Life is funny sometimes.  Last weekend I was out of town and away from my boys for the first time and I pined away for them and lamented missing out on a weekend with my little fam.  But this weekend, when I was home, it was kind of the pits.   Although Friday and Saturday night were both very much enjoyable, Jason and I spent most of Saturday arguing (or, rather, festering away over an early-morning argument) and I got my first-ever migraine on Sunday, which completely floored me (literally – more on that later).  But that’s the way it goes sometimes, right?  We just keep on rolling with it.  And hopefully next weekend will find us with our chins up.

So… back to last weekend.  I flew into Burbank last Saturday morning so that I could celebrate my grandmother’s 92nd birthday.  I got to spend some uninterrupted time with my nieces, which was really great.  Since having my own kids, I haven’t had much alone, focus-all-my-attention-on-you kind of time with my sister’s girls and I wanted to live it up.  Be fully present and engaged with them.  And maybe spoil them a little.   I was able to talk with each of them in turn about school, their teachers, their friends, their hardships.  And of course, engage in all manner of silliness with them.

Hannah, 9, trying on hats with me

Emily (7), Mary (5) and Hannah at Build-a-Bear.
It poured rain all day  Sunday so we had to find an indoor activity.
This was a hit.  Whoever came up with the idea of this store was a genius.
It’s ridiculous.  But the girls thought it was the best thing ever.

On Sunday afternoon, my dad’s entire side of the family (save a few) descended on my grandmother’s house to celebrate her birthday.  I’m guessing this was the last time I will see her.  I suppose it’s never easy to watch someone you love age and grow into someone that seems less them somehow.   While my grandmother’s mind seems to still be relatively in tact and alert, she did not say much.  Very little, in fact.  She seemed to just be watching all of us move around her.   It grieved me to see her that way.    It felt both good and sad to be in her house again with all my cousins, aunts and uncles.  New and old family members.  My cousin, Katie and her husband, Dave, who are my grandmother’s live-in caregivers.  My cousin, James, who taught me how to swear (“what the hell, damn it!) when we were kids and his new wife, Laurel.    My brother and his daughter, who I seldom see and miss very much.  So many people I love all in one place.   We talked about old times and caught up on current happenings.   It was much too brief.  And I couldn’t help but think of the next time we will likely all be together again and it made me heartsick.

The only photo I managed to get of the day.  That’s my grandmother at the head of the table, nearest the window.
There were so many more people there but this is the only shot that came out.

As good as it was to be there with my family, I missed my boys and was very eager to get home come Sunday night.  A couple weeks ago when I asked our friend, Brian, about how he and his three boys were handling a week with his wife, Gail, out of town, I remember he answered, “Oh, we’re doing fine.  But Gail is a lot of fun and we miss having her around.”   That’s how I felt while I was gone.  My fellas, all three of them, are a lot of fun to be around and I missed them.  I knew that all sorts of antics, like the ones below were going on without me and I couldn’t wait to get back.

The usual before-bed shenanigans

Isaiah standing in my double boiler.

I peeked in on Isaiah and Gryffin as soon as I got home.  Smelled them.  Just took a big deep breath of them sleeping away in their beds.

The following week we were back to our usual routine.    Morning outings, afternoons at the Y, community group on Tuesday night, a birth on Thursday.  Friday night we went to the Seattle symphony and out to dinner with friends and it seemed like the perfect start to the weekend.  But Saturday morning Jason and I had a fight and it was just one of those that lasted all day and brought both of us down with it.  No good.  We did manage to go out for family haircuts, though, and our guys look pretty snazzy.

Isaiah took it all in stride.  Seriously, does this guy have a neck?

Gryffin was very nervous, as per usual, when it was his turn,
abut the promise of a treat from the candy basket kept him stoic and determined.

Jason and I managed to resolve our argument before I headed over to Kelly’s for a ladies night (I’m not telling what we did!  It’s too embarrassing!) and a night in with the guys for J.  Bad day behind us, we were eager to enjoy the rest of our weekend.  But around 1pm  Sunday afternoon, after a good lunch time with the boys, I had this strange thing start happening with my eyes.  My left eye in particular.     I had this fuzzy blind spot appear.  And while most people would probably just shake it off and assume it was just something random that would go away, I felt pretty anxious.  I lost all of my central vision for 6 weeks when I was 17 and this is how it started.  With a fuzzy spot.  I tried to ignore it.   I could tell that Jason was a little worried, too.  We both wanted to grab a quick nap, though, while the boys were asleep so we laid down on the couch and hoped it would be gone when we got up.  But about 15 minutes after shutting my eyes, I started to feel this strange pounding sensation above my right eye.   The pain got so severe so quickly, I could barely walk to the kitchen for some ibuprofen.   I spent the next 3 hours in agony.   On the floor in the bathroom in case I threw up from the pain and nausea and then in my bed in the dark.   And then, all of a sudden, it was over.  Just like that.   About 430pm I just walked out of our bedroom and it was done with.  I felt fine.  A little wiped, but fine.  What. On. Earth???  We googled for a bit and determined that I had likely had a migraine with aura.   Had virtually every symptom.  What?  Really?  I always thought a migraine was just a super bad headache.  But, uhhhmmmm, yeah, it’s much more than that.  I had no idea.  And now I feel scared.  Am I going to get these all the time?  Will this be affecting my life on a regular basis?  My work?   Do I need to see a doctor?  It’s neurological, according my vast googling yesterday.  What does that mean?   My mom used to get bad headaches and she had a massive stroke a few years ago.  Am I at increased risk for a stroke?  I think I’m getting ahead of myself a little.  I’ve only had one.  But still.   It was bad enough that I hope I never have another.  TIme will tell,  I guess.

I got this card from my uncle in the mail a few days ago.  I think it’s the first time he’s ever written me a letter.  It was kind of cool.  Receiving it in the mail.  You don’t get many letters like that any more.  This is an uncle I hold in pretty high regard.  A recovering alcoholic, he raised his two incredible kids alone, built his house with his own two hands, is kind and compassionate and just a generally nice guy.  He’s certainly been through a lot in his life and I don’t even know the half of it but I know that he is a good man.  And his opinion of me matters to me.  He told me that he had read some of the entries of my blog (a shocking turn of events, considering he lives alone in the woods with no internet!)  and that he thought I was a lot like his mom, my grandmother.   A compliment that continues to choke me up.  And he talked about this post and reminisced a little about his own kids, my cousins, both grown and out of the house.  And then he who is only recently an “empty-nester” and lost both of his parents this past year closed his letter with this line.  “Hooray, hooray for the continuity of life.”  So I’m trying to sit with that today.    Big sadness and small troubles might swirl about me but I got to bear witness at the birth of another baby last week.   I’m privileged to watch my kids grow and change and delight me every day.  Hooray, indeed.  Hooray, indeed.