Day 7 (Tues 9/16):
Today was Henry’s day to spend with Mom, and it was less than the ideal day I had hoped for them.
Today was a day of “almosts.”
- I almost got all my work completed before I went on leave, but not quite, so I have to work some today.
- We almost closed on our mortgage today, but because someone forgot to check a stinking box on the stinking final appraisal form, we are delayed. Again.
- The fast food restaurant Henry chose for lunch takeout almost got his order right, but they forgot the mac ‘n cheese — which is his favorite thing and is also the only thing my mom said she might be willing to eat a bite of for lunch.
- Mom was almost feeling well enough to get out of bed for a while, but not quite.
We had a good day with her anyway. We ate and talked and rested. After hearing about the adventures of Anne from Lillian, Henry also chose to watch Anne of Green Gables. He fell out of his chair laughing when Anne calls Rachel Lynde “fat and devoid of imagination.” Mom’s eyes were closed, but she heard him laughing and smiled.
But I’m almost ready to cry. Almost.
I don’t get this way often, but I did today. I’m discouraged with work. I’m discouraged with the mortgage. I’m discouraged with Mom’s health. I know it’s me. My theory is that if everything around you is crumbling, making you mad, driving you crazy, etc…you gotta look for the common denominator. We call it the “Liz Taylor effect” at our house. If you get divorced once, it very well might have been the other person’s fault. But when you get divorced eight times, you gotta start thinking it might be you.
I took a moment to adjust my attitude before heading back inside and went for a quick walk down the street where I grew up. I thought about the times I’d spent the night, eaten a meal, babysat, fed a pet, watered plants, and gotten mail in those houses. I thought about block parties, fireworks, trick or treating, bike races, talent shows, spotlight tag at dusk, lemonade stands, and backyard camp outs on my street.
What an awesome neighborhood to grow up in.
The next morning driving to school, I was still thinking about that great street. Curious, I asked the twins what their memories were of Papa and Di’s house.
Their answers came flying rapid-fire: Mickey Mouse pancakes. Spend the nights. Cooking with Papa. The time Henry barfed in bed. Gardening with Papa. Laughing at the dinner table. The time Papa taught them to gamble. The fishing tournaments. Papa’s division lessons. How Papa used to hide their shoes in the freezer. The ice-down-the-pants game. Getting tickled and laughing so hard you pee in your pants.
“How would you describe Papa?” I asked.
Henry’s answer was instantaneous. “Hysterically mischievous without a derringer.”
“Do you have a vocab test today?”
He looked surprised at my powers of deduction. “As a matter of fact, I do!”
Throughout their list, I had had trouble understanding them because they were laughing so hard they couldn’t catch their breath.
But they hadn’t mentioned Mom. Not once. I wasn’t sure what to think about that.
“So how would you describe Di?” I asked.
Their laughter faded to smiles, and in unison, they said, “Calm.”
In my Mothers of Multiples group, I’ve heard countless stories of “twin speak” — of moments where twins finish each other’s sentences, feel each other’s emotions, sense each other’s needs even when they are apart.
My twins do not do that.
My twins are as different as night and day. One is a green-eyed brunette girl who worries and plans and feels she has to be perfect. The other is a blond-headed, blue-eyed boy who personifies “go with the flow.” They are each other’s biggest fans, but they have different talents, different personalities, different preferences.
But in this, there is unison.
For them, Di is calm and restful. In the midst of family functions, Di has always been a peaceful respite.
I remember my niece Ellie at the age of four finishing her Thanksgiving dinner, getting up from her chair, and pulling Di’s wheelchair away from the table (while Di was mid-bite) saying, “Eating time is over! Now Di and I will play.” For my nephew Henley who was fairly non-verbal when he was young, Di would play puzzles and trains for hours. For my three kids, it was the same. As long as her arms had strength, she would hold them, rock them, talk and read to them. Her hospital bed was a place of refuge. My mom was born to be a grandmother. And while there is so much she couldn’t do, this she could.
Maybe this is why when Mom got a new hospital bed from hospice last month, Henry decided he wants the old one as his permanent bed at the new house.
Well, that and the fact that the remotes and rails on the bed remind him of a MarioKart racer.
I’m glad to know their memories are happy ones. It almost makes everything OK.
You call me out upon the waters,
The great unknown, where feet may fail.
And there I find You in the mystery;
In oceans deep,
My faith will stand.
Your grace abounds in deepest waters.
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide.
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me,
You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now.
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves.
When oceans rise,
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander,
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.
I will call upon Your name.
Keep my eyes above the waves.
My soul will rest in Your embrace.
I am Yours, and You are mine.