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Grandparents

Today just might be my favorite day of the school year. Besides being a half day before a 4-day weekend, it was Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day at my school. There is nothing more gratifying than watching my students proudly show their grandparents around the classroom. Of course, the grandparents were amazed by how much has changed since they were in second grade! (I’m reading Beezus and Ramona to the kids, though, so some things remain the same!)

I told the kids they could pick out a book or two and something else from our room that they wanted to share with their grandparents. Some kids chose math materials -Pattern Blocks, Color Cubes, Magna Tiles; others chose one of our many games and activities from our favorite store – Lakeshore Learning. I also made a Nouns/Verbs/Adjectives sort for the SMARTboard, pulled up BrainPop on the computer, and put Blue Moon in the cd player. At one point, I stood back in the doorway and looked at all that was going on in the room: some kids were playing Sequence with one of the grandmothers, two little girls and their grandfathers were playing The Sentence Building Game (Lakeshore), two girls were dancing the “Rabbit Tango” for their grandparents, and a whole group was gathered in front of the SMARTboard sorting and resorting parts of speech. The classroom was so alive with music and laughter and children teaching their grandparents a thing or two about grammar! I love seeing how well the children know our room and our routines and how much they enjoy showing their grandparents what they do all day. One precious girl stood with her grandmother and great-grandmother, flipping through the pages of her math book, explaining how she had sorted the spelling words in her Word Study notebook, and reading a few of the pieces in her writing journal. It is such a happy day!

The chapel was short and sweet – just right for Lower School students eager to spend the afternoon with indulgent grandparents!  I was enjoying it (especially the Middle School Choir’s version of John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth”) right up until the Headmaster said something about how we know how much the grandparents love their grandchildren. Then I thought about how Mom won’t get to go to Grandparents’ Day for Anna Jane, and I got tears in my eyes. My emotions are just so close to the surface and threaten to spill over at the most inopportune time.

I held it together, dismissed the kids to the people who treasure them the most, and drove home. On the way, I thought about how much Mom wanted to be a grandmother. All of her friends had grandchildren, and she felt so deprived of that experience. She looked forward to AJ’s birth, and HATED the fact that S and P chose not to find out if they were having a boy or a girl. Mom always thought it was a girl. She wanted that grandbaby so much! S and I were so close to our Oma, and I am heartbroken that AJ will not grow up with her Mimi.

This week has just been so hard. We just can’t get to a point where things are stabilized. First the calcium is too high, then the creatanine, and today, the doctors were worried about her low potassium level and wanted to admit her for the weekend. Mom said, “Are you kidding me?” and they prescribed potassium pills and a potassium drip to go with her saline solution tonight. S told me that if her level isn’t up at the nurse’s visit tomorrow, they will admit her. Of course, AJ can’t visit her in the hospital. Mom has had such a good time planning AJ’s Easter basket and buying not one but three possible Easter dresses. I think that has been a bright spot during some really tough weeks.

I will try not to be devastated tomorrow if she has to spend the weekend in the hospital. I know the doctors are just doing what they can to prevent any irreversible damage to her heart and kidneys, so I can’t fault them for that. But Mom was feeling pretty good when we saw Dr. S (the kidney doctor) this afternoon and was better than I’ve seen her in a while during the three hours I was with her for hydration therapy tonight. I just want her to have the pleasure of spending a holiday with her granddaughter. She felt so bad at Christmas that she didn’t really enjoy it.

There are so many  unknowns, so many options in this wretched “Choose Your Own Adventure” story. I can’t relax because of the tinnitus, so taking a nap, reading, or just sitting outside at Starbucks are out of the question. I am at the mercy of this cancer and how much damage it is doing to my mother at any given time.

Dr. S was very empathetic in the appointment today. He is not an oncologist – he’s the kidney guy – so he doesn’t know details about her cancer, but he can see from the report that it’s not good. He told us that it’s okay to be realistic but that we shouldn’t lose our hope. Not hope for some miracle cure, of course, but the hope of having a rich life together in the meantime.

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