Sister and brother-in-law
came for the weekend.
Long conversations over
dinner, sipping tea, laughing.
She is lovingly called
Aunt Birdie by my daughter.
She loves bird watching as
do I. We hope to see some
nature this weekend.
Kayaking is in the picture
for Sunday…a good day
for sighting alligators, birds
and manatees in the river.
Small Stone # 25 for Writing Our Way Home for the Mindful Writing Challenge: http://www.writingourwayhome.com/
All posts tagged family
Sister and brother-in-law
Posted by Bodhirose on January 26, 2013
On Thanksgiving this year, after dinner with my family, I joined my niece at her home for dessert. As night came, some guests gathered in her backyard and had an impromptu drumming session around a glowing fire. Later, she offered the opportunity for us to write what we were thankful for on a “gratitude lantern”. She would then light the paper lamp and send it into the sky along with our gratitude. I wrote one word…Mira. Ours was just the one lantern, but I found photos of when thousands were lit and set sailing. My niece also did a similar thing to celebrate the last New Year.
Google Images: Paper lanterns lighting up the sky
Giving thanks this year, but especially for you;
Relatives and friends join together
All bringing good will and love for each other.
Today was different than so many others,
It included you, an addition to our world.
Tiny, but here, with full-fledged awareness
Urging us listen as you learn to utter.
Delighted, we focus, hanging on each coo.
Engaged, connected, our spirits merging.
Let us share and pen our thanks,
Annointing our hearts with gratitude.
Night arrives, the day is done,
Tablas beat an ancient tune.
Emitting a glow as it ascends,
Reminding us of what is dear,
New grace as our light lifts to the sky.
Posted by Bodhirose on December 15, 2012
Sisters are awesome.
I have three of them.
I’m the oldest but
not the boldest.
I look at them
and see parts
of me and times
when we were
We share hearts.
My entry for Monkey Man’s Sunday 160: http://petzoldspracticalprose.blogspot.com/
Posted by Bodhirose on November 13, 2011
For several months in 2009 and early 2010, I lived with my sister and her husband and helped in the care of their two adorable grandchildren. It was a rough time in their lives and in mine too. I was unsure as to where my relationship was going with my boyfriend and they desperately needed my help. I decided to put some distance between my boyfriend and I and assist my sister’s family.
Their youngest son and his on-again-off-again girlfriend (who is the mother of the children) were off again–she had taken off and left the children–a two year old son and his barely 3 month old sister. The family had taken the girl into their home and tried to support her as she enrolled in school and did their best to help bring some stability into her life. But it was not to be–she simply could not handle the stress of caring for two babies, a volatile relationship with her “significant other” and her extensive personal “baggage”.
So I moved into the bedroom that their oldest son had previously inhabited and shared a wing of the house with their middle son who I related to the best out of their three sons. I immediately got into the routine of taking care of two babies while the rest of the family went to work and school. At first, I wasn’t sure if I remembered how; it had been decades since I had taken care of my own two babies. But I needn’t worried. It came back to me very naturally and quickly.
My heart melted at caring for Isabella–an infant–my maternal instincts kicked right in and I loved her as if she was mine. Her brother, Nicholas, was an incredibly easy child. He wasn’t moody and was a dear little boy to whom I had already grown much attached to. Neither one of them were fussy “cry babies”–just very good natured little people–what a blessing.
So the three of us quickly got into a routine of getting up in the mornings with me changing their diapers, preparing breakfast for Nicholas (luckily he was already able to feed himself) and a bottle for Isabella. After breakfast it was time to get dressed for the day and play for a while. There were nap times and lots of diaper changes and formula and lunches to make daily. It brought stability to their young lives and we fell in love and trust with each other.
Nicholas had become a fan of playing basketball when he was barely able to walk–shooting “baskets” into his highchair–shooting and retrieving the ball tirelessly. His grandparents soon purchased a “hoop” for him that was situated on their screened-in porch on the back of the house next to their hot tub. Nicholas and I spent many, many hours out there playing basketball. Isabella sometimes would join us out there to watch and get some fresh air between naps. Nicholas didn’t often take naps–he had endless energy that rarely wound down. The simplest games would bring delight to them both. What a joy to see them laugh–I delighted in their delight.
It was hard work but so rewarding for all of us. When my sister got home from work from her elementary school job–her extra hands were a welcome help and the children were so happy to see the smiling face of “Grandmommie”. We worked together to prepare dinner most nights and to get the children ready for dinner and then bed. Usually, she took charge of Nicholas and I, Isabella. I fed her for the last time of the night and bathed her in her baby bath perched on the counter in the kitchen and dressed her in her “nightie” or pajamas. She was such an easy baby and usually went quickly to sleep with minimal fuss. I went to sleep with minimal fuss most nights too–falling into bed in spent, but contented, exhaustion.
After close to seven months with no contact with their mother, she appeared once again and demanded a place in their lives. My sister’s son too wasn’t yet ready to let go of this woman and wanted to try and heal their relationship. I moved back in with Tom and my nanny days came to an end. Long story short, they split up for good after he learned that Isabella was not his child. She had knowingly let him and the family think that she was his–DNA testing confirmed the truth.
Sadly, the family had no choice but to hand Isabella over to her mother. She has visited on occasion to spend time with her brother but I haven’t seen her since her mother took charge of her. I can’t help thinking about her and how her life is with her mother these days.
Nicholas’ contact with his mother is irregular and he sometimes will ask about her–he’s turning four years of age this month. He and his father have just moved into an apartment of their own–moving out of Grandmommie and Grandpoppie’s house. I wish the best for that sweet boy and his sweet sister.
Posted by Bodhirose on July 7, 2011
The tree of life
Has roots so sturdy
A steady base
A trunk is needed
To sustain each branch
Of myriad sizes
Each one a must
A limb becomes
Taken by all
Freedom to grow
Brings strength to the whole
Though some may falter
And break away
The remaining bough
Makes up the altar
Each one relying
Through years of strife
Bearing what comes
Though winds may blow
And trials lay waste
The tree stands firm
With yielding grace
It reaches high
Fearless, bold, self-assured
Honorable, dignified and blessed
Posted by Bodhirose on May 26, 2011
Lila Grace is here
She came a whole month early
A perfect petite, darling baby
The new parents have it easy
She sleeps the whole night through
She’s adorable, a dear
My entry for Sunday’s 160: http://petzoldspracticalprose.blogspot.com/
Posted by Bodhirose on May 15, 2011
She was a sweet and tender child and wise beyond her years, already knowing the importance of connection to others. Her delicate features, with excitement-blushed cheeks and bright, curious blue eyes made her sensitivity even more apparent. Innocent, rosebud lips finished off the charm. Long, honey-colored hair, worn parted in the middle, fell past her shoulders and hung straight and loose, complementing her slight frame. She was prone to brushing straggles of hair out of her eyes when it was worn down this way. Along with her favorite pink suede cowboy boots, her mother had allowed her to pick out the multi-tiered, purple, gray and white skirt that she loved. Her brown corduroy jacket topped it off because of the chill in the air. A tiny dab of her mother’s Shalimar perfume behind her ears made her feel extra special. The mild amber fragrance created a subtle aura around her. They were off to visit Pa-pa today.
She was only six but loved her Pa-pa devotedly. They had come for a visit today to the nursing home where he now resided.
His head hung slightly down as he sat in his motorized wheelchair, impeccably dressed in his black pin-stripe suit with pristine and starched, long sleeved white shirt and boldly striped tie. Still after all of these years, his black leather shoes were polished to a high gleam–important when callers came. His tall stature was evident even though he was sitting. His snow white hair and beard intrigued her and his wild, wooly eyebrows made her giggle. His aged face was speckled with numerous sunspots and the lines of years of hard work raising a family, ill health and losing his wife two years prior. A silver band still worn on his finger signified their long union. She loved to examine his elderly face and look into his wise eyes that still cheered up when he caught sight of her.
He offered her a peppermint from his pocket–he always smelled of peppermint and Old Spice aftershave. She ate the candy immediately–feeling the sensation of the cooling mint in her mouth–savoring it slowly.
She made sure his hearing aids were still lodged gently in his ears and brought him a pair of scissors he had requested that he used to cut the tags off the gift he had ready for her. It was a stuffed black and white striped zebra. She clutched the toy, her small hand encircling its body, feeling quietly delighted at the surprise.
She thanked him, speaking up as she knew to do, so he could hear her clearly. He hugged her gently and smiled, his voice a gravelly rasp, responded to her; “I love you.”
Monday Morning Writing Prompt: Description; http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/monday-morning-writing-prompt-description/#respond
Posted by Bodhirose on May 2, 2011
It began with a phone call between 12:30 and 1PM Sunday afternoon. It was my mother. Her voice had that familiar tension in it when she’s feeling anxious. “Gayle, something’s happening to me. When I woke up this morning, I felt very groggy, like I was drugged and I lost my balance when standing up and I fell onto my bed. Now my left arm feels “floppy” like I have no control over it.” She said she had been this way since waking up at around 9AM!
Immediately alarmed, with adrenalin pumping, I thought to myself, she’s having a stroke or heart attack! I told her to call 911 and then take some aspirin. She argued with me about taking the aspirin because she thought it had contributed to recent nosebleeds that she had been having. She said, “I’ll think about it.” “Fine”, I said, “but call for an ambulance immediately!” Why I didn’t think to call for her, I don’t know. She always called me first, almost as if to get permission to call for help.
Several minutes passed and I thought I’d better call and check on her. After several rings of the phone, she answered and I asked if she had called for the ambulance yet, “no”, she answered, “they always come so quickly and I wanted to fix my hair and makeup before they get here.” What?! I didn’t argue. I told her if she was having a stroke or heart attack that time was of the essence and the sooner she was treated the better the likelihood of a full recovery. She promised she would call right away.
I then called one of my sisters. I had to talk to someone to help release this all too familiar panic that was rising up in me.
It had been almost exactly one year ago that she had had major abdominal surgery, having to spend over a month away from home while recuperating, first in the hospital, then a rehab center and then back to the hospital again to treat complications. One of my brothers and my youngest sister came to stay with her for several weeks as she recuperated and slowly gained back her strength. And prior to this, she had had numerous trips to the ER and subsequent admissions to the hospital over the past year, while they tried to figure out what was causing her severe intestinal pain. With each phone call I received, panic would arise and the distressing matter of sitting with her in the ER, while the hospital doctors would order test after test trying to decipher what was wrong with her.
My father had passed away several years previous. He had suffered from congestive heart failure with multiple heart attacks and had had a bypass surgery. I had gone through this same routine with him for years. Although, he never called 911, he always had my mother drive him to the emergency room. One time when she had gone to church, he realized he was having a “problem”. Instead of calling for immediate help, he took a shower, got himself all fresh and dressed and then when Mom came through the door he announced that he needed to go to the hospital. So Mom always took him but I would subsequently receive a phone call saying that Wade was in the hospital again with another heart “issue”.
I was always expected to go to the hospital and sit with Mom for the endless tests and waiting that ensues when you are the loved one of a patient in the hospital.
For years I was able to go into the emergency room and hospital–although it did stress me out–and be the dutiful daughter and sit vigil with my mother during Dad’s numerous stays and then with Mom when she started having her health problems. But the last couple of times that my mother had to go into the hospital and the ER in particular, I would start to have severe panic attacks. I could not go. The panic became overwhelming and I needed to take medication to help control it. But I could no longer bring myself to go into the emergency room. Something had snapped in me. I was in overload mode.
The guilt was awful, but I candidly explained to my mother about my debilitating fear and that I simply couldn’t come. She always said not to worry and that she was fine. My sister who lives nearby would go instead if she was available. But once Mom was in a room of her own, I could more easily manage being there. Apparently, the emergency room energy became a trigger of extreme stress for me.
So when this most recent call came, I started feeling the same familiar feeling of fear sweep over me. So I gave a call to that sister and told her what was happening with Mom and spent a few minutes on the phone discussing my feelings of panic. I made up my mind, after speaking with her, that I was going to go (our other local sister was out of town) and try my best. So I started getting myself ready.
In the meantime, sister number one had called sister number two (there are four of us girls and two older brothers) and told her what was happening with our mother and that I was again struggling with my panic. Sister number two calls me up and starts berating me to “get over it” and “to hell with your panic attacks”; you’d better get to the hospital right now! Mom could die. How will you feel if Mom dies alone in there? Well, this did not sit very well with my already escalating feelings of dread. I yelled back at her and told her I had said those very same things to myself that she was now saying to me, and wouldn’t it be great if I could just snap my fingers and “get over it”! I also told her I had made up my mind to go anyway and see what happened. “Good”, she barked, before hanging up, “get over there”!
I was able to go and sit with Mom in the emergency room (with some help of my trusty medication). Doctors discovered that she was having a bad reaction to a new medication that she had recently been put on for her back pain. Also, quite upon accident, they had found that she was suffering from a virulent staph infection in her urinary tract of which she had no knowledge. They said if she had not come in when she did, that it could have had deadly results! She spent several days there being treated with a heavy-duty antibiotic for that infection. Interesting how that played out.
My “barking” sister called me several times over the next few days to say how sorry she was for judging me so harshly. She realized that I have been there for Mom and Dad both through all the years of their declining health and that I deserved everyone’s support. I told her that I knew it was her own fear of losing our mother and feelings of helplessness that had gotten the best of her. I told her those were her feelings to contend with and they don’t have anything to do with what I do or don’t do with our mother.
I have my own thoughts and feelings to deal with.
THIS HAPPENED A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. SO FAR SO GOOD.
Posted by Bodhirose on January 5, 2011
My Dad died about five years ago. Four out of my five siblings and I were in attendance as well as our mother and a few other family members.
He wanted to come home from the hospital more than anything to spend his last moments there but he was feeling some apprehension. Finally, after my mother very bluntly told him, “Wade, you’re dying”, (yep, she actually said that to him!) he agreed to be unhooked from life support and come home one last time. Even still, his controlling personality was in fine form as he ordered us to make sure there was some Campbell’s tomato soup for him when he got there and to go get some puzzle books at the neighborhood Walgreens drugstore.
Hospice was there for support if we needed them.
He never ate that soup or did those puzzles. He lasted about a day, and as one of my sisters and I happened to notice a change in his breathing, we quickly called everyone to his bedside as he drew his last breath. We then held hands, said a prayer and chanted for his soul to be free of any earthly attachments. It was something I’ll never forget. It felt peaceful and natural. I am proud of the “sendoff” we had for him.
However, I think he still may be hanging around. Shortly after he died, I started having an interesting experience. As I am laying down getting ready to go to sleep at night, I have the sensation that my cat has jumped on the bed and is walking across it; however, when I put the light on to remove her, (I don’t let her sleep in the bedroom at night) she is not there. I have even spoken out loud to her in the darkness, knowing that she has hidden under the bed waiting for the light to go out before she leaps out, –“Sita, how did you get in here?” It absolutely feels like there is something “pouncing” on the bed and then “stepping” across it. This has happened repeatedly to me, only and just as I am snuggling in to sleep at night. I had a strong feeling that it is “Dad” when it started happening and I feel no fear during these episodes.
Now, having shared this with my Mom and brothers and sisters, I have found that two others are having the same experience…
Posted by Bodhirose on August 27, 2010