Thursday, June 30, 2011

Twice Lost

I have tried to blog about the death of my grandfather twice, and both times I’ve ended up reminiscing to the point of tears, unable to see my computer screen, and thus retired to bed.  But, the 3rd time is a charm so here goes:

My grandpa Bernie died two weeks ago today, with my grandma & mom at his side.  He suffered from dementia/ Alzheimers the past couple years, and his health had been declining in recent weeks.  In many ways, his passing was a blessing to him and those consumed with his care. 

While his death was expected, there is still something very surreal about the fact that he is truly gone.  As I spent time with my mother’s family last week, I have been reminded of so many memories and traits of my grandpa.  (I’m not going to recount them now, because that is where the tears come in and I’m pretty sure that would happen again.)

In grieving, however, I am having the strangest experience.  I find myself mourning over the loss of a man, who, ultimately had been gone from us for quite some time.  When Grandpa was placed in the nursing home, he was very confused, had trouble remembering this moment in time, and he spent most of his time sleeping.  I always tried to visit him when I came home, and with each visit, he seemed a bit more distant than the time before.  Of course, there were still glimpses of Grandpa—even in our limited conversations.

But at his funeral last Monday, my thoughts were not of the frail man, sleeping his days away in the nursing home.  They were of a much stronger, agile, energetic man, who loved naps—but spent his days actively involved in some project or activity.  My thoughts were of a man who eagerly engaged in conversations with all people, and truly loved learning about things, ideas, and people.  The person we lost last week, housed the soul of the man who Alzheimer’s Disease took years ago. So in many ways, we just lost him twice. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy--Thankful--Challenge

Lately I have been having a hard time focusing on the “good” in everyday things.  As I mentioned in a previous post, a lot of this comes with the transition to summer.  It is the hardest thing for me.  While the majority of society believes teachers rejoice the moment summer break begins, I always go through a mild depression.  I’m finally, after about a month, starting to feel okay with summer and my time off work.  But it’s been a tough month, and having C with me from wake-up until bedtime is such a gift, it also presents it’s own set of challenges. 

I have no idea what to blame my negativity on---so I’m going to blame it on the fact that ultimately, C is darn near the perfect child…… when he’s happy.  He is stinking cute (obviously, in his mother’s unbiased opinion), he has an amazing vocabulary, he already shows interest in a variety of things (unfortunately, not the TV—which I think would be a nice, quiet, activity for 10 minutes someday), he entertains himself, and he is a total lover/ snuggler/ cuddler.  In these moments, I have to say that I am, probably, the perfect mother.  (ha)  I am patient, loving, nurturing, and have that sweet- preschool teacher voice, even while doing the diaper change battle.  But on those occasions when he acts, well, normal (whines, cries, throws tantrums, wants to be held constantly, refuses to walk, …you get the picture) I just lose it.  I look at him and think, “What’s different about today?  Why can’t you play with your toys that you liked yesterday?”  These thoughts leave me frustrated, and wishing my mom lived 20 minutes away and could baby-sit for an hour here and there. I sink into my negativity, and have trouble climbing out.

So….. in typical counselor fashion, I have developed an intervention for myself.  It is called, “Happy, Thankful, Challenge” and here is how it works: 

At the end of each day, I reflect on the day and write down 3 things that made me happy, 3 things I’m thankful for, and 1 challenge from the day.  I started this almost two weeks ago and read my little journal this morning.  I LOVE this little activity because it forces me to focus on the good…. and honestly, after only a few days, it is interesting to notice that the challenges don’t always involve C!  And, the ones that do are really pretty trivial.

Years from now, when I look back on C’s childhood, I want to remember loving it and cherishing it, not longing for the time when he heads out the door to college.  And this past week, while he spent time at my parents’ house, I started to feel guilty for ever becoming frustrated with him.  I missed him so much and just couldn’t imagine why I would ever be mad at him.  All the bad was seriously forgotten—I saw a glimpse of how people with grown children tend to forget the daily grind.  

Our break was so good for us—I just can’t wait to reconnect with my little guy.  When I saw him today, tears welled up in my eyes because he just seemed so much bigger—so much more grown up!  He is doing things he wasn’t doing before and saying words he hadn’t known.  It’s like I get to discover him all over and I can’t wait.  For the first time in a long time, I’m actually hoping he takes a really short nap so we can hang out ALL day!  (shhh…don’t tell anyone)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bitter Sweet Time Away


I don’t think it comes as any surprise to hear me say that parenting, thus far, has been a challenge for me.  I find myself feeling like I’m constantly babysitting—rather than just including C in our family.  I look at the clock, and count the hours until lunch, naptime, supper, or bedtime. I hear myself complaining, moaning, being sarcastic about the “joy” of little ones and longing for the days when I can just hang out by myself for an entire day.  When people say, “They grow up too fast!” or “Don’t you wish you could keep them little forever?” I rarely can muster a whole-hearted agreement.  After spending an entire week or two with C, I usually only want a break. 

And that is why Mason & I are on “vacation” in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  My parents have Charlie for almost an entire week, while we have permission to basically do nothing.  This is my chance to sleep in, lounge around, walk/ run, bike, shop, get a massage, cook nice meals, go out for dinner, and read books that aren’t made out of cardboard.  I have been looking forward to this getaway for months.  Every time C decides it’s fun to be awake from 4-6 am, I only wish I was far away from him.  Every time he whines all day, or throws multiple tantrums, I envision myself handing him off to my mom and happily driving away. 

But now, here I am, 500 miles away from the little stinker, and my heart is aching for him.  It’s so quiet without his little voice and I’m so still--without having to follow him around as he gains confidence in walking.  Our schedule is gone—I’ll eat and shower whenever I want –not when the opportunity presents itself—as is most often the case at home.  It dawns on me now, how important these little get-aways are, because absence really does make the heart grow fonder.  I have a feeling that when we finally see C again, we’ll be refreshed and re-energized, and ready to play with his little toddler toys for more than five minutes.  And in order for that to happen, I need to relax and melt into this time with M.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stuck With 2 Hours of Free Time....

So I'm having the weirdest feeling right now.  I want to say I'm bored, but that's just not accurate.  Bored implies that I have nothing to do, and cannot possibly think of anything to entertain myself.  And, for God's sake, that is certainly not true!  I think my current weird feeling stems on the fact that I really can think of too many things to do, that I'm left feeling overwhelmed.  The other issue is that I really only have a solid two hours to do whatever I choose to do (of course, this hinges on the assumption that dear C is going to take an awesome nap)  So, in typical Karah style, I have chosen to avoid all of them.  And honestly, a lot of them sound pretty good--I just can't decide what to do.  Here are my options and the corresponding thought:

* Clean off/ organize my computer jpgs (AUGH! WAY too time consuming.  I'll skip that.)
* Upload photos to Shutterfly and order some more pics of C's 12 month shots.  (Takes too long. I'll do it tonight)
* Write a parent letter for the 4 classes I'm teaching next week. (I'm not even sure what it needs to say yet...  And, our printer isn't working wirelessly so that means I'd have to hook it up to my computer and omg, that is way too much effort.  I'll do it later.)
* Stalk facebook. (Already done that today and nothing good is up there)
* Scrapbook our 2009 vacation to DC (I actually kind of started this but then wasn't feeling it)
* Change out our photo coasters from Christmas 2006 to something more recent  (then I have to find photos, cut them, find something to do with the old ones....)
* Watch the last 4 episodes of Y&R (that show is so annoying and I hate the Cane storyline.  I can only watch that if I drink something and it's too early for that.  Or is it.....)
* Clean the kitchen (no.)
* Clean the bathrooms (no way.)
* Read my book (it's almost finished and I'll get tired and fall asleep and then C will wake up)
* Pull weeds (too wet outside)
* Eat lunch (I'm not in the mood for a sandwich)
* Watch the rest of Burlesque--started it a week ago and someone woke up and I never finished it (don't want to get interrupted again)
* Call someone (who?)
* Blog  (okay.)

So, that is how I wound up here.  Blogging about basically nothing to blog about.  Kinda like a show about nothing. :)