Saturday, May 30, 2009

Dam Embarrassing

Des Moines has a 20K race every year called the Dam to Dam. It runs from the dam at Saylorville Lake north of Des Moines to the downtown bridge/dam over the river. It's a pretty big deal, gets lots of press attention. For the last two years, I've ran the 5K that they hold for those of us who aren't as ambitious as the 20K'ers. But that's not the point here, so I'll move on... Thursday night I was at Hollywood's softball game and overheard a woman talking about the race. She called it the 'water to water race' because she doesn't like to say that word.

The man she was talking to explained to her that it's not the bad word, it's the kind of dam with no 'n', but she said she just wouldn't say the word - no matter what. Guess she doesn't ever call a donkey by it's other name either. Later on in the evening, I heard her grumbling to herself about someone else's language. Man, she would not like to be in my house, our obscenities would embarrass a pirate!

And speaking of embarrassing... (schwing! how was that for a segue?)

I took the kids to mass tonight so that I can be completely lazy tomorrow.

While we were sitting there, listening to the Good Word, Bumblebee asked me if she could write on something in my purse. I usually let her practice her writing during church. She found a piece of folded notebook paper that looked perfect for the job and started writing on the back of it.

Bad idea.

It was my shopping list from the other day. It was a short list with only a few items on it and she left it list side up during the gospel reading, which is when we Catholics stand up for a while. And while we are standing, if there's something on the pew in front of us, we might, you know, read what's on it just because it was there...

So... the nice Catholic gentleman standing behind us, probably read that I needed to purchase the following at the store:

artificial tears
band aids
laundry soap
clothespins
condoms & lubricant

Yes, they were the last items on the list, and they were fully written out like that.

I'm a model Catholic, I know.

I clearly need code words for those items from now on. Something that only I will know what they mean. Like wraps and gels or something like that. I have decent handwriting, so my only hope is that this man was severely nearsighted. Or illiterate - that would work too.

As soon as I noticed what was on that list, I about died. My face and ears turned bright red as I shoved the list into my purse and tried to find something less personal for Bumblebee to write on.

I was mortified when it was time to turn around and shake the man's hand at "peace be with you time" during mass.

It's such a lovely life I lead.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Memorials, Milestones, and Memories

I went to a memorial service today. I watched my coworker and his wife say goodbye to their 18 year old son who died suddenly and tragically, leaving them with questions that might never be answered.

As I sat there in the church, I did what I always do when among a large crowd: I people watched. This young man was going to graduate this week, so you can imagine that there were many teenagers there. The boys stared dully ahead with their fringed hair-dos obscuring their faces while the girls cried and hugged each other, wearing outfits of varying degrees of appropriateness.

My heart went out to these kids who were already dealing with the emotional upheaval of graduation. How sad for them to have the loss of a friend thrown into that mix. My friends' son was very well loved by his friends, family, and community. That much was clear.

I also watched the family members who sat with dazed looks on their faces. Maybe they just wanted the service to be over so they could have some time in peace. For the past week, they have had to deal not only with normal funeral preparations, but because this story has had a considerable amount of press coverage, they've had that dynamic to deal with too.

My eyes naturally zeroed in on the grieving parents. I watched my co-worker, his wife and their 10 year old daughter as they sat with their arms draped around each other, providing silent support. At one time the minister described the deceased as a 'good hugger and a good listener' and I thought that sounded just like his dad. It made me smile just a bit.

As I drove home, I kept thinking how unspeakably awful it would be to have to bury a child who you have spent 18 years raising, teaching, learning from, and loving. The boy's mom was quoted in a recent news article saying, "Parents, give your kids a hug - you never know when it'll be the last time you can."

That's what I have done since I heard about this tragedy. I don't want to take for granted anything that happens with my children. Tonight as I got home, Bumblebee showed me that she'd lost her first tooth. She is so excited about it - wondered if the tooth fairy might give her ten dollars! (I think not!) I had to smile at her exuberance, this is a big milestone for her!

At the same time, it made me sad to think that my coworker and his wife are hurting as much as they are. I hope that their own memories of things like the first tooth lost are comforting to them today, as they say goodbye to their son, and in the many hard times ahead.

Now That's a LONG Time!

Take a look at this picture. My grandma and grandpa celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Saturday. Sixty-five years is a looooong time.

We celebrated with a family reunion of sorts. There were cousins there who I hadn't seen in fifteen years. It was nice to get together to share the event. There was a slide show that took us on a journey from the time they were first married, through the births of all six of their children. At the cake reception, my cousin put on a wonderful music program. It was a sing-a-long of sorts, singing songs that my Dad's family used to sing during long car trips. Hollywood helped out by playing on the guitar.

My grandpa has Alzheimer's. He handled the day very well, but he was confused and I think exhausted by the end of the night. I know a few of my cousins had a hard time seeing him like that - they were sad when he didn't remember them. I've seen him since he's been sick, so it wasn't a surprise to me, but I remember that first realization that his memory was going...

Grandma has made the decision to move him into the assisted living section of the retirement home that they live in. This week he will make the transition. I know it must have been a very hard decision for her, but it's the right one. Grandma needs to keep her strength up, and taking care of Grandpa full time like she's been doing has been very hard.


I know the day is coming when I will lose a grandparent. I'm aware that I'm very fortunate to still have all four of my grandparents alive at my age. I don't like thinking about losing any of them. What comforts me when I start to think of this, is the amazing legacy that they've created.

I'll close with this picture of Bumblebee giving Grandma a huge hug. This picture squishes my heart, I just love it so much. My daughter and my grandma embracing. How lovely.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Mom Song

I'm such a horrible blogger these days. But someone sent me this in an email and I just had to share it. It's such a cute song and totally sums up the life of moms.



I'm hoping to post again before Mother's Day, but if it doesn't happen, Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there!