March 31st I Did It!

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h (1)I can’t believe this is the last day of the challenge!  I have really enjoyed writing my blog every day.  This challenge has helped me appreciate moments in life that sometimes slip by without thinking twice about them. It has helped me express feelings I have had throughout my dad’s recovery. It has been very cathartic for me.

My husband would always ask me,

“How do you know what you will write about?  How do you always have something to say?”

I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but like I said, every day there is something that happens that makes me reflect.  I am grateful for this experience.  I enjoyed reading everyone else’s blogs.  They made me laugh, cry, and enjoy my memories.  Thank you for sharing all of your great stories.

Every time I posted my blog, my husband would get a notice on his phone.  As soon as he would read it, I would get a text from him with positive comments.  He’s been so supportive throughout this time with my parents and with my blogs.  Actually, he’s just a supportive person and I really appreciate him.  He has taken on the responsibility of making dinner every night.  He has been doing laundry.  He gives me the quiet time I need for a class I am taking and for my blogs.  He checks in with me every day just to see how I’m doing.  He was wonderful when my parents were here after my dad got out of the hospital.  He would try to encourage my dad and give him pep talks.  He did what he could to make them feel at home. He understands when I need to stay at my parents’ house and don’t come home for a couple of days.   He has always been my rock.  I don’t know what I would do without him.

I know you will get this as soon as I publish this, so thank you, Jim.  I love you and I am so happy you are mine!

Things happen for a reason, and I was supposed to meet you a long time ago when we both worked in  Linkins Center  at Illinois State.
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March 30 Katie

 

I spent the day with my daughter, Katie.  She lives and works in Wicker Park.  I put aside this day during my spring break because she has the day off on Wednesdays.  I love going to the city.  It was a nice day, with a couple of scattered showers, which didn’t interfere with our day.  We went out to lunch, then walked around, stopping in cute little shops.  We then stopped in a nice pub and had a beer.  I loved our day together.  We had our serious conversations, and those fun moments when we were both laughing so hard, nothing was coming out!  She’s not only my daughter, but my best friend.  I am so proud of who she has become.  She’s grown up to be a wonderful, thoughtful person.  I am very lucky and blessed.

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March 29 Small Gestures

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My high school friends have been so supportive!  They check in with me to see how my dad is doing. They have offered their help, prayers, and support.  I get encouraging texts from them. One of my girlfriends brought dinner to my parents’ house last week, along with a beautiful plant.  Some coworkers gave me a package for my family of sandwiches, chips, pop, and candy for the hospital.  I came to school one day and found flowers on my table and encouraging notes on my door. These are wonderful gestures that have really helped me through all of this.

My friends have all gone through the experiences of ailing parents.  It makes me feel bad that I wasn’t there for them as much as I could have been. Out of my 12 high school girlfriends, I am the only one with both parents still alive and I feel so blessed! They love my parents and know how special they are.  They’ve been so wonderful.

Small gestures mean so much.  If you know someone going through similar experiences, it is so important to let them know you are thinking of them and praying for them. Sometimes it is  very lonely watching a loved one struggle.  It is a helpless feeling when you’ve tried to help and you get no where.  I appreciate everyone who has reached out to me.  I am blessed with good friends.

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March 28 Perseverance

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I’ve been staying with my parents since Friday.  I am happy I have some time off of work so I can be here.  It’s nice being here. It’s very comfortable.  The towels smell so good and the bed I sleep in is so comfortable.  I sleep great when I’m here. It’s home.

I just wish my dad was doing better.  I feel so bad for him.  He’s in  a funk.  He’s weak, tired, and worst of all, he’s bored.  I get him outside to walk and today we went around the block, which is good because we usually only make it to the end of the block. Later,  I got out the photo albums, but for some reason it made him anxious to look at pictures.  He didn’t want to look at them for very long.  Today he was more active, going from one room to another.  He would go in a room, sit down or lay down, and then go to another room and do the same thing.  I think it was good that he moved around a little more today.  He needs to just start feeling normal again.

Dad used to love his phone!  He would call his sister in Arizona.  He would call us kids.  He has apps that alert him about breaking news, weather, and sports.  His phone now sits on the counter in the kitchen.  My mom makes sure it’s always charged in case one day he decides to check  it.  I watch the alerts pop up on his phone.  I see that people are sending him texts.  I see that he is getting messages on Facebook.  He has no interest in even checking.  He is willing to do whatever we suggest except eat.  He doesn’t have a taste for anything. He still has no appetite.

Yesterday I heard him tell my mom that he doesn’t deserve this.  He doesn’t!  He doesn’t deserve feeling like this.  He should be happy.  He survived a very serious surgery.  The surgery went well and he should be feeling like a “new man”, like the surgeon told him. He should be doing what makes him happy, but all he’s doing is surviving. I’m hoping he can get the help he needs from an appointment I made today.  That has been frustrating, too. We’ve tried to get him help.  No one is available.  We were given some referrals, but when I called they said the doctor isn’t taking new patients, or that they don’t take the insurance. I just want my dad better, and I can’t find anyone to help.  This has been the most frustrating time trying to get my dad the help he needs.  I just wish there was a group of doctors that would follow the patients after surgery.  We had to go out a seek them, and we are still searching.

I will do what ever it takes to get Dad back to where he should be and where he wants to be.  He has a lot more living to do!  The Cubs Opener is in a couple of weeks!  Staying positive!!!

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March 27 Easter Sunday

Happy Easter.  I hope everyone was able to enjoy time with family.  We had a nice time at my parents’ house with good food, great laughs, and specials memories.  The priest at church today said that it’s all about family and the memories you make.  He suggested to look at old photo albums.  We didn’t.  But soon…. we will.  We need to.  We need to look back at all the special moments we had as a family.  Dad needs to remember all the great times we had and all the great memories he and mom gave us.

Happy Easter.

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March 26

The Saturday before Easter brings back great memories.  We always dyed eggs.  Each of the kids  would get six eggs.  They loved to see how bright they could get the eggs the longer they let them sit in the dye.  We never changed our dye- it was always the original PAAS. They would use the wax crayon to add designs to the eggs.  Someone would always make one for our dog, Buddy. As they got older, the symbols on the eggs changed from crosses to logos from their favorite bands.  When they were younger, it was important that they had a new Easter outfit.  That was something both Jim I  and  grew up with- having an new Easter outfit. Katie went to bed with pink rollers in her hair.  Their clothes were laid out for the next morning.  The mornings were full of basket and egg hunts.  We would go to church on the south side, then head to the  north side for dinner at Jim’s parents’ house. They were long days, but very fun.

I decorated eggs with my dad,sister and niece today.  My dad always dyed the eggs even when we all moved out.  He kept the tradition. We made sure he kept up with the tradition.  He was tired, but he was a good sport and monitored the egg dying.

We helped my mom set the table for Easter brunch.  It was a lot of work.  I never thought about it.  We would just show up on Easter and the table would be beautiful and the food smelled great.  We never thought about how much work they put into having us all over for brunch.  I now appreciate it.

Happy Easter to all!

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March 25 The House on Leavitt

It was a beautiful, sunny day, although a bit chilly.  I asked my dad if he wanted to walk outside and he was ready and willing.  We started down the street, but the cool wind was too much for him.  Instead of going right back in, I asked if he wanted to go for a car ride instead.  He walked right to the car and got in.  I went and got Mom and we went for a drive.  We drove through the north part of their neighborhood and slowly went up and down the beautiful streets and admired all the old homes.  Unlike some Chicago streets lined up with bungalows, these streets had homes unique to their neighbors’.  Some were set back on the lot with a big front yard.  Some were closer to the street with large yards in back.  Some homes were made of beautiful stone, where others were made of brick or stucco.  Most of the houses were well-kept, but as we drove along, I noticed a few houses tucked in between eye-catching homes that were worn down and neglected.  It made me sad.  It was obvious at one time, these houses were beautiful and had a history.   It made me wonder how these houses got so bad.  When and why  did these beautiful homes start to deteriorate?

As I pulled up to my parents’ house, I looked at it a little differently.  Their house is a beautiful old home set closer to the sidewalk.  It has a unique pattern of bricks to it.  The bricks weren’t laid evenly one on top of the other.  They were methodically laid in all different angles.  They are all different sizes.  Some stick out and some are flat.  I’ve never seen another house with brick like this.

Their house is well kept and beautifully decorated.   It’s gone through many stages of decor from the 70’s to now.  The walls of this house hugged our family.  The walls watched us grow up.  They heard arguments and laughter- a lot of laughter.  They heard music-songs we sang and songs we loved to listen to on the stereo.  The walls  watched our parents teach us how to be good people through their actions. The walls saw family traditions-Christmas Eve gatherings and Christmas morning gift exchanges to St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrations and Easter Sunday brunches.  The walls saw family routines –Sunday brunch after church, then roast beef dinner, family meals every night around the dining room table, and then homework on the same table after everything was cleared. The walls heard fun celebrations as we got older and brought new family members in.  This house holds so many memories from the past 44 years.

A good family was raised in his house by good people.  The family has grown.  We return with our own children who love this house.  They love the family traditions that my parents continue to have.  Fifteen grandchildren come to this house knowing that when they are here, it is special. It brings them comfort.  It brings them home.

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Day 24 Spring Break

I planned on visiting my boys in Colorado.  It’s not the right time.  I need to be home.  My kids will be okay without me — but I’m not okay without them.  I need to see my boys.  I need to see that they are okay.  It’s so hard sometimes to make the right choice.  I know I need to be here right now.  I know I need to be where I am needed.  But it hurts to want to be with with my boys that don’t really need me, but would love if I were there to do a little extra for them.  I will see them soon…. but not soon enough.

Day 23 Always a Parent

This is a continuing slice from yesterday.  I wrote a final paragraph to my slice , but when I submitted it, it didn’t show up.  I wrote about how life is flying by.  I can’t believe my children are as old as they are.  I do miss the times when they were safe under our roof.  I miss when I knew they were safe and sound in their beds. There was a time when we had to give up that hold on them and trust that they will make good choices and come home safely.  We did a lot of praying during those times.

But, a parent never stops worrying.  My husband and I try to check in with our kids often enough to know how they are, but not too much to where we are being pests.  I worry about Katie walking to work so early in the morning in the city.  I’m worrying right now about Jimmy and Joey during the terrible snow storm they are getting in Colorado.  I don’t want them driving, and if they do, will they make it home safely?   I still do a lot of praying.

Our kids grew up to be smart, funny, respectful, sentimental, and loving human beings. We are so proud of them.  When Jim and I sit at home talking about them, we usually end up crying.  Whenever we look at old photos, we cry.  I think it’s because we both loved raising our family.  We stayed busy with dance, baseball, and football.  We didn’t have much money for fancy vacations, but we camped. We loved camping!  We had fun together.  Maybe that’s why we cry….we had fun together!  We really enjoyed each other!  Jim and I are feeling that sadness of empty nesters.  I know we will eventually enjoy it, but right now, we are missing the 5 of us.  We are missing the fun we had and the busy lives we led.

So all you slicers out there with little ones- enjoy every day!  Take lots of pictures and videos.  It does go way too fast.

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Day 22 Kids

I love to read other slices.  I love to laugh or smile as I read about moments they have with their children.  My favorite slices are those that allow me to think back and remember those same kind of experiences I had with my kids.  I read and remember.  I read and reminisce.  It makes me feel good.  It also makes me feel sad.

It can’t even be possible that my oldest will be 30 this June!  My boys are in their mid-20’s. Where did the time go?  When I read a slice about how a mom snuggled with her girls to read a book  to them, I can actually feel my kids on my lap and sitting next to me.  When I read a slice about a mom trying to understand her daughter’s teenage “mood”, it brings me back to those times when I found it so painful to see my teenagers’ feelings hurt, or their hearts broken.  It was such a helpless feeling.  But, they got through it.  There were times when I didn’t think they would, but they did.  I think time does heal.