It’s going to be a great day

I was going to post today about waiting for our granddaughter. I was going to talk about how I imagine her all cozy and warm inside her mother’s womb, no scratchy or confining clothes to irritate her skin, no hunger pangs or distress from digesting food, her nutrition pumping directly into her tiny body from her mother.

Even though we are anxious to meet her, yesterday I thought, Let her stay in her comfy cozy place for a while yet. Let her stay until she is ready to leave, for she’ll never know the likes of that again and she will be here soon enough. The journey out into this world will likely be uncomfortable and frightening for her. Let her stay a little while longer.

Last night when I went to bed, I thought this is what I would post about today.

Instead, an hour and a half after a 5:16 a.m. phone call, Mark and I are moving through the night rushing along the highway in the dark, a line of red tail lights lighting our way from the cars of those who are trying to get to work on the front edge of rush hour. But we’re not rushing to work. Our bags are packed and stowed in the trunk, my computer, camera, and video camera in the back seat. We are at the beginning of a 6-hour drive to St. Louis to meet our granddaughter when she arrives.

It’s going to be a great day.

2012 — a midlife review

I woke up this morning with troubling thoughts swirling around in my mind, and remembered that I started this blog with the intent to write about what was on my mind each morning.

I’ve strayed from that intent.

I think I may look back on this year as the epitome of “midlife.”

I started the year nursing my husband through bilateral knee surgery.

I continue to make every effort to support my mother as she cares for my father who suffers from Alzheimer’s. The needs always changing and shifting. A continuum of problem-solving.

I struggle with denial as I try to make every moment count with my father who slips further and further away.

I’m working to fill my life with meaningful purpose now that my days of child-rearing have come to a close.

I’m trying to nurture and even invigorate a relationship with the man I’ve loved for more than 30 years, well past the days of infatuation. For relationships do require attention to thrive and I want to do more than settle into comfortable routine.

Instead of handling our children’s problems, I discuss them over telephone calls, e-mails, and text messages: a suspended license that defies resolution, teeth implants that will be required, job dissatisfaction.

I look forward with sweet anticipation to the new grandbaby expected to arrive next month.

I make road trips to St. Louis, packing a suitcase, boarding out Arthur, driving, and then doing everything in reverse, to eke out every last second  of time that I can spend with our grandson.

All the while I  try to minimize the strain I put on my arthritic knees and visit the orthopedic doctor at regular intervals for injections.

On a daily basis I deal with ongoing physical issues that result from crashing hormone levels and simply aging, wondering if its time to get a stronger prescription for my bifocals yet again.

Thirty years ago today I first became a mother and was nearly swallowed up by the love and joy.

When I was younger life seemed clearer and perhaps less varied. I was bringing children into the world and caring for them. My concerns were primarily focused on little people whose ages spanned less than a 10-year gap. It seemed busy and complicated at the time.

Now I visit my 2-year-old grandson on a weekend, savoring the joy and laughter.

And I visit my nearly 80-years-old parents on a Monday, holding back and denying the sadness and tears, wondering what changes need to be made so that Mom can still manage taking care of Dad at home. Wondering if we can make those changes. Wondering if she’s going to hold up under the strain. Wondering how long this can last.

Here at midlife, I am smack in the middle of the huge spectrum of life, still trying to understand what it’s all about.

Two worlds, a six-hour drive apart — a tale of the long-distance grandmother

I wake in the morning knowing it is the last day, after more than a week of days, with our grandson Luke who celebrates his birthday today. I try to chase the sadness away and fight the tears that threaten to spill from my eyes.

“There you are,” I say as his mother carries him down the stairs and into the dining room where I work on my computer. “Good morning!” I say as I have said for all these days.

He looks at me and smiles his brightness. I wonder if he will look for me tomorrow.

The morning passes quickly. Diapers, bottle, breakfast, books, puzzles, cars. Time for a nap. Party preparations occupy our minutes.

The guests arrive; lunch is served; a single candle lit.

I take one last quick hug and a kiss, brush my fingers across his soft cheek, then turn and walk away to hide my tears. My son gives me comfort in a hug on the drive. We get in the car where our bag and cooler of food and drinks replace the car seat with Luke on our outings and trip to the zoo. We drive away, down the street where I pushed Luke in his stroller.

The car engine moves the wheels that carry us away, minutes then hours, miles and miles.

I can still hear his soft voice saying “book?” with a hopeful look towards the shelf lined with colorful titles of thick-paged stories.

I turn my thoughts to home where my garden, books, music, and little white dog wait for me. Have the trees of our woods changed color this week?

At 4:00 I wonder if Luke got his afternoon nap on this busy birthday party day.

I can still feel his little arms clasp my legs as I sit on the sofa, wanting me to lift him up onto my lap.

I think about the seasons and wonder if I should get out Halloween decorations. Probably not this year. There are no children or grandchildren home to see them, and the long private drive deters the neighborhood children from trick-or-treating. Maybe just a fall table runner and “Give Thanks” sign. Perhaps an uncarved pumpkin beside a pot of mums.

It’s 8:00 and I wonder if Luke has gone to bed in his little soft sleeper with the zipper from ankle to neck.  I can still hear his little bedtime chatter through the intercom as he talks himself to sleep in words only he understands.

I think about how happy Arthur will be to see me.

We pull in our driveway and a little furry white head pops into the window of the door and then darts away. Arthur waits for us at the door to the garage.

We’ve left a world of hugs and kisses, laughs and baby chatter, books and puzzles.

We’re back in our world of quiet, peace, and photographs in picture frames.

I’ll listen to my music in the morning as I read my books and work, Arthur asleep on the pillow by the window.

Two and a half months until Christmas.