A Mayflower's Musings

Friday, February 2, 2018

I don’t need a roof

I’ve been taking a different route this fall and winter to achieve some self health, JOY, and a happy me.  Last year I did some traditional sort of help -  counseling, rest and even a house cleaner.  But at summer end I decided to keep those in my back pocket whenever I needed them again, but to spend some money on some new fun.  

So I started taking voice lessons from Daphne’s vocal coach.  And since September I’ve been learning and practicing one song.  It’s called “I Don’t Need a Roof” from Big Fish the musical.

In the show, an amazing broadway singer plays a wife coping and preparing for her husband’s imminent death to cancer. In the scene that “my song” is sung the husband wakes in the middle of the stormy night,  upset because of a nightmare.  Once she helps him calm down -  he very practically tells her she shouldn’t have to worry about their roof for probably 10 years— he says it’ll last a long longer.  Of course, she quickly comforts him and begins singing to him this beautiful song - telling him and herself that she doesn’t need a roof -  she just wants him to stay with her for forever.

Well, initially I related this song to a time in Mike’s and my marriage, when we lost our home to financial difficulties.  And how I learned through the process to focus on my family and not the following rentals and moves we were forced to make.  I too, just needed them.

But as the months ticked by and I kept singing to myself in the car, bathroom, shower, kitchen and wherever quiet time found me I realized the song reminded me of something else.  A different feeling.  Just like the wife in the story who was preparing for a loss.  This song reminds me in many ways of the time I spent with my mother as she lost her memory, her thoughts and eventually her very breath of life.

So it goes like this:

In your face I see a lifetime.
In this place I feel at ease.

Oh yes, I remember in the beginning when she was still functioning enough to live somewhat independently- but we knew about the disease- I remember thinking “this is not you but I feel so at ease with you” -  I wanted to just BE in her presence and hang onto that feeling.  In tiny moments of clarity I could recall her life, as she loved to talk about her childhood...and I could see a life well lived.

Wallpaper peeling-  paint wearing thin-  here’s where I end and begin.

Oh gosh, metaphorically yes her wallpaper was peeling and the paint was wearing thin-  but of course there was this very REAL loyalty to the fact that she brought me into this world -  held my beginnings in her womb and then hands and yet there would be an end soon. 

I don’t need a roof to say I’m covered-  I don’t need a roof to know I’m home.  I don’t need a single shingle dangling overhead -  I don’t need a roof to make my bed.

Yes it was so painful to watch her deteriorate but I didn’t need her brain to be healthy to feel at home with my mom.  And well, she’d given me a bed of love and learning a long time ago and I knew that would last.

Close your eyes, I’m still beside you.  No goodbyes needed today.  Here what the rain says-  Know what it knows-  after the rain, something Grows...

So many days and moments through her sickness I took her home with me and the kids.  Or to errands or kid activities.  She was most agitated and scared many times when she wasn’t able to be with us.  As much as I could I tried to make sure she knew that I was still beside her and I told myself that no goodbyes were needed on each of those days.  And I -  well, WE all waited for the rain to end.  About that something growing out of the rain-  that happened too and yet I’m still figuring all that out.

I don’t need a roof to say I love you-  I don’t need a roof to call you mine.  I don’t need adventure in some far away frontier.  I don’t need a roof to feel you near.

Losing Mom’s “roof”-  her intelligence, quick wit, support and guidance was rough don’t get me wrong, but again the love was very real and I wasn’t ashamed to call her mine.  And I definitely didn’t need any far away adventures with her -  we stuck close to home and she was happiest every time she walked through my doors to fold some clothes or organize some stuffed animals or just follow Henry around.♥️.

All I need is you and you forever -  all I feel is true and absolute.  I don’t need a legal deed to help me play my part.  I don’t need a roof to hold my heart.

But in the rollercoaster of Alzheimer’s no matter the love laid down before it hits, there is a slow goodbye and a desire to hold onto them forever. 

I’m not sure what true and absolute exactly means but I do know the experiences always reminded me of the core essentials while we walk this earth. Love, faith, family.

In terms of needing a legal deed to help me play my part.  No way-  my sister and brother and I knew exactly are part-  and we did it with pride and endearing love for our mother!  

I don’t need a functioning parent to hold my heart-  but that was a hard one-  still is.  I want them to be here for my heart. But they also did enough.

Stay with me.  Stay.     With.    Me.

And in the very end I wanted her to go -  but oh how I wanted her to stay!  And even more I want her to stay with me in the sense that I don’t want my memories or love of her to ever leave me.

What a song right?  I can’t sing it like my voice teacher or the broadway singer but I can sing it sweetly.  And more importantly I’m learning to smile through these new adventures...taking all of them to heart!  

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


I think it’s been awhile since so many of us have gotten sick at the same time and almost predictably fallen into a pattern.

Now that Ruby-  then Henry-  then Maisie have “fallen” to this flu bug I have got it’s pattern down pat.  What does that mean anyway-  “down pat?”

Anyway-  Day 1 kid feels icky and is just a little warm like maybe they are sick maybe not.  Who knows I’m not in their little body.  Day 2:  YEP there it is FEVER - cough!-  sore throat and general malaise! Day 3:  not much better-  maybe the fever is a little lower but the throat is so sore from the cough and the hoarse little voices make the mama heart hurt. Day 4... well Ruby is the only one to finish that yet.  No more fever just exhausted little voiceless girl.  

It makes one think hard about this flu deal and how bad it can make us feel.  As an adult I’m not getting the fever but I don’t feel very great at all either.  Luckily I’m well enough to nurse the children, and keep the dishes and laundry going all day.  Oh did I mention Mike is in Florida at a convention?!  So I’m thankful it hasn’t hit me very hard -  just hard enough to be hacking a lot and suck on throat drops non stop.  
My point of this paragraph being -  it all is a little scary as a mom.  I feel like I’m at war and each day I’m battling these germs to get my kids well again.

And thankful that it’s just the flu and probably by the weekend this will all be behind us!  I sure hope.

Lastly it makes me think of my mother.  She always swung into high gear when we were little and sick too. I remember her charting our meds because she was very nervous she’d overdose us- true story.  She was kind and very attentive and I hope the kids remember that about me too-  hmmm-  I’ve only snapped a couple times I think.  Like to Henry tonight-  buddy please make it to the bathroom next time-  COME’on!

If she were alive today I know for a decisive fact she would have called me morning and night for reports on how they were doing and I’m sure she would have even taken a day off work to come join me in the fight!  Oh yes-  she was a servant but also a worrier and she wanted to know details and she was always concerned.  So concerned.

Luckily I have a couple friends that have been doing the same for me these last few days.  Jessi with multiple texts daily and lots and lots of cheerleading for me!  Thanks Jes! And Julie, similarily, with her checking in and today with the most amazing basket full of everything we needed today and then some!

So thankful I have some angels here in the form of good friends.  It makes this week so much easier to bear.  I can’t wait for us all to be 100% healthy again but I do think I will remember these days somewhat fondly because of the snuggles, and the way they have needed me.  

Now as long as Henry doesn’t wake up at 3am for the 3rd night him a row - haha!  

Monday, January 1, 2018

Home. Happy. Behind.

Well we finished our two week getaway that whizzed by quickly and are home-  very rested and yet a bit frazzled.

The kids are nervous about school starting tomorrow and I am SO behind on laundry it’s quite ridiculous, and Mike is facing a lot to do at work all week too!

But I never quite finished a post stewing in my heart while we were literally singing inside a cabin walled with snow!  Baking cookies and singing along to Bing Crosby’s versions of many favorite Christmas and winter songs.  

I shall post some of my favorite final pictures - it’s always a back up to my failure at keeping normal photo backups on a hard drive or cloud or whatever the more responsible lot does....

Thank goodness I blog.

It's a marshmallow world in the winter,
When the snow comes to cover the ground,
It's the time for play, it's a whipped cream day,
I wait for it all year round

Those are marshmallow clouds being friendly,
In the arms of the evergreen trees,
And the sun is red like a pumpkin head,
It's shining so your nose won't freeze

It really was like that song-  so magical!!!!

Here’s a few more of our final days with friends-  a little less lazy and more GO go GO!!!! Not my preferred speed but we were rested and ready to go along with our guests’ McCall bucket list!!!!

I’m unsure if we will ever have two weeks again in our little cabin in the winter time again-  it was a gift and I had to pinch myself everyday that we were there.  I hope we will return to see the snow again before the kids leave our nest but if not I’m content.  Content with the gift and content that I love Mcminnville even more!

That was reassured on our return-  I missed my home, my friends, my neighbors and the norms here.  Vacation in McCall and Hawaii and other reaches YESsSsSS but truly home is where the heart is!

I haven’t even taken down my tree here- I’m behind.  But I think that’s kinda fitting!  It is here on Davis street that I’ll book end 2017.

It is here that I belong. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas EVE

When I was little I couldn’t imagine being anywhere but my grandparents house on Christmas Eve.  A zillion Christmas presents under the tree because well there was a LOT of kids.  A warm home cooked meal -  mostly made my Grandma.  Cookies and pies and pies and candies. And a lot of singing!  

It took me many years to get used to not doing that same tradition after I got married.  Today we are a far ways in years and miles from that tradition and even the newer tradition I have made with Mike’s family on Christmas Eve in Salem.  And the kids have noticed that although the calendar says December 24th it doesn’t quite feel like being at Grandmas house.

Right now we are ice skating with friends from home though-  Henry’s school teacher in fact.  Judy and Dave Ryan grew up in McCall and have lived in McMinnville for years but they come back to be with their family every Christmas so it’s fun that our paths cross today.

We will go grocery shopping so that I can make a big meal tomorrow at the cabin and out for burgers tonight at a restaurant!  We plan to watch a favorite holiday movie-  Eloise’s Christmas at the Plaza and frost cookies we made earlier today!

Different than usual but still blessed and beyond FUN!  Next year we will surely be back to our normal family traditions that we DO love but I believe my kids will remember this one forever.  As special.  I know I sure will!