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1:31 p.m. - September 19, 2006
Mom And Dad
It was Grandparentís Day recently, and Katie did something special for her Mamaw and Papaw. She made them each a card, and signed her and Kristinís name to them. Then after church, we went over to deliver the cards to them.

They were home, of course, and Mom was at the table eating lunch. Dad was watching something or other on the TV in his little den, and I went in and said hi and admired his new display that he put his war medals and ribbons in (from World War II). Niece Nurseís father in law made it for him.

Katie went and gave Dad his card, and then we gave Mom her card.

And I got a little sad and upset.

Mom hasnít been in the best of health for a while now. Sheís 79 years old, cannot hear, will not wear hearing aids, and really canít move that well. Sheís overweight and should watch what she eats.

If you are dropping by unexpectedly, you can hear the TV outside of their place, it has to be on so loud for her to hear it.

Sheís had some memory problems for a while now, where she says the same thing three or four or five times in about thirty minutes. We all think that thereís a shunt that needs replacing in her head, as itís blocked. She had one put in to drain off some fluid, and when that happened the first time her memory really improved.

Katie is very sweet and talkative, but Mom really canít hear her. And Katie is now to the point where she gets upset about it.

Kristin was running around everywhere, and thereís enough shiny breakable things in the house that we need to corral her. She is a bit scared of both Mamaw and Papaw now but is warming up to them a little as long as we hold her.

After a while, Mom rather much drifted off and resumed eating, leaving us kind of perplexed about what to do. Kristin needed a nap and we needed lunch, so we gave our hugs and kisses and left.

At the birthday party on Saturday, Dad was up there. And I got sad again.

A few years ago, Dad had a minor stroke and since then his speech has been a bit slurred, but nothing too major. A few years ago, he had a reaction to some new medication and had to be hospitalized for a while as they tried to build his hemoglobin back up. His back hurts, but heís the primary caretaker for Mom. Mom sometimes falls and Dad has to try to get her up and about.

Dad is 81, and for the first time Saturday I was concerned about him driving home. He looked a bit frail and weak and not peppy. I think the whole situation is wearing on him.

My sister does what she can to help out as well, as does her daughters, and we do what we can. However, they are both stubborn enough not to really accept a lot of the offers of help we give them.

I really think that itís time to consider assisted living. It would have to be a Medicare facility and thereís one up in Lafayette, so theyíd have to move up there. But thatís not that far away, and itís closer to Niece Nurse who has the medical know-how to really help out in a situation.

This whole thing is on top of Lizís mom passing away recently, and I donít know if all of this is weighing me down and driving some decisions I have made and recent behaviors of mine. The Zoloft is helping, but I donít think Iím totally reacting to the stress as well as I should be. I had a good therapy session yesterday and may consider another program as well to help me out and get the demons hence from my head.

I had a pretty good childhood. I was basically an only child for the most part, as my brother and sister were much older. I always had food, and clothing, and exactly what I needed. Of course, itís not exactly what I wanted, but hey. Sure, I was a hyper, stubborn and smart kid and that caused some issues, but for the most part I thrived.

Mom could be difficult at times though. She was so set in her ways, and did not want you to ruffle anything in the house. Moose once said our house was ďmuseum freshĒ and it was true. Woe to you who spilled something, and didnít clean it up promptly AND properly. Once, she got irate at me for overfilling the washing machine with my clothes. You know, they fit, and it worked and they got clean, but it didnít meet her specifications.

Dad worked a lot at the factory and when he worked nights I hardly saw him, especially in high school. He had to have dinner at about 4:45 or so before the night shift and then when he got home he read for a while and then slept until about 1 in the afternoon. In high school I was in almost every activity and sport so I was never at home, and sometimes I just saw him when he delivered dinner to me so I could eat after basketball practice Ė as I was usually staffing an athletic event at the high school.

He was fun loving to the outside world, and tough and firm, but fair, to the kids. He had a temper, as did Mom, and he wasnít afraid to use corporal punishment. I have to admit that I probably deserved the whacks I got most of the time.

But the one thing they always wanted from me is for me to be at my best. Sure, they threatened to rip my ear lobe off the first time I got my ear pierced, but the second time they were cool with it, and they didnít flinch when I got my tattoo (Mom was more concerned about my short short haircut than anything).

They accepted all of my girlfriends (even though Mom accused one of just wanting to stay together with me long enough for them to give her some luggage for a graduation present, because within 6 weeks we were broken up) and when Liz became part of my life they embraced her like a family member. That means that she got the full treatment at dinners, and was expected to keep pace with the volume of the conversation.

So while life with my parents wasnít sunshine and blue skies, I was lucky to have two of them who loved and cared about me, who supported me through thick and thin.

Now, I feel guilty and sad. I try to help, but we have busy lives even if Liz is a stay-at-home. Weíre always doing something, going somewhere, or just trying to keep the house looking sane (as in toys semi-corralled and keeping Cheerios and bananas off the floor as best we can).

I wish my parents werenít so old, because I know grandparents are important. I only knew my Dadís parents, and Papaw died when I was 8, but I remember him and I fondly remember Mamaw.

Recently, I ran into someone that was in my high school graduation class. She is 40, like me, and the years have treated her well, except for a couple of wrinkles around the eyes. But she still has the same smile and the same personality. Sheís an assistant manager at the IGA near where I live.

We were talking about this and that once when I was in there getting something and I mentioned my kids, and she then said that she had one that already graduated, but he promised not to make her a grandmother until age 45.

Wow, at 45, Kristin will just be entering first grade. Dad was 81 and Mom 78 when Kristin was born.

Iím going to do as much as I possibly can, and make sure that the girls know who their Mamaw and Papaw are, because like we found out with Lizís mom, the clock is ticking and you canít stop it.


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