Distractions

social media

I’m distracted by social media and the Internet far too much. I would love to “give it up” completely, but it’s pull is very strong. How do those who have a healthier “relationship” with it keep it in check? I’ve deactivated my FB several times, not as a means to be “dramatic”, but as a way to, sadly, keep my spare time with my son and schoolwork in a more appropriate balance. It’s far too easy to get on and check for the latest updates and then fall down the rabbit hole.

I recently (as in, tonight) decided to give it up once again. Maybe I will at least last until the end of the semester so that I can focus all my attention on my school, Finn, and my new job. Maybe I won’t. I’m not worried about what other people think. I’m more trying to train myself not to reach for my phone first thing in the morning and to enjoy sitting on the couch with my son in the mornings (or afternoons now) doing absolutely nothing with my hands other than just holding him and cuddling, as opposed to rapidly moving my thumbs across my phone as I normally do.

Here are the reasons why my relationship with social media has become unhealthy:

  • Comparisons – I’m constantly comparing myself and my life to other people’s and it’s not healthy. It will start to wear on me and get me down when I constantly compare myself to other women and when I stop to think about it— I am actually really happy with my life and I don’t need to feel any other way.
  • Sharing for who? – Sometimes when I go to share a picture or a status update I’m not sharing for the joy of sharing, I’m thinking more about the response.
  • Empty relationships – A lot of my friendships have been maintained strictly through social media and I’ve started to wonder if that’s a friendship at all. If the only contact we maintain is a “like” or a comment here or there, are we really friends?
  • Public relationships – A lot of times I feel like my relationships with people are on public display and it feels phony. Relatives will say things to me that they don’t even say in person or I have to act like I am overly close with a friend because they said something nice when we really have no other contact outside of this medium.
  • Oversharing – This is something I struggle with. I’m a writer. Or at least I have always thought of myself as one. So I have this constant need to share and write whatever is going on in my head — which is a lot! At the same time, I’m always worried about this perfect balance of what is too much and not coming across as somebody who sits on my phone all day sharing every thought that comes to my head. Though, that’s really how it is some days! Also social media is an easy way for me not to write in other avenues, such as my blog; so it’s hindered me in a lot of ways.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still many plusses to social media and I’ve enjoyed them throughout the years but I’ve really developed an unhealthy relationship and I’m genuinely wondering if it could be an “addiction”. I don’t want my son to always see my glued to my phone and I don’t want to always be distracted from my studies by it.

We’ll see how I do – here goes!

I’m Thankful For…

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I’m thankful for The Count who does most of the bedtime routine with Finn. We always start out together and I take care of all of the logistical stuff like brushing his teeth, filling his milk, changing his sheets if they need changing, adding water to his humidifier… but he’s the patient one who will rock him in the rocking chair longer than is really necessary or play with him longer than he really should. I can usually sneak away and leave them to each other and listen on the baby monitor to their bedtime conversations or songs and I love that.

I’m thankful for my brother who got some much needed help and seems to finally be on a much needed new path for himself. He is a whole new person to be around and it’s created an entirely new family dynamic around the house. I feel so much less tense and life feels so much easier now. I hope this continues but of course there’s a little part of me that will always feel skeptical. For now though, I am thankful for this peace.

I’m thankful for my new healthy eating. I know I recently said I was fine with how I looked and my body and I still am… but something got into me this past week and I felt that I needed some control in my life and I realized that I had control over everything I put into my body! So, I woke up on Monday and starting eating healthy and I haven’t stopped and am not looking back. I have lost 3 1/2 pounds already, amazingly enough. I’m thankful that I found this motivation.

I’m thankful that my mom is coming home tonight after spending 3 weeks in California. I have weathered the storm here without her for 3 whole weeks and while things have finally calmed, I am glad she will be coming home. I feel like the weight of the household has been on me and it will be nice to have somebody to share the load with. Plus, Finn’s missed her a whole lot and it will be nice for his world to go back to normal with all his people in one place (and piece).

I’m thankful for my new planner which is going to keep me organized all year. That’s the plan anyways. With 5 online classes of my own, 2 online classes to grade, Finn’s 2 preschool programs, swim lessons, bills, and then of course The Count’s ever-changing schedule… life is very hectic. I thought I’d try sticking to a system and see how it goes. I love my new planner and already feel inspired and motivated to succeed.

Most of all, I’m thankful for this peace that I suddenly am filled with and haven’t felt in such a long time. I feel like my family and our home is filled with so much chaos, a lot of times anger and resentment, and most of it was due to my brother’s mental illnesses. I have been working really hard lately to change my attitude about the whole thing lately and even though I always ALWAYS knew that mental illness was a disease, I think until you have lived, breathed, and bled it everyday, you don’t know how challenging it is to truly accept that. And when the person doesn’t ever get the help they need and you are completely helpless and can only really watch all the lives it affects hang in the balance… it makes it exponentially harder! I’ve been making more of an effort to recognize the changes he’s been making and trying to do everything I can to support him. It’s a long, hard road but his attitude and heart are in the right place right now and I guess that’s all that matters at this point.

I’m also thankful for The Count for being the best bug killer around.

Disneyland Trip: Day 2

Our second day on our trip to Disneyland was spent at the park itself. I won’t go on and on and make this some post about what to do, where to go, what to see because there are so many better ones out there, but I’ll share what we did and what worked for us.

First of all, we made sure to take advantage of the Magic Morning early park entry. We didn’t get there right at 8, but pretty close to it. There was a line already queuing but it wasn’t bad at all. I think we waited 10 minutes at most. Also, we were bad and passed Finn off as under 3, but saved a lot of money by doing so. Something tells me that happens a lot. Next time, we won’t get away with that!

One sad thing during our visit was that the Peter Pan ride was closed. Oh and the only other things we missed at Disneyland were: the Astro Orbiter, Casey Jr. Train, the Disneyland Train, Tom Sawyer’s Island, and Mark Twains Riverboats. I’d say we did pretty well.

I will advise to eat breakfast before you get to the park. At least if you have kids. I don’t know if you are single, coupled, with friends and you have lots of time to do whatever… but we had minimal time to dilly-dally. We had to get in and queue up to avoid as many lines as we could with the little ones so skipping breakfast in the park was vital. Fantasy Land gets packed fast so we tried to do all the rides we could there during the Magic Morning hour. We got right in to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, but by the time we got out Dumbo was INSANE. We waited like 10 minutes for that which was an eternity for a kid who had never waited that long for anything in his life. Trust me, he learned quick that waiting was the name of the game. It only got longer. Alice in Wonderland was about 25 minutes. We got right in to Snow White and Pinocchio. Tea Cups was maybe 5 minutes. The Storyland one was super crazy and hot baking out in the sun. Anyways, you get the idea. No breakfast in the park could be had (although those Mickey waffles look amazing)! We packed a lot a lot of snacks for the kids and we ate from the carts as we walked. It worked out marvelously. We ate one sit-down meal each day we were in the park in order to keep expenses down but ate lots and lots of churros. My only regret was that I didn’t eat more Mickey pretzels. :( I wasn’t really happy with lunch. We ate between Adventure Land (is that what it’s called?) and Frontier Land at this place with mediocre food. I can’t even remember what I ate, all I know is it cost almost $50 for all 3 of our meals. Then the next spot over after we left we all saw they had chicken fingers and french fries and greasy delicious cheaper food galore. So, my tip would be, don’t eat at the first restaurant you find!!!

Okay, on to the picture show!

This is just to show that our days using the pack ‘n play are over. Finn ended up in our bed every night. On my side of course. You see that tiny spot on the left? That’s where I slept. The Count had the whole rest of the bed.

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This pic on the left cracks me up – it is so fun. You can’t tell him what to do or make him pose for pics. “I do what I want!” And then on the right is 60 seconds later, happy as a clam about to walk down Main Street.Disney_07

I happen to think The Count looks like a super model here.Disney_08

Finn was so nervous the first few rides. He didn’t like them and kept asking to go home. We were kind of nervous ourselves about how the next 3 days were going to go if he didn’t like going on rides, but he warmed up!Disney_09

My favorite pics of the trip ended up being the selfies we took. Here we are on Dumbo.Disney_10

I got so sick on the Tea Cups. That, Indiana Jones, and the Screamin’ rollercoaster at California Adventure were the worst for me. But I still went on Tea Cups twice. Just not with the Count — he got too into it, as you can see!Disney_11 Disney_12

Finn enjoyed the Jungle Cruise and he still talks about it. I took him on it alone while the guys went on Indiana Jones. The line for this ride was quite deceiving. It didn’t look that bad but then it kept going around and around and it ended up being around 45 minutes! It was worth it. Cheesy but good for the kids.Disney_13

After the guys did Indiana Jones, we switched with the kiddos and the girls went on the ride while the guys took the kids to Tarzan’s Treehouse. Finn probably could have stayed there all day.Disney_14 Disney_15

Charlotte and Finn zonked out (yaaaaassssss), so Tiffany and I chilled out in some shade while everybody else (including Brayden who was still going strong!) went on the Buzz Light Year ride in Tomorrow Land.Disney_16

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On the Monorail. Finn — always one hand on each of us. Another great selfie of the 3 of us. :)Disney_18

Finn contemplating the future of tomorrow.Disney_19

And I can’t believe we didn’t get better pictures of Finn’s FAVORITE RIDE on this day. We went on It’s a Small World 3x total during this trip. He just loved it.Disney_23 Disney_20 Disney_21

A final ride on the Tea Cups with Brayden and Julie while waiting to meet up with the dads who snapped this pic of us.Disney_22

There was SO much more to day 1, but this was really the highlights. Our friends T&T and their kids left early this day and then us and J&J had dinner in Tomorrowland watching a Beatles tribute band which was fun and the kids really liked. We left about 8 this night and pretty much crashed, but not before face timing with Grandmas before bed and watching the fireworks from our bed!

Disneyland Trip: Day 1

I need to post about something that makes me sickeningly happy. Right now, that’s looking back on our trip to Disneyland earlier this summer. I still have many other things to back-post about but for now, I’m going to focus on getting our trip to Disneyland up as quickly as possible.

We were gone a total of 6 days. It was for the most part supposed to be a very laid back (travel-wise) trip with 2 days dedicated solely to travel. That part went perfectly according to plan and I will definitely plan for that dedicated travel time in the future.

We left about 10 or 10:30 once all was said and done on a Sunday morning with our caravan of vehicles (3 in total) and made our way to California. I think we arrived somewhere between 3 and 4 but I can’t remember for sure. The Count and I, as well as our good friends J+J stayed at one hotel together across the street from Disneyland (excellent decision) and our other friends T+T stayed at a more ritzier hotel a mile or so away from the park. I’m happy with where we stayed because we never missed the early entrance to the park and were close enough to walk (and no – not even like this-is-pushing-it-kind-of-walking-distance) so that if needed the kids could nap at the hotel (that never happened).

After we checked in to our hotel which I can’t remember the name of right now because my mind is like a big bowl of mashed potatoes, we walked to Downtown Disney. We ate at this little taco/burrito place, kind of like a Chipotle but I can barely remember anything about it other than that there was hardly any seating because if I can tell you one thing about Downtown Disney, it is effing packed to the brim. It’s like an attraction all on its own, except there’s nothing there except really expensive restaurants. So, it’s kind of baffling really. But the kids found it exciting and it was a good transition to what was to come the next day!

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The Lego Master

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Sometimes I look back and I wonder what pivotal point led us to where you are today. Where we are today. I know that life isn’t this winding path where you make one “wrong” turn and suddenly end up somewhere and it alters your path forever. Life is this never ending twisting path with turns and impasses and bridges and somehow we get to this point where we are in our present state. But with you I really do wonder where that pivotal turn was. Or is it really all in our heads? The whole nature vs. nurture thing… was everything that happened around you in your environment really inconsequential because of nature?

I feel like I have spent my whole life focusing on you and whatever state you were in and what flux your life was in. As I sit here, I wonder if your life is the needle of the compass that tells me where I was in my own life at any given time.

I have always loved you. Always. I know I used to tell people that if there were such a thing as soul mates, you were mine. Granted, I have grown up since then and don’t believe in this concept of soul mates, but that is how deep I loved you and still love you, even if my love is disguised as something else. I have also always made excuses for you. Is that what has hindered your development and advancement in the world and society? That you have all these people who love you so much that they are willing to do anything but let you fall?

I feel like while everyone around you has changed, you haven’t. You still blame and hate the world. You still think everything is everybody else’s fault. You still think that nobody loves you. You don’t see that almost everyone around your entire world has been about you their entire lives. Even as I have married and become a mom, I have to think about you and where you fit in my present and future life.

Mental illness is one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with. I cannot imagine being the one dealing with it from the inside. But because you are dealing with it, I am also dealing with it. When you are going through a manic phase, I am going through a manic phase. Not on the same level but definitely on some level. I feel the anger, the hurt, the out of control rage, the helplessness, the void of feelings… all of it. I can’t compare your feelings to mine as I will never understand what you feel, but you will also never understand how I feel watching you.

The last few years have been horrible. Like, nobody that isn’t living this could ever understand. It has become really easy for me to put on a fake smile and appear to live a happy life so that I don’t look like the freak show that I am. Some nights I have felt so numb that I actually found myself wishing you would just die. I thought, anything is better than this. Quit threatening it! My life would be so much easier. I would live a normal life. My son would live a normal life. I have never felt so much hate as I have the last few years and I think that feeling this much hate can literally kill you. I feel myself slowly dying.

The thing is… deep down I know I love you. I know I don’t want you to die. I know that if you did kill yourself that that would be the absolute worst thing to ever happen to me and I don’t know how I would live, especially with the words that I just said out loud. But you certainly don’t make loving you easy. When you drink you become this mean, ugly, volatile, and sad “person” and it’s not easy to have any sympathy. In fact, it’s easy to feel the total opposite. To know and watch you self-destruct and know you are knowingly doing it to yourself. But I do still have love for you. I do still think about you as I lie awake in my bed each night.

So how did we end up here? What long road or wrong turn did we take that resulted in us all living this nightmare? I want you to get better. I feel like we’ve been down this particular path so many times that I’m so broken and jaded that I have no more faith in it. I feel like this turn is more of a loop that takes us right back to the same bumpy road that we were just on. I want a new, clean, and paved road ahead. I want you in my life and in my son’s life. I don’t want to hate you anymore. I want to love you the way I’ve loved you my whole life. How do we get there? I wish I knew…

Is this for real this time?

Potty Training War

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We are by no means the poster children for potty training. It started off really good for us: within the first week he was peeing in the potty seat and telling us when he had to go and we even got him to poop in the potty twice! We thought we were potty training rock stars.

Then about a month into it everyone in our house got sick. Finn was one of the worst with diarrhea for about 2 weeks straight. This required us to put him back in pull-ups 24/7 (and even a stool sample to the doctor which was fun). We told the doctor about our reservations regarding the potty training and how this sickness and the pull-ups was setting him back and she sort of (probably wanting to shake us like we were overbearing crazy parents worried about the complete wrong thing here) assured us, “hey, he’s sick!” So, we went with it. And of course with that, our potty training was set back almost to the beginning and we went down a road of part time underwear and part time pull-ups for the next 5 months that had us pulling out our hair almost all the time and completely anxious ridden.

We’d leave him in a pull-up for naps and bedtime (and continue to) and until he would go #2 the next day because we didn’t like cleaning up the mess in his underwear and he refused to go on his potty seat. Well, because he has some serious constipation issues, sometimes that meant that he’d be in a pull-up all day or for days and as long as he had that safety net, he’d continually have accidents in his “underwear”. So we really weren’t getting anywhere. And because it was easier for us, we’d wear pull-ups anytime we left the house. So basically we had just switched from diapers to pull-ups and occasionally used underwear. Yeah what a racket those diaper companies have going!

It wasn’t until about a month ago that a friend suggested getting rid of pull-ups altogether during the day that our potty training really started getting on the right track. It was a total “duh” moment. Within 2 days he was almost back to where he was in December when we first started. Then of course we went to Disneyland (more on that later, I promise!) and that went to hell that whole week, but then once we returned we were back to underwear for GOOD.

Now we only use pull-ups for his nap and bedtime and he asks for his underwear in the morning when he wakes up. If he fills his pull-up too much in the night he doesn’t like it and will take it off and just free ball it until the morning much to our dismay. So, we’re on the right track now.

Except when it comes to doing the big deed. For that, he asks for a pull-up. Which is frustrating because he will absolutely not volunteer to sit on the potty seat. However, at the same time, as our doctor says its a good sign that he’s recognizing that he has to go and asking for a pull-up instead of just going in his underwear. The cleanup is much easier in a pull-up than it is in underwear, trust me! But this means we’re not fully potty trained and he most likely can’t go to preschool come August. The doctor says with his medical issue, it is very important that we do not force him on the potty and cause him anymore anxiety than he already has about going #2 but I don’t know if he’s ever going to volunteer to go there on his own! We do get him to go about 2-3 times a week with a lot-a lot of coaxing, so that’s something.

One thing we are getting really good at rocking is peeing in public. We used to always have to bring his special green potty seat with us and let him use it in the back of the car and then just dump it wherever we are (gross I know, but he was terrified of public toilets). Now we’ve graduated to using the portable seat that sits on the toilet. I just have to make sure I promise him I won’t flush it while he’s in the stall because he’s terrified of the loud noise. This works because he’s only peeing right now… when he graduates to other deeds, I don’t know!!! But I am so proud of both him and me for getting through this incredibly difficult and daunting part of potty training!

Everybody says it just “clicks” and one day he’s just going to be this potty trained machine… I’m just waiting and waiting and waiting for that day. Until then, you’ll still probably find me pulling my hair out here and there, but I think we are finally winning the potty training war.

Right Now: August 2015 Randomness

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I am bothered by people who become interested or fascinated with a topic and want to champion it, but don’t really research it other than sharing the latest Facebook post on their wall and spreading half-truths. They also get ALL of their information from Facebook memes or posts which is super annoying.

I am having such a hard time mourning and grieving for my grandfather who died last month because the whole process has become so perverted by my anger towards my dad’s family who took advantage of him in the months before he died and are continuing to do so. Therefore, after the funeral I chose to cut them out of my life because I cannot continue to have this anger and hate in my heart when I think about my loving grandfather.

I have had 2 lumbar spinal epidural injection procedures the last couple weeks and I’m not sure how I feel about them yet. The increased pain the 4-5 days after is pretty bad and I honestly haven’t been able to tell a major difference as far whether they are worth repeating so I’m holding off on the final procedure (you can get a total of 3) until I feel more conclusive about them.

We found a preschool for Finn to help me out with my 4-5 online classes this semester; I need some time to work on schoolwork away from him and with the Count working full time, this may be the only way to get that time. But not only did we find a preschool, we found a good preschool and one we are so excited about! Finn is going to thrive! We went to the parent orientation last night and then Finn got to meet his teachers today and I think this school fits right in with our personal philosophy. Yay!

I have been watching Gilmore Girls non-stop this summer and just finished the final season. I loved this show. The dialogue is quick, cheesy, and witty all at the same time. I love all the references to pop culture and the dynamic between the mother-daughter of the main characters – it makes me want a daughter, almost. And the guest stars on this show are out of control. Almost every episode I am seeing another recognizable face! I’m sad that it’s over (10 years late!) but I can see why it ended. The final season sucked, although the last episode still made me cry.

I have a like-hate relationship with my body. For the most part, I like it. I don’t obsess about my weight or what I eat or *gasp* workout. I know I should to a certain extent because I am getting up there in years and with all my health issues and my parents’ it really is something that I should think about more. However, truthfully I’m really alright with how I look. When I’m about 10 pounds heavier *thats* when I start to hate it. I lucked out and literally have a husband who tells me that he finds me beautiful no matter what but he especially loves my brain.

The Count has started studying for 2 different tests: the GRE and the PCATs. He’s going to take each and throw his hat in both rings (graduate and pharmacy school) and see what comes up first because we’re so desperate to get on our “feet” sooner rather than later. I love watching him study every night. Again. This has me all inspired and itching to get started on my own semester that’s almost a month away still!

Finn just started weekly swimming lessons and we’re so excited for him. He went to his first lesson and cried the whole time but he still listened, didn’t run away, high-fived the instructor, and when we left he told us he wanted to go back next week! So, we thought it was an overall success.

Yay for August and the almost near end of summer. :)

A New Semester in Life

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I have never been so excited or more nervous for a new semester in my life. I think the last I wrote on the blog about my studies I was going to major in education and be a teacher. That has since changed. I worked at a school last year and dealt with a lot of different issues in that time. Not just personality conflicts (teachers can be catty, holy cowbells!) but also came to this stark realization that there is so much wrong with K-12 education and I’m not sure if I really want to fight that battle. I think I’ll leave that up to those better suited.

Unfortunately, due to the demands of everything put on the districts, schools, and teachers, in my experience I think that 90% of “teaching” is discipline and classroom management and only about 10% actual teaching. I think out of our 6 1/2 hour day we had maybe a 2 hour block dedicated solely to teaching the core subjects (not just busy work) with no “interruptions” like recess or specials but within that block there are so many interruptions like finding books, redirecting behaviors, finding page numbers, bathroom breaks, etc. I think it comes down to the minutes, really. It was really eye opening.

Then you have the teachers. They’re such a mixed bag. I had a pretty good teacher that I worked with where our philosophies were for the most part closely aligned and as far as intelligence she was definitely further up on that scale than some of the others. We had a lot of deep and meaningful discussions about the state of education. She was also a first year teacher with so much to learn as far as experience and trusting her instincts. Some teachers, however, I don’t know why they went into teaching. It’s like my aunt says, some people have a calling, some people use it as a step up to something else like administration or post-secondary teaching, and others don’t know what they want to do so they just go with what they think will be easiest. They are SO wrong and that is SO wrong to do to the children. They hate their jobs and it shows. Sadly, this is what I saw most often where I worked. That or burn-out which is another very common theme among teachers. The pressures put on teachers is so great that I can see why most teachers don’t make it past 3 years. Frankly, as we ALL know, they aren’t paid enough. I get it. You get jaded. For more than the amount you make as a teacher you can work in retail and have exponentially less pressure. Sure, a hell of a less meaningful job but a hell of a lot less stress and one you don’t take home with you that definitely doesn’t let you work over 40 hours! It never ends for teachers.

I could go on about this as I’m sure a million other people could, so I know I am not being revelatory by any means. Since I was working in an elementary school, a part of me hoped that this would be somewhat different if I got into my intended secondary school. However, after speaking at length with a professor whom I really liked last semester he burst my bubble and let me know that high schools are just the same: faculty is just as catty, intelligence about the same, the will to be there is the same, and behavior issues are increased tenfold. He told me that frankly he didn’t think I’d be happy teaching high school and he’d rather see me go for my Masters. He even gave me a thesis topic! So, that’s what I’m currently exploring. I changed my major from Secondary Education – English to just English and I’m looking into the concurrent Master degree programs that are offered at my university so I can try to knock out some graduate courses while completing my Bachelors.

This is what has me so excited and nervous both at the same time. I’m excited to be attending the university and taking some really cool upper division courses (I’m all done with lower) in subjects that really interest me (hello Darwin?!), but it’s also incredibly scary to jump from all 200 level courses to 400 level courses. I have always had really good relationships with my professors at the community college and been well liked and done very well and this is a whole new ball game for me. I am going to be 1 of 400 now and basically a nobody. Another huge and mostly unwanted change is that all 5 of the classes I am taking are online. I am making this sacrifice for my family because we really can’t afford more daycare for Finn than we already have to and I need to have a mostly open and flexible schedule for work as I have been applying for part-time jobs for the school year. With the Count working full-time and being our “primary breadwinner” now, my schedule isn’t prioritized. So I am sacrificing my beloved lectures and face-to-face with professors for my family. We’ll see how this works out for my schooling as I have never been a fan of online classes.

Volcano Boy

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Finn is truly a special boy and certainly very unique. It is true what they say that you can try and try to “make” your children what you think you want, but ultimately they will be their own person. This is a very candid and personal photo of our favorite little guy. This is him. The real deal. He loves grandma’s tank tops and shirts and tonight he found a bunch of jewelry and 2 large weeds that Dada had pulled out of the front yard that he had one in each hand (not pictured) and was waving them around, while covered in stickers, saying he was a “Volcano Boy”. I don’t know where he gets this stuff. I don’t know why he prefers our shirts to his. But I seriously just adore him just like he is. His individuality suits him just fine. He’s perfect!

Farewell Gramps

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My grandpa is dying. Yes, he’s been “dying” for a long time. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer 2 years ago and it has slowly been spreading into all of his other organs including his bladder, kidneys, and bones. He’s had a few falls and had to have surgery on his brain at least twice. Through all this he has been on almost NO medication his entire life. He has been a huge proponent of vitamins and took at least 30 of them daily for the last 30 years. Up until the last 3 years he was still going on regular cruises (with his girlfriend!), snorkeling in Cancun (for my wedding!), traveling the country to see all the National Parks, and up until about a year and a half ago — still driving! Oh, did I mention he is 98 1/2 years old? He has lived through two world wars (he was born at the tail end of WWI) and fought courageously during WWII. He served a total of 34 years of combined service as he retired from the FAA in 1973. He is an amazing man.

He has been one of the luckiest to have made it to almost 100 and not lost even a shred of who he was. He is sharp as a tack. No, sharper. He has never forgotten a name or a face, be that a person he shared his time with on his ship, the USS Portland or a long gone horse that belonged to a relative some 40 years ago. He is still there even as he battles for every breath and every beat of his heart and lies there with over 30 members of his broken but still loving and supportive family surrounding him. I sit here and I wonder if that is a blessing or a curse? Would it have been nicer to have been able to check out a while ago while waiting for your ridiculously stubborn body to finally give in to cancer? Or is having your mind 100% (maybe 98%) the way to go in the end?

Up until 2 days ago when he had a stroke and a seizure, we had to lie about giving him morphine for his pain because even at this stage of his death, he’s conscious enough that he didn’t like the idea of morphine. Until recently he thought that the 2 ibuprofen that he took every other day lasted and was all he ever needed for pain. That’s the power of the mind right there!

Despite all this and how he truly is one of the greatest persons on the earth that I’ve ever met (not without faults of course because who isn’t?), I can say that I am ready for his death. I do not like to sound selfish for for the last several years, every single holiday has been deemed his last “fill in the blank” and it has this weird cloud hanging over it. And then of course it wasn’t. I can’t imagine how that has felt for him and I’m sure that even though his body has been tough and as strong as it possibly could, it must get old to see just another holiday, another birthday, and be the last of your friends, the last of your shipmates, the last of your siblings…. the very last of everybody in your generation to survive. To have outlived your wife by almost 20 years and now your girlfriend of almost the same to be almost completely demented, might as well have outlived her, too.

Living to 100 must be an amazing “accomplishment” (is that a thing when talking about life’s longevity?) but it must also be very depressing. I’m ready for him to go. I will be sad, yes. You know I’m an atheist, so I don’t have any delusions that I’m going to be reunited with him, which is why I am glad I have been lucky enough to have had an amazing 31 years with him here on earth. I wish him peace now. And I hope that our broken family is able to get through this as peacefully and amicably as possible, although my hopes are very very small as there is a world of shit happening behind the scenes that is only going to blow up as soon as he actually does go.

Farewell, Gramps.