Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sophia is with Jesus Now

Many of my readers have been aware of a baby named Sophia, the only child of my friend Lauren and her husband. 

With great sadness I tell you that Sophia lost her battle with brain cancer on Thursday, May 14, 2016. She was 16 months old. 

Today I will gather with family and friends for her graveside memorial service. It's been gray and gloomy literally and figuratively, on and off, for weeks.  I'm praying the sun comes out and that there's even a rainbow at the cemetery at some point. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

What Mothers Do in the Hodgepodge

1. What's something fun you're looking forward to on your May calendar? 

Driving to Kentucky with my daughter to visit my sister in her beautiful log cabin again. I'll stay five days, but my dear girl is staying on for three more before starting her internship with an organization called Scarlet Hope. I'm looking forward to the estrogen fest (I think??) and the change of pace and scenery.

2. What are some images that come to mind when you hear the word mother? 

Holding a baby at the breast, getting up at all hours of the night with a fussy infant, maneuvering a stroller full of shopping bags while carrying the child on her hip,  caressing the wispy soft hair of  toddler as she drifts off to sleep, playing ball with little boys in the yard, panicking when a child is lost at a department store or playground, driving kids to soccer/baseball/piano/school/youth group ad nauseum, negotiating and refereeing differences and disputes, lying in bed awake at night dealing with Mom Guilt, drinking more coffee than either Guatemala or Colombia can produce in a year, taking care of the pet that the kids PROMISED to feed/water/walk/bathe/brush/not complain about, praying for good friends for her teenagers, watching the clock from the first moment that teenager drives the family car alone for the first time until he or she is back in the driveway,  cooking umpteen hundred thousand gazillion meals after shopping umpteen hundred thousand bazillion times for food that costs $1008  a week and is gone in two days (or at least the "good stuff around here").... 

I also see images of mothers my age who love to just sit and listen and talk to her grown-up kids about anything and everything, just to be in their presence, adoring their beautiful eyes, the curl of their hair, the lilt of their voices, and wondering where the years went. 

3. What's something beautiful you own or have seen that's made of glass? 

I have a gorgeous handblown glass vase in  hues of fluorescent blues and greens,  that's shaped like a basket with a handle. My mom gave it to me. It's hand-painted with roses.

4. Was today typical? If not what made it unusual? 

So far it has not been typical.  My daughter is here, babysitting my niece for my sister whose husband is job hunting.  This little girl is talking up a "blues streak" as they say. She's bossy to our 80 pound golden retriever. Funny how he obeys a  two-and-a-half-year old when she shakes her finger at him and says "Sit, Wally, sit!" (His name is Reilly.)  It's also so cute how little kids pick up on the slightest thing you do. I was reading a book to her and needed to lick my finger to turn the page. Well, wouldn't you know, on the very next page, as I was reading, she licked her finger...

5. What is a quality you wish you could have more of?

Will power.

6. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen in the month of May? 

We need to remodel the kitchen of our rental in order to get top dollar when seeking to sell. So we've been pricing cabinets.  My hubby had planned as of last July when we bought the house to do all the fixer-upper things himself. But that was before he knew he'd be having major heart surgery in January. Can I just say that he has no umph to face the rigors of redoing a kitchen now.  And he hates the thought of losing profit to pay someone to do it. 

Will it happen in May? Don't know.  It's hubby's call on his timeline. 

7. What responsibility/job/work did you dislike while growing up but has proved helpful to you as an adult?

I had a LOT of responsibility/jobs/work while growing up. I hated cleaning bathrooms but it sure is helpful that I know how. I also wasn't at all fond of doing the dishes (still am not) but that's been helpful all my adult life. It wasn't until I went to college that I was SHOCKED how many girls didn't know how cook, clean, make a bed properly, groom a horse, weed a garden, set the table, sew a button on, dust furniture, or drive a stick shift. I just grew up assuming that's just what everyone learned from their parents.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Please pray again for the family of baby Sophia, whom I've mentioned on here several times. Her mom's a dear friend of mine.  Sophia is 16 months old and has been fighting brain cancer for 10 of those.  Her doctor believes she is near the end, that she has given up, her body tired out. It has been 13 days since she last opened her eyes. She has been at home for a couple of months because there's nothing more doctors can do. They feed her through a tube, suction her because there's little gag reflex, she doesn't respond to touch or voices any more. Her parents spend their days crying and crying out to God for healing or to take her. They don't want her to suffer any more, but they can't bear the thought of life without her, either. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Quilting while Waiting

I took two little doll quilts to the hospital waiting room to keep my hands busy without being on an electronic device .

A little project to pull out or put away as the mood (or opportunity) strikes.

It's a good thing to have a hobby that requires no electricity or battery,  is productive, quiet, and portable.  I highly recommend hand sewing. (I've tried knitting and crocheting, and hated my results.)

Quilting time is praying time when you're a praying person. Which I am.

Waiting for a cardiac surgeon to come out and tell you how things went with your husband is a long wait.  Prayer is essential. Quilting is optional. But when you can do two things at once, it's great.

Unfortunately, I hated the binding job I did on those two quilts, so I won't show them till I've redone them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Got L: Now for M, N, O, P

I'm pretty sure that M would stand for "Mmmm, I don't think so. Writing 4 posts in one day?" N is for Not Happening.  O is for Only Four People Read This Blog Anyway, I Think.

Or M could be for My Weekend was More than Full with a Women's Retreat. N could be for  the Nervous Energy I used in  Saturday's skit. O could be  Oh Good, Roommate, We Agree We Need Sleep More than a Campfire and S'mores.

Or, to stick with the theme of hubby's surgery for the A to Z Challenge,  I could do a very quick recap of the things I was originally going to make into full posts.

M would have been for Marriage. Suddenly after 29 years I was thinking that we were just getting started in this love journey. The years had gone by too fast. I wanted to grow old with him, not just to middle age. I wanted the joy of being grandparents with him. I wanted to celebrate his retirement and then we'd do some traveling. I wanted to capture all the details of his face, remember the color of his eyes, feel the strength in his hands, keep hearing his voice in more conversations. I didn't want the marriage to end on the operating table.

N was for the Nurses. Hat's off to them!! Two things I must include would be:
1.  Ashley was our favorite.  We had her for three days. On day 1, she was chipper and
sweet, professional but down-to-earth. Day 2, chipper and sweet. Professional and down-
to earth.  My husband asked her on Day 2, "Are you always like this? I thought maybe
on the first day it was because I was the new kid on the block, but you're always so cheerful."
She giggled and said it was her personality, and she loved her job. Day 3 we were convinced. God bless her!
2.  Male nurses are a far different breed from female nurses. One small example: the way
they make a bed and give the patient an extra blanket. The females would take the fresh sheets and get the "hospital corners" just so. Fluff the pillow. Help hubby into bed from start to finish. Gently lay a blanket over him and tuck it in at the feet. The one male nurse , on the other hand?  Polar opposite. Yanked the clean sheets, shoved the corners under, did a quick swipe for more-or-less straight results, offered  Paul help into bed,  but presumed he was okay on his own (he needed more help as the chest does a lot of work when you're trying to lie down). Then he didn't offer a blanket; I had to ask.The male nurse then said, "Oh, sure" then snapped one open and practically tossed it willy-nilly onto the bed. Like he was a frat brother or something.  It wasn't bad, just different.  Made me smile at the difference in the sexes when it comes to nurturing.

O would have been for Operation, had I posted in full. But I'll talk about the results later.

The serious talks we had from November (when we consulted with the surgeon) till January 5th (the date of surgery) completely refocused us. What had been minor was now unimportant. What had been major was a little less important. And what we had dared not face before was now inevitable. We drew closer.  We discussed what we had avoided.

POA --Power of Attorney. The legal stuff we had been too afraid to face in our younger days was now not so hard. Our three grown kids were each responsible to be appointed POA if we needed. All three are good with finances, two are professionals in financial fields and understand the lingo.  It's wonderful when your choices are "good, better, and best" in a weighty matter.

We are so thankful that all of our kids and daughters-in-law get along well and there's deep trust that they will stick together and not fight over who gets what we're we dead and gone. None of them wanted our "stuff" when we asked about specifics. Maybe that'll change but they all, right now, are minimalists. They aren't attached to material things. To me, that is so gratifying. They have such confidence that God will provide for their every need. They are not big spenders but are savers. They are generous. They love to be together. They are hospitable. They value people. What  a blessing!! I can't overstate that enough.

We chose a POA from among them, and they agreed it was a good choice.   We chose a guardian from among them for our youngest son. He's 14 and we asked for his input. He was insightful and mature about it. Decisive, too.  So that choice was also easier than I imagined.

So writing our wills was relatively painless. POA, executor, guardian--all those terms that I had emotionally shunned when all our kids were minors--weren't scary anymore.

Talking about end-of-life  medical stuff was MUCH harder.  We gathered for a family pow-wow with our four kids one Sunday afternoon to discuss all the legal issues.  The most painful part was medical directive. What IF Dad died in surgery? Did he  want the DNR order (Do Not Resuscitate) ? Heroic measures? Resuscitation but nothing heroic--just food, water,  oxygen, morphine,  but no more interventions? That part was hard to talk about, but necessary, and certainly having Paul choose what HE wanted, and telling all of us at the same time so that there was no question about it later, gave me a peace. He opted for the middle ground --revive/food/water, but let him go if there was no quality of life.

Well, this post was just about 4 days long. But at least this is the last sentence. I didn't mean for it to be as long as a last will and testament!