Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Four Generations

Last week, my Grandma Margie Wehler flew out from Minnesota with her traveling friend, Joan, to visit my Mom and Terry. Now that we live in Oregon, we got to share in the benefit of their trip and spend some time with Grandma too.

It has been YEARS since I've seen Grandma. Even though I knew her health is failing, I was still surprised at how old and frail she seemed. She struggles with amnesia, but seemed lucid when I was with her, and has gone from teaching senior aerobics to walking with support and needing help going up and down stairs.

She and Joan started traveling at 3:30 a.m. Central time on Thursday, but insisted on traveling to our home in Newberg on Thursday afternoon to see our house and meet the kids. I don't remember Grandma ever being super fond of little kids, but she proved me wrong this time. She talked to all the kids, watched them play and even climbed our entire flight of stairs so they could show her their rooms and all their treasures. She was "so tickled" to meet them. We took four generation pictures, had a snack, and then Grandma and Joan went back to my Mom's house.

That night, Grandma got really confused and kept thinking she was in Minnesota. Mom left a light on in the bathroom for Grandma, but didn't think to barricade the stairs. Poor Grandma got up to use the restroom, turned off the light, got confused and fell down two of the three flights of stairs in my mom's house. Dazed and confused, she refused to go to the Emergency Room, laid on ice instead, and insisted they go about their travel plans for the day. So off they went to the Pacific Ocean for some mild hiking, sight seeing, and shopping. Mom said she never complained, just winced a lot and so they stopped at the ER on the way home. She broke her collar bone and severely bruised her elbow and side of her body.

Grandma insisted on not changing any plans even though she was in severe pain, so on Saturday morning, we had a girls day. I met Mom, Joan and Grandma at Artistic Nails and we all got pedicures, and Grandma and I even got our eyebrows waxed. We sat in our chairs, all in a line and talked with each other or read our magazines. Grandma had on floral print pants and a very fancy and bright purple shirt that looked like it was made from a spool of purple ribbon and twisted into little dimples, then stitched together to form a "blouse." She and I chatted about the things they'd seen on their trip, her health issues, my kids, where she got her fancy top and what the plan for the rest of the day was. We had a great time.

Grandma has always been very concerned about her weight and hasn't topped 100 pounds in years. But she LOVES anything sweet and always has, so a girls morning wouldn't be complete without a trip to the candy store. Years ago, Grandma would take on the pain-staking task of making her own chocolates and being a perfectionist, each one was amazing. She got so good at it, she started selling her own candy. Now that she doesn't make her own, she settles for See's Candy and there was a store grand-opening just around the corner from the nail salon. We filled our bellies with free samples and Mom and I helped little Grandma pick out a whole pound of chocolates to bring home.

It was a great morning. I realized, as Grandma and I shuffled down the sidewalk from the candy store to the local bakery that was giving out free donuts, what a gift it was to have this time with her. I know she'll never make the trip again this side of heaven and I will always treasure the weekend when four generations came together as one.

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