Monday, September 22, 2014

Eleven? When did that happen?

My Andrew is 11! 

One of my favorite pictures of Andrew and his brother, Adam.  He was about 2, I believe.


Andrew is very close to his Grandma Delores Parker. 
He loves and cares for her so much.
 He seems to have a gift of helping her keep touch with reality.
 As he has gotten older and her dementia has progressed,
he just seems to feel for her even more.
 I am so glad they have the relationship they do!

Andrew went to San Diego with Aunt Deb Parker in July.
He found his favorite Grumpy Cat while he was there.

This is a throwback to June of 2012 when Wendy came to visit with her children.
Andrew adores James!  I love this picture of these two!
 

Three years ago when Andrew was baptized! Seems like yesterday. 

Well, Andrew, there is not a day that goes by that we don't thank God for you.  We are so blessed to have you in our family.  Happy 11th birthday!! We love you! 




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just a Little Drive

Andrew and I took a drive on Highway 95 heading northeast out of Yuma towards Yuma Proving Ground this afternoon.  While I was hoping to find the wild burros, what we found wasn't too bad!  It was a beautiful evening and so nice to hang out with Andrew, even though he had his nose in a book most of the time!


Now this is what caught the boy's attention!  He actually started talking and he let me take some pictures of him!  If you look really close, Andrew is saluting his buddy, Rob Bailey.  I was telling him when my sister and I met the Bailey family years ago, they lived at YPG.  He thought it was awesome.  So, Brother Bailey, consider yourself saluted! :)

This is one of my favorite views in Yuma.  The Bridge to Nowhere.  Me and Adam went here for a picnic date a long time ago when we were dating.  I scared Andrew because he thought I was going to drive too close to it.  I kind of forgot I was driving a minivan when I pulled all the way up there.  Backing up kind of freaked me out, so that evened the score a bit,



Andrew took this picture of the ocotillo plant.  He thought I was incredibly strange pulling off the road to take pictures.  But he humored me!

All I asked for was a look of amazement that yes it does rain in the desert!  I told him he looks like it smells bad!  Love this boy!

My almost 11 year old (9/22 is the big day!) sitting outside the entrance of YPG property. He only has a couple of inches to go and he will be as tall as his old mom.

I love how this looks.  Just a random picture with a really cool pattern.
As we were headed home, we turned onto 9E from Highway 95.  The sun was setting and you could see the big old fireball between the line of clouds and the horizon. The picture just doesn't do it justice.  There are days it feels like we live in Hell down here, especially when I am pining for a drive in the cool mountains of Utah while Fall colors creep stealthily over the mountain ridges, signaling the coming hunting seasons, snow, and the holidays. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Knock, Knock!

It has been awhile since I approached this blog of mine! I had convinced myself it was a waste of time and served no valuable purpose.  Then, I found myself going through old posts recently, finding memories lost, reminding myself of bits of happiness scattered through my life. So, I have decided to continue to document the mundane goings on of my family.
Andrew, Samuel, and Makenna have been in Utah for a week with Deb to visit with family and friends.  It has been difficult to be home while they are seeing everyone, but really good for Deb and the kids.  Adam is staying with Grandma and I check in daily to make sure they are both okay!  He has been doing a great job looking after her.  So me and Big Adam get to hang out and get a taste of an empty nest. One word describes it: WEIRD!  But fun for sure.
School starts for the kids in the next couple of weeks.  Adam is 16 and a Senior!  Andrew is 10 and in 5th grade.  Samuel, 7 and in 2nd grade.  My Baby Mak is 6 and in 1st grade.  It amazes me how much they have grown.
A major happening in our family was on December 28, 2013.  Adam was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was 16 years coming and an amazing day.  Michael Moffatt, Judy's husband, came from Utah to baptize him.  Robert Hart, my bishop who performed our wedding ceremony 16 years ago, confirmed him a member of the Church.  Wendy came out to be with us from Lilburn, GA, where she is living with her family.  We had her for a whole week.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Caught Air?

Many years ago in an attempt to quit missing the canyon drives in Utah,
my sister and I discovered the road to Martinez Lake.
When the nieces came to visit, we would ride out there,
put some speed on the old Honda Accord and laugh our heads off! 
Reminiscing with my kids today,
I told them of one instance when we had Karma Knight,
 Megan Austin, and Cassidi (our niece) in the car.
We hit the hills fast enough that as we crested one,
all three girls bumped their heads on the roof of the car as we caught air!
 We were all exhilarated! 
Belly laughs ensued and we were a very happy bunch!

***
This morning, I decided to pack the kids in the van, grab Grandma, and head for them thar hills.

***
Mom woke up this morning thinking she was in Utah.
Once I got her out of the house, she realized she wasn't.
As we approached the turn off for Martinez Lake Road, the kids were doing pretty good.
Mom was a little antsy. Makenna was the first to notice the coming rise in the road.
After we went over the first rise, the road had eveyone's attention!
Within moments, we were laughing hysterically at the ride.

We didn't catch air with the vehicle (funny how parenthood changes one's perspective!),
but we caught air with our spirits.
I read somewhere recently that a parent should
 strive to make their children laugh uncontrollably at least once per day.
I scored today!
Not only were my kids laughing, but Grandma was too!
The moment is frozen in time for me.
It was almost a slow-motion moment as I caught Mom glancing back at her grandchildren,
completely carefree and unshadowed,
in the moment,
laughing with complete abandon.

This is where the drive paused:
Martinez Lake

We drove some of the backroads and crossed back over the hilly road to go to Senator's Wash.
We stopped to look at the tanks and talk about the men and women who fought in them.
This was our favorite:

Sam loved the rocket!

As we drove back into Yuma, we passed the Marine Corps Air Station.
 Mom gazed out the window and asked,
"What is that?" She motioned to the jets and helicopter at the entrance of MCAS.
My heart sank a bit as I explained.
She surprised me by commenting,
"You know, no one can stop all of this," as she motioned to herself. "It's going to happen. It just is."

***


I saw this area outside of the Senator's Wash area.
Reminded me of "hope" and to wish for lots of good days.
Today was a good day.

Life Goes On...

My little Hammy Sammy graduated from Preschool!
He did great on the readiness assessment for Kindergarten, even pretending he couldn't read.
Big Booger!
Can't wait to see how he does next year...

My heart is very full this evening. 
This woman is the reason!
I usually call her Ma, Gramella, Grandma, Delores (when she ignores me!)...you get the idea!
Mom was diagnosed with dementia about a year ago.
It has been very difficult for me to wrap my brain around that.
She has always been the constant in my life. My champion. Friend.
My mother.
I am glad she lives with my sister.
Nice, safe home.
She has had little memory lapses.
Tells the same story over and over, I have been guilty of filling in parts when the telling is lagging.
Her leg bothers her, hurts her.
She walks with a cane.
She loses the cane and her purse numerous times during any given day.
I have taken to sending my boys over to spend the night when Deb works.
The practice began when she told me of difficulty remembering where she was
when she would wake in the middle of the night.
Nothing was familiar.
So she would sit in her chair and try to remember...
until dawn broke over the desert mountains...
then she would come back to herself.

Having her grandsons there seem to tether her to Earth.

We have had a few experiences taking her to Walmart and losing her.
Now, we try to take one of the boys along to walk with her. 
Her anxiety level is high.
She panics almost without warning.
These events have been mostly manageable until recently.
She and I went to her favorite grocery store for some shopping last week.
We ran into a family friend and chatted for a few minutes.
After we parted ways, Mom leaned over her shopping cart and asked, "Who was that?"
My heart began to crack, just a little.
As we concluded the trip, I called her cell phone to see where she had gotten off to.
I heard the phone ring, located her, and watched her stare at it as she tried to figure out what to do with it.
She looked up, her gaze locking with mine, smiled sheepishly at me and started checking out.
The cashier sweetly instructed her on sliding her card through the reader. As the young lady asked her to enter her PIN, Mom looked at me uncertainly and said she didn't know what that was.
I entered it for her quickly so I could get her into a more controlled situation.
 My heart was tight in my chest as we walked to the van.
I drove while she told me how silly and dumb she felt for not remembering the easy things.
I countered with the opposite and told her not to talk about my mom in that manner.
I got her home shortly after Deb had left for work.
I ran inside to open the garage and came back outside to find Mom looking at the van like she couldn't figure out what to do with it.
When we got her things inside, I said "Mom, would you like Adam to come over to spend the night tonight?"
She looked at me with the clearest focus and replied, "I think that's a good idea."
I cried the entire way home.
Then, I had my husband drive Adam over just so I could cuddle with my little ones for my own comfort.
***
Today, we went over to Deb's for dinner before Deb went to work.
The kids headed outside immediately to play in the water.
Deb commented Mom was having a "hard time".

Mom started the visit by asking which door she should take Frannie out of so the dog could potty.
She couldn't remember where her bathroom was.
She figured the bedroom with her pictures hanging up was hers.
The children and even my husband thought she was joking around.
But when she looked blankly at Adam when he said, "Della! You are so funny!"
He realized what was happening.

Andrew approached me when I was in Mom's room by myself.
"Mom, what's wrong with Grandma? I don't like it when she pretends like this."

"Andrew, she's not pretending. She has an illness.
We need to love her and do our best to help her remember." 

He nodded thoughtfully.
 I watched my own boy walk into his grandmother, sit down and
very carefully fold himself into a tight snuggle with her.
They were both so content!

It was difficult to leave her tonight.
I asked Adam and Andrew to stay.
With strict instructions to call if they needed anything.

I cry as I write.
I write to deal with what is happening.
 Each of my family will handle this differently.
I feel comfortable posting these events because Mom doesn't get on the computer much anymore.
I will sit with her and look at pictures that are posted by family and friends.
 So she will still feel connected.
I feel such a huge responsibilty towards her.
Not unhealthy, I think.
One of appreciation.
I want to soak up all she tells me!
I want to continue to share her stories with my children...
and their children.

My heart is breaking.
I picture this journey for Mom.
Dark, scary.
With little pin-points of light.
Wanting to be there for her.
To lighten her load and her way.

Do I get impatient with her?
Yes.
I do my best to rein it in.

Hopefully, tomorrow will bring clarity to her.
She needs a "good" day.
She deserves it!