Midgey, Cindy’s on the Phone!

For at least 15 years, day after day, year after year

I called my mom every afternoon, no matter what

often Jim would answer the phone and he would yell-

“Midgey, Cindy’s on the Phone!”

how much I would give to hear that again!

my mom may live awhile longer, we don’t know

but my mom will never answer a phone again

she will never ask how my day was as she did

every day for years

no one else in the world will ever support me

one hundred percent, no questions asked

as she did all those years

now,

every day as I head home, I go to call her

every day

and I am saddened that I cannot talk to her

I mean, like really talk to her

I am lucky she is here with me

I am lucky she is still alive

I love her dearly and want all the best for her

but the momma that loved to talk

to Cindy on the phone

is gone now

the momma that was a momma to me

is gone as well

I miss her so..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Momma and Mr. Kid

I was warned not to write this post.  I was warned that people might not appreciate my comparisons.  I guess sometimes you just step out there into the mud anyway.

Me and my momma.

Me and my momma.

My mother will be 90 this year.  She was one of 11 children born in Oklahoma.  Although she was born in the middle of the group, she is the only one still living.  My mother is healthy, has no physical ailments, has even gained about ten pounds since coming to Texas.  She walks regularly and except for some eye sight issues does extremely well.  She has this nagging disease called dementia that takes her further away from me mentally day by day.

I read each day about people dying, people younger than she.  And every time the phone rings in the middle of the night, my heart beats faster with fear that it is bad news about her.  Likewise, each time she gets a cold or seems under-the-weather, I get mentally prepared that this is it!

I know she cannot live forever.  I lost my sister in her 20’s to a car accident.  My father has been gone over 20 years.  It just seems like God has left my mother and I alone, like nothing bad is going to happen to us. My mother has gotten through cancer and some other rough times.  I have had some close encounters with death (highway near misses, visits to ICU) but I just feel I am protected and my mom and I will carry on forever.  I get that it is silly to think that way, but I have not really, seriously, thought I would ever lose my mom.

Mr. Kid 32 years young.

Mr. Kid 32 years young.

Okay, here it comes, the part where I step off into the mud.  I am NOT comparing my mother to my horse.  Well, sort of!  So, I got Kid when he was 20, already considered a senior citizen in the horse world although Kid had no idea.  Now, he is 32! Old, by anyone’s estimation.

Kid has no physical aliments.  He walks, trots and even runs occasionally.  His eye sight is not as good as it once was but he has managed to maintain his weight and perhaps even gain a few pounds in the last year.  I don’t know about any dementia that Kid has although he was once the herd leader and now must be ever vigilant not to get hurt or trapped by the other horses.

As I drive up each day I scan the barn to be sure I can find him still standing by the stalls.  Each morning, as I feed, I am relieved to see he has made it through another night.  He has had his brushes with death as well, like a few months ago when he cut his mouth so badly that I thought we would never stem the bleeding.

It is wrong, I guess, to make an analogy between my momma and my favorite horse.  But I see them both in similar ways.  They have successfully lived their lives.  They are in the golden years.  One of the hardest things to do, and yet one of the best things life offers, is the uncertainty of not knowing how their stories will end. Why is that a good thing, because if we knew what lay ahead for us, it would be so overwhelming.  We would fear the end, knowing how it would end and not enjoy the days we have.  I pray that my momma gently closes her eyes one night and dies peacefully in her sleep.  It is the best I can hope for her.

I don’t know how long I will need to provide for my mother and honestly with the costs of care, it could get a little difficult if she lives into her 100’s.  But I will always care for her.

Likewise, Kid can always count on having a stall to call his own as long as he can enjoy life.  Literally for over five years now, Lauren has thought  Kid would die, but he hasn’t and that is wonderful.

I compared my mom to my horse, but just in their stages of life.  Obviously, my love for her is different, deeper and more powerful.  While I love Kid, he is my horse and I get that.  What they share is being allowed to have these years that so many did not get.  How great it would have been for my sister to live into her 90’s?  How I miss her.

Knowing the end must be around the bend, is challenging and frightening.  But neither my momma or Mr. Kid have any idea that death is stalking them.  They awaken and enjoy each day.  I am grateful.

Thank you for riding along!

A visit from Amber’s family

Weather looks miserable but actually warm breezes were blowing!

Weather looks miserable but actually warm breezes were blowing!

Amber, Ryan and kids, Riley and Lexi arrived on Thursday to rain and overcast skies, but as they had left a very cold Colorado and we had come up above freezing for the first time in days, we were all okay with the overcast skies.  It didn’t take long to throw a halter on Snowboy and head out of the barn to the only semi-dry spots.  Two year old Lexi, showed no hesitation about climbing on board and off she went trotting with Aunt Lauren across the water and around the trailer.  It wasn’t long before her four year-old brother, Riley switched spots with her.

While we got a short video of them trotting we warned them not to show Jordyn.  She would be mad they were on her horse and that they were TROTTING.  Sometimes, you just have to let other’s accomplishments serve as a way to motivate you, but more about that in a minute!

Friday the kids helped out around the barn, filling water troughs, raking hay and mucking stalls.  The rain had stopped, things were still wet but with 70 degrees showing on the thermometer, it was a pretty great day to be outside.  I enjoyed getting to know my grandkids a little better and had a lot of fun watching Kona have so many people to throw his ball.  Jordyn got out of school a little early so that she, Ally, Luke and baby Kendyll could join us for Texas barbecue. Luke got busy digging some ditches to let our water flow out to the ditch.  It started to recede immediately, it was like we were in the Peace Corps or something!

I got Ally to go with me, later in the day, as we took all the great-grandkids to my mom’s.  From the minute we got there, she was overjoyed to see the children.  It is unclear that she realized they were any kin to her but she loved them, nonetheless.  It was nearing dinner time for her and the kids helped her get on her make-up and do her hair.  Jordyn always loves this part of the visit and I think momma loves the attention.  Jordyn, in an overdrive teacher mode with her young cousins, explained how to put on blush, eye shadow and lipstick.  I think little Lexi made sure she had all the same make-up her Granny-Nanny did!

Jordyn and Riley getting their great grandma all fixed up for dinner.

Jordyn and Riley getting their great grandma all fixed up for dinner.

I think the sweetest thing was as we left momma’s room to head down to dinner, with no prompting, tiny Lexi walked up and took her great grandma’s hand in hers and walked down the hall with her.

From back left, clockwise-2 year old Lexi, Granny Nanny, me, 4 year old Riley, 1 year Kendyll and 6 year old Jordyn.

From back left, clockwise-2 year old Lexi, Granny Nanny, me, 4-year-old Riley, 1 year Kendyll and 6-year-old Jordyn.

There were lots of hugs and kisses from all the kids.  I wish they could visit her more often as it made her so happy!

Saturday, another warm day, was spent taking great professional photos with Ally’s friend Elvia.  Ryan got roped into going with Lauren and I to get 12 bales of alfalfa hay.  Amber couldn’t understand why it took us so long to go get hay across town, but there is a certain period devoted to visiting with the hay man that has to take place.  It is not as simple as backing in and loading the hay.  We appreciated Ryan’s help.

We got Snowboy out again, saddled up this time, and everyone had helmets on.  Jordyn was determined not to be out done by her cousins.  I took them toward the road, then I let Snowney’s bridle go and headed him to the barn.  IMAGINE this-he trotted in a straight line right back to the gate and Jordyn was TROTTING BY HERSELF! She demanded to do it over and over.  It was a pretty big milestone until Kona ran after Snow, nipped him in the ankle and Snow headed trotting off to the neighbors with Jordyn screaming.  But she tried it again and successfully trotted alone to end the day.

Here is her trotting video-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZeIsCYDe8Q

I hated seeing the kids (all of them) leave on Sunday.  I feel I miss so much with them being so far away.  Hopefully, this time Lexi will remember a little about grandma’s and Riley will build on his memories.

Season’s End

The weather changed from balmy 80s to wind torn, rainy 40s in the matter of an hour. For awhile on Friday morning, it appeared we would not being heading to the final horse show of the season or anywhere else. The rain accumulated quickly, flooding our side yard. Lauren, alone at home with responsibility of loading Feather and getting her to the show was agitated and anxious. Feather did not want to load, standing ankle deep in water outside the trailer. But she did and off they went.

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Abby and Jordyn, Leadline and horse buds, bundled up against the damp cold

Saturday after a visit to my mom’s, we headed to the show. This season has been remarkable for Lauren. She and Feather started their first show in the hunter ring jumping just over two feet. They have grown, matured and taken their bumps. Yesterday, Feather showed in the three foot jumpers. As they went clean through their last round, I did a double take at the clock. The winning time was 17.403 and Feather clocked in at 18.003. And I swear she looked like she was strolling around the ring. We even had commented she looked pokey. Guess not! Lauren will close out the season today.

For the second time in 15 years (and the first time I was flat on back with a broken pelvis) I am not with Lauren at a show. Two rounds of drugs later, the shingles have taken over my life. My blisters are gone but the pain continues unabated. I am beginning to wonder if I have not finally and completely destroyed my bad hip. I could not go to show and be on my feet. I know my show family will look out for Lauren. I pray God keeps her safe.

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my momma and I at the home’s Thanksgiving celebration

Also, today was the Thanksgiving dinner at the nursing home. Ally came with Jordyn and Kendyll festively dressed. I do not know how Elmcroft managed to do it, but they had an excellent hot dinner for so many happy generations of people. It was a good day for my mom and all of us blessed enough to share it with her.

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Jordyn loving her great grandma!

I am hoping for some good news soon that Lauren and Feather had a good day and are safely headed home. Wherever you are today, stop for a moment and give thanks for your wonderful family and dear friends. I know I did.

How momma’s changed

This is not meant to berate or belittle my mother, I have loved her dearly all my life, but the woman I have loved has changed over the years.

My mother was the quintessential 60’s house wife. My dad had a busy, important job with the airlines and she was supposed to be a top cook, hostess, housekeeper and mother. I cannot imagine doing all she did. Perhaps because she had so little control over so much of her life, she was a little obsessive about her food and meals. If you went out to a meal with my mother between say 1961 through 2012, you were in for an event. She would not like where she was seated. Too cold, too drafty, too something, you were probably going to be asked to change seats with her. Before anyone could order, she had to know what they planned to eat. And no matter what she ordered, whatever you ordered would be what she wanted.

After all the food came, something would not be cooked to my mother’s specifications. While we waited with our food, hers was returned to the kitchen. I remember one trip to Hawaii where each morning her eggs would go back to the kitchen as not done enough. On vacation day four, my father had it! He took the boiled egg to the head waiter. He told them to go cook it like a hockey puck! That worked!

The second issue that has played into almost every family event since Amber’s birth over 30 years ago, was that my mother had a bad stomach. Schedule a christening, a big night out, Christmas dinner with friends and mom would be in her room vomiting with what we dubbed ” special occasion flu”. I will never understand it.

Forget Mexican, Italian, Indian or any spicy food, mom could not manage it. The amount of antacids, stomach drugs, and medical care were astounding. And rarely was there a night when more than just milk and crackers were all she could manage. One Christmas Eve, I found her vomiting in bathroom. I thought it was the latest special occasion flu. Except there was blood everywhere. I thought she would die on Christmas Eve. She had a bleeding ulcers that let her spend the holidays getting blood transfusions.

So what’s my point? Today as a treat I took a McDonalds milk shake to her. Since she has moved into the center, she has not been sick to her stomach once. Not one Tums has made it’s way down her throat. She excitedly tried to decide if she wanted a tuna or ham sandwich, neither of which she would have eaten before. Like ever!

It is nice to see her happy to try most anything and be excited about it as well. I have relatives that would not recognize my mom eating what she is now. I guess this is a HUGE plus to her life with dementia. It has effected her personality making her calmer, gentler and accepting. While I miss so many things about my old mom, the one that would have remembered my sister and dad. I am thrilled with this little lady that told me just today that her cranberry juice was the best thing ever, well maybe. That Quaker Oats cereal bar was outstanding as well.

You have taken so much from dear momma, Mr. Dementia, but I am grateful her stomach doesn’t churn with anxiety related issues. Not a sign of her old ulcers. I am happy that in a small town, she finds the food outstanding. I will take this little piece of happiness in the midst of the darkness.

Thanks for riding along! Bruno with his face full of stitches is feeling better. Mick walked across the paddock on a hoof that was still sensitive but way better. Even the tiny kitty is seemingly, finally on the mend. Pixie is off to Pine Hill to be looked at tomorrow. I hope they love her like we do (and she leaves in their trailer as their new horse). Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
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momma showing off her new shoes and drinking a Boost (says it is the best drink ever!)

 

Off to Hawaii with Momma!

Momma, Jordyn and I getting ready for the Hawaiian party.

Momma, Jordyn and I getting ready for the Hawaiian party.

In the fine fashion of Elmcroft Assisted Living we all enjoyed Hawaiian night! The assisted living home plans occasional “special” nights for the residents and I knew momma would be interested in the Hawaiian night. Hawaii is her all time favorite place and while she does not respond or react to many things these days, her eyes lit up with recognition when I started to mention Hawaii a few weeks ago.

Lauren and I had planned to go as I still remember last Thanksgiving when the residents who did not have family seemed so woe begotten and lost. Plus, we could not argue that we had nothing to wear since we had a trip to the islands just months ago. At the last-minute, Ally agreed to come with Kendyll and Jordyn and we all embarked on a nice evening. Mom swayed along with the Hawaiian music, seemed to enjoy the pageantry of Leis and island food. I tried to convince Ally and Lauren to get up and do the hula but they were not going along with my plan.

Momma watching her youngest great grandchild, Kendyll.

Momma watching her youngest great-grandchild, Kendyll.

Jordyn took on the staff in a limbo contest and won it all. Of course, she was half the size of the rest of contestants!

Limbo!

Limbo!

Momma had fun and enjoyed her brief trip to the islands. And as Ally said, and I concur, it was the most festive Friday night she has had in awhile!

Jim is getting married (wait, he already is!)

Yesterday I got to the nursing home to find mom resting on her bed. Always my favorite, because I get to lie down beside her and rest my aching back, too.

She was pleased to see me and told me she was so happy I had gotten there when I did because she had just gotten some awful news. I never know what the news is going to be, from the home closing, to an awful storm brewing, to her not being allowed to go in her room, the results were always varied and never the same. Today’s catastrophe would be a new one.

Earnestly, she looked at me and said, “Jim is getting married!” Huh, that was a new one. I explained to her that she was still married to Jim so he could not marry someone else. Immediately, she became indignant (as she always does when I do not believe something she says). “Yes, he is and to a younger women!”. I could see that arguing this point was going to be of no use.

The rest of visit was spent going over the details of Jim’s marriage. Now, remember, she has not seen or talked to Jim since December of last year. With complications with their hearing and their health, I have been limited to reading her notes that Jim sends and reminding her about him and that he loves her.

But in her mind, Jim had been there at the nursing home with her. Breaking her heart with the news that he had fallen in love with another women! She went on to tell me that the women had children, but she had not really listened to him when he told he that part because who wants to know details like that about their rival (that’s what she told me!).

I tried a couple of times, unsuccessfully, to tell her that she was still married to Jim and he was not getting married to anyone else. She was not interested. Or not accepting that could be true. She told me he would not be available to drive her to the doctor next week so I better make plans to take her.

It was a brutal visit and sad. I can only imagine that after all this time apart she has come up with this as the only reason Jim would not be visiting her. Obviously, he had to have meet someone else.

I hope on my next visit she is off on a new kick and not worried about Jim and his new bride. What I really hope is that Jay and Jim can once again make the long trek to Texas again this fall and they can be re-united again.

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Feather and Lauren are off to a horse show tomorrow. I have reserved two stalls for the October Pine Hill show in hopes Bruno might be ready to make his debut in the ring. (OH MY GOODNESS THAT WOULD BE AMAZING!) But if not, maybe Snowney can come and he and Jordyn can enter the Halloween costume class. Any great ideas for a white pony and pretty little girl-I am totally okay with painting the pony rainbow colors or whatever it takes to have an imaginative and creative Halloween entry. Send me your ideas!