Back in the Harness
Things aren't quite how I want them yet, but I am making progress. Progress is slightly impeded by a little girlie who has decided to use destructo-chick methods of getting my attention. Examples include emptying out my travel makeup case on the floor and painting the carpet with a combination of mascara, foundation and toothpaste. She also tried to get my attention when I was speaking to my husband by tossing pencils and crayons over her shoulder while watching me to see if I would notice what she was doing. I did, and in short order she was picking them up in a very disgruntled way.
This is mild to what she did while I was gone, however. One day I am told she removed a loaded diaper in my office, rubbed some of the contents into the carpet, and then cut the rest of it into sushi-sized pieces with a pair of scissors. Life with Elodie can be interesting.
I have had some opportunity over the last few days to ruminate a bit over my recent visit back home. First of all, my trip turned out to be a very enjoyable and relaxing time. My mother reminded me that this is the first time in my 24 years of marriage that I have been back on a visit without a baby and other children in tow. I love my children, but sometimes the duties of caring for them and keeping them entertained small cuts into meaningful interaction when visiting with those you don't see often or for very long, but whom you love just as much.
This trip was a gift from my parents as the financial costs of flying me home is beyond our family at this time. Originally, the idea was to fly me home for what looked like the immanent departure of my paternal grandmother for Eternity with Christ, but Grammy rallied and is beginning to eat and respond again. Instead, it became a delightful birthday present from Mom and Dad, and an opportunity to spend some quality time with them and my sister.
Grammy Hannah is living in a nursing home run by one of the Baptist conventions. The staff there is friendly and kind and it was nice to watch them interact with the patients, even those who seem to be beyond responding. One reads horror stories about some nursing homes where the inmates are abused by the staff, but this is not one of them.
It was instructive to watch my Dad with my Grammy. Both Mom and Dad have taught me many things over the years, not the least of which is how to love my spouse. In the past few years they have been teaching me what it means to love my parents as I have watched them care for their elderly mothers. It is touching to see the tenderness and respect they treat them with. If it hadn't been for my Dad, my Aunt Maudie, and my Aunt Mae, it is likely that I wouldn't have been able to see my grandmother alive. They came in every day to make sure that Grammy ate her meals and got enough to drink to stay hydrated after she had her latest stroke. Dad invariably stroked Grammy’s hair and kissed her and cajoled her into taking a few bites of food or sips of liquid. According to Aunt Maudie, Dad has the best success at being able to get Grammy to respond. I am not surprised after watching Dad interact with some of the other people there. All the elderly ladies love him and he always has a kind word or small joke for everyone. Dad also informed me that he always takes my mother with him to visit those in the hospital because she also has a way with her when talking to the sick and infirm.
Because of the strokes that Grammy has suffered, she really doesn't know me any more. I found that this really doesn't matter. It was still easy to caress her head, rub her neck and do a few small things to convey my love for her. After all, it is the indestructible soul that is being loved and ministered to, not the damaged hardware which inhibits her ability to function. She doesn't remember me, but I remember her and all the good times that I had with her.
They say you can't go home any more. If home is defined by being the physical place where you used to live, then I believe it. Moncton has changed out of recognition in the 24 years that I have been gone. What was once a smallish but comfortable city is now a sprawling commercial hub that has doubled in population. Strip malls, stores and other commercial endeavors, and endless streets of subdivisions have replaced Fields, trees, and country. I didn't feel at home at all there until we headed out into the countryside towards my Aunt Mae's and Uncle Sherman's. There has been some growth and change there as well, but not as much so that it is still recognizable as the place I used to know.
If, however, we define home in terms of relationships, then I did go home. The foundation of parent/child/sibling relationships is laid in the life of a child during the formative years. Maturity and a like-minded faith help to build on that foundation so that love, respect, affection, and bonding increases and deepens. It was joy to share not only a common history and all the memories that go with it, but a common love of the Lord and the lessons He has taught us over the years. I am blessed immeasurably by the fact that the Lord has given me parents and a sister who love and serve Him. This particular circle will be unbroken by and by some day. The contrast between now, with the love and mutual respect that my sister, Darlene, and I have compared with the intense sibling rivalry of yesteryear is stark. I used to hate her when we were growing up. Thankfully I got over that as well as all the jealousy I used to feel over the differences in how we related to our parents. Darlene was my chauffeur a good deal of the time, taking me around to visit people and places between her various duties. It was good to spend so much time with her yakking about old times and discussing life's issues.
I am so glad that I have learned how to do emotional balancing. I was sorely in need of it myself while I was there. Because I am not available to help my sister with this on a regular basis, I taught her how to do a "brush down" for emotional balancing. It is really amazing how well this works, even though it looks strange. By manipulating the electromagnetic energy field of the body through the meridians and spine, it is possible to lessen emotional intensity over stress-causing incidents and occurrences. The last two days before I left to go home was spent partially in the company of my parents and partially hiding in the bathroom and bedroom while I cried because I didn't want to leave them. It is terrible to be torn between dearly loved family on two opposite coasts and know that you won't be seeing some of them for some time. We had to leave early in the morning for the airport so that I could catch my 6:30 flight to Montreal. Mom and Dad went to bed before I did and I stayed up to talk to my sister who had stopped in to say goodbye. I requested a brush down because I know I was stressing out over the combination of leaving Mom and Dad and Dar and her family and the prospect of flying. (I don't travel very well.) Darlene obliged me by doing the brush down while I held the appropriate hand poses, and I was able to say goodbye the next morning without tears. Not only that, I had the best night's sleep that I had had since I had arrived. Since I started having children, there have been very few nights when pregnancy-induced insomnia or small children needing attention haven’t awakened me. On this night however, I went to bed, slept through the usual 2 am awakening and didn't open my eyes until 4:30 am when it was time to get up and get dressed.
It was an entirely positive experience and one I wish I could repeat more often. Now if I could only just get things back on track here at home…