Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Even the Dog Likes Her Better!

You should have seen the mutton-head going after my sister when she arrived last week to tend to the kids while I went to England to try my damnedest to be of some comfort to Aunt Margaret and my husband. Corrie -- that's the mutt, not the sister -- practically peed herself. That's how excited she was. And the kids? Well, I wouldn't want to unduly embarrass anyone, but let's just say...No, they managed to control all of their bodily functions at the sight of the fabulous Aunt Ginny.

As I wrote about last week, I was pretty much in despair leaving the kids. I don't do well separated from them. I recognize that I'm an odd one, and that I should be able to be away with them without hyperventilating at the thought. Youngest -- or Mr. Little Legs as Aunt Margaret dubbed him this summer -- had the hardest overt time with me going away. I tried to avoid having my panic attacks around him before I left. Daughter wept the right words and keened the right actions, but she's so resilient that I knew she'd hardly notice my absence. Eldest was truly sorry to see me go, and he missed me a lot, but, as he said over the phone when asked what he thought about Madagascar 2, "I am 12, Mom."

All four of them -- the kids and the dog -- had a better time with Aunt Ginny than they have ever had with me. They rose to the challenge of explaining what they do and when they do it and with whom they do it and how they do it. [All right, the dog was mum on that, but she'd have spilled it all if she only knew English.] They breezed through three days of school and then had four days off. They went to movies! They ate out! They brought pizza and Chinese and fast food and bagels in! They rented movies! They went on a freakin' safari! In short, they had a blast.

* * * *

When I was 8, my cousin Bruce, the 9-year-old fifth child out of a total of eight, was hit by a car and died three days later. My parents left the five of us at home to go comfort Bruce's parents and siblings. It was a heart-wrenching time and that heartache never healed for my dad's sister. Never.

One of the home movies we have comes from that period of time when my parents were in New York amidst the horror of the death of a child. The youngest child was 5 years old. In fact, Bruce died on Christopher's fifth birthday. The oldest child was 14. My parents got all the kids out of the house, taking them to an amusement park. The movie shows the kids whirling on rides. I never understood that action: the visiting of an amusement park during such a time.

I think I understand it a bit better today. We want to shield our children from the pain swirling around us. We want to shield them from seeing the adults they love shattered in the face of death. We want to show them that there will be normalcy.

Uncle Ken was 77. He had lived a life so very full. The hole he leaves in us is tempered by so many grand memories and an understanding that life ends. And life goes on. He suffered mightily in the end, so we have the comfort of knowing that the pain is gone. There's a great deal of comfort there. Not enough to fill a hole completely, but it'll do. It will have to.

* * * *
I am back. I am grateful to have known that crotchety old man with the quick wit. My life is better for having known him. My children's lives are better for their father having had a role model for what a good man is. Death doesn't take any of that away.

I am blessed, truly blessed, that my sister put her life on hold to come up here and be my children's amusement park. I've no way to repay the ever-increasing debt of what I owe to her and her husband for what they've done for me and mine. I am glad that my "me and mine" overlap with her "me and mine."


Sian said...

Love of any kind is a tribute. You put your life on hold to go and do what you could as did your sister.

Here's to family - my sister is my hero too.

cjm said...

Awww. That was a fantastic post. Especially the last line.

I'm glad everyone made it through ok. And that you're back.

Tricia said...

Welcome home! I have a terrible time going away from my child over night too, so you're not alone on that.

Your sister sounds wonderful. In my world, there's simply nothing like a sister. They understand so many things without us ever having to explain. How wonderful that she was able to provide the amusement park.

I'm so sorry for both the loses you mention in this post, your cousin and your uncle.

Giggles said...

You are an amazing loving mother, sister, friend and family member. I loved this post, it was so authentic and heartfelt. I can relate to all of it. I could never leave my daughter. It's easier when they have to take a trip away from you! Still difficult and I put my mind in a different place. So sorry about the adored Uncle. Yes we protect our children at all costs....I do anyway and always have even as a single mom for 12 years, my priority has been her over and above all things. Thanks for sharing your heart!

Hugs Sherrie

jenica said...

(((hugs))) yes.

Lori said...

I am so glad you made it home safely and were able to go do what you had to do, your sister did a great job with the kids, and I am glad I was able to spend a little time with her! You are lucky to have a sister who would do what she did. I don't have a "blood" sister, but I have many friends who fill in, including you, kiddo! Welcome home.

Maggie May said...

I really enjoy your posts.

D... said...


Jillie Bean (AKA Bubba's Sis) said...

You did a good thing by going - the right thing. I'm glad you did, and I'm glad you are back home safely with your kiddos, and that they all did well in your absence.


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