I will remember many things about this summer, some good and some bad. Seems like we were always busy, but yet feel like there was so much more that we wanted to do too. I only know that it just flew by. And that is both a literal and figurative interpretation for a pilot wife.
Marissa - what did Marissa do this summer? Well, most importantly she turned 10....10.10.10. Really? That time flew by faster than this summer. The pediatrician told us she grew 5 inches this past year. Yikes. The girl is growing up, in more ways than height. I am trying to keep up, but sometimes I just want to lock her up for a years and keep her all to myself. Alas, she took a liking to softball this summer, took her first big overnight (make that several overnights) trip to her Grandma's a lengthy 7 hours away, starred in a major supporting role, and along with slumber parties, pool parties and a burning desire for a cell phone, she would like more of all the above. Guess the whole locking her away thing ain't gonna work.
Maren. Maren and I got to spend lots of time together this summer. Mostly at night. In our bed. During thunderstorms. The thunderstorms have stopped , but unfortunately Maren has taken a liking to our bed and sleeping next to momma. Sigh. She's a first grader now you know. Big stuff. Until bedtime. Then she wants to cuddle in close. She's a hard one to resist. She's decided she doesn't really like t-ball or soccer, but loves to swim. This year she learned how to go off the board and down the slide on her own. She makes a good fish and a monkey. Now, if only she would stay in her own bed. We would all be in a much happier, less sleep deprived place.
One of the not so good things about this summer was admitting my Dad to a nursing home. We always knew this might be a possibility, but we really hoped we could avoid it. Mom was starting to develop some health problems of her own, and needed to go back to work this August. Dad was improving and seemed to be getting stronger, but not quite strong enough.
Another huge problem was the lack of nursing home beds here in our small town. We were number 10 on the list, so we were looking at a facility about 20 miles away. So, one day after work, I headed there to check it out. Nice staff. Private rooms. Just not home. I got back in the car and cried and prayed in frank desperation the whole way home. I just couldn't see us "leaving" Dad there. I didn't know what to say to mom. Turns out she had something to tell me. In the hour and half I was gone, the director of the nursing home in town called and told mom they had a room for dad. Miracle of miracles, all of the nine people ahead of us turned the room down!
If there is anything I have learned in dealing with dad's illness, it is that we are not in control. We have tried to stay ahead of things and imagine best and worst case scenarios and plan accordingly, but it has always worked out with some twist, that only God could provide for. And although I realize this and I am so grateful for these unexpected answers to prayer, it has been hard. There were days on weeks of waking up to this deep and profound sadness. Guilt, hopelessness, loss, and an eerie feeling when I would drive up mom and dad's driveway walk in the door, and not see him sitting in his chair. Maren says it too. "It just isn't the same without Grandpa there."
It is getting better. After some rough days, Dad is adjusting. I think we all are, to some extent. He is slowly getting used to the routine, has gotten to know the staff well enough to give them a little good natured grief, and I think he enjoys some of the programs and activities they have. He and my Grandma have a standing Friday afternoon bingo date. I feel a huge sense of relief in knowing that he is safe. That I won't have to walk into their house to check on him and find him hurt or worse has won out over the "what if we had tried harders". I hope too that Mom has a little more time to take care of herself and her health. It is all uncharted territory. You hear stories and read books and might even be a nurse, but its a whole new journey when it is your family involved. I hope I have finally learned to follow and not try to navigate.
So it is the end of one season and the beginning of another. New beginnings mean new hope. I hope for a good school year for the girls. I hope Mom and Dad adjust and find a different sort of happiness in this new chapter of their lives. I hope we and my brothers and thier families get to enjoy them both for a nice long time. And I hope for sleep. Better go work on that.