Erich, Max and I spent an extended Labor Day weekend down in Pennsylvania seeing my extended family. It was a busy trip, full of both happiness and sadness. I’ve been doing a lot of mulling since Tuesday afternoon about family dynamics, what could have been, what currently is, etc. I don’t have all of my thoughts together yet, but these are Thirteen Things on My Mind After My Travels…
1. Before I grow too old or infirm to care for myself, I will make plans for my end of life care so that Max doesn’t get stuck in the no-win situation that my father and his brothers currently are in with my grandmother.
2. Dementia sucks.
3. My grandmother has always had complicated relationships with all of us. I obviously don’t know all of the history with the others in my family, but from my perspective, she’s a difficult person to connect to. When she was in a good mood, my grandmother was a lot of fun – going to fly kites, playing music, visiting museums, enjoying dining out, etc. She also has always had a mean streak of narcissism and can manipulate through guilt like the best of them. The problem is that now the manipulation doesn’t work because she truly doesn’t have control over her mind, and others do know what’s better for her than she does. The visit with her on Tuesday was comforting in some respects – I’m relieved she’s finally safe and getting care, rather than being home alone in her house, but her angry threats and accusations were difficult to hear, especially since I know now she’s truly not in control of herself.
4. We said goodbye to the Kent family homestead this weekend. The house was placed on the market, and currently is sitting with a pending offer. Knowing that I’ll never be returning to her home is sad. Like a couple of my other cousins, I’d dreamed of living there someday. But life took each of us on our individual journeys, and no one’s in a position to uproot and take over the house, so it was time to let it go. I’m relieved that the potential buyers are a family with two young kids – they apparently love the house and intend to live there, not tear it down and sell off the land for some soulless new development.
5. I get that the unknown situation with bringing the house up to code made the selling price and the “as is” status necessary, but $150,000 is a steal for a civil war era farmhouse and 3 acres of land.
6. My son saw both of his great grandparents, three grandparents, several aunts and uncles, and a whole mess of his first cousins once removed. Through it all, he was basically his smiling, babbling self. He’s so laid back about travel and being around “strange” people, I’m almost concerned. I may be the luckiest mom alive with how he took all of the lack of routine for days on end.
7. Yes, I realize that “Are We There Yet?” days are still to come.
8. I really didn’t get the time with my mom’s side of the family this go-around, but was fortunate to spend a good chunk of time with them back in May. I see my dad’s side of the family so infrequently… it was great to get together with them.
9. Sleeping in a bed, rather than on the couch as I did during my visit back in May for two weeks, was wonderful.
10. On Tuesday, my mom offered to watch Max so Erich and I could have a date night. We went to see The World’s End and intended to get supper after the movie, but instead we wound up heading home because we were both exhausted. Home from one of our first post-baby date nights at 10 pm. We’re getting old.
11. The World’s End was fun, but out of the trilogy, I felt it was the weakest and most disjointed. It will probably grow on me, especially because I know there’s a lot of layers and personal reflection in the attempts to recapture youth (but I didn’t want to think too hard after the visit with my grandmother).
12. Why is Interstate 95 in Connecticut such a hellishly long, boring drive?
13. As much as I enjoyed our visit to PA, I was so happy to have last night in my own bed to get a normal night’s sleep. Max was, too, since he was happily cozy in his crib when our alarm went off this morning.