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Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

It has been a busy week; a tiring week; an exhausting week.

On June 26th, Sunday, we held a (F)UN birthday party to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday.  Her birthday is actually in January but no one wants to travel in January.  It was quite a success, with my sister flying in from Arizona, my neice and two daughters driving down from Michigan, my daughter from South Bend, along with one of her sons and his adorable girlfriend, and nephew and his fantastically funny wife coming down from Wisconsin.  The rest were from all over Indiana.  Mom was dully surprised.  When daughter brought her down from her apartment, to the building’s common room, she couldn’t figure out why I was taking a picture of her and who was that woman who looked like her granddaughter standing next to me also taking her picture, until she realized it WAS her granddaughter from Michigan.

Picture of my daughter, mom, greatgrandson and his girlfriend.

It was fun watching her wheeling around in her power chair going “Oh, you too!” as she spotted her sister-in-law, sister, and old friends.  Some of the food (mostly that made by my husband) was a big hit.  My potato salad needed doctoring.  The cake from Sam’s club was great.  People didn’t just eat and leave and that made it nice to talk with everyone.

Sheryl, Mom and sister, Eve.

Sheryl, Mom and sister, Eve.

I, and my daughter from So. Bend, had been planning the party for three months.  We even had blue grass music compliments of Dan Cantwell, of Travis Creek Band, from Nashville, Indiana and our boy, Jacob Wells, who sings with the band occasionally and threw in some country music. My family is an artistic family and used to my uncle playing guitar in the background, so it reminded the relatives of him. I have movies of Dan and Jacob up on Youtube. My Youtube name is SAVanVleck. You could also search for Jacob Wells. He gets good feedback on his singing. I’m trying to link it but ……. haven’t got that down.  I think I have to upgrade to link a movie?

I would love to say that the band in front of the window was a wonderful cinematic affect, but I’m afraid the shaky camerawork and the one place of missed lyrics will make that a true lie.  I plan on rerecording this song when I can and have my tripod with.  I am afraid I am developing a family tremor.  I used to shoot 35 mm photos at f-stop15 with nary a shake, now I can’t hold it still at any speed.

Now, the bad of the week: A few days before the party we found out that my mom is in Stage 3 heart failure. With that, and other problems, the doctor has decided to have Hospice come out to her apartment. It is really a blessing. It will help ensure she is getting the best of care and take a load off of me. I suspected last month, as I purchased only a small amount of food for her that she wasn’t eating right. This month, it didn’t seem as if she was eating at all. Turns out, she is too tired to eat and they will figure out what to do about this, and send people out to help her with her personal needs and her house cleaning needs.

Today, when I went to her apartment to give her a shot (of blood thinner) and take her for blood work and meet her new Hospice nurse, she met me with: “I’m not stupid.” I told her I knew that and asked what was wrong. She decided that she only had six months to live and I was trying to hide it from her and that was why we had the party and Hospice coming out. While it is true she could only have six months, it is also true that she could have only one week or she could have two years, and we started planning the party months before I found out. I think she finally believes me but I am pretty sure that I will have to settle the matter several more times before she moves on to something else.

I have always wondered at older people saying they have no one left alive (no mate, no children, no friends) and so they are ready to die. I miss people who have died, but I do feel that life is a blessing to be lived to the fullest. Yet now, as I look at the photo of my dad’s family that I posted two months ago and realize that there are only two people left alive in that picture: my cousin, Richard and my sister, Evelyn. There is something that sets you adrift when you realize you are so close to being that alone. I mean, I have a family other than dad’s family; husband, daughter, grandsons, but not so many of those people who were there when I was born. It’s just strange.

I’m limping from sciatic nerve  leg pain, tired from everything, including taking steroids for the leg,  and probably boring, but meeting all the Hospice people makes it all so real.  Thanks for listening.

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Younger boy lived with us from birth till he was three, then came to live with us again at age thirteen. At three he was a hand full and a half of charging bull. At sixteen, he’s Mr. Cool one day and Mr. Country Singer the next.

Younger boy turned sixteen today.  (Actually, it was yesterday. Imagine my surprise this morning, when I found out I had put up a different blog–oops!) His request was for steak, mashed potatoes and corn (those two go hand in hand at our house) and German Chocolate Cake, which is really quite easy to bake (from scratch) but taking a cake from a hot oven to an overly air conditioned counter causes it to burst like a punctured balloon. The boys have decided I should recreate this treat every time as then you get more of the goodie filling and less cake.

He had a lot of catching up to do, at thirteen, when he entered public school for the first time.  He was reading at a second grade level and did math at third grade level.  He had not been taught any history or geography and the only science he had was when he watched his younger brother being taught how to make Gak. Hence, my insistence, and I think it is a good idea even for good home educators (and I know quite a few good ones), that home schoolers should have legislated testing every two years. No child left behind folks, means all children.

Because of not being taught to write at the proper age, youngest boy has a writing disability and takes a laptop to school with him. He has a pass to go to the Learning Resource Center and get help with his tests, as he is slow at reading (He may have them fooled on that one. He can read Harry Potter just fine, even if it is slow.) Thank you, J. K. Rowling for interesting him in any reading at all.

He does write and every time, when I take the magnetic grocery list off the fridge to copy it into my laptop for a store list, I say, “What does this mean?”

He comes, looks and says, “I don’t know.”

I say, “Well you wrote it.” as I look at cat scratches that resembles skinny dictation marks.

He says, “Doesn’t mean I know what it says.”

When he was one and a half, someone looked out a window and saw a ceramic cat go flying across the yard. It’s the kind of thing where you sit there and say, “That’s strange.” Then, when the second one goes flying by, you run. Yup, there he was, standing at an open window and emptying his mother’s cabinet out the window. He had a nice little pile of broken knick knacks, outside.

By the age of two, he was missing one day, and found on top of the refrigerator, having eaten half a tray of brownies, which were hidden on the refrigerator for a reason (So he wouldn’t eat them.). No one is sure how he got up there. The chair to the counter was easy, but how did he get from the counter to the top of the fridge? It was quite a stretch. 

After the boys and their mother moved in with stepfather, things got hairy. His mother being terrified to be alone at night, kept a container of mace on the dresser; twice he sprayed himself in the face. He was playing “Toro, Toro”, as in bull fights with his two other “blanket holding” brothers, not airplane crash Toro, and, being the bull he was already, charged and knocked himself unconscious on the corner door frame. To the hospital again, we go. 

Then, Christmas arrived and youngest boy took to crunching Christmas tree lights. You could hear the glass crunching as he walked through a room and the nearest adult would run their finger through his mouth and remove the end of the bulb, and as much glass as possible, then feed him bread. The nurse hotline knew us by voice. When the lights were removed from the bottom half of the tree, he began taking apart flashlights and eating their bulbs.

He’s broken his ankle since he’s been living here and wrenched a shoulder but mostly he’s searching for his identity.  This week it is boots, ripped jeans, camouflage vest and Dundee hat, with a swagger. Some weeks, it’s pure cowboy. Other times it is the lamentable ripped off sleeves southern Indiana, hillbilly wannabe look. Those weeks, I nag.

Happy Birthday!

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