Thursday, July 23, 2009

Life and Death

Irony is something else… just yesterday I wrote of daydreaming by the shores of Burt Lake and actually "publicly announcing” that we’re expecting our first child. Then the same day, later that evening, my dear Grandfather passed on. He was 95 years old, just. Apparently it was peaceful and I have no doubt that he had love surrounding him when he went. Everyone in his home told me every time I was there that Walter was one of their favorites. I have no reason not to believe them, they’re caring, big-hearted people who have an extremely difficult job, and enjoy it. I believe he was one of them that made it easier for them to.

My grandpa, Papa as we called him when we were kids, wasn’t really the type that you crawled up into his lap and fell asleep. But he was definitely someone you knew cared deeply for you. I think nearly every time we were at their house he’d get on the floor with us and build a car wash out of wood blocks for Danny’s matchbox cars to go through. He could ALWAYS pull a quarter out of your ear, no matter how many times you asked or even if you caught him off guard, we were none the wiser. I remember him being a busy man, I so wanted to help him tend to his roses that he took such good care of, but instead he found helicopter leaf after helicopter leaf for me to through into the air from the never ending supply in the back yard.

I’m finding this hard to write now - I truly miss him. He had that same gentle hand that Uncle Mike had, with just a touch, everything was alright. I knew two different Grandpa’s, three really. The one I mentioned, when I was a kid. Then when he and Grandma moved to Florida we were lucky enough to visit quite often. Those days I remember being amazed that his nightly walk was so important, and even more amazed that watching golf on TV could be so fascinating. And in those days when they would come visit here and I gave up my bed for him not once was a special note to me missing after they’d gone, thanking me for something I’d gladly done.

Then, when we FINALLY convinced him to leave “sunny Florida”, as he so affectionately called it, and move back to Michigan I knew another man. One that was proud and grateful all at once. You could see he did not like giving up his independence, but was also glad for the help. He did both with dignity, something I hope I can remember well enough to carry with me for the rest of my life. We had a lot of fun while he was living at mom and dads. He was always happy to see you when you stopped in and did his best with small talk. He had the best one liners, even the last visit Barry and I had with him on our own. I can’t repeat it; it’s no good without his delivery, but wow. He was full of them. Still to this day one of my favorites was when we were all gathered to celebrate his birthday (after he’d been with my parents for a summer, long enough to have eaten 6 meals a week straight from the grill) and not being one to lavish in gifts and celebrations was shown his birthday cake… “Bill probably grilled it.” Oh man, if you could have seen his face. Just a week and a half ago we had another wonderful celebration for his 95th birthday that I think he enjoyed quite a bit.

He didn’t change much after he moved into the home. He quickly won the hearts of the employees there (who happened to be mostly female) and gained a friend in each of them.

I’m thankful that we were able to tell him about our incredible journey to come and how thrilled he was to hear that we’re expecting not one, but two babies; I’ll just have to imagine what he looks like holding them.

I love him very much and he will be missed greatly.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1 1/2 weeks away!

So I find myself sitting here daydreaming about Burt Lake. And then in awe that I’m 31 years old and I still get just as excited about it as I did when I was kid. I’ll have to check with my mom about how long it’s been, but I’m fairly certain we’ve been going for about 20 years. The kind of excitement hasn’t changed either, the things we do hasn’t. I think the thing I still look forward to most is spending a whole week with my family, getting to see my cousins, my aunts and uncles, friends of all of ours. There is an unmistakable bond created by just being with extended family. You don’t have to say anything, you just interact, fun on each other a bit, play like you’re 4 years old again. And it’s all the things really.

Like driving to town with my dad because we need bread and it’s a foggy morning anyway, no good for swimming (of course it’s great for fishing but he recognizes that us kids need to escape for just a minute and happily takes us on his errand). Not like my mom who does her best to stay at camp not leaving unless absolutely necessary (or for ice cream), get as much relaxing in as can possibly be all the while holding down things at camp just like she does at home, which I also admire.

It’s things like sitting by the campfire and listening to each others stories, sharing games and the best part, just sitting with each other. Sometimes we talk about our best friends, sometimes we talk about each other, sometimes Uncle George will give his opinion on something like it’s the worlds bible, no one says much, all you can do is sit and reflect on how that could possibly be. Sometimes it’s scary at how much sense it makes, its so matter of fact you can’t argue.

It’s watching my mother-in-law finally get her time to relax and read a book by the lake in the sun, early in the morning. Admiring all the things my father-in-law can come up with the fix whatever problem you might have, truly boy scouting in the woods. It’s watching my husband bond with the family I’ve known my whole life and making them his, and him theirs. That brings a tear to my eye and I realize everyday how lucky I am for it.

I look forward to watching the next generation, Jackson and Cameron, play together in the water and run through the grass. And I look forward to watching Jake react to the sand for the first time. I also look forward to my own children someday experiencing all those same things. I look forward to playing volleyball and giving Aunt Debbie a hard time about making us follow “the” rules. Something that any place else you’d never allow such a group to play a game and call it a “sport”. Some may call it sport…

To me, it really is this magical place where the fog settles over the water and everyone is happy, all at once, and together. Not to mention it’s the magical place that Barry asked me to his wife!

Each year when we drive down Brutus road, leaving the campground, EVERY year, I have to try my best to hold back the impending stream of tears. The only thing that helps is knowing that there’s next year.

So I know I haven’t posted in long while. We have actually had our fair share of excitement. I still owe you an update on lots of things, including my doctor’s appointment – all blood work came back great. My cholesterol was still lowered, my folic acid was off the charts and in fact that same day we found out we were expecting our first child! But, more on that later. I have a feeling this blog may be shifting a bit in content ;)