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a christmas visit (a sweet little slideshow)

We tend to hoard James' vacation – in part because we just don't have the TIME for him to take it and partly because we enjoy using it at Christmas time to stay at home and spend our days in pajamas with coffee and the kids, or catching up on little projects around the house.  This year I decided to use a few days to go visit my grandparents.  We don't live near family and it's pretty difficult for me to get away without dragging the kiddos with me. 

I did some work while I was there, and also took some time out to take some pictures of my mom (who met up with me) with her parents. 

You may remember they both broke their hips within a week of each other, and that was the beginning of the decision to move permanently into Assisted Living.  It's been a real trial for them…I am grateful that they can afford a good place (save your pennies, folks!).  Grateful that my mom can visit them as frequently as she does (although I know it's not easy for her to with a business of her own to run).  And grateful that they have surviving family members in nearby Kentucky who have been working tirelessly to help them get their affairs in order.

From what I understand, they have good days and bad days.  Both of them have struggled with bouts of depression while they adjust to this loss of independence.  And both of them are now entering stages of dimentia. It's harder to converse with them now, and that alone is saddening.  I wanted to capture a mostly-lucid visit with them so I brought my camera along.  It was a little harder than I thought – since they spend a lot of their time sitting and not doing much. ;)  But we had some fun moments, and I've learned to be just as grateful for moments as anything else.

(ps. You'd have to know Grandpa to appreciate the creamers and toilet paper and box of harmonicas…he has spares of all of them in his walker tote…)

Music credit: Ingrid Michaelson The Way I Am

Mom - LOVE it, and so grateful you were able to capture these moments for us. I accidentally stumbled across a wave file of a phone message my dad left for me in early November of 2009 (just a few months after moving into assisted living). Pretty sure it got captured because we have Vonage now and all voice messages were emailed as well as left on the machine. Anyway, I clicked on it, and the difference between “Dad in 2009” and “Dad in 2010” startled and saddened me. He wanted me to call him with their wedding anniversary date – he knew it was in November but couldn’t remember when. This year, he didn’t know it was November, and he couldn’t remember the date long enough to walk across the hall to wish her a happy anniversary. It’s hard getting to Tennessee every 3 months, and the credit card bill is mounting despite my best efforts, but it’s all worth it – every bit of it. I only wish I had visited them more often through the years when life was “normal”. At least I can now. Again… thank you so much ((hugs))

melanie - beautiful slide show….

Jennifer - Beautiful pictures. The sweetest tribute to a family of love. And please, the title and artist of the soundtrack?

Kristi @ Creative Kristi - Yes who is that song by? I love it! Beautiful pictures and I love that you thought to capture those ‘little’ things like creamers and toilet paper- you will appreciate that in years to come I’m sure!

Crystal - I’m sorry – I put the music credit into the slideshow but I’m not sure where it appears – the song is The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson. I totally stumbled on her (although you’d recognize some of her other music if you googled her). Check out her “Be Ok” album and also her song “Everybody.”
(by the way, it irks me to no end that the slideshow cut the music off at the last but I just couldn’t tweak it any more…learning to let go of some imperfection…) 😉

Tammy Peterson - Beautiful piece Crystal. WillDee and Eleanor look the same. (not sure about the spelling of their names.) Grandma and Grandpa look good.

Margot - Very sweet. I’m so impressed that you have a full set of grandparents! I’m down to none in my life whatsoever so I have to admit I’m a little jealous!

Crystal - Margot – ALL FOUR of my grandparents! They’re all starting to seriously decline in health, but considering I’m 33 now, that’s impressive…

Jennifer W - sweet memories… LOVE the song & quotes. thanks for sharin’ Crystal!

keri - Crystal – very beautiful

Laura - YOU are the one who inspired me to take pictures of my Mom’s home after she died. Thank you!!! I couldn’t remember whose blog I had seen the idea on, but it was yours!