Yakima Mom

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Archive for the category “Wrinkles and Other Such Stuff”

Grandma? Did you say Grandma??!

I recently signed up for the gym again. I’ve been going two or three times a week, and am just starting to feel a little more comfortable among the grunting, sweaty behemoths and the girls with the beautiful arms. Today I noticed a young 20-something man looking my way as I stretched some sore muscles. He approached, and I assumed he was going to tell me I was doing something incorrectly.

“Hi. Are you Jared’s grandma?” he asked.

indexAll I heard was GRANDMA.

While my confidence and ego began to quietly implode, I heard my voice say, “What?”

So he repeated himself. “Are you Jared’s grandma?”

I think I smiled one of those mouth smiles when your eyes don’t move. “No, no grand children yet.”

GRAND effing MA??

He went on. “Wow, her hair is just like yours. You look just like her!”

What is one supposed to say?

“Nope. Not yet.” More fakey smile.

He went back to his 4,000 bar bell, and I told myself this was no reason to go straight home to bed. It took some serious talk to do another 60 seconds of plank and  30 more crunches before heading to the bike.


I began to rationalize. The guy must’ve been mid-twenties… his friend Jared would’ve be about the same… born when I was 25, which meant I would have had Jared’s mom or dad when I was what…12?

The only explanation I could conceive was that, clearly, the young man was an idiot, and his mother hadn’t taught him, 1) Never ask a woman if she is pregnant, and 2) Never ask a woman who is younger than 80 if she’s someone’s grandmother.

I have decided I need to ensure my own boys are aware of such indiscretions, as I’d hate to make another 50 year old woman feel the way I did.

I will also be calling my hair stylist, first thing tomorrow morning.


Mama 1

I won’t even begin with the apology for not writing here in so long. Or the promise that I will do a better job of in in 2014.

But I am. And I will.

Without a doubt, the biggest event of 2013 was the unexpected death of my mother. She had a stroke and fell. Or fell and had a stroke. It was more than a day and a night before she was found.

The stroke was huge. “Devastating” was the word used by the doctors that came into the ER, and then later to her room. I didn’t know it at the time, but “devastphoto(17)ating” means no chance of recovery; nothing we can do. I learned that, and a lot more, during the next week.

I began writing while we were in hospice. I thought maybe there was something to be said in the jumble of grief and sorrow and tears that filled the days and nights of waiting, something worth saving. Lessons learned.

Friday September 6

Two weeks ago, I was having  “slumber party” with one of my favorite nieces on the eve of her wedding. Tonight, I am in hospice with my mother. Another slumber party of sort, but with too many tears, and the counting of decreasing breaths.

I should be working on the obituary, which I have started, but then I stopped when I realized how much I need to ask of my brothers to really tell the tale. I am a writer. Why didn’t I record all of this years ago?

 In spite of the agony of this, there is so much to be thankful for.  There is a 12 day old baby own the hall. Zellwegers* . The second for this family… I cannot imagine.

 My own mama was found last Tuesday in her retirement apartment. I am afraid she had this “massive stroke” on the Sunday afternoon prior… leaving her lying on the floor, all alone, for well over 24 hours before she was found and the nightmare for me began.

 I thank God that two weeks prior we were all at the wonderful wedding of my niece. She will be in wedding pictures. She was with six of her grand children all together. She met her most recent great granddaughter. It was a celebration, and we were all happy and TOGETHER.

 And now she is at 8 breaths per minute. Her feet are getting cool. There are signs that the end is coming. And after spending the last couple years thinking, “Hurry up!” whenever I took her somewhere, now I am realizing this is the end. I am stroking her cheek. Touching her hair. Tracing the bones in her hand. I feel guilty that I want this to be over.

 There is a fountain right outside our door, and it sounds as if we are beside a bubbling brook. The door is wide open, and a group of geese has just passed, calling to one another in the coming darkness. She loved geese. I told her they were calling for her and she could go. That I would be okay.

* http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/gard/7917/zellweger-syndrome/resources/1

Random Act of Humanity

shoesI ran my farthest training run yesterday… eight whole miles. And I’m pleased to say I wasn’t dying by the end.  It gives me faith that perhaps I can indeed do this half marathon thing for which I’m training.

At about mile five, I saw an old woman in her yard, struggling to push a lawn mower. She was easily 80, and couldn’t have weighed 100 pounds. Coiffed hair, slacks and a sweater, a string of beads looped around her frail throat.

It took no conscious thought to stop running. I took out my headphones, and realized the mower wasn’t even running. In fact, the yard had just been mowed. I asked if she needed help, and for the next two minutes, she shared how earlier she had been struggling to start the mower, and a man had stopped, started it, and proceeded to mow her front yard. She was trying to push the mower to put it away when I saw her.

“Sometimes people are so nice,” she said.

“Well, we’re supposed to be,” I answered.

She proceeded to tell me how her husband used to do the yard, but he died eleven years ago. And though she had wanted a family, she had none.

“Well, I have a 14 year old son who would be happy to mow your yard for you,” I told her. “We’ll keep an eye on your grass, and I’ll bring him by when it needs mowing.”

We spoke for another minute, and I pushed her mower where she wanted it, and I made a note of her address. The yard is small. It’ll take Jack less than 15 minutes to mow it.

I mentally subtracted 2 minutes from my time, and continued on my run. The last three miles flew by–ok, they didn’t actually fly by. I’m not very fast–but I was re-energized by my chance meeting with the sweet little lady.

While she considered my stopping to be a kind gesture on my part, it was simply a response. What I got from her… a reminder of why I–why we–are here, was the true gift.

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