Beauty Through Ashes, Part 2
After Grandma Lila died, Ben and I felt a little bit aimless for a few days. We knew there were things that needed to be done and decisions that needed to be made, but we were very tired. The past few months kind of caught up to us and we had difficulty getting motivated to do anything but putter around and sleep.
However, even if we weren't motivated we knew a few things had to be done right away and they were going to take a pretty big output of effort.
The first thing was we had to decide what to do about our unfinished wood floors.
When Grandma Lila first got sick, we were in the middle of laying the wood floor in the addition. When she went into the hospital the second time, our family saw a golden opportunity to sand the floors and finish them since they knew a big part of the difficulty of doing this had always been how to move and care for Grandma during that process and since she wasn't in the house and wasn't going to be for a few days, they had high hopes of getting this big task out of the way.
However, when we decided there was nothing more to be done at the hospital and we needed to bring Grandma home as soon as possible, there was an instant work stoppage. The condition of the floors at that point was that they had received a first rough sanding in the old part of the house and only edge sanding in the new part. So we had unfinished, unprotected wood floors we had to take as much care of as possible to prevent the wood from absorbing anything that would in the future hinder it from taking stain or finish. Not an easy task under normal circumstances, but we also had a toddler and were caring for a bedridden elderly lady, both of whom present unusual challenges to keeping anything from getting on the floor. We didn't eat popcorn for two months because we couldn't risk Abigail leaving popcorn around for the oil to seep into the wood and then prevent it from accepting stain later in those spots.
Mom Turner came through in her usual creative fashion and put old patio carpet over large sections of the floor, especially in the kitchen area. She and Ben also found a large old area rug in an estate sale across the street to put under our table - another trouble spot. Even so, over the course of the next few months a lot of small spots and stains showed up on the floor and we were getting a little uneasy about leaving them much longer and risking permanent damage.
The thing was...we had a due date in three weeks. That meant we were cutting things right down to the wire to expect to pack up everything in our house, move somewhere else, completely finish the floors, and move back in before the birth of our baby...who we were expecting to give birth to at home.
If we didn't do it, though, we would have to wait for the baby to be born and then for me to recover enough so that I could work on packing up and moving our house and be comfortable taking the new baby somewhere else. If I had a long recovery after the birth, this meant we could be delaying another two months on finishing the floor, plus have to do all of that work while caring for - and having to stop and nurse! - a newborn. Not optimal, in our opinion.
So two days after Grandma's death, we took a deep breath and began packing. This took a lot of work because we had to put away all Grandma's things in the process. Mom Turner was again a trooper and spent hours sorting and packing and throwing out and going to thrift stores so we could not only move the things out of the rooms, but have everything in good condition to easily and quickly move back into when the floors were done.
Personally, I've probably never been so exhausted in my life. Mom says she gained a whole bunch of new gray hairs and I think I may have too.
In the meantime, Ben and I were trying to adjust to what life was like now that Grandma was no longer a responsibility. Should Abigail and I go to the office with him every day, for example? How should we arrange things like visiting with our other grandparents? It was strange having the freedom to consider these things. It was also strange to leave the house without making any special arrangements and get back whenever we decided to come home. We moved all our bedroom stuff to the new room so that the wood floors in our old room were cleared and that meant we were sleeping in a room with a window for the first time in months. It was wonderful, but it also meant Abigail was waking up at 6:30 every morning with the unaccustomed light and figuring it was time to be up rather than going back to sleep. Between our disrupted sleep schedule, our house looking like a hurricane hit it as we pulled things apart and packed them into boxes and carted everything down into the basement, and our sudden new travels all over - we do admit we went a lot of places just because we could just get in the car and go - things were definitely not normal. And running through everything was the concern that we really, really, REALLY needed to hurry because this baby was going to be coming soon.
Babies have the unfortunate tendency to not be born on a timetable. However, our midwife was going out of town for a few days and she visited right before she left and brought her assistant Amy, who would be the one to come help if we happened to go into labor during that time. I wasn't actually too concerned. I'd always thought this baby would be late since Abigail was right on time and first babies are often early. Furthermore, the baby's head was still fairly high and wasn't engaged yet, indicating we still had the time until the due date around July 4th. Our families scolded me every time I picked up anything and said I needed to quit lifting things and rest more, but in my mind there was so much to be done resting wasn't much of an option and while I would concede I shouldn't lift anything heavy, there was a lot of stuff that needed moving which wasn't heavy. My motto for a long time has been "don't put something off for tomorrow that you have time to do today" and that mindset was in full swing for the two weeks after Grandma's death.
Besides, I told myself and everyone else, babies are not born when they aren't ready to be unless there is a bad accident or some very extenuating circumstances. They tend to stay pretty firmly put until the time they're ready to be born, as anyone who's tried to encourage labor to start can ruefully tell you.
And this baby was going to be born in July. I was quite positive about this. I even talked about it being nice if we could go a week late and hit Elaina's birthday on the 12th, since that was only a week from due and we've remembered her birthday every year since she was born - it would be nice, I reasoned, to actually have someone living born on that day to remember.
Sometimes I think mindsets like this must make God chuckle. Right as he decides to remind us that he makes the rules and the timetables are really not up to us at all.
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Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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