Last week, well the last several weeks, spun us up, down, and sideways. Last week, though, created the biggest impact. In the space of 48 hours, family members ended up in the ER twice, and then landed in the hospital for surgery.
And, Phil and I ended up trying to create a sense of normal.
I'm not sure what normal constitutes, other than it's always changing. Things you never expected to happen or be doing suddenly become your everyday. You cope even though you're running ragged, sleep deprived, and don't have much of a clue about what's happening next.
You just cope.
I've often read that "normal is just a setting on your dryer." Guess what folks, normal doesn't exist on my dryer. I can see high, medium, and delicate, but not normal. So, it goes.
Right now, I've got carpet freshener sprinkled through out the house, and I can hear the washer chugging. The aforementioned dryer hums along nicely, tumbling blankets and towels. I've wiped down the kitchen, unloaded the dishwasher, and now, I'm sitting here trying to put the chaos of last week into words.
I'm so grateful for "normal."
Even more so, I'm grateful that I have people in my life that know they can lean on Phil and me, and, we can lean on them.
As one of my children and a spouse dealt with emergency rooms and hospital horrors, Phil and I stepped in, along with others to create a safe, loving spot for our grandson, affectionately known as Twit #2.
I started to type that because of his special needs, Twit #2 does much better when things play out in a routine he knows. But, you know what? Don't we all?
Because our lives our so closely connected, Phil and I know this little boy's routine fairly well. So, even with his mom and dad out of the picture, he felt safe, loved, and nurtured.
On Monday night, Phil stepped in alone, and spent the night with this little one. They played, talked, built things, talked some more....well, Twit #2 talked and Phil listened! Dinner got made and eaten; books were read before bedtime. Toys got picked up and stowed away in their places. Then, Grandpa curled up on the couch, and waited for the "kids" to get home.
Wednesday brought the second trip to the ER, and eventually a hospital stay with surgery. I began twit duty on my own, and then Phil joined me. We played, talked, put away toys, and fed our twit. Pizza got ordered and eaten; bedtime stories got read.
A phone call came, and I agreed to stay the night so our "kids" could stay together at the hospital for support. I sent Phil packing, to go home and sleep. Phil offered to come back with pjs and a change of clothes, but I've fallen asleep in my clothes many a time, and overall, I was pretty clean!
I wasn't sure how/when I'd get back to my own home, but I knew it would happen eventually, and nothing else mattered much.
I curled into bed, figuring out how to concoct a sort of night light, left the bedroom door ajar in order to listed for the twit, should he awake. Bob, the cat, perched herself on the edge of the bed, bewildered at seeing me in her mom's place. None of us, it seemed, operated on "normal."
Bob did make out the best; when else all failed, we fed her. She in turn, tried her best to convince us that we'd underfed her and she needed more. Sometimes it worked; sometimes, not. Truthfully, we knew we probably were overfeeding her, but Bob is one one persistent soul and VERY mouthy.
You know, I'm not even sure I have the above days right. I'm sitting here trying to remember Friday; I know we had our twit again on Saturday, along with twit number 1. Couch cushions got upended to become a fort. Train tracks got laid out, right at the bottom of the steps, of course. Grandpa got both boys outside for awhile, and the driveway and rocks got painted. Some trees got painted as well. Grandpa watched the two of them run to the paint, load up, and then run to the tree. Back and forth, back and forth, and not at all efficient.
Grandpa nearly suggested moving the paint closer to the tree, but stopped himself in time, realizing a lot of energy was getting spent. Energy that would not be coming back inside with the boys!
Hospital release dates kept shifting, and along with loving our twit, we acted as listeners, just there to take in information that needed to be shared - food gone missing, food that when it arrived came complete with a fly in the soup. Nurses who didn't seem to care, not even acknowledging their presence, let alone listen to and answers questions along with nurses that bent over backwards to reassure and get some food to the patient. The arrival at the second hospital thinking you were having a consult about the next step and then being prepped for a surgery you didn't expect to have, didn't quite know why you were having it, and just generally being thrown for a loop you didn't need to be riding.
We listened, not having answers, but answers weren't expected. Emotions just needed to be released and acknowledged, and that we could do.
Our patient came home Saturday night, and a bit of normalcy got restored for him. Twit number 1 went home Sunday morning, and Phil and I decided to replenish the groceries.
Our house looked like a tornado had touched down. Laundry screamed from the upstairs basked. We looked at each other and said, "Nope."
We decided to go adulting at a favorite winery. The winery wasn't going to be open much longer, but it would be enough to restore a bit of relaxation. A glass of one of our favorite wines for each of us, and a plate of meats, cheeses, and other goodies to be shared. We sat, talked, munched, and sipped while looking out over vineyards just coming to life.
I'm almost afraid to say it, but "normal" might just happen this week. By the end of today, my house will be more or less straightened, and laundry will be mostly done. (Is laundry ever really done?)
I have snail mail to create, writing to do, and photos to take.
At some point in our future, "normal" will be upended again. It doesn't matter; we'll get done what needs to be done.
We'll all be tired and out of sorts.
But, we'll do it all with love, simply because we love.