Sunday, November 27, 2011

Change is Hard at Any Age

It's been a busy month.  I know I say that a lot, but this one has been especially busy.  We've had Timothy every weekend while my sister worked, which usually meant picking him up either Friday night or Saturday morning, and keeping him until Sunday afternoon or Monday morning when he returned to daycare.  Meanwhile, Mam-ma has done pretty well.  She had about a week of celebrating for her birthday, including a visit from beloved cousins in Oklahoma who spent an entire Saturday playing "Chicken Foot" dominoes with her and taking her to her favorite restaurant - KFC, or "Kentucky Colonel" as she calls it.

My sister and her husband have decided that it is time for Timothy to return to live with his mother, baby sister Zola and Zola's daddy (who Timothy calls "Daddy," also).  So this coming weekend, the plan is for my sister and her husband to drive Timothy to Texas, spend a few days visiting, and return home without him.  After three months of spending so much time caring for this little guy, the thought of him leaving for an indefinite period of time is truly stressful.  I am trying to stay positive.  I know that Timothy needs to be with his family... but I am going to miss him madly!

And Mam-ma is convinced that Timothy will never see her again... which could be very possible.  Today, we visited her apartment, and she said to Timothy, "I hope you don't forget me."  I assured her we will never let that happen.  When we left, she asked, "Will I get to see him again before he leaves?"  I told her we will try to come and see her next weekend while he is with us, but I couldn't promise.  There were lots of tears and hugs and kisses when we left, and I felt badly, but this is not something I can control.

Thursday, we had Thanksgiving lunch at my mother's.  My sister filled Timothy's plate while I filled Mam-ma's.  I carefully cut up her ham and made sure to get the things I felt she would want to eat.  I think there was more thought required for her plate than Timothy's.  However, after a few bites, he wanted down from the table, and he ended up sitting in my lap, beside Mam-ma, finishing his lunch.  We brought him home late afternoon, so that he could wind down and get settled before bedtime.  Friday, he returned to my mom's for most of the day, while my husband and I hosted a football watch party.  We're all trying to make the most of these last couple of weeks before Timothy leaves.

I will admit that I am struggling with my feelings.  Last week, I said as much to my husband, and he said, "You are blue because Timmy is leaving."  I told him it's more than that.  I feel like my life is on the verge of a major change.  Having part-time care for Timothy these last 29 months has changed our world in ways we never expected and brought us both tremendous challenges and immeasurable joy.  And when his family moved to Texas in August and we didn't see him for six weeks, I was pretty lost.  At the same time, I have (gladly) put a lot of my own projects on hold since Timothy was born... never sure when the phone would ring and he would be coming to stay for a day or two - or a week or more!  Now my niece says it will be at least the end of February before they return for a visit.

And then there is my grandmother... she continues to decline overall, and I feel like some morning the aides are going to find that she drifted away in the night - or she will contract some illness or infection and be gone in a matter of days.  I know she has lost her drive and determination... and she is basically "waiting for the LORD" to take her home.  So there is every possibility that the next few months will find me with two less people to care for, and honestly, I am going to have some adjusting to do!

Clearly, my situation pales in comparison to those of you who have full-time care of either a child or a senior - or both.  But I am also certain that some of you know exactly what I'm talking about - you've "been there, done that!"  So I ask that you remember my family in your prayers... that you ask God to make this reunion of Timothy and his family a good one - and that He equip the rest of us with whatever we need to handle his absence.

My niece needs prayers, too... she will be caring for her six-month-old daughter and 29-month-old son while living over seven hours from her parents and the support system she has relied upon for all of her 21 years.  She is also dealing with the reality that she could lose her great-grandmother in the coming months and not be able to get home.  In a recent phone conversation, she said to my sister, "If something happens to Mam-ma, someone will come get me, won't they?"  My sister had to tell her that this was not likely, for a variety of reasons. 

So this will be a challenging week.  We will keep Timothy over the weekend until my sister and her husband get the car packed and are ready to head to Texas.  I have given this situation to God, and I am trusting He will guide my steps over the next few weeks/months... and keep me sane.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Wonderful, poignant post. I am not familiar with the situation that brought Timothy so fully into your lives, but I can only imagine how difficult it is to have him move so far away.

I can feel your niece's pain, on a smaller scale. We have to skip my extended family's Christmas (haven't missed it in 15 years, I think) because of other travel obligations that make it too expensive for us to drive the 6.5 hours back-to-back weekends in December, and then a 4.5-hour trip to Tulsa, after all the other travel we've done this year.

Sometimes the distance is too great.

Mam-ma should rest assured that Timothy will not forget her. My son and his cousin still remember my grandfather, who passed away a couple years ago.