I have a selfish side. I want to spend the few hours when the respite caregiver comes, for myself. I don’t want to pay bills, and I don’t want to get groceries, and I am not even sure if I want anyone around at this point. With this knowledge, I have put off for most of this week getting groceries, waiting for Al to have a better day.
I thought today was it. Al got up, said he slept well, took his shower without tears today, and seemed pretty good. I decided to go get groceries with him after lunch was over. He seemed alright with the idea, so I fixed his lunch and we took off for the store.
We get almost there and he starts complaining of pain in his leg and ankle. My fault, I didn’t have any ibuprofen with me. I should have been quiet. I should have just turned around and went back home and got him the pills and a glass of water, but I wanted my own way. I had my mind-set on going to get groceries, and by gosh I was going to do this!
He tells me that I don’t care if he is in pain. He starts the poor me story all over again. I have heard it so many times these past couple of months, I know it by heart. Not meaning to sound cold and cruel, just pointing out it is said a lot. He doesn’t give me any silence, and he is crying and icky stuff is dripping down on his shirt. I drove listening to this for another half a mile and I was in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and I don’t know what came over me, but I slammed on my brakes pulling up next to the curb. I put the car in park, and I looked him straight on, and I said, I have heard enough, I can’t take this anymore. I told him that no matter what I said to help him feel better about himself, I could not do it. I told him that he was getting very close to needing more help than I could give him, and we were going to have to discuss him living else where.
He doubled up his fist, but didn’t touch me. He told me to call the police, for why, I don’t know. He tried getting out of the car, and I told him to sit still and hush right this moment. I told him if you get out of this car, someone is going to see you throwing this fit. They are going to call the police on you!!
I told him that I loved him, and I told him that I cared. I explained to him that I would give my right arm if I could fix this Parkinson’s, but I couldn’t do it. He went on to say the same things, he can’t walk right, he can’t do anything. I got out of the car and stood against the door praying for someone to take me out of here, just get me out of here. Nothing happened. I smoked a cigarette while he sat in the car and rambled on about how bad he has it.
I finished my cigarette and got back in the car. I once again in a slow, very clear voice, told him that I know this is frustrating to him, but I loved him, no matter how fast or slow he was, no matter if he was sick or healthy. I tried my best to console him, but when he said, no one cares, I put the car in drive, and in silence drove to the grocery store.
Now I didn’t care who saw him crying, I didn’t care if he was crying. The only thing I cared about was that I was winning this one. I was getting my groceries!
We got to the store, and I did my shopping. He sat in his scooter and went so slowly, that people were having to go around him, and he cried all the way through the store. I went through the check out line, the bag boy helped me with the groceries to the car, and I drove home. Me happy that I got my food, and Al still crying.
Thank God, he is napping now.
Being a kid still, I thought I was probably special, because I had something in my family that most didn’t, but this isn’t true, and I realized it the more I matured in life.
There are many families that divorce today. Families of the same-sex marry or live together, grandparents raising kids, kids raising themselves.
When I think back to my childhood, it was fairly normal for the most parts compared to other families I have come to know. I had a real dad raising me and a step-mother, doing the best she could with two instant kids added to her marriage.
My grandpa was the best. He was my stepmother’s father. He had big floppy ears, like the character, Dumbo. He wore farmer over hauls and white t-shirts. In his young adult life he installed heating furnaces in people’s homes. This was back when a house call could be made at any time day or night. Sometimes he got so busy, that he would ask my dad to help him. This was a part-time job for him. His main job and love in life was his farm. He was not my blood line, but I didn’t know it for years, and even when I did find out, it made him more special in my eyes, because I loved him, and I knew that he loved me also.
My dad’s sister, was a person that I saw on Friday nights at supper time. We all drove to dad’s moms house and ate supper with the families. When ever I heard her speak directly to me, the conversations always ended up being about when I was very young. She was a teenager herself, and had been given the responsibility of bathing me. I was always reminded of the time she got the water too hot, and when she took me out of the bath tub, she was shocked at how red my skin had turned. Other than this conversation, I never bonded too much with her. As an adult, when I heard her speak it was always the accomplishments that her own children were doing in their lives. This person, was my blood line.
My stepmother’s mother, my step-grandma, was a home maker. She was a farmer’s wife. She loved life, was a firm believer of God and always made me feel so loved. I went to her house almost daily, and sometimes more than once a day. Each time I walked in her house, she welcomed me like she had not seen me for years. She was a wonderful baker, as most grandma’s are. She had a huge garden, and canned and froze most of their foods. She helped grandpa raise, cows, hogs, and chickens, and they always ate the meat from their own animals. None of that chemical stuff you don’t always know that is in meats today. She was not my blood line, but I loved her with all of my heart.
My dad’s mother was my blood line. I remember one summer only, that she and I bonded somewhat. I was getting married, and she lived in the same city that I did most of my wedding shopping from. I ended up staying there for two weeks at that time. I spent most of my time sitting in front of the TV with her, while she watched her soap operas. There was no talking aloud while these were on, and she watched one after another most of the afternoon. I would find myself alone, taking walks in the neighborhood, or going shopping, or napping. Grandma was about grandma. Her whole world revolved around her. If she wasn’t the topic of the conversation, then there was no speaking. When we were small kids, and we would go visit, we had to play with our toys in another room, and we had to play quietly. This was my blood line.
After reading back over what I have written, I realize, without a doubt, that in my eyes, blood line isn’t thicker than water. It isn’t who was your natural mom and dad, grandma and grandpa. It was who loved you. Who made you feel special, who did the littlest things in life for you. It was the way I felt about each one, the bonding that is the glue of the family.
It doesn’t matter to me anymore who was this or that in my life. What matters to me is who I remember, who I still have the fondest memories of, who was there when I skinned a knee, or was sick with a cold, who comforted me.
I have lost all of my family now except my brother, and I have aunts still alive, and my step-grandma has been in a nursing home now for some time. She is the ripe age of 96. She lives in another state, so I do not get to see her anymore, but I will never forget her fresh-baked cherry pies, or her big home-made sugar cookies, or the times she asked me to go with her to Dairy Queen.
Blood line means nothing to me, and I have now given up the phrase that blood is thicker than water.