Echo Lake

playtime at Grandma’s

Its Liza’s birthday today.  Your Grammie, great aunt and uncle stopped by with food, balloons, balls and clothes. Sweet simple party for a one-year old.  And perfect gifts.  She will play with these items for years! Nice afternoon then you all went home to take a nap.  Even daddy. How old is your sister?  One, you say proudly. At an age where her gifts (other than clothes) are very interesting to you, too.

We went to Echo with Daddy this year.  Grandpa was working and came later.  But we had such a good time.  You are a swimmer, a hiker and a climber.  You even washed dishes a few nights.  Perfect little cabin guest.  Grammie and Mike came up and we ate, boated, did puzzles, played games, read books and had a nice visit.

I cooked, you did dishes

Your swimming lessons gave you so much water confidence.  You’d slip through the water checking other boats and after paddling around the stern, proclaim, “Your propeller is in good shape!” The boat owner would thank you and you’d paddle on.  This was a fun trip because of your language skills, too, buddy. You told me: “I goed to Echo and taked my hiccup twuk and new toy boat. I putted it on a string to pull it around in the water so I could help it swim. I was helpful and kind to you because you are a nice lady, gwan-ma. I was good at taking out the grabbage from the car when we getted there. It was windy and the boat taxi maded my lips get hot so you putted some chopstick on it.  Then I feeded the tiny fish some bread balls each time.  I wanted to eat their meat but you tolded me I couldn’t and I was a little bit sad. I only had a wet night-night diaper one time.  I peed on grandpa’s side of the bed so you could get some sleep. And I tried not to drink water in bedtime.  One time I drinked your electronic without alcohol in it and it was bubbly.  I wanted Liza to come, too, but mommy wanted to grow up first. I like Echo Lake and didn’t want to see a bear.  But I wanted to touch a baby cow and touch a dragonfly.  So I did.”

A friendly dragonfly

I love Echo Lake, you tell me each day.  Me too, buddy.

Me and Grammie at Goose Beach

A Duck in Each Corner

Soul under construction.  Today I stopped everything to worry about my health. News of another friend with cancer always gives us pause.  OOPS, buddy, I don’t mean kitty or doggie paws, but the kind of pause where we just stop for awhile.  I looked at my blotchy skin and decided it was spreading, maybe even taking over my entire body’s skin sack and then let the spark of worry take hold.  My mind let the small wildfire fueled by realities of aging, puff its way through my bloodstream, into my liver, joints, esophagus, stomach and land on top of my feet.  I Googled each malady.  Joint pain; of course, I’m getting older.  Heart burn; chew Tums more than three times a week; go to the doctor. Liver; stop drinking wine every single evening. Stomach where a big stone seems reside; maybe that ulcer is back; ck with doctor. And those feet.  The blotchy white spots make the tops of my feet a matching pair.  Vitiligo-autoimmune skin disease-this one already diagnosed.  Can be associated with diabetes, lupus, Thyroid diseases, especially if condition had late-life onset, after age 50.  Check.  Especially if female. Check.  Especially if matching areas effected from one side of body to the other-shoulder, hands, arms, feet. Check.  So, I made a doctor appointment.  UGH. What am I going to ask for?  A check-up?  Prilosec?  I feel embarrassed about focusing on myself.  I am much better at complaining about Liza’s rash, assessing your dental needs and planning Dad’s surgery.  Myself?  Oh, dear.

Well, if I am ill or dying anytime soon, I can plan on focused soul development to benefit my survivors. The soul is more than the memories they carry, but the final days memories, too. The sick lady has to behave herself.  So we watch ill friends, listen to how they talk act and manage and learn where we fall short.  I must not hide from my family, pretend everything’s okay or complain too much either.  I plan to still be your daddy’s mom, your grandma and that nice lady that you see daily.  I have to stay in front of you, giving you the life lessons that I hadn’t gotten around to. Or not.  maybe I just show you how to enjoy and love yourselves because I keep loving and appreciating you.  That’s my soul, my loving self you carry right up to my end.  And really that end is far far away, but its important to clear the smoke and visit it every so often. Have a look at its undersides.  Let’s squint our eyes to see the fuzziness of each other.  My soul is in there someplace.

On another subject, but related, is that I still look for signs that you are fine.  I can’t help it.  I leap for joy seeing you draw a figure, Liza call out “meow” when we get to that page in the book, when you cry when you fall, and ask for comfort, Liza eat cubes of cantaloupe off the counter and say “Joe-Ja” for every dog (Georgia) .  These are good things.  And today when I stepped in the shower (right after calling for my doctor’s appointment) I was surrounded by rubber ducks.  All four of them had been placed in the corners of the tub, orange beaks facing me, positioned intentionally and deliberately. You did that last night.  I am pleased you relax and play in my tub.  (Everyday, since you got the toy boat, trailer and “hiccup truck”). But more than that, I see your idea, evidence of planful thinking, a little play you may have acted out. In each of corner of the tub, colorful sentries stand guard.  Quacking at an inevitable set genes that may carry poor planning skills, inability to focus or express an idea or maybe the artist, the musician.  Quack on duckies!.

You know, buddy, I think we are both just fine. But if we aren’t then we will figure it out. a day of doubting gma

I heard you crying on the road

I am learning to hide at the right time.  Your mommy was talking to you about a rest, you cried as you dragged yourself up the road, “I am not crabby.” You wailed.  I ducked down in the yard as you looked toward my place.  “Where is she?  I know she’s home.”  Mommy saw me, but said that Grandma is busy and can see you after your rest.  Yes, I have to give your family some privacy.

Really, little one, many families live together with generations sharing the household, sharing the adults. We were more used to it in harder times, and on farms and in the country or small city spaces before the 50s.  We were familiar with the kind of things that come up.  We have to figure them out by ourselves up here.  Can I see Grandma now?  Can I eat lunch with Grandpa?  Can we use these shovels, the hose, borrow coffee? We have to bump into it, soothe our bruises with an ice pack, a cool drink or a few tears and try again.  We are working hard to figure it all out.  Hiding works sometimes, but isn’t a solution. We are stuck with some lousy parts of our shared housing we can’t avoid. We just may not do what the other adults hope for at times.  We may violate some rules until we know what they are and we may error on the side of what’s fun and tastes good.  But clarity about time, lengths of visits and food allowed is helpful. Talking together is helpful.

Today you were here to visit and play in the sandbox, but the neighbor came by with her 3 yr old and wanted you to play at their house.  Mommy sent you off happily.  But later you felt jipped.  You missed that relaxed quiet play time.  You still wanted a dose of gma.  Even though what you got instead was very cool. Katie brought by the mini horse, you clamored up and headed off double bare back down the drive to play with Shelby.  You were off to hold some puppies.  What a lucky kid, said Grandpa, riding a pony to go play with puppies!  A blessed life. Blessed children that we bathe in love and kindness.  Mommy got to say its okay. Take charge. That was good.