makes perfect sense. I fully support his ideas and hope something finally comes of it. Time will tell.

In the meantime, hug your loved ones a little harder. Write your representatives. Vote them out if they don’t act. We have the power, we need to use it. Our children are too precious. Have a good evening, see you tomorrow.

“Saturday, In the Park”

For some reason, this old Chicago song popped into my head this morning. Do people go to parks much anymore? When I was a kid, there were several parks we could walk to, and the city had kid-sponsored activities every afternoon. The little green shack opened just after lunchtime, I believe, and stayed open until probably 4 or 5 p.m. For a nickel or dime, we could do a little craft thing, or they had tether ball, box hockey, and maybe horseshoes. Teenagers worked the shack daily and our harried mothers got a little bit of a break from us during those hot, summer days.

When I had kids, the green shacks disappeared from the city parks, you were basically on your own. We just walked across a very busy street, and we had access to basketball, tennis courts, and of course, swing sets and adventures on some low to the ground climbing devices. It was the old days, and the devices were made of wood, which didn’t wear well in the extreme weather we have; blistering heat or frigid cold. They developed splinters, and were deemed unsafe. We’d take lunch over to the park and have a picnic sometimes. Sometimes we had a picnic in our own yard. Do people still do that? Aside from fire pits and barbeques? I loved being home with the kids.

Once we finally had grandkids, we would babysit for Addison quite a bit. Her Grandma Sandy was alive then, and we’d share babysitting when the kids went out of town, etc. Sandy worked close to our home, and she’d drop Addison off in the morning, and pick her up after work. We worked well together. Usually ex-wives and current-wives don’t get along. Sandy and I had more in common than the Babe. Oh, and having one wife in between Sandy and me probably made a lot of difference. I never met that wife, although I bowled with her mother forty years ago. Small world.

At any rate, we’d take Addison to the park a lot. It really was fun taking her. There was a small park two blocks from our house, and we’d take her there nearly every time we had her over. As she got older and didn’t like the park as well, we’d go to a soft serve ice cream place nearby and get ice cream. She remembers that a lot. Even now, at the age of 14, if we mention “Ice Cream” she smiles and says, “Let’s GO!” I’m glad she has those memories. Now, our park experiences are going to ball fields and watching Gavin play baseball. I love that, expecially at this age.

My daughter Becky sends pics of Kayla and Cody playing in the park. She puts cute little hats and sunscreen on them. Adorable. I hope we get to see them later this summer. She and Brian have very busy work schedules, and with COVID variants occurring, we can only pray we aren’t locked down again. Get your shots! I have, the Babe did, and we’re fine. Just please don’t be the part of the population causing the problem. Sometimes we have to think of the “greater good” before our personal beliefs. Period.

Mom put me in Junior Bowling in seventh or eighth grade. Our neighbor coached it, and we were close enough to walk. Jan Matya, my friend and I stuck with it until we were seniors in High School. The reason? It was fun, and we were the only two girls in the league. All boys. The odds were in our favor. She dated a guy for awhile, I had one ask me to the Military Ball for his ROTC. I didn’t like him, I was 15 and used the excuse my folks wouldn’t let me date until I was 16. Mom told me, “No one turns down a date to the Military Ball.” In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea. I only went to one prom and no homecomings at my school. None to other schools. I felt so crummy no one did.

So glad times have changed where kids actually go solo, and hang out with their friends. How nice. No one would feel less than enough. I really feel for kids who feel that way. There is so much buried in them that makes them good, talented people. It’s so bad when you lack confidence in yourself and your abilities. Remember; You ROCK!

I think families with kids have their time occupied by organized events. Sports, Dance, and a whole host of other things. That’s great, I hope they enjoy their experiences as neighborhood kids used to when they’d do a pick-up game of baseball, kickball, and even dodge ball. My brothers didn’t participate, and there were no girls sports. I did play volleyball, but Sister Mary What’s Her Name? didn’t put me in, she said I was too nervous, I needed to relax.

After growing up, I wondered if it occurred to her to let me play and I’d be less nervous? That would make sense to me. I also learned as an adult I probably suffered from anxiety. Our mom had a temper and as a kid, I thought she was always mad (at me). It seemed her moods swung from nice to degrading whoever was around. I think this was inherited from her mother. Zero to Sixty in 30 seconds. She scared me. I spent a lot of time in my room. My sanctuary.

I have forgiven her. She didn’t know any better. Many of us followed suit until we learned how damaging that was. Sometimes I think to myself, “If I was Mom, I’d probably say, “Don’t you know blah, blah, blah.” For someone who lost her cool a lot, it’s funny we were forbidden to say words like, “Hate, Shut Up, he’s stupid, you’re a dummy, I could kill you! (believe it or not, people used to say stuff like that).” So glad that type of speech is not acceptable anymore.

For today; Speak Kindly, Sit in Nature, Relax, Remember You’re Enough. Pet a Dog. Go for a walk. Attend a benefit. Always be kind. See you tomorrow!