When I reached for my coffee cup this morning, my right upper arm, quite unexpectedly, screamed a silent “OUCH!” to me. What had I done to deserve this new pain, I wondered. Oh yeah, I reflected, it was the kid. Quality time baby sitting it was. In trying to help out our daughter suffering with a sniffling, sneezing, head stuffed up cold, we had offered to keep little Margaret for a few hours yesterday. The few hours turned into an over night visit, which is great because it takes time to get past the point where its all about hello and what do you want to eat, play with, watch on tv, etc. When the rhythms of her day become settled, well perhaps that is not the right word as settled is seldom her thing, but when she allows the time to sit and be read to or to be held, that is sweet. But back to my screaming arm and why and how it came to be. Holding her of course.
In a post afternoon nap stupor she wanted to be held. In a cuteness that can not be described with any level of reality, she looks up, holds her arms to you and says, “I hold you” with a strong emphasis on the “I” then “hoed you”, and you comply, of course. Little Margaret is now two, and nearly, or maybe there, at thirty pounds, and while I am used to lugging heavy feed sacks and pushing thousand pound horses around, I have long been out of training for holding a thirty pound kid on one hip for long periods of time. So yesterday, as her cobwebs cleared, and while she watched her grand dad, Uno, introduce her to the wonders of Play Dough, I held her. I finally gave up when my arm was dead, finger tips numb, and my thigh muscles were in spasms, and put her on a stool to continue the Play Dough session with her Uno.
Later, last night, I wondered why my arm shook when I reached to the ice maker with my glass, and noticed an unexpected and uncontrollable quivering to my hand as it waited for the clear cubes to drop in. My arm has never been the same since a rowdy horse pulled it from its roots years ago now, dislocating the top of the arm to the middle of my sternum, blowing the joint to shreds, pulling and pinching nerves to their end, changing my daily life forever. Surgery tried to amend but came short, so I have learned to cope with a defective limb, but was surprised at this new level of trembling and quivering. This morning, my pain reminds me of the source of this strain, the holding of the kid, and it is a sweet pain.
We talked last night, Mark and I, of how the seasons have come to pass so quickly and how there really isn’t any point in taking the Christmas tree down because next week will be Christmas again. Margaret is now two, having passed this milestone in early December. She is now the self proclaimed “Dr. Super Margaret” having gotten both a super girl cape and a toy stethoscope from Santa. It was, only yesterday that we opened the door to the delivery room to find her newly born laying on her mommie’s chest. Now, she is a toddler, running on tippy toes through the house and around the farm yard, squealing, laughing, and bringing us joy as we follow her and try to keep her away from all of the things that might hurt this precious package of life.
So today our house is a wreck, and now sadly quiet, with her gone. I have this morning’s oatmeal in my hair and everything below waist high in the house has been relocated at least three times. The piano bench has been painted yellow and her toys lay strewn from room to room, and, my arm hurts. The fact that our band has a gig tonight and I, as the drummer, and will need it to be semi-functional for a few hours, is going to be interesting. In all though, this grandparent thing with the exclusion of having to change some really special diapers, is good.
And so the year is closing out with a new one hot on its trail. Birthdays have come and gone and Santa’s visit was brief as they all seem to be. This year’s Christmas had a few more elements of chaos than normal, but that begs the question, “what is normal?” Certainly none for me have ever been the same. The family changes with births, deaths, and with marriages and with them, the traditions. Traditions are a nice framework to go by, but they all morph as the need directs, and I suspect that next year will have its own significant changes in many ways.
One very big change we know of and are waiting on, is a new addition to the grand kid pool. Our youngest daughter is expecting a girl on Ground Hog day. The new baby is to be named Marilyn after Mark’s mother, the grand mother who our daughter never got to know having been born years after Marilyn had died. A recent 3-D ultrasound picture we saw, showed baby Marilyn to be quietly resting, floating in time, waiting for her grand entrance into life. Another human, another being, unlike any other.
Life in a continuum, goes on.