Sunday, December 12, 2010

Life and Stuff


What happens when you’re busy making other plans.

John Lennon

I’m multitasking again.

Lying in bed with a little buddy, drinking coffee, typing, and watching The Cat In The Hat on PBS… over the din of Talking Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and a Rudolf who sings his own song.

 Trying to make some sense of the past week.

(I may need earplugs in order to be able to think.)

On Monday, I had a reunion with college friends I haven’t seen in many years.

It was as if we had just seen each other yesterday.

We haven’t always been the best about keeping in touch over the years. Lives got complicated with jobs and moves and families and… LIFE. But sitting around the table laughing, remembering, and catching up, I saw the girls we were 25 years ago. We’ve changed, but we’re the same. We had crazy wild college times together, but we also shared some significant moments. They were there when I fell in love with my soulmate. They were a part of it.  As we left, we made a commitment to see each other more often. To make the effort.

I really hope that we will.

On Tuesday, I dialed 911.

My mother had called that night to make sure we were home “in case she needed us.” She had been feeling funny. I thought that sounded ominous, so I made my husband go get her to spend the night at our house. We watched a movie, and then started up the stairs to bed. She collapsed on top of me. My husband held her like a baby. We lowered her down gently. She opened her eyes and said, “I’m okay,” just before going completely still. Her face turned ashen. My husband couldn’t find a pulse. I heard a terrible rasping gasp as I ran for the phone. Talking to the operator, I watched from the bedroom as he gave her mouth-to-mouth.

New definition of LOVE: Administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to your mother-in-law.

He’s my hero.

I rode in the ambulance. We didn’t get a room until 3:00 a.m. Surreal.

But the next day, it felt familiar. Our family has been known to spend some time at the hospital during the holidays. My kids remember with fondness the Christmas Eve dinner they ate together at On The Border Mexican Restaurant, while their parents were in the ER with a family member. The New Year’s Eve in the ER with a broken body part… the Thanksgiving…

never mind.

I told you we were the Griswolds. Maybe that’s the real reason I’m a Grinch.

A Happy Hospital Holiday

 On Thursday, Katherine, Jay, and James arrived.

On Friday, we sprung mother out of the hospital. (spring, sprang, sprung?) Guess it should be sprang. But that sounds like Deliverance.

In the interim, I missed two Christmas parties for which I’d actually bought new clothes. Story of my life. Closet filled with Special Occasion clothes for which there ended up being no special occasion for Kim.

Because Life Happens.

And here I am today, writing on my last baby’s 21st birthday.  We are now officially the parents of three adult women. Another major milestone. Another transition.

In the middle of all of this, a miracle is taking place. One I can’t share at this time, because it is not my story to tell. But it is a major miracle, one that has been long-prayed for. Long, long prayed for. And almost despaired of.

(My apologies to any English teachers for ending with prepositions. I just can’t redo with Rudolph singing in my ear.)


I am trying to process the week's events and discover their lessons.

I am thinking of milestones and miracles. Of temporality and timelessness.

I am thinking about how thin is the veil between two worlds.

How fragile and fleeting life is.

And how important it is to take the time to connect with the people you care about while you’re here… even though plans are often circumvented.

I'm thinking about how miracles happen even when our plans don't.

Life is a raging river whose torrents carry us along more rapidly than we realize. Sometimes it’s all we can do to hang on to the raft. Other times, we barely notice that we’re moving.

But we are.

Every day.

Today, on my baby’s 21st birthday, I am remembering the day she was born. And thinking how strange it is that it feels like just yesterday.

And I’m wondering where the tumultuous River of Life will take me next.

Buzz Lightyear just interrupted the reverie with an answer:

“To Infinity… and beyond!”

I think he may be right.


(My plan was to publish this yesterday. Obviously, that plan didn't work out. Baby's birthday was the 11th... just for the record.  And, btw, Buzz really did say that just when I typed those words. No kidding.)


Callie said...

merry christmas, arnold and wolf family!!
i hope to see you guys around athens over the break!

Laurel said...

Happy birthday to Grace! (It is Grace, right? I know one of them is and I think it's the youngest.)

Congratulations on being proactive with your mom. I bet you saved her life. It's easy to let someone you love soothe you into complacency because it is what you want to believe...that they are fine.

Have a wonderful holiday season! My only mission is to get through making holiday sugar cookies with a 6 and 3 year old. Wish me luck, and non-sticky floors.

McCance said...

You did it again. Made me cry that is. I've actually come to enjoy the times you make me cry with your writing. :-) It was lovely to see you today, Kim. James is a doll. And he just loves his Mimi. He's just acting his age. One day he'll be a Sassy 7 year old like my oldest and you'll wish for these days. And happy birthday, Grace!!

howdycollege said...

I have been following your blogs since you began them and wanted to say that I think you are an extremely gifted writer. My mother is quite critical of how people write and what they write about- and yet she thinks your blogs are exceptional. I hope you are keeping them so that they can all be published- because I do believe that they would sell very well. With that being said- I laughed outloud when I read your comment about Rudolph. I can totally relate. Too funny. I also loved the blog about the Grinch. I too, have a Grinch shirt and wear it with pride. I absolutely LOVED the stocking. That is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. Please continue to write and share your life with all of us- we treasure each and every word. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite quotes I stumbled across this year is "Life is a zoo in a jungle." Somehow that just seems to describe things so appropriately for me. And somehow it allows me to accept circumstances in light of that is crazy. And as crazy as it sounds, there is peace in the midst of it all!

Blessings to you!

donna from ky said...

finally caught up on the wonderful recent posts...thanks so much for sharing from your heart, week after ARE appreciated.

must comment on the grinch blog. loved it. i neither like strongly or dislike strongly the Christmas season. just enjoy it overall. one of my favorite simple things to do is put up a little tree with old ornaments that were handmade by my mother's mom. she mailed them each year to her single-parent daughter and we LOVED getting that package. skates knitted onto paper clips, hershey kiss filled knitted stockings and a collection of hand sewn stuffed ornaments adorn my little artificial tree- and LOTS of lights. recently, i've begun pulling little sprigs of baby's breath from floral arrangements from funerals and other special events i've attended of sweet family members and friends. these dried blossoms adorn the tree also so in a way it's my memory tree. i smile when i think of the many wonderful people God has put in my life to help refine and grow me in Him. by His grace, we learned years ago to give 3 gifts to our children and that simplified the whole shopping thing. SO thankful i heard that idea when our 4 children were so young!

LOVE having a real tree in the house year after year covered with many, many lights. i no longer feel an obligation to put on every ornament we own, but change what i use from year to year.

merry Christmas to all of the arnold family. much love from kentucky.

Anonymous said...

ok you cannot temp us with the hint of a miracle and then not tell...?? should this be on katherine's blog soon?

Peggy Dabbs said...

Anxiously awaiting posting of
"the miracle"!

Love, Peggy

Candy said...

I rarely reply to your blogs anymore, yet I know you know I am praying for you before, during, and after you write.
A Belated Happy Birthday, Grace- you've grown into such a beautiful young woman..Shock! All the Arnold women are gorgeous.

This blog also hit me hard. Having been an empty nester, with the occasional "boomerang daughter" before about 2006, I know whereof you speak, and it is with ever growing delight and amazement to see your much awaited writing creativity finally put to excellent use throughout this entire ordeal. How's that for a LENGTHY sentence? Too ADHD?

You have no idea how many countless pages I've printed. All you do is get better. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, for being so open, raw, not to mention at times, hilarious. Wait a minute, I JUST mentioned that. The New "old Kim-Little "o", big "K;" so glad to have you, if only on cyberspace.

Why are our holidays always filled with drama- mostly of the unwanted kind-illness, loss? We"know" things will happen-even plan a little extra "disaster time" built in for really busy days (yours are ALWAYS busy), but still are never really prepared for the onslaught. You always have an onslaught.

I had a mistaken call from Athens last week. FROM St.Mary's Hospital.. The very FIRST person I thought about was Amanda. I even tried to track her, you, Brooks down in the hospital; that's how strong the feeling was. Too bad I delete my call logs. Maybe that was THE day Brooks became even more of "The Man of the Year" to everyone who knows and loves Amanda. I pray she is MUCH better, as we "speak."
No problem visualizing you and Prince James in all your glory, considering how well you describe
I Love You All!