Keeping Memories

It was only two days ago when I wiped your face and put on cream.

It was only two days ago when I held your hand.

It was only two days ago when I kissed your forehead.

It was only two days ago when I hugged you.

It was only two days ago when I you last looked into my eyes.

To be exact it was less than two days. Maybe thirty six hours.

I spoke to you this morning. I don’t know if you heard me.

Your breathing was fast and labored. I told you I’m sorry I wasn’t there, but you’re in my thoughts and mind constantly.

And now I wait for the phone to ring. To tell me the news that you’re really gone.

I don’t know what that means. For 43 years you’ve been a part of my life. I’ve been a part of your life since you were 50 years young.

When I was little I’d wait on our front porch, dressed in play clothes, waiting for your arrival.

When I moved closer, we’d see each other weekly. Almost always for Sunday dinner. You made the best pot roast ever. And you always knew to have plenty of mashed potatoes for me, and honey for the biscuits.

You’d come visit me when I didn’t feel well. And when it was all the rage you even managed to get me a Cabbage Patch Doll during a Kmart Blue Light Special!

We would take trips to Arkansas during the summer. And we’d both complain about the heat. And you’d pay me a dollar if I could stop talking for five minutes.

Later I moved even closer. I was in sixth grade now and would ride my bike over to visit with you after school and on weekends.

I went to college in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And you came to visit and watch me graduate.

Even in your 70s and 80s, you came to visit me. After my first child was born, you came and helped out. You made me the best dinner. Ever. Homeade fried chicken, biscuits, green beans cooked the southern way, and peach cobbler.

I like to think I was there for you too. I remember my brother and I driving you to Arkansas for the funeral of one your sisters. That trip stands out in my mind as I made it with you in my thirties. I was no longer a child. We drove around and you showed me where you hung out as a young woman. Where you and grandpa would go dancing. Seeing it in person with you meant so much to me.

The past few years you’d give us a scare and I’d drive across the state to see you.  But then again, I’d always drive to see you. Nothing could keep me from you.

I enjoyed learning to bake pies from you. Perhaps one of my fondest memories. We’d make snack size apple pies and full size pies. I still love to bake pies, and I attribute that to you.

And we both love to watch the birds. You’d call me and ask me about a bird you couldn’t identify. I’d send you a video of a magpie I spotted in the mountains. Less than a week ago, you sat in your chair looking out the window at the feeders outside your living room window.

I could go on and on, but as I listen to the birds sing outside my window, I think of you. Hoping you know the birds are singing outside your window too. And when your last breath is taken, and your time on this earth is through, I hope the birds bring you to heaven and sing their sweet heavenly song for you. And when I hear the sweet chirps outside, I’ll remember you.

For 43 years you’ve been a part of my life. After putting my thoughts to paper, I realize you’ll always be a part of my life. I have memories that could fill books. I have a love of outdoors, the south, birds, and pies, because of you.

My heart is breaking. But I’m so glad I had as much time as I’ve had. I’m so happy that we’ve always been close. Because I’d rather sit here to today with a breaking hurt than sit here today void of such wonderful memories and the love you gave to me.

I love you, Grandma.

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Kindergarten Roundup

While I sit at my computer, my son sits in a kindergarten classroom a mile away for kindergarten roundup.

Like the other parents who dropped off their child, I’m wondering what he’s doing right now. I wonder if he’s making a friend. I wonder if he’s enjoying himself.

When I filled out standard forms regarding what my child can do, I had a lot more no’s than yes’s.

Can your child say his name: No.

Does your child know his birthday: No.

Does your child know the alphabet: No.

Is your child able to take care of all toilet needs by him/herself: No.

And so the list of questions went. I won’t lie. It wasn’t easy. I observed a gen ed kindergarten classroom yesterday. I fought back tears as I wondered how my son would navigate this environment. Was I wrong in thinking this is even a possibility? Am I just wasting everyone’s time?

I expected to be a blubbering mess this morning. But then my son and I entered the school.

Usually, when the principal says hi my son turns away. Today, he gave him a high five.

My son hates name tags. Today he put it on with no complaints.

My son isn’t always so sure about going over a to a group of kids to play. Today He sat down and played with blocks.

He smiled for his picture. OK. So he loves to get his picture taken. That wasn’t new.

Today I saw a boy excited to do what his big brother does. At his pace.

Today I saw a boy who could adjust to a new setting better than I expected.

Today I saw the blessing that Down syndrome has brought to my life.

Good luck my little buddy. May you bless others the way you bless me.

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