It's been a Facebook kind of morning. It's a funny thing about Facebook. Some days I'm just not in the mood. Other days I comment on everyone's posts -- my friends, my friends-of-friends, distant relatives... Occasionally it's just good to feel connected to others, and Facebook (plug for ya, FB, not that you need it), is indeed a great way to do it.
When my daughters were teens, Instant Messaging was all the rage, and I was quite nervous about it. I stood over them while they were at the keyboard, reminding them that anything they said could, and most likely would, be used against them. I knew it was easy to say things to someone's virtual self you might not say to one's real face standing in front of them in person, and this still greatly troubles me to this day. So I drilled them much to their aggravation and today, even though they are both on Facebook, they are way too busy in life to get bogged down in something they mostly consider a waste of time except to check periodically on friends who are not near. And by that I mean once every week or two. I definitely do not expect to hear a response from my daughters to a FB post or PM I've sent them anytime soon. My son, on the other hand, loves Facebook. I can find him logged on most any day of the week. It is fun to socialize with him, especially since the rotten scoundrel lives 500 miles away from the woman who brought him into this world. He has always been a social butterly to the "nth" degree. I've also found myself almost every day lately having a fun back-and-forth with my one and only niece who lives in another town. And for that, I am Facebook-grateful!
For years, I refused to join Facebook. I heard horror stories of marriages ending because someone connected with an old boyfriend or girlfriend and had a virtual affair. But when I would mention news I had gotten to my Bible study girls and they said Oh, yeah, we already knew that through Facebook, I figured I better join so that I would NOT be the one presenting old news to a group of tech-savvy young moms. I also thought it would be a good tool for promoting my business. So I took the plunge and have not regretted it. However, I am super conservative as to what news of mine I share on Facebook, and carefully deny myself the right to use Facebook as a way to rant and rave about any and every infraction I feel. Don't even get me started on that. Better yet, maybe I will get started on that -- after all, this is my blogpost! If you are one of those people who use Facebook to vent and you haven't seen my posts in a while, better watch out, I might have de-friended you! In my humble opinion, I think Facebook "the tool" should be used for telling short snippets of one's life, posting uplifting photos, and bringing joy and connectivity to the readers, NOT about every single thing with which you have a bone to pick, or every time you go for froyo in town. Just my opinion.
So, even though I check Facebook several times a day for messages and info I might need to know about, I am what you would call a somewhat-timid Facebook kind of gal, and I go entirely by my present mood (and personal time allowed) to determine to what posts I will respond and when. This morning was one of those mornings when I felt like I wanted to mingle. I read good news about babies being born, posts about the value of people in our lives like our mothers and nieces, condolences, commendations of achievements, and other news that gave me momentary happiness. I smiled, even giggled, then felt my heart drop and wiped a tear from my cheek in response to a heartwarming anecdote.
Thanks, Facebook, for helping me to stay connected. But don't expect me to tell my story of weight loss, unrelenting anger, a problem with constipation, or where I go to eat on a given Friday night. Some things are just not meant to be shared.
Mothers will go to great lengths to protect their offspring. As the old saying goes, you can do anything you want to me but if you hurt my child, I'm coming after you! I've seen mothers fight for their children both figuratively and literally. We make sure they are safe by buckling them in, making sure they have on sunscreen, and repeating all the safety rules before engaging in a new activity. And although I tried to raise strong, independent children who can take care of themselves, I've been known to do a few things over the years to protect my children as well. To this very day, I still remind my children to be careful, be aware, don't be complacent in your safety.
The year was 1988. My sister was visiting and we had a rare occasion to take all five of our children to a local pool for a day of swimming and picnicing. Their ages at the time ranged from 13 down to my youngest, who was 17 months old at the time. This particular pool had a nice green space where you could park with your picnic baskets, blankets, and all the other paraphernalia it takes to organize a motley crew for a pool day. We claimed our spot midway back on the grass and the children went to it! Not long into our outing, I noticed my 17-month-old toddle a little too close to the water for my comfort. This was during a time before "swimmies" became popolur and no one ever put a life-jacket on children at the pool. After all, weren't they just for the lake? But I began to get more and more uneasy as she moved closer to the edge of the pool very quickly. It never ceases to amaze me how little kids can move so fast! I called to my sister who was closer to her, but with all the splashing and general commotion going on she didn't hear me.
Being the protective mother that I was, I by natural instinct jumped to my feet and headed toward the pool. But somewhere along the way I lost my footing. Then something horrible began to unfold. As I got closer and closer to the pool, I also got closer and closer to the ground. I could feel myself going down. There are few things I hate more than knowing you're gonna fall and not being able to do anything about it. I finally went down right at the edge of the pool and, much to my delight, didn't hit the cement but fell right into the water! But this is the not-so-good part...I landed right smack dab on top of an 11-year-old boy and took him under the water with me. Like a bobbing buoy, he popped right up, reiterating over and over I'm alright, I'm alright, trying his best to look as though it had never even happened. I am fairly certain I wounded that boy for life and to this day he tells the story of the woman who threw him down in the pool!
As for my toddler, I'm not quite sure how she was saved from a plunge into the icy deep that was certainly over her sweet little head, but I think my sister was the true hero after all. She snatched my baby up as I took a boy down. Today I haven't changed much. Even though that same child is now 27 years old, better not mess with her or you're going down!
Once a mother, always a mother.
As a teenager and young adult, I thought I "would never" or "couldn't ever" be a caregiver for an elderly person. Wasn't for me. Wouldn't wanna do it. Couldn't do it. Nope, not me.
When my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer, I did things for her that I thought I would never be able to do. But you accept the challenges life sends your way, and it makes you stretch way beyond your comfort zone -- especially when you know it's helping someone, and especially when that someone is your mother. I wish more than anything I'd had more time with my mother.
Today I sat with Grace. It was the first day of my new job as a caregiver two days a week for an elderly person. Grace is the closest thing I have to a mother now. She is my sister's mother-in-law and I have known Grace for 45 years. I've watched Grace age "grace-fully" in spirit but not so much in body. She is sweet; she is kind; she has Alzheimer's. In past years I've visited her home, spent time with her on holidays, eaten her perfectly baked ham, unmatched potato salad and sweet potato pies on Thanksgiving. Now she is no longer able to remember exactly how she made that potato salad, but she can never forget how good it was because we make a point to always remind her that hers was the very best potato salad ever.
Today was a good day. After breakfast, we took our seats outside under the patio umbrella and sat for a while. There was sunshine and a light breeze and we made small talk. She told me all about the plants in the yard that were not there, about this plant and that one, the cats that she knew hung out in the cypress trees that line the backyard, and all the work she had been doing in the backyard in recent days. We laughed and enjoyed the warm sunshine and the cool breeze. After lunch we took our Better Homes & Gardens magazines outside and once more sat on the patio. We flipped through our magazines and talked about the beautiful pictures. And then we looked at them again and again. And again. Our afternoon was cut short by the mounting heat and the annoying knats that danced around our faces...so we went back in and, as the oldtimers used to say, sat a spell once more but this time in the air-conditioned den.
I asked Grace about a couple of pictures in her hallway of her ancestors, and she told me they were her grandparents. It was only when we returned to the den that I noticed two large tears, one sitting on each of her cheeks. I handed her a tissue, and she said I haven't seen my grandmother in a long time. I don't know how many days I have with Grace. I had fewer than I ever imagined I would with my mother when she got sick. But when I left Grace today, she gave me the biggest hug she's ever given me and thanked me for coming to visit. I know not every day will be as good as today because Altzheimers is an ugly beast. But I look forward to spending more days with Grace, however many the Lord gives us together, and trying my best to remind her not only how good her potato salad was, but how honored I am to be in her presence right now.
Hang on, Grace, I'll be back tomorrow...Lord willing.
Posted by CC
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