Monday, July 24, 2017

Vacation memories

It’s hard to believe we returned from our family trip a week ago!  We successfully carted my mom around two states, spent quality time with my uncle and aunty, two cousins and their hubs, and one adorable second cousin who is two, and with whom my DD2 tried to carry everywhere they went. 

It was so awesome that my Uncle opened his doors to us, we were there Friday, Saturday, Sunday, hanging out, or should I say, partying down!—for both Friday/Saturday nights, we didn’t get back home to our hotel until midnight or 1am!  My mom knows how to party with those board games, card games, making s’more’s in the chimenea off the back porch.  And it was so wonderful seeing the lightning bugs come alive in the wee hours of twilight—to my girls’ delight. Truly, I loved seeing my girls making connections with our family and also reconnecting myself with my uncle and cousins.  We’ve been seeing each other off and on through the years for a meal or an hour or two, but this was the first time in many, many years, where we spent extended time together.

My mom did surprisingly well due to her health condition; we strolled along gorgeous Smale park which is nestled on the banks of the Ohio river, water fountains spouting and inviting the kids to play in them, gardens and garden mazes, life-sized chess games and man-made streams with Rube Goldberg contraptions built in, and a working “when pigs fly” moving statue.  

We also strolled across over a bridge not too far from the Roebling Suspension Bridge (seen above), the design/construction of which was the template for the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge 30 years later, taking in the lights and pictures, having walked from one state (Kentucky) to another (Ohio) and back again! 

My college classmate and her family drove down for two nights to meet us and we oohed and aahed through the neighboring aquarium while my mom rested from the nights of partying, stroking stingrays and watching penguins dive in and out of the water, along with sharks swimming overhead in their tube aquarium; and after our six day visit with the family, we loaded back up and headed back to my mom’s place.  Next stop, off to a visit my bro and family at their farm.

Some of our views at the farm (well, this one was close by, but couldn't resist the baby foal and mom picture):

After dinner, my mom settled into her hotel room with our caregiver that we’d hired; the girls and I went back to the farm where my bro kindly blew up more fireworks into the night.  So exciting!  It was great having bonus time with them.  My daughters were able to ride the horses twice in a row with my sis-in-law; and my older nephew took me on the golf course to teach me all things golf which was hilarious and fun (considering I had no idea golf has a completely different language—he later told my bro that I have a natural talent and that I should take lessons and if I applied myself, I could be quite good! LOL).  Honestly it was just so much fun spending time with him—he is actually quite good, second on his golf team as a freshman, regularly participates in regional golf tournaments; my bro and sister-in-law are banking on at least a college scholarship, here’s to hoping! 

And, I even dared to tackle the mountain biking with my youngest nephew again—while my sis-in-law had my youngest daughter on the horse, DD1 hung with the barn cats, and the next thing I knew I was popping wheelies over roots and trees and getting my butt whipped by wild rosebushes.  To his credit, my nephew didn’t take us entirely into the middle of the woods, just partly, and when we circled back along the old train tracks, he took the lead (and the multiple cobwebs) by storm.  LOL.

Lastly, I came up with the bright idea to take my youngest nephew back to town with us for an overnight, so grandma could have bonus time with her grandson, plus her two granddaughters, and while she rested, I took the three of them to the horse park where we hiked around, went through a Smithsonian affiliated international museum of the horse, as well as interacted with different breeds of horses.

The one featured here is the Marwari horse—DD1 was super impressed at the backstory for the Marwaris, that they never left their riders in battle, and would defend them at all costs.  Awww, my darling DD1 and her fierce and loyal heart.

And the next thing we knew, we were home…

This past week end, we had a belated birthday sleepover for DD1—plus a pal for DD2 to keep her occupied (this backfired, so will re-think this in the future, as the little ones were way too interested in what the big girls were up to, lol), however all in all, everyone had a blast.  We had pizza at night and watched movies, at bed time, the littles did fall asleep way before the big ones and I let them do their group device games; in the morning, I had craft activities involving pipe cleaners, beads—hand made flower rings for themselves, as well as creating glow-in-the-dark beaded jewelry or ornaments and exchanging from a name drawing (they loved guessing who made what). 

So…now we’re back into the swing of things, the time-sharing “schedule” resumes tomorrow.  And I’m trying to be brave and supportive, and outwardly I am, for the girls’ sakes.  Inside, I’m dreading the nitpicking emails and the complaints and the demands that are just around the corner.  It’s been a nice two week break, I wish it could stay this way for a while longer. 

I love my daughters with all my heart.  Please let them be okay.  Please let them always know there is room in their hearts for ALL of the people in their family.  Please let love always win.  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Leaving on a Jet Plane - Summer 2017

We leave to visit my mom on Wednesday—another girls trip with just me and my daughters, so excited!

This trip was actually all DD1’s doing.  Since the holidays, she kept asking if we were going to see Grandma, and I kept saying, I wasn’t sure, we’d just gone last year, it’s really expensive to buy the plane tickets, etc.

And then one day, DD1 came to me, looked me straight in the eye and said:  Mom, you know Grandma isn’t doing very well.  She’s sick.  We really should go visit her.

Me: …

So, within a month, I’d figured out the budget and how we were going to do it.  Did I dip into my savings a little bit?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  Definitely, yes.

My mom is full time in a wheelchair these days due to her condition, but she’s raring to get out and go, so I rented a modified minivan that has an electric ramp for her to drive her wheelchair right up into it, plus we hired the same nurse assistant who traveled with us last year to help me manage the medication and assist my mom at the hotel.  We’re going to take a mini road trip to see my cousins and a brand new baby (okay she’s 24 months, so not that brand new, lol, but brand new to us!) and my mom is super excited to spend some time all together.

Last week, my brother called, the place where my mom is living says that mom needs more nursing care than they can provide, so they are recommending that she moves to a sister facility—likely closer to my brother.  This will turn out better in the end, and is also reinforcement that now, this summer, is the time to visit and take my mom around with us.  Could this be her last hurrah?  It might be.  Only time will tell.

In the meantime, looking forward to a trip where love rules!