Saturday, February 23, 2013
Word of the day: change
We recently added another family member to our household. Before anyone jumps to conclusions the way some of my friends did on Facebook, let me emphasize that I am NOT, in any way, shape, form or fashion, expecting another baby. This addition is 91 years old and is the maternal grandmother of my husband and unfortunately she has reached the stage in her life where she just isn't able to live independently anymore. Because my husband and I have kept our kids out of daycare their whole lives by working opposite shifts, it made sense for Granny to come stay with us since one of us is always home. We figured what the heck, we've already got six people and two dogs in a 1450 square foot, 3 bedroom home...why not add one more person?
Only one day after we realized she needed to come live with us, two of my husband's wonderful friends whooshed right up in our house with all of their construction whosits and whatsits and built two walls to close off our dining room and in the span of one very grueling week, we added a freshly painted, fully functional fourth bedroom (minus a closet) to our house. We transfered the two oldest boys to that room, moved the two youngest kids to the boys' old room, and hauled Granny's furniture out from Nashville to set it up in her new room that came with complimentary Disney Princess decals on the walls for her viewing pleasure. Ok, ok...I'll be honest here. The decals aren't there anymore. However, the outline of their shape remains because apparently all my children ever did while in their room was touch the walls with grimy hands, leaving a perfect outline of those princesses surrounded by disgustingly dirty walls. Those walls are being repainted ASAP.
It's been five days since Granny arrived. Without blathering on anymore than I already do, I will just tell you that I love Granny with all of my heart, just like she was my own instead of merely an in-law relative. She is the epitome of an Alabama southern belle and she has been a predominate fixture in my life since the day I met my husband. My children adore her almost as much as she adores them, and she seems to want nothing more than to spend her days in our company.
Now, if I'm being honest, this has been a lot of work, which I fully expected. More so on my husband than me, since he is a giant and has an easier time than I do lifting Granny out of her chair or out of her bed or steadying her in the bathroom or on her walker. But we both spend our days worrying about whether or not she will fall, or if the cough that has persisted this week will turn into pneumonia, or if she will actually eat more than three or four bites, and mainly just if she's happy. We desperately want her to feel comfortable here and not feel as though she is a burden to us. We've spent almost fourteen years raising children so we are no stranger to worry, but these subjects are incredibly foreign to what we have felt over the years as parents.
What I didn't expect were the blessings that have flowed in abundance from this situation. I truly have come to cherish the nighttime routine we have, when I finally get to put warm fuzzy socks on Granny's feets and tuck her into the bed, covering her just so with not one, not two, but three blankets and one sheet because she hates to be cold when she sleeps. When she kisses me on the cheek and pats my hand and tells me how sweet I am and how much she loves and appreciates us. When I get her one more sip of water and tuck a Kleenex into her hand because apparently she can't sleep without that Kleenex. I guess I really didn't expect those events to be anything more than just one more thing I had to do before I could relax at the end of the day, but they aren't. Not at all. I think, maybe, that I feel privileged to do these things for her.
Also, I was going to write a big mushy paragraph about the awesomeness that is my husband and the way he interacts with his grandmother, but if I do I'm going to start crying and get way more lovey-dovey on you than you probably want. Suffice it to say, my husband is amazing. Simply amazing. The patience, tenderness, strength, willingness and love with which he deals with Granny really hasn't surprised me, since that's just the kind of man he is, but wow. Just wow. He is my rock.
To wrap things up, just know that when you bring a wheelchair and a bed that moves with a remote control into a house with kids who think like mine do, it's go time. I am almost run over many times a day by my six-year-old who has shockingly accurate (and fast!) wheelchair driving skills. His little tiny arms propel that thing forwards, backwards, in circles, and through doorways, often times much faster than I can move my toes. My daughter is in charge of adjusting the bed, which can have pretty comical results on occasion. The older boys dote on Granny, making sure she has ice water and cleaning up her dishes or bringing her things she needs, often with no prompting and totally of their own accord. The kids don't care that Granny is old. They don't care that we have to take some time and effort away from them to help her. They don't care that they have a few extra responsibilities now that she's here. They just go on like it's no big deal and have embraced her living here like freakin' champs.
I love the shit out of my family.
Posted by Carri at 10:08 PM