Water Fights & Breezy Days

My grandpa’s dementia is progressing.  When we go to see him, and we are still trying to weekly, I never feel like it is enough.  A couple of hours pass by too fast, whether it’s reading to him, talking to him about things, or singing to him, it just all goes by too fast, and it sucks that I only see him once a week.  I’ve thought of making it twice a week, and for the second visit just to drop by to see how he is and say hi.  At least keeping him apart of our life is somewhat doable, but he also misses so much of it.

He was such an incredible man.  He and my grandma took care of me when my mom went back to work when I was 6 weeks old.  I still have the strongest affections for scrambled eggs and sausage, the way he would make it, and my grandma’s particular toast with butter & strawberry jam.  The tastes of those foods immediately remind me of the joy I spent being raised by them.  My grandpa was crazy!  So fun and unpredictable – wild for a grandpa, honestly.  This last Friday when I took my sons to see him we teased him about all his tattoos… he’s still proud of them.  He was a sailor in the Navy after the time of WWII, and his tattoos are an ever present reminder of a past we can only imagine from his animate stories and pictures from when he was younger.  He was so handsome – so uninhibited and funny.  The tattoos still visible on his forearms and upper arm, go so well with his personality and masculinity, even as an 87 year old.  He was one of my favorite people growing up.  It’s hard to see him deteriorate in front of me, like watching a beautiful disaster that one can’t prevent, and yet, he tells me he looks forward to Heaven and gets this excited, boyish gleam in his eyes talking about it.  Sometimes he forgets who I am, but I love how he smiles so satisfied when he finds out I’m his grand-daugher, and that these kids are his great-grandkids.  He smiles, tears up sometimes holding the baby, or laughs his sweet laugh that I miss so much when my son does something comedic.

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This weekend has been full of love and family, spending time together, playing outside together – going on adventures.  Water guns, water fights, baseball and soccer, deep conversations with my dad, seeing my mom cuddle the baby, my dad playing catch with my older son in our backyard.  The beautiful weather we’re having.  It’s just a time of a lot of fullness.  There’s always something to do, always another thing to attend, always a party, always something to clean, or cook, but I love it!  I love embracing the fullness of our life right now.  We are so busy, and yet so happy.  It makes me incredibly grateful for the quiet moments.  My oldest out playing in the sunshine, wearing a king’s crown and wielding a super-soaker, the baby swaddled and sleeping peacefully on his play-mat in the living room.  And me at the kitchen table, drinking an afternoon cup of coffee surrounded by an ambiance of peace.  Such a beautiful place to be in.  Such a beautiful, wonderful life.

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My brother with my son

My brother with my son

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He has my eyes!!!

He has my eyes!!!

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7 thoughts on “Water Fights & Breezy Days

  1. You’re very blessed, Dragonfly girl.
    A happy life is a collection of happy moments. 🙂

    I experienced the same thing with my Dad, watching his deterioration was difficult. He had a stroke six years before he passed. We’ve always lived pretty far away, but were able to get an assignment four hours away for about the last year of his life…that was closer than we’d ever been, proximity-wise, so our children got to see more of their grandpa than they would have, normally. It was very heartbreaking though, since he had dementia (and undiagnosed emphasema, I think…his oxygen level was always low, I carry a pulse oximeter in my purse). I wish they could have known him and spent more time with him earlier on.

    Anyway…make sure you write down all the cute things your little ones say, Dragonfly girl. 🙂 You think you’ll never forget, but you will. You’ll enjoy looking back at the stuff you wrote down some day. I kept a little handwritten journal. I’d recommend that, it’s better than the computer screen (more personal, I think…but I’m kind of a dinosaur).

  2. BTW, Dragonflygirl, I’m pretty sure one of your participants is a well-known sphere troll. The counseling background, the underlying contempt for military men, refers to him (though really her)-self as a “traveler” and seems very knowledgeable about India in particular. It all fits.

  3. Thank you, I do write down a lot of the things my oldest says in a journal!! I think you’re right that it’s more personal than recording it on the computer. Just the other day he said (we think) a line from a movie but he said it with such conviction it was hilarious…. “Daddy… did you know (pauses) that we drive cars because we are slowly losing the ability to walk!!!????!!!” (said while Daddy was driving) LOL

  4. Dragonfly, I am so sorry that your grandfather has dementia, but I am glad that you live close enough to see him regularly and for him to see his great-grandchildren. It is a testament to your love that you make your family such a priority in your life. I understand, somewhat differently since my extended family has always been so far away, the emotional stuggle of seeing your loved one go through such a challenging disease. I wish I had grown up closer, in location, to my grandparents and lived closer now so that I could spend time with my grandparents and other extended family like you are able to do (sorry for the digression.) I will keep him and your whole family in my prayers as it progresses.

    I am also delighted that you are having a wonderful time with your children and are able to enjoy time with them and your family. It looks like you are enjoying this precious time you get spend with both your children while they are so young. I’m sure your children will look back and remember, in the case of your eldest, and see and here, in the case of your youngest, much about this time in thier lives.

  5. I’m sorry you haven’t gotten to live close to extended family or grandparents Modern Day Princess Warrior. 😦

    And thank you, I hope I am creating a good life for them, I try, I do think my oldest will at least remember his Great Grandfather, just a little sad he’ll remember him this way (in a way). But at least I can tell him all the stories I know about him – he does like those!

    I hope you’re doing well in life right now.

  6. Thank you Dragonfly, life for me has been very difficult for a while now and it has been a year and a half of many losses. I am blessed that it has brought my Mom and I closer in so many ways than we were before we lost my Dad. I know God has a plan for all that is happening and only wish I could understand it now.

    I don’t know if you have considered a voice recording or video recording of your grandfather telling stories and whatever else he might want to share for the future. I can’t remember my great-grandparents, only my paternal great-grandpa was alive when I was born and passed away shortly after, but I am blessed to have an audio recording of my paternal great-grandma. It is a recording of her telling the story of how she came to America and other life stories. My Dad digitized the tapes so we have it perserved. I truly enjoy listening to her and learned so much about her and from her. You might want to do this, or already have done this, but I am grateful for the gift of her life stories. Either way I’m sure both your children will love to hear the stories of his life and the time they had with him later in life.

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