Monday: It's snack time at 4 pm. Alex is sleeping, Laura is out for a little walk, and Promise is sitting at the table with the kids. All is good for the moment.
Alex was a little fussier today and needed cuddling and calming. There haven't been many of those times. I hope it is not the start of a new stage in his life.
It's the "storm of the century" according to weather reports--for NYC and New Jersey. Not for Philadelphia, I hope. The kids all came home from school early. I hope they can go tomorrow. And, I really hope I can go home on Wednesday.
Michael left for Geneva this afternoon. So this will be an important time for Laura to have me here.
What has happened since Thursday?
A photographer came on Saturday morning and took a thousand photos--literally, I think. It was some kind of publicity swap for her, using Laura and her baby, but not the others on her blog. I was so bold as to ask her to take a few photos of me with Alex.
Michael took Sam skiing and Ruth and Jasper and I "hiked" at Riverbend where they had done summer camp. We checked out animal tracks--and our own tracks.
Jeff and Susan and their family came to meet Alex and join us for cheese fondue. Everyone thought Alex was great. They thoughtfully brought gifts for all the kids.
Sunday, I walked to St. John Vianney and worshipped at 8 am mass. One week of skipping church was enough and I wanted to go. The cantor was the model of what a cantor should be. I closed my eyes when he chanted the psalm and let the music enter my soul. The priest was genuine and low-key. During some last minute scrambling at the back of the sanctuary, he asked me what number we were singing! And then he processed with dignity!
I went with Michael to the Y with the kids and, because Ruth begged for Michael to swim, I got to watch the boys play soccer. It was a great practice. The boys complained later that their team lost the scrimmage and they needed to be on another team--failing to realize that they were 50% of their losing team.
Our last activity for the day was a trip to Longwood Gardens--more ambitious of a trip than I would have chosen to do, but it was fabulous to see the orchids there. So much color during such a dreary season was worth the trip. It amused me to see Laura and Michael driving the mini-van with four kids and grandma in the back.
So it appears I forgot Friday. The days get confused. Ruth and I made a shopping trip to Target and then got caught in a major traffic tie up typical of this area. I suggested Michael and Laura have a date night so they enjoyed tapas and tequila at a nearby restaurant. I managed all four kids without a crisis. It helped that they supervised baths before they left.
Through all of this business, Great-grandma VanderKam is under Hospice care in Kalamazoo barely eating and drinking and using morphine every two hours to ease the pain of her broken vertebrae. We thought it would be the end over the weekend but she is a strong woman.
When I return home, I will be immediately thrown into doing a Museum docent tour, practicing the organ for Sunday, and keeping vigil at her bedside.
I have prayed for strength many times in the last 12 days and especially during the last 12 nights. I will need to continue to do so.
Tuesday: Alex slept in my room from 10:15 to 5:15 when his mother crept in and took him to her room. I calmed him down around midnight and checked on him a few times. He and I both slept and so did Laura.
The kids are home from school due to a storm prediction--that never really materialized. Michael is in Geneva so I am glad I can be here to help Laura out.
I had my phone turned off so I didn't see or hear Jim's text at 9:23. His mother passed away this morning. I have spoken briefly to Jim and Terri. Jim is teaching his two classes this morning and going on as usual. I wept at reading the text but am so relieved and grateful that her suffering is over--and our vigil is over. I need to tell Jasper at least and he will be sad. I may post more about the end of her life later.