Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes? -- A Talk with my Dad

A couple of weeks ago I made mixed CD's for both of my sisters and my dad. I think we all needed it. For me it was the reminder to them that I thought of them and loved them even if distance prevented me from hugging them like I wanted.

On dad's mixed CD. . which I titled Daddy Mix. .I added a song that always had a place in our house. Sung by the very powerful and very great George Jones. From the time we could walk and talk, he surrounded us with music. Another very great love he gave my sisters and I. I remember mixed tapes that were carted off by my sisters and I too. This song was contained on one such tape.

So during our conversation afterward, my daddy said to me. . "I love my CD, it reminds me of the ones I used to make for your girls. You thought of everything. I love Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes. It made me think of Rick."

I am not going to lie. It was exactly what I didn't know I needed to hear. I got off the phone with my dad, crawled into my husbands lap, and cried like a baby. Just another way Uncle Rick has been keeping his promise to me. .and to all of us really. He always said he would never be to far away and every time I needed him he was. So, let me give to you the words I had inadvertently given to myself.

Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes
George Jones

You know this old world is full of singers
But just a few are chosen
To tear your heart out when they sing
Imagine life without them
All your, radio heros
Like the outlaw that walks through Jesse's dream

No, there will never be another
Red-headed stranger
A Man in Black and Folsom Prison Blues
The Okie from Muskogee
Or Hello Darling
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes

Who's gonna fill their shoes
Who's gonna stand that tall
Who's gonna play the Opry
And the Wabash Cannonball
Who's gonna give their heart and soul
To get to me and you
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes

God bless the boys from Memphis
Blue Suede Shoes and Elvis
Much too soon he left this world in tears
They tore up the Fifties
Old Jerry Lee and Charlie
And old Go Cat Go still echoes through the years

You know the heart of country music
Still beats in Luke the Drifer
You can tell when hew sings I Saw the Light
Old Marty, Hank and Lefty
Why I can feel them right here with me
On this Silver Eagle rolling through the night

It just makes me realize that I miss him. The pain has gotten easier to live with, the breathing part so much better. . The missing him never gets better. I miss the comfort of knowing he was always only an hour or so away. I miss the birthday calls that I still wake up every year for, the odd boxes of Twinkies I would get as Christmas presents, the unholy punches I would get in the arm, and the constant state of laughter. Most of all I just miss him.

I know without a doubt though, my Uncle is never to far away just like he always said he would me. Thank you my angel! Thank you daddy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Walk a Mile in their Shoes. . .A Day in MY Life

This week, an acquaintance of mine said to me.

"Well, you are at home all day, how hard can that be? Don't you get childcare too?"

Most of you are probably thinking. . how rude! I know I did too. I had to fight to suppress the urge to extend my arm and smack someone upside the head. I just looked at them and smiled.

"Let me tell you a little bit about my day ma'am. Maybe you will understand."

So, my lovely readers and followers. Let me take you through a day in MY life. First off, let me take a step back and take a deep breath. You are going to need it.

My day starts bright and early. Some days I sleep until 0400 (4:00am) and on the rare lucky day, I get to sleep until 0500 or 0530 (5:00am or 5:30am) depending on when Jon has to be at work. Well, what is the purpose of that you ask? Let me tell you. Because of the delay in treatment for the TBI, his brain healed lacking all of the knowledge and abilities that the injury directly affected.

Some sounds he hears, some he doesn't, others he can't even react to. The alarm has become one of those things. We have tried phone and different alarms, none of them seem to work. Therefore, I wake up with the alarm, coax him out of bed and spend the following time back and forth between the kids and him making sure he gets out of the house in time. Well, you are probably wondering why do you have to follow him around. . Because of his combination of medications and our ongoing appointments to get that straightened out, he has periods where he drops back off to sleep no matter how awake he is when he gets up.

So from there I go back upstairs, re-settle the boys, then climb back into bed after he leaves. Some days I doze back off for another half an hour and others I am to far awake to do even close my eyes. But I almost always crawl back into bed to enjoy the silence that falls across my home.

The boys are up and raring to go by 0930 (9:30am). So I get them up and changed and settled with some juice watching their cartoons while I make their breakfast. After breakfast we get dressed for the day. Some days, the days with appointments, they go to daycare. Through a very generous program, a grant was given to my family so that my children could go to daycare. Allowing them to learn and grow and interact with kids their age instead of sitting in appointment after appointment trying to figure out how to help daddy. What a relief. So yes, I do have childcare, given to me by the kindness of strangers who took pity on a frazzled mother of two trying hard to keep her family grounded.

So depending on what day it is and what is happening, I either take the boys to daycare or get them settled with activities while mommy tries to get some things done and put together for daddy. Well, at this point you are probably asking what could I possibly have to do for my husband and get in order for him. . .Well, let me tell you.

Currently my life is a long line of lists, file folders, medical reports, injury information, injury treatments, doctor requests, referrals, sticky notes, and note cards plastered to every surface of my house.

After getting my lists of TO-DO stuff ready for the day I get dressed. If the boys are with me, it is while they eat lunch. If not, then it is while Jon is getting changed to head to whatever appointment we may have. Sounds like fun huh. By this time I have already been awake and moving 7 or so hours. You would think I would be tired, well guess what. . I AM! However, I can't stop moving. There is to much left to be done.

After said appointments, we pick up the boys, come home, change them, get them down for naps, and then stop to eat. My first meal of the day.

After nap time comes dinner. How do I do it. . Careful planning my people, very careful planning. I sit down every two weeks and meticulously plan every meal, snack, beverage, and expenditure. I know where every penny in my home goes and to what it is used for. It is a necessity for us, not because we hurt for money, but because every single penny is used. Gas, food, mailing expenses, copiers, car repairs, and the few and far between prescriptions that DoD pharmacies do not carry.

My night winds down around 2130 (9:30pm) at which time we bathe the boys and put them to bed. When the boys are down, Jon and I bring all of our organizational materials to the bed and pow wow. My planner, the dry erase calendar, his PDA, our sticky notes, and our pens. For the next half hour we map out our next days and week.

By then we are nearing 2300 (11:00pm) so I pile myself into the shower, take my medicine then plop onto the bed with a book, word searches, or logic puzzles and wait for Jon to be finished. After his shower he takes his meds and crawl into bed.

Within minutes, quite literally, he is asleep. I spend the next hour or two or three making sure the three of them are well and truly asleep without incident. What are their incidents you are thinking right?

For Caleb, incidents come in the form of nightmares and night terrors. Night terrors are extreme states of sleep and combative motions. Caleb has been known to scream until he turns blue in the face, cry relentlessly, claw at anyone other than myself who tries to touch him, and often walks or falls and hurts himself. This prevents us from putting he and his brother in the same room for now. It also keeps us from putting extra blankets or dressers or pictures in his room as well. We have had to put a gate into his door frame so he isn't able to wander around during these episodes or bring harm to himself.

Andrew is 14 months old and is cutting around 8 or 9 teeth at present so this comes in the form of 2am crying fits where he is inconsolable. I usually pick him up and rock and sing with him for a few minutes before giving him some tylenol and putting him back to bed.

Jons night ailments used to be the worst. His came in the form of pacing or talking or sometimes both at once. He also have periods of combative sleep as well. In addition to those, he would be easily spooked by alarms or loud noises or storms. I have several times talked him out from under the bed or out of the closet. . once it was from between the tub and toilet where he had hunkered down when a car backfired.

Sounds like fun huh?! So there you have it. .by the time all of this is said and done it is around two in the morning and I am up a mere two hours later to start the next day.

So, that is a day in MY life. In closing I leave you images of my dinner from last night.

My children sat on the other day of the table and ate while my husband slept peacefully in his chair after finishing his meal. I was awake until 1:30 this morning and was up for the day around 9.

So, there you have it. A day in MY life. Is it hard? Oh yes. Am I tired? Unbelieveably so. Would I change a thing? Never in a million years. It may not be perfect, but it is all mine and I wouldn't have it any other way.