My People

My People
My People - Cosette, Austin, Oliver, Cody, me & Ryan. Just think, had I not lived, these people wouldn't be on the planet. They are my whole heart!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

All The Things

Almost three months. Longest blog silence for me ever. I told myself that when I could blog without crying,  I would blog again. It's still not happening. I can explain but I'm not sure I want to. I don't want to hurt anyone else. I don't want to throw a pity party. But unless I share what is keeping me from sharing, I don't know how I'll ever get back to blogging.

My aunt died last fall. The aunt who was most like me.... three sons, not as "tidy" as the other sisters... creative, always going from one project to another. I am more like her than my mom or any of my aunts. She was my mom's youngest sister, the youngest of seven children. She had several complicated health issues but the truth is... she died because she no longer had the will to live. Once her husband passed away in 2013 she felt - what I feel every day of my life - that when you don't have a "significant other" you are no longer significant to anyone. I've hesitated to say that because there are people who made a valiant effort on her behalf in the end. Her daughter-in-law quit her job to faithfully attend to her. Her son... her sister... in the end she was surrounded by people who loved her but in the end... it was the end.

I was just sort of stinging from her loss when Christmas rolled around. I worked hard at Christmas to make sure everyone got something special, personal, thoughtful... I did a great deal of my parents' shopping as mom was just not feeling well and dad was, as he always is, busy. I'm not a material girl. I shop bargains. I love Goodwill. I'm not into labels or anything. But I spent a lot of effort trying to make everyone else feel special and once all the gifts were opened... I didn't feel special at all. I felt, once again, insignificant. I spent a healthy sum on each of my kids and grandkids and I got ... from all of them in total... one gift. One small gift from one of my sons and that was it. My sister-in-law did get me a little extra something special because, as she said, I "do so much for people". And I do. I appreciated her noticing, she is one to always encourage me but she's a very busy lady and our paths don't cross often enough. So it wasn't ALL bad....but even now, three months later, I can't shake that feeling of being insignificant. When they say it's the thought that counts, that's so very true. And I just didn't feel that anyone put much thought into Christmas for me. Again. I say this not to make anyone feel bad or ... whatever... people had stuff going on in their lives. They were all busy. Or broke. Or... whatever they were. But the result was unavoidable. I sat in a room full of family watching people open lovely gifts specially chosen for them and I was so happy for them because I love them. But I felt very small and unimportant. There's no worse feeling in the world than being alone in a crowd.

It became sort of a tangent realization of what my life is and who I am to the world around me... insignificant. It's weird... because my whole life revolves around taking Austin to work and picking him up... getting Cosy on the days we have custody and also on the days when Tasha needs a break... dogsitting Oscar the dachshund when my mom is at the doctors or in the hospital. I've been trying for a year to string together a few days to go spend time with Oliver because there is so much that I have to do. I managed to squeeze out three days this week but then my pain levels became too high for me to drive that far alone. The weather has been awful and nothing affects arthritis more than changing weather. I found out yesterday that I can't get the prescriptions I need to be able to function until halfway through the visit because they're schedule... whatever. So I would be a hundred miles from home potentially withdrawing from three meds on top of the normal unpredictability of my pain which has been bad lately.

Migraines have become a huge problem for me. I've had them forever but they're more frequent and more severe. There are a lot of times that I have to be the one to pick Austin up from work so I have to wait to take meds to alleviate the migraine until after I pick him up. I've begged him and begged him to start driving but he isn't ready yet. I didn't drive until I was 28. I get it. Sometimes I'm not sure he really understands the toll it takes on me. But I know he appreciates me. And I appreciate how close we are, that he and I are a team, that I can talk to him about things I can't talk to anyone else about and vice versa. One night I picked him up when I was having such a severe migraine that I was crying hysterically. Usually I don't let anyone know I'm crying because I don't want them to worry... or think I'm having some kind of breakdown or whatever. Sometimes it just hurts so much. I've got a procedure scheduled in two weeks that is supposed to help... some medicine they put up into your sinus cavity with a catheter. I'm afraid I'll chicken out before then.

So all of those things that I just mentioned... they've been keeping me from blogging. From feeling like I have anything significant to say... from feeling like anyone really cares what I have to say... from feeling like I can't share my heart without hurting the heart of someone else that I love. There's all that and there's Trump. For an introvert like me who avoids conflict and controversy at all cost, it just reached a point where I fell like I was drowning in the hate... hate from others toward "people like me" who didn't elect Hillary... snide comments about Trump voters from every angle... and again, people I love who would be really hurt by my own comments or justification for the outcome of the election. There's so much bitterness still on both sides and I just don't have the emotional energy to wade into those waters. I don't watch the news any more. I can't.

What I didn't want to do is get on a soap box about all these things and use my blog as a weapon to strike out against the things that have hurt me. It's impossible to explain and not complain. I didn't want to be accusatory. I didn't want to leave on bad terms when this blog has been the only consistent thing in my life in the past twelve years. Being able to come here and open my heart has saved my sanity for so many years. It just lost it's joy for me. I have written dozens of blog posts in the past three months and deleted them without posting. Nobody wants to attend a pity party. Honestly. I don't. I would have clicked out of this blog two paragraphs in so if you're still reading, thank you.

Now... the good things you should know... I'm getting out more, doing more things, enjoying my grandchildren so much! I wish I could have more time with Oliver but I'm grateful that I get to see him at least once a month. They're both talking a lot and every time they say, "Nana" my heart just melts! My nieces are taller... more beautiful than ever... successful... just amazing creatures. I can't believe how incredible they are! My mom is doing well. She's still doing my laundry (LOL) and she has a lot of good days. She has a lot of pain too but ... she's hanging in there. One of my nephews who was a bit... let's just say, "distant" has become closer and I'm so grateful to build a relationship with him. Cosette's birthday is this month and I'm planning a "Tea for Two" tea party theme. We've had fun buying hats and accessories for our guests to use. When I Facetime with Oliver he always wants me to wear a hat and I go through them while he decides which one he wants me to wear. Austin is loving his new job and is training to be a shift manager. Ryan had a stressful start to the year but things are turning around and he's got some exciting things happening. Cody and Marquee are doing well. They're bummed that my trip to see them didn't work out this week and I'm really sad too. It's hard disappointing people but it's a reality of my physical limitations. My cousin and his wife got their pilots license and bought a plane! How fun is that? I slacked off on my Italian studies. I'm sure I'll pick it up again at some point, I just found myself needing to use my down time to rest more. I'm getting out more which means I hurt more but it's a good trade off for me. I've been watching a lot of Netflix, playing a lot of computer games, reading a lot of books about things that happened during the Renaissance. Walking is harder. Some mornings I really struggle but by the time I leave to take Austin to work I've usually worked the kinks out. I'm really ok so please don't worry. Is this an official return to blogging? I can't say for sure. I just knew until I explained the reason I had not been blogging, I would never be able to start blogging again. So that's it.

Hope you're all well. I miss your sweet comments and encouragement. Love and hugs, y'all. I'll be back... soon, I think.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What's In Nana's Diaper Bag

Never would I ever have seen myself carrying a diaper bag as I was approaching *gasp* fifty years old. Yet... my precious granddaughter's parents split up and we went through a hard, expensive battle for custody winning the right to have her spend time with us 2 or 3 days a week. Building a good relationship with her mom has meant that we can, for the most part, have Cosy time whenever we want Cosy time. That means that I find myself packing a diaper bag a couple of times a week.

Truth be told, my diaper bag is a backpack and not just ANY backpack... it's the backpack that Cosy's Aunt Marquee carried to college. Hopefully that's carrying some higher education mojo along with the diapers and wipes. It's easier for me because it has very clearly divided pockets and I know exactly where things are held.  So if I'm driving and Austin says, "where's ______?" I can guide him directly to it.

By the way... there's a whole 'nother blog coming about driving with a toddler who is accustomed to having someone in the backseat with her... adventures in Nana-Life, for sure.

We very rarely carry the diaper bag in with us wherever we're going but usually just have it in the car or nearby so that her stuff is all gathered in one spot. I typically wear a hoodie or something with pockets and I tuck her paci - a must have at all times - in my pocket or purse so it's ready when she needs soothing. For an extended breastfed baby who is used to being soothed by the boob, the paci is a necessity.

So what's in Nana's Diaper Bag?

  • diapers, of course, usually 4 or 5 which is more than she would ever use in her time with us
  • wipes, used more often but still, I carry far more than we need
  • two pacifiers with their holder - the holder is very important, more like the TAG on the holder is important because she rubs that when she's nervous/upset/going to sleep
  • two complete outfits including socks, shoes - or slippers
  • a jacket or some sort of extra layer, sometimes a blanket
  • her school bus from Leapfrog with a couple of letters - another type of security for her
  • a bottle of water - in case it's needed for drinking, washing off a booboo or... anything
  • toasted coconut chips - she's addicted to coconut
  • Brother's freeze dried fruit - usually two bags
  • tissues
  • several pair of sunglasses
  • Nana's handicapped parking sticker


And... that's it, I think. We never go far (other than that time we went to see Grandma Leta which is still not a very long trip). Most of the time we are less than fifteen minutes from home so anything we're missing we can get to quickly and/or buy. We don't drop her off anywhere - such as daycare or the church nursery - so we always have the diaper bag in our possession. When she goes back to her mom's we have a smaller bag that we all call "the go bag" that goes in between dad's house and mom's to collect the items that belong in the other home or are shared. Typically that would be dirty clothes that she changed out of or maybe a toy that she's particularly interested in having with her. For the most part, if it's a toy she really loves we will buy two so that she has one at each house or we just let her take things to her mom's so that she gets to enjoy it more since she's there more.

Today I'm going to spend a few hours with her this morning and then take her home to nap. Then her dad will pick her up after work and take her to dinner with his friend. I'm sure I'll have photos to share on my other social media!

Have a great Thursday! Love and hugs, y'all!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Comments!

Thanks for the lovely comments on my last post, y'all! I appreciate all of you who keep "tuning in" to see what happens next. It's such a warm and cosy feeling to know you're out there.

My facebook link is www.facebook.com/hdarby - Or if you wanted to search for me I'm under Heather Nancine Gant.

My instagram is https://www.instagram.com/heathernancine/ If you wanted to search for me I'm under HeatherNancine.

On both my Facebook and Instagram you can view my page without having Facebook and Instagram. If you find that not to be the case, let me know and I'll jiggle some magic button and make it work.

My Snapchat is HGant5. I love posting there because the filters make  you look awesome even if you look like poo... which I do about 90% of the time.

If there's something you would like to know about my life, my blog and so forth, leave a comment here or on my Facebook and as long as I can share without compromising someone else's privacy, I'll be happy to. I have blog readers who message me to find out "the rest of the story" and I usually share waaaaaay more than I should. I think what has made my blog interesting to read over the years is my transparency... or tendency to "overshare". I'm an old dog, I don't think I'm going to be learning any new tricks but... I do think I've learned to be a bit more careful not to embarrass or aggravate my loved ones.

Today was a Cosy/Daddy day. We went to Huddle House, the pharmacy, WalMart and then came home and played/watched Frozen. She went home around 1pm. Austin has been working 6 days a week and he's exhausted. I am feeling TONS better than I was a week ago but I'm still not back to my normal level of energy - which is low anyways. We had a bit of snow over the weekend and it's been so cold that there is still a good bit of it left. The cold weather really aggravates my arthritis so I'm achy. It was a good visit and we look forward to seeing her again later in the week. HOPEFULLY on Saturday when Oliver comes to visit!

More later! Love and hugs, y'all!

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Nana Life

Hello friends! I'm sorta back. On the way back. At least pointing my toes in that direction. Christmas still remains a very difficult time for me (we'll get into that later or on another post) and I just didn't want to open my heart wide enough to share the bruised and broken parts just then. I wanted to be, as much as possible, "in the moment", as the say. Despite fighting two different cases of bronchitis in the past six week there were many happy moments over the holiday season for me. Yet I am one hundred percent glad it's over (despite the tree still lingering on my hearth) and embracing this brand new year for whatever it brings.

For the record, this is being written under the influence of NyQuil, percocet and tizanidine (a pretty strong muscle relaxer) so hopefully you will ignore any misspelled words, run on sentences and general lack of logic. This is to be expected in these circumstances and I believe my writing improves when I'm slightly distracted - ala Hemingway.

I've done a bit of "re-branding" for this new year, although I can't change the URL without paying money to purchase my own which... maybe, we'll see. But I did want the blog to focus more on what my life's focus truly is: being Nana to Oliver and Cosette. When I was growing up and I thought about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a mom. That was truly my only career aspiration. Of course, in the course of events it turned out that being a mom meant needing money and health insurance and so forth so I was a working mom until I could no longer work. Now in my "autumn" of life, I have discovered that being a grandma - Nana- is an even better career than being a mom! Especially since being a Nana has fewer job requirements and costs less (at least in theory)

The point is... this is a season of my life that I want to remember... and I want to be remembered for. I remember lots and lots of little blinks in time with my grandmas but I don't remember much clearly. I want to make a record of the memories I make with Oliver and Cosette so that when I'm gone, they can look back fondly (I hope fondly) on the things we did together. Obviously, I have greater access to Cosette because of geography and my difficulty to get around but hopefully I will be needed around here a bit less and able to get out a lot more in this new year. That's my hope and prayer, anyways.

I've not been visiting here but I have been all over social media, as usual. I've posted lots of pictures on Facebook, lots of stuff on Instagram and I post regularly on Snapchat. Let me know if you have trouble accessing or finding me on any of these formats, if you're interested. I am going to try to be more intentional about recording events here, though so you can still catch up here if you're interested and this is your favorite corner of the internet.

Health wise - as I mentioned - I've had bronchitis twice in the past six week and strep throat once. What this means to my doctors is that I'm back in a cycle of my lungs being compromised  and will therefore suck up every stinking respiratory illness that comes within a mile of me. (exaggeration - but I am far more susceptible to things than most people). This is frustrating and discouraging and makes me all too aware of my limitations and I hate it. I hate having to take antibiotics but I just finished my third pack. I hate coughing. I've coughed hard enough to break a tooth, pee my pants and (I'm pretty sure) break a rib. Not all in the same cough but it could happen. I hate taking cough meds but I prefer the spaced out feeling of cough syrup to the problems I mentioned earlier. I go back to the dentist Thursday for more of the major renovation in my mouth. Then I go on the 16th to the rheumatologist who can hopefully help us sort out the auto-immune / lung connection so I can feel better / breathe better / do all the things that normal healthy people my age can do.

My mom had a series of unbelievably bloody noses right around Christmas and also broke her tailbone falling down the steps. She loved the whirlwind of guests and activities around Christmas but it exhausted her (and me!) Her cancer numbers are lower, which is good but they haven't gotten to the bottom of the nose bleeding. She's seeing her primary care doctor today and sees the surgeon (who did who pancreatic surgery last year) on Friday and there's an ENT visit in there somewhere. She's had some wild fluctuations in blood sugar and blood pressure so you just never know what her day is going to be like. She still does a lot of household chores that I can't do and that my dad doesn't do to her liking but we do have a housekeeper who comes periodically to help out.

Austin is working at a local pizza place and enjoying it quite a bit. A lot of things that were stressful in his life have become ... let's just call them "less stressful" and he's enjoying as much time with Cosette as possible. In the beginning when he would have a visit with Cosy I was micromanaging the whole process from packing her diaper bag to planning her outfit to what she would eat, etc. I still do quite a bit but the other day he decided he wanted to play in the snow with Cosy, packed her diaper bag, and made all the arrangements and he and his friend went to get her. They handled everything! I still did the Nana Nags like, "don't forget her mittens!" and "change her before you take her to dinner!" but honestly, he was full on parenting all on his own. It's hard for me to loosen the reigns, (#controlfreak) I'm so proud of him for being so involved with Cosy - seeing an opportunity to share something fun with her and making it happen. Nana was not about to step foot outside with the cold and snow and ice.

And that's the point and focus of my blog going forth... what it's like to be a Modern Nana, living in a three generation (sometimes four) household, living with disability but still finding meaning in life, living single and what that means for me (spoiler alert: Christmas sucked), being so deeply involved in the day to day life of my parents, children, grandchildren and pets while still keeping myself healthy enough to be of help to anyone, how I protect my "me time" without guilt. I always joke that the stuff I don't blog about is far more interesting (CRAZY) than the stuff I do blog but...I just try to tell my story, as situations impact me without harming or hurting or offending anyone else.

So... I hope you'll keep reading. I'm setting a goal of blogging twice a week, more or less depending on what is going on. Hope you're all well so far in this new year... please leave me a comment letting me know if you're still reading and whether or not you're a Nana - or whatever stage of life you're in. Love and Hugs!