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Jan 31, 2010

Family, Friends, Fragility and Fünf

The cold was a thief stealing our breath and assaulting our senses as Sam, Lena and I left the house, bound for Delaware. But the sun fought valiantly as it battled winter’s bitter bite. We picked up Lori and Grant and, armed with our favorite 77¢ gas station cappuccinos, we were on our frigid way to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Soaking up the sunlight that flooded the van with warmth, Lori and I chatted away about kids and friends and had one of our great road trip conversations. We quickly arrived at Arthur’s Place and hulled the kids into the Krafts’ apartment.

Grandma was in the midst of getting her hair done by Mom, both were happy to see our brood noisily make our entrance. Dad returned soon thereafter from the hardware store where he retrieved items necessary to complete one of the 847,643 tasks Grandma had on her list. Grandpa was at his normal post, sitting in the recliner vacantly staring at the television.

Other than her thinning hair and limited mobility, Grandma hasn’t changed much from the woman we grew up with. We all talked and laughed the morning away, as we have so many times before. We tried on Lena's baptismal gown and cheered together as she marked a milestone – her first rollover. That was a nice moment to share with my Grandma. Grandpa seemed unaware of anyone’s presence, however. He has been stolen away by dementia, his once sharp-witted and story-telling mind a causality of the ugly injustice of old age. His sweetness is still there, though, behind that empty gaze. I guess a truly kind, compassionate soul remains even when the mind retreats. How fragile we are…

Back out into the oxymoronic freezing sunny day we trudged, heading home. As the kids dropped off to sleep, Lori and I continued our conversation, shifting the topic to family. The trip was over too quickly, as usual...I should drive slower when we’re on our road trips together.

Later that evening, Mark and Ashley came by for dinner and board games, one of our favorite ways and two of our favorite people with whom to spend a Saturday evening. Close friends from childhood, Mark and Rich have that special energy that only the longevity of years and sharing of experiences can bring to a friendship, which is an amusing and wonderful thing to witness. Sam was in rare form after dinner, channeling his hidden extroversion while he tackled, jumped, talked, and played out energy that his 2 ½ hour nap had loaned him. Then sweet, sweet bedtime came, and it was just the adults laughing, farting and Jenga-ing into the wee hours, accompanied by Bud, Coors and Fünf. We ended the night with buzzed goodbye hugs and the inevitable and welcomed collapse into bed.

Everyday should be as blessedly full of family, friends, fragile moments…and Fünf.

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