Monday, August 10, 2015

Sibling Assignment #166: Mom's New Next Door Neighbor

I assigned Sibling Assignment #166:

I think we'd all agree that July, 2015 was a most eventful month for all three of us. 
Choose one day out of this memorable month and focus on it and what happened.  Write about why it stands out to you as especially noteworthy.
You can see and read Carol's photo-essay of her 29th wedding anniversary, here. Christy wrote about the toughest day of July and how love prevailed, here.

I decided late in the spring to travel to Kellogg for most of the month of July.

I wanted to see Mom and be of any help I could has she continues to recover from her fall and broken arm she suffered back in March. I also wanted to pitch in and help Christy and Everett move from Martin Creek to Kellogg where they have moved into the house next door to Mom.  Along with Christy, I also got to help keep up Carol and Paul's yard and look after their Poms while they and Cosette traveled to San Francisco.

And, as always, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my lifelong friends in North Idaho and Eastern Washington.

Fortune smiled on me in July. On the 28th, I left Kellogg knowing I had enjoyed several good times and a great party with with lifelong friends. I ate three great breakfasts out in CdA! I got to help members of the KHS Class of '73 celebrate turning 60. My sisters and I had a fun day in CdA and Spokane on July 28th. Stu joined us at the end of that day. I flew back to Baltimore knowing I had been of help to both of my sisters and my mom.

Then, to top it all off, back at Ft. Belvoir Community in Northern Virginia, Molly gave birth to Ana Maria on July 28th and I got to see her a day later at her new home in Silver Spring when I arrived back home from Kellogg.

If this had been any other month, I would write about the birth of Ana Maria as the most noteworthy day.

This wasn't any other month, though, because on Monday, July 6th, a huge change occurred that I'm sure will have transformative effects on my family in Kellogg beyond what we can imagine.

On July 6th, Carol, Molly R., and I drove to Martin Creek to help load Christy and Everett's U-Haul truck and to help them move their belongings to their new house next door to Mom in Kellogg.

When we arrived, Paul and Everett and Christy were well underway getting the truck loaded.  Paul took charge of arranging the goods in the truck and the rest of us brought boxes and furniture and other possessions out of the house and garage in the mid-90s heat.

Once back in Kellogg, we feasted on the food Christy brought home to Mom's from Panda Express and several of us enjoyed a cool nightcap of gin and tonics in camping chairs in Christy and Everett's living room.

None of what happened that day was especially noteworthy, but the possibilities this move holds for goodness in our family is beyond noteworthy.

It's profound.

First of all, Christy is moving back to our hometown where lifelong friends live and where she and Everett no longer have to endure the demands of day to day life in the country. Not only will their gardening and property upkeep demands lessen in Kellogg, but now, if they need to go to the store or buy some hardware or go to the bank , they can go down the street, not make excursions into Kettle Falls or Colville.

Moreover, Christy is newly retired. Her daily commute into Inchelium is done. So are the day to day demands teaching put on her spirit, mind, and body.  She had a wonderful career, but it had run its course and Kellogg will be a restful place to live.  It's quiet. The pace is slow. She and Everett are buying a solid house.

Most of all, though, this move means that Mom will not only have Carol and Paul close by to help her out and keep her company , but Christy will be next door.

During Mom's dark days after her March fall, nearly all of the responsibility for giving Mom help and company throughout the day and night, of finding out what help was available to her, of taking Mom to appointments and to the hospital, and so on, fell on Carol and her family.

Not once have I heard Carol complain.

Now, Mom has both of my sisters in Kellogg to help her with her shopping, yard work, the cleaning she can't do, and with helping her fix meals when she's not up to it and other things. Mom is determined to do these things herself, but she's suffering from physical ailments that often make it impossible for to do such things and her once nearly inexhaustible stamina has greatly decreased.

Many people in Mom's situation become lonely and isolated.  Carol and Paul and their daughters, as well as Mom's next door neighbor, Jane, and other of Mom's friends, visit her often and offer to help out with errands and projects Mom needs done. With Christy and Everett moving in next door, Mom's circle of people she can rely on has now grown significantly -- in numbers, yes, but also in meaningfulness and trust.

Mom is working hard to stay as independent as she can, but she can't be wholly independent -- nor should she be -- and with Christy, Everett, Carol, and Paul nearby, she has more family members to not only help her stay in her house and feel less overwhelmed by what she needs to do and what she wants to have done, but she has more people to have fun with, to eat meals with, enjoy get togethers with, and go on outings with.  Just in the two weeks, Mom has had dinner at the Snake Pit, been to Molly R's birthday party, been on a tour of a Wallace residence's raised bed gardens, and enjoyed a visit from Lura and Lyle. Christy worked with Lura to arrange that visit and Christy and Carol both hosted backyard dinners. Mom was free of such responsibilities and, I'll wager, much more relaxed as a result.

 If you'd asked me just four or five years ago how I thought our family's future was going to work out, I would have said that the Deke and I would move to Kellogg and Christy and Everett would stay at Martin Creek and we'd all be closer together in that way.

But, I greatly underestimated the power of having grandchildren come into our lives and, so, I am far away from Kellogg and it's Christy who came back home.

I'll come back to Kellogg to see everyone and help out as I am able. I'm caught between wanting to see my Kellogg family and friends and to be as much help as I can, on the one hand, and, on the other, to enjoy life with the Deke and the rest of our family here in the east, and, to help keep our household running during the school year when the demands on the Deke's everyday life increase significantly.

I'm just fortunate that I can come out to Kellogg about twice a year and have the good life I have here in Maryland with my family here.

That day, July 6th, when Christy and Everett moved into the house next door to Mom has increased my faith that that Christy's life will be even happier and that Mom's morale will continue to be strong. To me, being in good spirits and knowing she has people for good company and to turn to for help is the key to Mom's well-being and I trust that having both Christy and Carol in Kellogg will be a profound help as Mom enjoys her life in her mid-80s and beyond.

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