Sunday, July 19, 2009

Angel on Earth

I know I have written about my great-grandma before, but, here I go again. My great-grandparents were the solid foundation for my youth. My mom was very young when she had me and she worked tirelessly, multiple jobs, to provide me with everything she never had. I was dressed nicely, in gymnastics, multiple dance classes, played sports, went out with friends, and on and on. Guess who took me to all of these things, who raised me in large portion...yep, my great-grandparents. They loved me beyond measure and even though they had lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I always felt extra-special to them because I was with them so much.

My grandpa had his issues, including chain-smoking, a bit of cleptomania, and prostate and memory issues at the end...but he was a very loving man and he doted on me, perhaps to the extreme. I cannot remember a single softball game that I had that he did not attend, and I played every summer, even through college. After his health declined to the point that walking to the bleachers was tough, he and grandma would get to the field early enough to park along a fence in the outfield and would honk for me when I got a good hit or made a good play (I pitched).

Grandma was a housewife that married wayyyy to young and never worked outside the home. However, I have never met a more frugal, thrifty, and creative woman who always managed to make her own spending money and never failed to try to give it to me. Grandma and I have this special relationship to this day. She nicknamed me Poodie at about 1 week old and she and most of my family still call me this to this day. Grandma taught me so much, things books and education never can.

I visited Grandma yesterday when I was back in my hometown (which is now more than 3 hours from our current home). She will be 92 in September and I make it a priority to see her when I am in town, unfortunately, it is not often enough for her or for me. Her daughter, my grandma (with whom I am not nearly as close...some issues there), was there at the nursing home where Grandma has lived for about 4 years now when I got there with my 3 cherubs. It was nice to see her, but in the beginning she didn't know who I was for a few seconds, but then you could see the recognition hit her eyes and she smiled. She was not having a very good day my grandma said and within minutes, my great-grandma was crying that it was so good to see me and the kids. Grandma also told me that she had been crying earlier because they had made her eat lunch and it is hard for her to swallow and so she found the nursing home staff to be mean. Seeing my great-grandma cry, for any reason, was heart wrenching and all I wanted to do was take away her pain.

I sit here trying to come to terms with the circle of life and how child-like my grandma is now and wishing I was there for her like she was for me when I was the helpless one. She still has my unconditional love and my prayers every single day, but she doesn't have my presence and for that my heart is heavy. I am not in a position where I can quit my job and care for her full-time, but I kind of wish we lived in a society where this was expected and just happened within families as it does in many Asian cultures.

My great-grandma is truly my angel on earth, her love and kindness, her hospitality to all those who entered her home, her laugh, her gentle nature, her amazing cooking, every single thing about her and how she always was brings me happiness. It is very hard for me to reconcile her current being, one I know she is not happy in most of the time, with how she wants to be and how unfair this part of life really is. I don't want my grandma to go, although I know it is inevitable that we all will pass on some day. But, I also don't want her to suffer. An emotional paradox. For now, I will remember that twinkle of remembrance and happiness that she rewards me with when I get to see her and I will cherish her for everything that she symbolizes to me.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Come On Down!!!!!

We have moved. It was exhausting and stressful, but we love it down here. We are abut 2 hours south of where we used to live and there is a slight, but noticeable, difference in culture. The house we are in is probably more than 2x larger than the one we were in before, so that in and of itself makes this a marvelous situation. But wait, there is more!

The people in our new church have truly embraced us with open arms and there is plenty of growth that can be accomplished as this church has been through some trying times and just needs a good leader, and my hubster is that. We have already done our first mission project with them and we, along with the kids, had a really fun time.

I am now officially a teleworker and I could not possibly love it more. I will actually love it more when my desk arrives at the end of the week, until then though I will happily remain on the my HOME! This working from home thing is going to literally change my life. Dramatic, yes. But true. Already I have enjoyed my evenings more, and feel, in general, less stressed even though we are still in the throes of unpacking and trying to get settled. The hustle and bustle of getting myself ready, kids ready, everybody fed and out the door so that I could make it to work on time was exhausting and I guess after 7 years of doing that with the kids I was a bit spent in the energy department.

School is going to hopefully get accomplished quicker because I have more time back in each day. This should allow me to get that PhD tattoo on my hiney a bit sooner, which will in turn save me a lot of money! I am looking forward to really buckling down and getting it DONE. This semester has not really been a very bad one assignment wise, so I should be embracing this and working on research, but for now I am going to try to get all the way unpacked and settled so that my brain is not competing for tasks on the to-do list.

We signed up at the local YMCA and it is very nice. Should allow the whole fam to get some exercise and spend time together having fun in the pool! Also should allow me to continue on the weight loss journey that has been at a stale mate for almost 2 months now - but the good news is that I have not gained!

We have enjoyed having visitors already in the first week. We are looking forward to our 4th visitor in a little over a week tomorrow and then the 5th and 6th on Tuesday I hope!

That's the update for now...the kiddos are back in our old stomping grounds for VBS this week so we are going to miss them a ton!