Sunday, August 15, 2010

Birthday Month

This month Abby turns 21 on the 21st, her Golden Birthday. She is living in Medora, ND, working in tourism, as you can see in my earlier post. By the time her birthday comes, she will have been living in the Old West for just shy of 3 months, and will leave 5 days later. Overall, it's been a good summer for her, but definitely a screeching halt from the hustle and bustle of school and life in Chicago. To give her something new to experience each day this month we decided to surprise her with a mailing (real mail, the kind that comes to the post office) each day with the number of items that corresponds to the day of the month it comes. Hopefully that makes sense. She has received a number of fun mailings so far. I started with one vintage scarf. Rachel followed with 2 National Geographic articles dealing with art. Emily sent her 3 things that reminded her of when Abby was small, and for #4, Jared mailed her 4 things from Chicago, since they just moved there, and she can't wait to get back.
Here is #9, a collection of photos of all of us in the family in a 'brag book' of sorts. I had to use a photo of Ron and I together to make it work as 9 photos instead of 10, but I think she was ok with that. We're up to the last week, I have my second to the last of my mailings in the mail and I'm ready for #21, it will be in the mail Tuesday. Happy Birthday Abby, see you on the 26th, be ready for Red Lobster!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Crazy Summer

This is what summer looked like on May 19th. So neat, tidy and prepared. Actually, inside this van were one girl's limited wardrobe, off to face a summer of unknowns in a new job, and one mom's suitcase, sewing machine and tubs full of Etsy goods facing a summer of a different type of unknowns.

After 1068 miles we arrived in North Dakota, connected with Grandma and Grandpa, Emily flew in to Bismarck and the girls visited Medora together for the first time. Look at those smiles of anticipation. Could they REALLY live there for 3 months? Hmmm...

Dad made remarkable progress, he even moved home from the Alzheimer's home in time for a Father's Day burger at the Cowboy Cafe with Grandma, Peggy and Abby. His hat is still a bit big in this picture, but by now, after eating Mom's home cooking for awhile, it fits again.
And he's smiling for real now, too :-)

Ron and I made a marathon trip back to ND for the 4th of July, and look how good those girls have adapted to the Old West! (Of course, they'll probably never wear red plaid again in their lives, tho) They've spent quite a bit of time in the sun this summer, swimming in the Little Missouri River, swimming at the Badlands Motel pool and carrying trays of water and popcorn at the Medora Musical, and look at their summer glow!
Abby had a day off while we were there and it was awesome to spend time with her. Her summer is getting a bit long, but at least she has a job and is spending it in a way she'll always remember. I would have loved to have her job, wonder why I never just applied for it? I guess that job at the Villa Drive In just had so much more appeal. Well, probably not. We miss her, it's the first time we haven't had any kids in the house during a summer since 1978. One more step in the empty nesting phase I guess.
So, this is a blog about unexpected surprises. Through all the trials, this has been a good summer. Dad's whole hip replacement and subsequent confusion due to his Alzheimer's Disease has done an amazing thing in our family. The 5 of us kids have always been independent and didn't connect that much. We've moved away from our hometown and kind of live our lives separate from each other. Helping Mom and Dad with his needs and the many decisions and stress this spring and summer, we've reconnected and are working together in a new way. This is something I've needed and am really enjoying. To be able to call one of my sisters, sister inlaw or brothers and have it be casual and routine is so wonderful. Spending a month with Mom was fun, in spite of the circumstances. We had a numerous laughing fits, and they are always good for the soul. In the above photo we all are at our huge family reunion in July. Earlier in the summer we doubted it would happen, but Dad made the trip and had a wonderful time.

One more thing I've realized is that my intense need to hunt out and bring home many of Mom's vintage things is much less intense than it has been. I believe I've spent time and reconnected with the people behind Mom's vintage pieces in a new way. The things themselves don't hold as much interest to me anymore. I have real live vintage people back in my life now. (You know, the ones you remember from years past that bring that smile and warm, familiar feeling?) The dishes, pictures, and fabric stash are much less important, and maybe they are even just things to me now.
Well, except for the fabric. I might still need that.