"Kinsey? She's gone." My mother says calmly over the phone.
"Okay. I'm coming over." That's it.
I remember walking in to my grandmother's house, MY house, and floating by familiar faces and some faces I hadn't seen for ages. My mom comes to hug away my stoicism, but I stand firm.
"Can I see her?" I ask.
"Yes. She's in her bed, peaceful." She starts to walk me back to her room, the room I spent much of my recent days, and nearly all of my nights.
"Can I spend some time alone with her?" She nods and lets my hand slip out of hers.
I go into my grandmother's room and close the door. I turn to look at her, my sleeping baby grandmother. I walk around and crouch down between the two twin beds that we used to share. I touch her hair and start to cry. "Thank you" is all I can say. Over the past two years, I had accepted gratitude and respect for the care and time I gave to my ailing grandmother. I had often stood on my own little pedestal for this "sacrifice". But now, all I can do is say "Thank you. Thank you so much Mimi. Thank you. Thank you."
This woman completely changed the course of my life, my career, my marriage, and my family. The two years I spent caring for her were equally the best and worst years of my life so far. Of course I was thanking her for all of these things and for all the ways she blessed us growing up, but it was more than that. It was simpler than that. I was thanking Someone for giving me her. I was thanking her for being so wonderful, so easy to laugh, so generous.
I don't know how long I'm there. I can't stop playing with her hair and putting my cheek against her petal soft cheek that is growing ever cooler. At some point, my sister peeks into the room. I move aside to make room for her near Mimi. She sidles in and kneels down beside her. I sit on the bed and bow in silent reverence. After some time, I hear her whisper my thanks to Mimi. I suppose verbatim isn't such a coincidence when you are just saying "thank you" repeatedly. It's simple really, but it says something about this woman when the last words people leave her with is "thank you".
"Do you still believe in Heaven?" My sister asks me.
I answer without hesitation, "I do right now." My sister smiles and starts to tear up.
"I don't know about the place we learned of at church camp, but I know that Mimi IS. I know that she just still IS. That's all I need to know." Kristen is just nodding and nodding and nodding. We hold each other for awhile.
"I need to call and let my professors know I'm not going to clinicals tomorrow. I had to call last week because of our other family issue. They are going to think I make this stuff up."
Kristen smiles and adds in her best uppity voice, "Oh yeah, your grandma died this time. Didn't someone different ALMOST die last week? Is your dog gonna get sick next week?" We are both laughing.
"I could take a picture beside my dead grandmother holding up today's paper like the terrorists do. That would show 'em. But then I'd probably get kicked out for a whole other range of issues." We can't stop laughing and adding in other possibilities, becoming more and more inappropriate.
Kristen says, "Are we okay with this morbid humor because we are nurses?"
"I think we're okay with it because it's healthy for us. Mimi would be cracking up laughing at us right now too."
"She would. She so would. You're right."
"God I loved that woman." A pause. "I guess we should go mingle or whatever."
I ootch Kristen out the door first, and turned to Mimi and said, "You jipped me. I wanted to be here, sleeping beside you. You jipped me."
Thursday, October 13, 2011
This morning I buckled Davie in to her little bus seat for her first field trip to the zoo. Leading up to this event, I wondered if I should rearrange my schedule and go with her. I like to experience her experiencing things. I told myself I was worried about her getting lost or lonely or something . . . but chances of that happening are very small.
Davie loves a loner. She will hug the shy girl. She will talk to the new kid. But in groups, she IS the loner. I don't think she gets many opportunities at school to be with one other child, to make one friend at a time. I get the feeling that she is very quiet at school. So I think this will be great for her to go in small groups to a place that she loves and chat excitedly.
I think that kid is going to be A-OK. Not just today, but in general. She is self-sufficient, kind, and imaginative. What more could one ask for!
Friday, August 19, 2011
I'm going to ask you some questions. Okay?
What is your name?
How old are you?
This many. (holds up 5 fingers)
No, you're not.
I'm three. (holds up 3 fingers) What's your name?
My name is Kinsey.
and you're three days old. Can I give you a kiss?
I'm sorry (strokes my arm)
Why are you sorry?
Cause I'm being really really ugly.
I don't think you were being ugly at all.
I was. And I will. And I'm really really sorry. (another kiss)
Okay. What is your favorite color?
What green things do you like?
Ummmm. I like . . . pink.
Okay. What do you like that's pink?
What is your favorite food?
STRAWBERRIES! (I actually think she thought about this for the pink answer, because strawberries aren't her favorite food.)
Who is your best friend?
Ummmm. Harper and Max! Harper is my favorite friend and Max is my favorite friend too. Harper is my favorite best friend at my school. It will be so nice if I give her a hug.
I love you. I love you.
I love you too. You're very sweet.
(as I am trying to ask another question she says...) Look at my eye. Look at my eye.
They are very pretty. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A chicken! (laughter) or a cow! (more laughter)
Mommy, I want to be an animal? or a ghost.
What is your favorite thing to play?
What is your favorite animal?
Um. A little giraffe.
I like giraffes too!
But you like a big giraffe and I like a little giraffe.
What is your favorite word?
Um, I don't know.
What is something that mommy says a lot?
Um, GIRAFFE! (laughter)
What do you dream about at night?
Ladybugs (she has said this every single morning since we started asking her about a year or more ago). They will hurt me.
No they won't. They're friendly.
But they tickle my hand.
Yeah, but that doesn't hurt.
It just tickles.
What does mommy dream about?
Cows. (she has also given this as my answer for the same amount of time)
What does daddy dream about? (I already knew what was coming)
A clock! . . . but he should dream about animals.
What kind of animals?
We're on a giraffe kick.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
1. We officially moved out of our house in OKC. We are renting it to some friends for awhile. After all, we have been living here at Mimi's in Norman for months now. But we went from nothing moved out (not even in boxes) to everything moved out in 24 hours . . . or I should say, Steven did. I couldn't break away from Mimi's to help, so he basically did it all by himself!
2. Davie and I both start school next week. I'm starting the nursing program at OCCC. It will be 10 months of intense learning. I'm a little nervous about the schedule since I seem to have lots of responsibilities these days outside of school. I'm excited for Davie to start school because we enrolled her in the sweetest little hippy nursery school I've ever seen. She will get to go with her cousin Harper this summer before Harper starts Kindergarten at public school. Davie is going to love it.
3. Our 6th anniversary is coming up on the 11th. I gave Steven an early present because he was having a terrible week. I'm a sucker that way. I gave him an iPad . . . he thinks they are the coolest things ever. And they are, but I'm among the camp that they are kind of impractical. I mean it's just a giant iPhone. We'll see what he thinks after a few weeks.
4. Father's Day is this month. I got my dad a puppy. I got Steven (well, I can't say yet, because I haven't given it yet).
5. My appointment with the Rheumatologist is this month. Eh. I don't feel anything in particular about this, so we'll just see what happens.
6. I feel like everything is hanging in the air. I'm looking into the future and trying to see when things will settle down, but I think this is just life. Although mine is considerably more complicated than the average Joe America right now. Our living situation is . . . how you say . . . interesting.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
About a week ago, a nurse called and told me that my bloodwork came back and my ANA was positive.
I had no idea what she was talking about. I went in to the doctor because I was having frequent joint pain. He ordered some bloodwork but said it was mainly to rule out Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I guess the ANA is one of the first diagnostic tests for Lupus and other autoimmune disorders. I know a handful of people that have Lupus and they say that the symptoms are really, really annoying . . . but not debilitating. So that is good.
Anyways, I meet with a rheumatologist in June for more tests. For now, it's kind of nice to know that it is actually something and not just in my head. On the other hand, it's also not nice. It seems like I've had some amount of joint pain every day since they called. But the good news is it doesn't really get worse with activity or rest, it just stays the same . . . so that is no reason to lay around in bed all day. Although, it is a reason to lay in bed all day if you are really really tired . . . which I am right now. Good night.
Friday, April 29, 2011
I found a bunch of old songs I had written in college and a little after. Wow. I was a mess. It's like reading through my diary. Anyway, I found this specific song that I had written in the first year that Steven and I were married. I remember playing it for Steven in our living room and really thinking this was the beginning of the end for us. We were realizing how different we were from each other, and from what we thought the other one would be. It seemed like we wanted so very different things. I'm not sure specifically what we did to stay together. But we did. And I am glad. So glad. Today there are still echoes of that first year. Steven wants to go go go, I want to stay stay stay. Steven has expectations A, B, and C . . . and I have expectations X, Y, and Z. But ultimately we are at least on one page that is the same . . . we want to be together, and that makes all the difference.
I have some distant friends that have gotten a divorce. It seemed to be a mutual and calm decision. They wanted different things. They didn't want to hold each other back from achieving those things, so they let each other go. On one hand, I understand that feeling. On the other hand, I wonder what they cheated each other out of by separating themselves. Anyways, it reminded me of this song I wrote.
til death do us part
but how long, how far?
guess you don't think about those things
when you are sampling the cake, and ya got a diamond ring
here we are just a few months later
and you feel like we are just falling apart
well you got dreams, and i got things that i could be doing now
young love is so short-lived
if you do not make it grow
we cannot be one if
we can't let each other go
the bitter taste of second and third loves
like day old coffee in a new white mug
the dull ache of being resented
these are the sights and sounds of an everlasting love?
here we are, how did we get here
we followed all the plans and the wisdom of the age
discontent with others dreams
my desires can't be heard and can't be seen
so spread your wings and go where you want to
i'll let you know what i need
we gotta go, we gotta try it
these are hungers we can't refuse to feed
cause i refuse to realize later
when i'm 75 laying in my bed
that i did not do all that i could and all that i wanted
with my life, and i can't blame you
See? A mess. Wow.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
I'm going to admit something to you (whoever that is).
I feel like a failure for one main reason - because I am pursuing something other than teaching. It doesn't matter than I am now pursuing another very important career path. I wanted to teach for as long as I can remember, went to 4 years of very expensive school to teach, and then taught for 3.5 years.
But the truth is there were so many really really hard days. Then there were days when I just didn't like it (not because it was hard, just because). Then there were these shining days of glory that made it all worth it. Then there were just happy, normal days. I guess this can be expected from any career.
I try to justify my career move, by saying that taking care of my grandmother has revealed this inner-nurse in me. That is true, but it is also true that I've been looking for an escape from teaching almost as soon as I started teaching. I feel guilty because I was a good teacher. I'm not bragging, I just was. Not every teacher is a good teacher. Not every teacher is a thoughtful teacher. So I feel like I took a thoughtful teacher out of the mix for none other reason than I wanted to find something new.
There are not a lot of careers I can think of that would cause such guilt. Maybe because it is working with children. Maybe because education is important to me. I think it's because, in my mind, I don't think just anyone can replace an individual teacher. It's such a personal job. I don't know.
As I've been pursuing this nursing career, I've yearned for teaching again. That's just me, and may not need to be taken seriously. I want what I don't have. Humans generally do. But anyways, I know that I would really genuinely enjoy nursing. I know that it would be a really great investment in my family's life. But I will always have a passion for teaching children. At the same time, I know if I don't follow this pursuit to finish, I will always wonder "what if". I will continuously be looking for that escape from my first complicated love.
I think in a sense I get this way around April every year (teacher job hunting time). I scan the school websites and imagine myself teaching in the capacity of the job openings.
No matter what, I am endlessly thankful for the time away from the careers that have taken time from my family. I am excited about nursing school. But there will always be a part of me that will feel like a failure as long as I am not teaching in some capacity.