Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Momma

These last few days have been some of the hardest, most painful days that the Man and I have faced. We're sending Mom off to live with one of the Man's sisters - a wonderful, loving woman who is kind and sweet and loves her momma to pieces. 

The Man's sister will take good care of Mom.  Her family is so very happy to have Mom come and live with them. And we are glad Mom has such a loving home to live in.

But, oh my, will we miss this woman.
We bought Mom and Dad's house and moved in with them almost a decade ago when the Man's father was battling Alzheimer's. We helped to care for him up to the very end and were able to keep him home almost that long. We had to get more care for him the last eight weeks of his life, but up until that time, he lived in his own home. The home he built with his own hands.

We've had Mom living with us ever since. She's been part of our daily life. She's one of the family. And she's always been here.

Outside of a couple years in college, the Man hasn't lived more than ten or so minutes from his parents. And when we got married, we stayed around so we could be close to them. A few years into our marriage, the Man had a job offer in the South from a friend who had started his own business. We talked about it briefly but the Man couldn't do it. He said, "We can't leave them by themselves. It will kill my mom if we take the kids away from her." 

So we stayed.  I didn't live near my grandparents growing up, they were a couple hours away, so I wanted my children to have that - to grow up with grandparents who were part of their weekly landscape.

And boy, were they.
Mom helped me from the moment my babies came home. She stayed with me for two weeks after I had my first baby, J. She talked me through some pretty dark days when the hormones were flying and I wasn't sure I was cut out to be a momma. I remember crying one night, tired and scared of being alone with this little baby, and Mom just put her arm around me and said, "Things always look so lonely at night, sweetheart. It will look better in the morning. Just wait and see." 

And it did. I was so thankful for her during those days. I don't think I could have done it without her. She is truly a baby-whisperer. And a new momma comforter.

I find myself remembering that conversation whenever my minds starts wandering in the middle of the night. She comforts me without even knowing it.

And when I had to go back to work part-time, she was right there, willing to watch J for us so we wouldn't have to put him in daycare. And then K came along and Mom stayed with me for a week, helping feed and care for K and playing with J so he wouldn't feel left out. I don't know how she did it. She had so much energy and made it look so easy.

For the next several years, she watched my kids while I worked part-time. She would pick them up from school, take them to piano lessons. She took them to McDonald's and out for ice cream. She went sledding with them down the hill at the family fishing camp.

Up until the time we moved in with them, the kids and the Man and I would see them at least once a week, if not a couple times. We'd go to their house for dinner, they'd come to ours. They came to recitals and concerts and graduations and Christmas pageants. The kids went to VBS at their church.

K worked  alongside Mom, baking cookies and pies. J worked in the wood shop with Grampa and helped him rake leaves. They fished in the bird bath. Grampa taught them how to play chess and Grandma taught them how to hug.

My kids had the best. Just....the best. They had Mom and Dad. They had the childhood I hoped they would have, surrounded by loving grandparents and close family and friends.
The last few years have been bittersweet. We thought it would be the kids leaving us, moving out on their own. We've made sure to spend lots of time with grandma, trying to squeeze in every last minute while we were all under the same roof. Mom loves, loves, loves to engage J in political conversations. She asks him a question at the dinner table and he lights right up - the two of them can talk for quite a while when they get going. He brings her mending to do. J's always ripping his jeans, or a favorite shirt, and asking her to fix it. She loves that. She's been oh-so-needed and so, so wanted.

But now we have to say goodbye. Mom needs more care than we can give her. So we are giving her up. The Man calls it "sacrificial love". I call it horrible. I love this woman. She's been my momma for the past twenty-five years. 

I love her with every. single. fiber. in my body. 

But I don't want anything to happen to her while we are at work. So she leaves us. And she takes our hugs with her. She takes our kisses with her. She takes our love with her.

But mostly, she takes our hearts with her.

Love you, Mom. Mean it.

3 comments:

  1. Oh, Cheryl! I'm so sorry. This whole post was bursting with love. How far away will she be now? What love you all have had in your lives! And in time, those memories will outweigh the heavy heart you feel right now. Ay, though! It's hard.

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  2. Thanks, Val. She will be several hundred miles away from us. We are all so sad and missing her already.

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  3. Of course. I'm sorry. Now your sister-in-law gets to experience again some of what you all have had, though, but knowing that doesn't ease the ache any, I'm sure. Hugs. ♥

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