Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give Your Fuzzy A Present

"Fuzzy is very sad. Fuzzy needs to open a present."

And there it is. Through all the loss and drama my family has experienced during the past few months, leave it to Beatrice to keep it real for Daddy. Both Beatrice and Bryce don't really understand what happened with my Poppa, their grandpa and my Pop, when he died, but Bea realizes he's gone. We've handled it with explanation-light for Bea, although Bryce is still really too young to get it.

They also don't understand my mom's chronic illness and continual health problems, their Nana. They don't know how stressful it was to get Nana from my sister's to us right after I returned from Europe, and then me driving her back home to Oregon so she could reset in her health system while her doctors facilitated some stability. Although with my mom these days it's more like a defective light bulb that constantly flickers off and on, sometimes shiny brightly with radiance, and sometimes going completely dark.

But the girls did feel the stress of their daddy, and that's something I'm going to have to be more sensitive to as they get older and more aware of every nuance to life's pops, buzzes and brain stops.

Any comfort for the chronically ill is always welcomed, and getting mom set up with her iPad and FaceTime so she can see the B-hive any time she wants was critical. I have to continually explain to her how to use the program, but she'll get there. That time to be around any friends and family now is healing, if sadly brief and fleeting. The reality of my dad being gone has all but flattened her to the far side of the universe with a gravity unmatched from the darkest heart of a collapsed star. She's alone in her house now. However, we are working on moving her down to us as soon as feasibly possible.

Fuzzy is Beatrice's little swatch of pink, silky and "fuzzy" Winnie the Pooh comfort that her Auntie Jill made, the Mama's sister. It's her soul food comfort in the form of a blankie; Bryce has her own bigger yellow blankie. Each of us has our own "blankie" of sorts,  some literal or figurative vessel that carries us away and soothes us with a gift of calming joy.

Be thankful for your own well moments of body and spirit, and be sensitive to those loved ones whose very fragility reduces them to motes alighting inside an empty house at dusk. Give them the gift of love and hugs this holiday season; give your fuzzy a present.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Most Important Thing

"One more song about moving along the highway
Can't say much of anything that's new
If I could only work this life out of my way
I'd rather spend it being close to you…"

--Carole King, So Far Away

So, how did we get here again?

We stood outside my parent's house in Oregon with Mom, her car I drove from Santa Cruz full of her and her little dog and much of her stuff, and waited for her friends to bring us a copy of her house key because the one we had didn't work. Twelve and a half hours of cramped but fairly smooth sailing on the highways and byways, listening to the sounds of the 70's and of my childhood, only to have to wait a little longer. (Thank goodness Ody keeps beating the Wreckers.)

She's so fragile, both physically and emotionally, grieving for the loss of Pop, or her well-being over the years battling with chronic illness and pain and a lifetime with meds. Going from my sister's house to mine and then back to Oregon over the past few months has been a mixed blessing, the emotional scars of family dynamics and a little dysfunction flaring up yet again.

And now we're here in their house where Pop passed away not even three months ago. The house is clean and tidy, their dear friends taking care of it while Mom was away. Most of her stuff unloaded from the car, tossed here and there for now until we can put it away, I sit and write, not feeling like we've gained anything from falling back, not even that elusive hour.

The incomprehensible burden of what we do next flattens me to the ground. But I have to get off it. I have to get off it and stand up and help Mom get acclimated to this interim world in Oregon, however temporary it may be. Getting her back to us is the optimal solution, but how to get there, I do not know yet.

I remember a car load from another time, a light blue VW bug that sputtered along, filled with a beautiful but battered mother and her two children and their stuff. A mother who's strength and courage survived over 12 years of domestic violence with two little kids to care for, my sister and me. A faithful servant of God for years, even in her moments of destructive doubt, inescapable grieving and her belittled will to live. She just reminded me of how good it is I'm here with her. I held her tightly in return. Sometimes that's all we need in moments like this, the assurance of warmth and safety in being held, just like she used to do for us back then.

The expository text may tell of how we get here, but the most important thing is that we're here. And what we do with it.