Sunday, December 27, 2009

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

Mom and Dad seem to really be enjoying their visit from Ruth and her family. They all came to the Christmas Eve service and Mom and Dad even stayed a while afterwards.

The folks invited us over for Christmas dinner on Friday afternoon. Mom cooked the turkey and gravy, and made ahead pumpkin and pecan pies, white and sweet potatoes, and cranberries. I brought green beans, jello salad and dressing/stuffing. (When we were sick earlier in the week, Mom exclaimed, "But I was counting on you to bring the stuffing!") Everything was delicious (except for the jello) and we all had a wonderful time together.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Allergy Attack

I took Karis and Ev to the doctor on Saturday. They had been congested all week and their coughs were starting to sound bad. We had to go to urgent care and it was luck of the draw on physicians. The doctor diagnosed the girls with upper respiratory infections and assured us that based on their symptoms, it was allergy-related, not viral. So, off we went with antibiotics and claritin-d.

Fast forward to today, when Nate and I sat in the urgent care. Yup, those darn allergies are catching. We couldn't get an appointment with Ves, but he was working in uc this morning. He did not concur at all with the allergy theory, but Nate and I do both have upper respiratory infections. We went ahead and got prescriptions for Meg and Dave, just in case they catch the allergies too.

All that to say, we have steered clear of Mom and Dad! Mom called this morning to talk over some Christmas details. She said she and Dad were heading out today to see The Blind Side at a local theater.

Gwen: Mom, that's great! You and Dad are having a date!

Mom: Yes, he said a few minutes ago that he'd better shave since he was going out with his girlfriend.

How sweet is that?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Naughty or Nice?

Guess what we got today to put in Grandma and Grandpa's stockings!

Hee hee!

BTW, the naughty pair were in church again today. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Goal-Oriented Phone Conversation

Mom called this morning. I didn't have a student, so Nate and I were at home. It was one of those Mom calls where I could tell she had her list. I think it was something like this:

1. Tell Gwen I forgot about Karis and Meg's Christmas concert. Express regret.

2. Ask about amounts for Christmas recipes. Is five pounds of potatoes enough?

3. Invite family for Sunday dinner. Ask Gwen to bring brownies.

What a nice surprise to get a dinner invitation!

ADDENDUM: Mom called again Friday about something else. In the course of the conversation, it came out that the dinner invitation was for the Sunday after Christmas, not this Sunday. Communication is hard. If we can't get a dinner date straight, no wonder we struggle to understand each other.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sharp Dressed Man

Dad was in church with Mom today!
He looked great in his suit and tie. :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tattle Report

When do we become concerned enough about Mom's isolationism to address it with her? I don't think it is good for Dad and even though Mom wants to be alone, is it really good (to this extreme) for her either?

*She has told me that she wants space. This works out to mean: Don't come over.

*She has repeatedly told Dave not to bring the Caregiver's Prayer Group (Dad's Wed. morning group) to their home. He finally quit asking last week.

*She has told one of Dad's friends each time he calls wanting to come visit, "It's not a good day." After several calls, she told him, "It is just not going to work out."


Strange Days Indeed

Mom sent my family a letter this week, explaining her approach to Thanksgiving and the rest of life. Dave and I opted not to read it to our children. I sent a copy to Gayle, since she had a hand in it. I can send copies to interested siblings, but am not quite sure about posting it on the internet.

Also this week, Mom asked if I could pick up some cookies and take them to the church for her. In typical Mom style, this was only allowable if I was going to be at HEB anyway and could just stop by. So right there on the phone, I planned a trip to the grocery store on the day she wanted me to come.

Nate was having a make-up session with his educational therapist, the girls were at school, and I didn't have a student til later in the day, so I was by myself on Thursday morning. Mom was in the shower and Dad came to the door in his fleece robe and jammies. He is so cute! I gave him the Christmas card he had clandestinely asked me to purchase for Mom and... he invited us over for Christmas dinner. And gave me a check to buy gifts for the children. While Mom was in the shower. Yikes!

Mom did emerge from the shower and it turns out Dad had told her about his plans the day before. I'm not sure if 6 extra people in addition to the 8 extra they are already having for Christmas is such a great idea for them, but I'm not going to say no!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Cheer

Nate, Ev and I went over to the folks' today after school. I refilled pill boxes and Nate and Ev set up the Christmas tree, train set and nativities. Dad was wrapping some presents. We stayed for about 90 minutes. The time was pleasant, but Mom and Dad were not very interactive. Maybe the time of day? They could have been tired. Mom asked us to return next Monday so Nate and Ev can put around more decorations.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mom Sighting

Mom slipped in to church today late and alone. I went over to speak with her and hug her after the service. After I asked twice, she said Dad had taken Milk of Magnesia and had to stay home. I'm sure Mom was disappointed. I know I was hoping Dad would be back after last week.

We were to go over tomorrow to decorate for Mom, but got a text today that Karis and Meg have a home game tomorrow at 4:00. I'm not sure what we will do.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

She Vants to Be Alone

Sister Gayle called last night after she had a long conversation with Mom. She said Mom told her the reason she didn't want us to come over for Thanksgiving was...

wait for it...

she wanted to have some time alone.

So, the entire conversations with Mom, communicating our love for them and our collective desire to be with them, the reasons she presented to me, were just crap. Bottom line: Go Away.

I get it. Really. Thanks.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Twisting in the Wind

Contrary to plan, I called Mom again tonight because I couldn't remember the name of a recipe she wanted me to look up on the internet. Dad answered the phone and we exchanged greetings.

Dad: "When are you bringing the children over to visit again? I miss seeing them."

Gwen: "Mom asked Nate and Ev to come over next week to decorate, so we will see you then."

Dad: "I miss seeing them. I miss seeing you too, but I especially like to see the children."

Gwen: "Thank you Dad! That is so nice to hear. We gladly come whenever we are invited. We miss seeing you too."

When Mom got on the phone and answered my recipe question, I told her what Dad said and asked her if Dad knew she had told us not to come over for Thanksgiving.

Mom: "I don't like the way it sounds when you say that."

Gwen: "How could I say it to make it sound nicer?"

Mom: "We wanted you to get out of town."

Gwen: "We wanted to spend Thanksgiving with you all. I expressed that to you during that same conversation. Each of the children wanted to spend Thanksgiving with you all. Ev had her class praying that we could spend the day with you. I told you that."

Mom: "All I can say is, you are so far ahead of me in being gracious. I appreciate your help filling the pillboxes. Can you come Monday to do that?"

Gwen: "I'd be glad to. I just don't want Dad thinking we don't want to come see him when you tell us to stay away."

What? What do I do when the caregiver says Stay Away and the caregivee says Where Have You Been?

I don't even know how to spell the sound my heart makes for this one.

POSTSCRIPT: Dave's perspective on this was much less emotional than mine. He thinks that Dad did miss the children at that moment, but that this doesn't mean he sits around pining for them and wondering why they don't come. I like that version. Easier on the heart.