Thanks to all who offered words of support and comfort on my vague post the other day. My family will be okay in the long run, I think. We’re just experiencing some big bumps along the road of life, I guess. I sure do wish it could be a smoother ride.
Since family is on my mind, I’m going to try to get caught up on a couple of family-related blog posts. Craig and I (quite thankfully) have very little scheduled for this long weekend (well, other than our deck cleaning and staining project), and I’m hoping to have some serious blogging time.
So, a couple of weeks ago I spent a weekend with my 95-year-old grandmother in Hammond, Indiana. I’ve made this an annual trip over the past few years, and I enjoy my one-on-one time with her.
Needless to say, a visit with a 95-year-old is not a wild and crazy occasion. It was perfect timing for me, though, since I have been so incredibly busy lately. We spent most of our time sitting in her living room looking at old photo albums (going back to the 1910s and 1920s; it was amazing to me that she could identify most of her many aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) or in her den watching television. By the end of the trip, I’m fairly certain I had sweat off five pounds (she keeps the temperature at about 85, I swear) and I probably damaged my ear drums from the insane volume level of the TV. I was glad to get some good knitting and reading time in.
Our exciting outing was to the Olive Garden, where I learned that if you bring a frail, stubborn, and decidedly un-shy 95-year-old woman with you, you can bypass the line of people waiting for a table. She essentially forced the hostess to seat her immediately, and then had the nerve to complain about the table. However, this is nothing new for Grandma. I can remember being embarrassed by her cutting in line at the movies or being pushy at a restaurant 25 years ago. It’s just the way she is. At least now I can give the hostess an apologetic look that says, “Sorry, I can’t do anything about a woman this old!”
I also survived lunch on my own with my great aunt, who is a spry 92 or 93 and is the same as she ever was. These two Sicilian sisters have had years-long feuds and still know how to push each others’ buttons in their 90s. They lived on the same block for decades but would go years without speaking with one another. Aunt Rose gave me her version of the lowdown on Grandma, and vice-versa. My grandmother wasn’t interested in having lunch with her sister that day. Some things never change, I suppose!
Grandma is getting pretty frail. She had a fall on Mother’s Day that scared us all. She couldn’t get up, but she was able to answer the phone when my mom called her to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. My dad was on his way to spend some time with her, but was still two hours away at the time I called to tell him what had happened. Thankfully my dad was able to reach a neighbor, who helped her up and determined that she wasn’t injured. She still lives on her own in her house of 60+ years, and is not very cooperative with the daily helpers that come in to help take care of her. She’s amazingly independent but is also making life pretty stressful for my dad and uncle, who are trying their best to take care of their elderly mother who doesn’t want any help (but needs it). The latest battle is that everyone wants her to have her bedroom downstairs, but she insists on climbing her steep, turning staircase every night to sleep. I tried to do my best to persuade her about this change, but she said, “Kelly, you’ll see what I mean when you’re 95. It’s hard to make changes in life when you’ve lived this long.” And it’s sort of hard to argue with that.
Since it’s such a low-key visit when I see my grandmother, I decided this year that I would add in something fun and meet up with some friends in Chicago on my way back to the airport. I know a zillion people in the Chicago area, since I grew up in Michigan and went to college in Indiana, and so many people end up in/around Chicago. So, I met friends who moved away from Baltimore a few years ago at a great breakfast place on Michigan Avenue. It was a pretty day and across the street, Grant Park was calling my name, but I didn’t have time to get out and explore. Maybe next time I visit I can see some of my many Chicago-area bloggy friends?