Thursday, August 22, 2019

As The Fog Lifts

We have had a beautiful summer.I have gazed so many times at the bright blue sky dotted with beautiful fluffy white clouds. I have floated on my back in the refreshing waters of my beloved lake. I have repeatedly mouthed words of thanksgiving and awe at the wonder and magnitude of my blessings. I have had more good days than bad and am so grateful for that.The sun has been balanced with healthy rains and the garden has flourished. My own personal well being has flourished as well but I sometimes find myself bogged down with worry and concern.Sometimes the fog overwhelms me and I search for the brightening sky, the gap in the grey cloud cover. I can usually make my way to the lake and immerse myself in the healing waters it provides. I can often list myself out of the doldrums feeling the checked items lift some of the weight of worry. Last year at this time I was navigating my mother's final days. We did not know she would leave us in one short month but we felt the burden of her decline. As I read the journal entries of those days I feel again the hopelessness , the fear and the sadness . This year under different circumstances I feel the same feelings watching my strong and independent father's decline. Oh how I wish I could make these changes easier for him. One day at a time, one task, one list, accepting my limited ability to steer his course. On this somewhat grey day I wait for the sun and the bright skies. I take comfort in my blessings and in my resources. I am thankful for friends, for family and for a medical system that supports us. I pray for brighter days ahead for my dear dad. I pray that I am able to show the love and patience he needs.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

And on With August

Double digits of August. Ponder that a moment. If you are a teacher it looms huge and heralds the return to school. If you are a writer that takes the summer off you look ahead to getting back to your desk. The evenings are a bit shorter, the night and early morning air a bit cooler. The garden is bursting with peas, beans, and small cucumbers hang from the vines. The corn rows are taller, the sunflowers continue to reach toward the sky. Our renovations continue to slowly but surely progress changing our home weekly. The girls are gone leaving a lovely July behind. I face each day with the wonder of choice. Rain soaked the dry ground and gave everything a boost. I will attend to tasks to assist my father in his present stage of life.We approach the first year anniversary of loosing Mom.Burton and I look ahead to our days of travel and adventure in September. But today is August. Today I will swim. I will putter away at household tasks enjoying the sun streaming through new windows. I will pick peas and beans. I will cook a turkey from last year as I watch this year's parading through our fields.We will feast on new vegetables and welcome a friend to our table. The week ahead holds some lunch dates with friends,and an invitation to Denise's camp for the third summer book club. Planning, processing and playing, all the gifts August gives me.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Happy New Brunswick Day

It is packing day. The girls are still sleeping hopefully resting up for the travel ahead. A couple of people have commented that they read between the lines of my last few blog entries and sensed my exhaustion.Today as I scour the house to find everything the girls need to pack I will think of the last five weeks; the fun, the laughter, the road trips ; the memories and I will think of the gift I've had in getting to know my granddaughters at the age and stage they are now living. I will also think of the exhaustion, some of it coming simply from being busy , from keeping up with a ten year old and an almost eight year old. Part of it though is the energy given to being the grandmother I need to be to be, to love, encourage and manage two unique people thrown into a family and into our lives for five weeks. I have often been accused of being a control freak, a bit too strong of an assessment I think but I do know I often have to remind myself that things are not in my control. But as the grandmother I have the job of guiding and directing of managing and defusing when no parent is nearby. This job seems overwhelming sometimes and I think this is what exhausts me the most.No reading between the lines there. I am one tired Monkey. One grandparent told me yesterday that he is exhausted after five hours with grandchildren let alone five weeks. I know all this on this another New Brunswick day when I have to get my girls ready to go back to Alberta. I love this time together and I love getting my quiet life back. I love the things we have done together and the deeper connection we have made having another July together. I love my girls unique personalities and am thrilled I have gotten to know them even better. For all our ups and downs I know the love and attachment is strong. Contrary to Emma's angry declaration I know I will be invited to her wedding and look forward to being her special Monkey on that day. No rush for that day though. No rush for this day to be over either.Today their laughter, their chatter, their presence fills this house and the void they will leave will be felt by Monkey and Toad ; who this year have morphed into Monkco and Grampo. The sun shines , the lake awaits and this day is ours to enjoy. For that I am thankful .

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Sixty Three Diapers and other Challenges

Another quiet moment suited for blog writing. One girl still sleeping the other fed , snuggled for a bit and now watching kid's shows.Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a visit to Gladys.It had been over a month since I'd seen her last as the days of July have been busy grand parenting. As always she quickly went in to story telling mode and during my short visit I saw glimpses of a life so fully lived. A trapped mouse scurrying around the bottom of her carry on bag on her cross Canada train trip with Charlotte. And the recollection of a young relative of Eldon's visiting and complaining about how much work there was to do on the farm. After given the task of hanging the laundry Deidre came back inside declaring the fact she had just hung out sixty three diapers.I thought of Gladys washing and putting each of those diapers through the wringer on a hot summer day. I thought of the multitude of tasks and challenges faced in ninety six years of living. I thought of my own collection of experiences and hurtles faced in my almost sixty three years. Those challenges change yearly and daily. My own pile of sixty three diapers different but just as daunting by times. Yesterday's difficulty was telling my seven year old granddaughter that her beloved kitty, Wendy had had to be put down the night before,that the white kitty she asks about in every conversation with her parents would not be at home to greet her when she returns. I held her while she sobbed and felt her deep sense of loss and sorrow.She talked to her mother , called her sister, fell into her uncle's encircling arms, called her Dad, spent time with her beloved 'twin'cousin,got caught up in the White family Game Night and found her way through the first hours of her loss.This day we will welcome a quiet stay at home and do nothing day. We will swim and allow the lake to enfold us. We will rally, re-group and let the day be what we need it to be.Em says she will read a lot. I will straighten up, clean out my fridge, hang out my sixty three diapers so to speak which really just means ,I will do what needs to be done.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Running the Last Lap

The girls are still sleeping and I may be writing this entry as an avoidance tactic but here goes. Our five week marathon of grand parenting is approaching its last lap. As other years I have hit the wall, felt the exhaustion and dragged my weary self through a day hoping that a good night's sleep would energize me to keep going. As some things are easier with the girls getting older some seem more challenging. Part of my fatigue of course is my own aging body and I often experience the same depletion of energy and optimism with or without granddaughters. I am a keeper of lists to help me re-group , to see the light at the end of the tunnel , to motivate and propel me forward. So on this quiet Sunday morning I look to the last lap of the visit of Summer 2019. I look at all the blessings and rewards, the hugs , laughter and wonderful bonding and make a plan to tackle the remaining days mindful of fitting in the things that matter.We need a bonfire, a late night swim, more cousin time ,and lots more laughter.I will put aside the frustration of clutter and mess. I will try not to see the things I do not get done but concentrate on the work that is accomplished and the most important work is spending time with the girls until they leave us for another year. While I run this last lap I have a new novel percolating in my head. A possible title snuck in yesterday and we will see if it sticks. All jobs just like my writing will wait until we are ready to do them. We constantly have to evaluate what needs to be done immediately and what we can put off to another day.When the first granddaughter puts her feet on the floor this morning my most important task will be to be Monkey, to put the time we have together first and make these days count. I will of course sweep floors , do the laundry, pull some weeds and make some meals but the important work is the reading of stories, the playing of games, the jumping in the lake, the snuggling and paying attention to the wonder of these two little girls.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, Circle of Life and So On

The girls are now counting sleeps and days until they go home. It was just awhile ago they were counting sleeps to come to Monkey and Toad's. Memories have been made, time has been spent and we have felt the love. Last night we went to see The Lion King. Grampie and Emma sat at the back and Paige and I sat near the front. The beauty,the soundtrack and the story of course touched us all. On the way home Emma asked" When will I go from being Little Toad to Middle Toad?" She thinks she is not little anymore and was negotiating a name change with her grandfather. I suggested Teen Toad when she hits thirteen. The girls discussed this categorizing the teen years. Settling on being Teen Toad from thirteen to nineteen. At that point Grampie said" You won't still be coming when you are nineteen." Both girls shouted" Yes we will " in unison. Although we doubt that, it thrilled us both to hear it. Yesterday Em announced her wedding would take place in New Brunswick.At supper Paige talked about moving here and trying to convince her parents to do so. Our time together is not geared for brainwashing with the end result of getting our daughter to come back home but our granddaughters definitely feel the tug of the East Coast so I guess that is a positive side effect.There are less sleeps before going home than the sleeps they have already had at Monkey and Toad's this summer. Paige told her mother last night that the weeks go by too fast. So do the years by the way. Teen Toad and second Teen Toad will be here before we know it . These days will vanish onto the pages of my journal and into our collective memories. The circle spins and the love is felt and for that this grandmother is filled with gratitude ( a bit of exhaustion ) but so much gratitude.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rainbows, Peggy's Cove and Weed Free Corn Rows

I just returned from my second glorious lake swim of the day. I was determined to get the corn rows finished today and I did. As I pulled weeds and hoed I could hear the background noises of sawing and hammering. I had an occasional visit from my granddaughters who kept themselves busy but checked on Monkey now and again. Emma even brought me out a lovely drink of ice cold water.My trusty bug suit kept the bugs away from my upper body while they feasted on my bare legs.Once in awhile I would gaze at the rows I have not gotten to yet and feel a brief twinge of guilt and anguish over the weeds not yet pulled. I would quickly give myself the Rome was not built in a day talk. I thought of the comparison to writing a book and how it can only be completed one word at a time, one sentence, one chapter, one small idea really.I could easily get myself in a state over what doesn't get done, the overwhelming-ness of it all but I do know that mindset does not help one little bit.We did not go to Peggy's Cove but the hammering and sawing was happening as the crew started our siding which is called Peggy's Cove. It is a lovely dark grey wood siding and the windows are being trimmed out in white. As I drove down the driveway to go for my last swim I did not let myself look. I wanted to wait and have the reveal when I drove back up the driveway. The girls made comments; " It's really nice Monkey", "It makes it look more like a farmhouse". The driveway side is only about half done but I already know I love it. We had our reservations about covering the cordwood. Meg said" no one will know it's a cord wood house". I replied "I will know". And of course anyone who has been around in the last thirty years will know as well. But it was time for an update, a makeover , a fresh look and I am pleased with our choice.Last night Grampy,the girls, Aunt Louisa ,Anthony and I had a game night. During our first game lightening flashed, there was a loud bang, a clap of thunder and the flicker of lights. This was followed with a downpour. Grampie went to get Cale who was haying. Shortly after the sky cleared a beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky.We rushed to the front veranda to take in its beauty.So this afternoon as I quickly write this entry before heading downstairs to make supper I ponder the title and give thanks for family, for beauty, for goals and achievements for a home and for my lake of course.