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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Serenity

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds.

We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil.

Serenity is contagious.  If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back.  And a smile costs nothing.

We should plague everyone with joy.

If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?  (136-137)”

―     Swami Satchidananda,     The Yoga Sutras    

 

“One man practicing kindness in the wilderness

is worth all the temples this world pulls.”   
     Jack Kerouac,     The Dharma Bums    

 

“It is difficult to make a man miserable while he feels worthy of himself and claims kindred to the great God who made him.”

Abraham Lincoln

“I will be calm.  I will be mistress of myself.”  
―     Jane Austen,     Sense and Sensibility

“Nothing is so aggravating as calmness.”
―     Mahatma Gandhi

 

“Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. Every breath we take, every step we take, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.”   

Thích Nhất Hạnh,     Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life    

“Blessed are the peace-makers

for they shall be called the children of God.”

Matthew 5:9