Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dispatches from the Home Front - Sunday the 17th

Sunday morning a family friend had offered to watch Jada for a few hours, so I was able to spend some solo time with my mom. My dad, who is there pretty much all day and most nights, went home to take a nap and get some things organized around the house.

Mom was pretty tired: the pneumonia really set her back from when I last saw her in September, and her inability to sleep long or restfully at night means she's constantly catching up on her Z's throughout the day. Plus every hour seemed to bring some procedure, with an endless loop of nurses and equipment flowing in and out of the room.

Still, it was meaningful to have that time with my mom. We held hands, and since she couldn't talk, I was the one doing all the updating: on the kids, on Amy, on my job, on life in Philadelphia. It's not as easy as our weekly phone conversations since I left home almost 20 years ago, but cherished nonetheless.

Noon came, my dad and sister returned, and I had to get home so our family friend could go home. We had a quick bite, and when my sister returned from the hospital, we three headed to the local mall for Jada's first attempt at ice skating.

The verdict: she likes it a lot! It helps when you have your Dada and your Auntie Mester holding each hand, allowing you to get comfortable on the blades as you whiz around the rink. Jada had a few moments when she went solo, but largely contented herself with being escorted along.

Then, we met my dad and my brother-in-law at a Chinese restaurant that my parents used for mini wedding receptions for both me and my sister. The food was delicious, and Jada, her hunger stoked by all the ice time, ate quite well.

The hospital was on the way home, and at the spur of the moment, I asked my dad if now might be a good time to sneak Jada onto my mom's floor one more time. A couple of other families had the same idea, and we tiptoed covertly through the hospital, walking past sign after sign stating no visitors under 14 were allowed.

Jada was able to get one more kiss and hand squeeze in and then I whisked her home; my sister also said her quick goodbyes and then had to get back to her home in Merced, and my dad stayed behind for another night on keeping my mom company.

Walking through the hospital parking lot back to our car, Jada told me, "I like seeing Ama." Yeah, me too. Too bad for us it's such a rare occurrence. But we're glad we came out so we could do it.

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