Sunday, February 12, 2017

Difficult times, with some good times thrown in

I'm in a bit of a funk lately.  This is normal for me in winter, but it's somewhat worse when you have a friend dying, suffering greatly in the process, and can't do a thing about it (I know, it sounds like I think it's "all about me", but I don't; I just feel so bad knowing someone is hurting to such an extreme).  Added to that is the political climate.  Even Cliff and I are in some disagreement about things that are going on in the country, although it doesn't lead to actual arguments.  We just see things differently, and I've learned to avoid the topics that cause dissension.  Each of us knows how the other feels, so there's no use discussing it anyway.  Maybe all the folk singers I've listened to for years have finally influenced me; I have certainly drifted in some of my political leanings.  And the answer, my friends, is STILL blowing in the wind.

When I'm with my daughter and granddaughters, I vent, and they understand.  I've fixed things so I don't see a lot of political posts from either side on Facebook, but there's no way to really escape this situation except to stick my head in the sand.  

Even though she recognizes the President on television, the little girl who comes to our house weekdays takes my mind off the world situation and brightens things up considerably.  It's so much fun to watch her growing and learning.  Last week I bought some cheap "instruments" for her:  a harmonica, a hand drum, a set of maracas.  Monday we'll have a tambourine.  Friday was a lovely day, so after her nap she and I went outside with our instruments and marched to the shop, where Cliff joined the procession.  We marched around the yard making our noises, singing "Old McDonald", having a good old time, although sometimes the kid felt it necessary to instruct us on how to hold our instruments.   When Cora arrives Monday, I already know the first thing she'll want to do is march.  She will have to learn that we old people can only do so much marching, and there will likely be a confrontation or two, but we'll all survive.  

I think she is going to grow up to be a hoarder.  Any toy or object that she has ever touched in this house is expected to stay in this house, in its proper place.  I went through the toy box a while back and dug out all the rattles and baby toys, bagged them up, and put them away to either give to someone with a baby or send to Goodwill.  The child is in a phase now where she plays with baby dolls all the time, dressing them and undressing them.  She went digging for the baby rattles one day, and I went ahead and got them out of hiding for her.  Her babies have been playing with them ever since.  

When I began working on her potty-training, my daughter loaned me a musical potty chair she'd had at her house for her grandchildren.  Cora out-grew it, learned to use the big stool, but still occasionally used the potty chair.  I mentioned to her that I was going to send it back to Rachel, and she protested.  Finally, on a day she wasn't here, I put it out of sight and later sent it home with my daughter.  That's been weeks ago, but one day last week she asked in an accusing tone, "Why did you send my potty chair to Rachel's house?"

We've taken chairs and toys she's outgrown to the garage, where Cliff will hang them on a nail on the wall.  But if she walks in the garage and sees them, she simply has to have them taken down immediately so she can play with them.  We bought an old rusty tricycle for her at a garage sale.  She never used it much, and when her mom brought a shiny new tricycle over and left it here, Cliff put it in the back of the four-wheeler to haul off.  We carefully kept her away from the four-wheeler while the rusty thing was loaded, because we knew she'd object.  One day while Cora and I were in the yard, Cliff drove by us to take the trike and other assorted stuff away.  She looked up after he'd passed us, saw the hunk-of-junk trike, and said, "Where is he taking my tricycle?"  I told her he was just going for a ride, but when he returned with no tricycle, you can bet I heard about it!  

Yes, she's a hoarder.

As you can see, that little girl is a ray of sunshine in a rather sad and sometimes broken world.  I know people get sick and tired of hearing us talk about her, but the truth is, she is the happiest topic we know of.

 Grady was sitting on my lap playing with the string on my hat.  Cora had Buttons, her favorite.  Unfortunately, Buttons has figured out it isn't always fun when she plays with him and runs from her most of the time.

 Cliff and the grandson were cutting wood to heat the shop.  Friday was pretty warm, although very windy, and we walked back to join them.  Our pond is little more than a giant mud-puddle, but it's fun to throw sticks in it.  Especially when there's still ice on the pond.

 She goes everywhere in a run.

The grandson saw me struggling to get down and sit on the ground with Cora, and kindly rolled this big hunk of tree over for us to sit on.  

Yes, she keeps me on my toes, but I happened across THIS ARTICLE that says perhaps keeping busy is the secret to keeping the brain from aging.  I'm not normally a "busy" person, but anybody in charge of a kid this age is going to be busy, like it or not.    


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Children do keep us young!

Melissa Wiggins said...

Lovely essay -- well written, insightful -- ever thought about sending some of them to Reader's Digest?

Margaret said...

I agree with Melissa. You are so open, and self-aware. I too am fighting depression over the politics, the polarization and the distance I sometimes feel from others. I will need to find ways to keep busy in retirement! (without babysitting though)


Cora is a blessing, for sure. ENJOY every moment.

Calfkeeper said...

I can feel you, Donna. What with my mother's dementia, Ellen's type one diabetes diagnosis, the divisive political climate and lack of sleep, I am feeling the weight of the world at times. I keep praying and know that the Lord will see me through.

Ellen is still like that with many of her old toys. I read somewhere that young children identify with their toys; as in they feel the toy is actually a part of themselves. Which is why they protest so loudly when we adults insist that they share with other children; they feel they are giving away a part of themselves somehow. Just a few months ago, at age 9, Ellen finally let go of her Princess stuff; Barbie DVDs, princess clock, princess well as some of the Barbie dolls.

Eventually Cora will get to that point as well; she won't identify with the little girl things, and will go on to older little girl things. Kind of like an emotional graduation.

Mary Degli Esposti said...

I'm very sorry about your friend, & no, you don't make it sound all about you & your reactions. Not any more than anyone blogging about their own life would.

I'd rather a horse, the calf & the cats than a kid, but I can see she brightens your days, & I do not tire of reading about her.. or about you, Cliff, & your daily life for that matter.

Lori said...

I could never, ever get tired of hearing (or reading) about Cora! And I don't imagine any of your other readers could either. I raised two "hoarders," so I feel your pain. They grew out of it, to an extent, thankfully, and hopefully when Cora is a bit older, you'll be able to reason with her on passing things on to little children who don't have anything to play with or getting rid of one item in order to get one new item. Or...maybe not. :)

I'm so very sorry that you are losing a friend to a lingering and painful condition. I'd say you have a very good reason for being in a funk, and I wish there were some way to lesson that pain for you.

I can feel for you on the political front, as well. I try not to talk about it, except to Thomas when something just irritates or frustrates me too much, and I've learned to skim over posts that I know might make me see red. It isn't worth raising my blood pressure. Things will be what they will be, and there will always be something we have to put up with in this old world.