It's a ...grandma!
2016 had some shining moments for me and my family but there have been some difficult moments as well. Maybe you noticed fewer posts on certain weeks or maybe you occasionally noticed a missing HZM weekend-at-a-glance post or two. If you're a regular reader of my blog then you know that I'm an open book when it comes to my life. With so many Instagram ready pictures and stories out on social media, I try to share my victories and defeats in motherhood and child rearing in hopes that maybe others can relate too. Real life and motherhood are far from perfect. There are so many times I feel like I'm treading water trying to stay afloat. With my sometimes erratic posts I thought I owed it to all of you to explain what has been happening in my world and why my blog takes a backseat on occasion.
My reality is that a very close friend of mine, one whom I've known since I was 18 years old has been battling breast cancer for a year and a half. Just before Thanksgiving she was told that the cancer had progressed to stage 4 triple negative and that it was now in her liver and lung. When she called me to share the news there was a long silence between us. What do you say to someone who is dying? Everything I could think of sounded heavily laden with BS and trivial. While at times I can be a social butterfly, I have just a small handful of friends who know EVERYTHING about me. They know about my childhood/teenage antics. They know about family drama. They know my aspirations and fears. In short, they know me! Even though these close friends are scattered around the U.S., they are people that don't need a backstory before I begin a conversation. They already know. They are my tribe; my keeper of secrets, and I love them like family. My girlfriend mentioned above is a member of my tribe. It was difficult trying to plan my son's birthday and pretending to get into the Christmas spirit when my lovely friend is dying. We talk on the phone regularly and we do what we have always done, shoot the breeze and laugh, but now we spend just as much time discussing her treatment and crying about all of it. Her current treatment is not a cure. It exists solely to buy her additional time.
To add to my crazy year, my husband and I will soon become a part of the sandwich generation. His mom will be coming to live with us within the next 3 months. After my mother-in-law decided to retire she made it seem like she was going to rock her retirement years. Instead, my husband and I noticed that other than church or church related activities, she stays home a awful lot. Her hermit-like habits have led to a drop in her weight and muscle tone, and periods of forgetfulness. To give you an example, she's locked herself out of her home 8 times last year. She calls my husband up at all hours claiming she's sick when in fact I know that she really just wants someone to talk to. I think Christmas was the "last straw" for us. Her appearance was unnerving. She was disheveled. Her normally dyed hair hadn't seen box-color in months. The woman who got "Church ready" every Sunday looked homeless. This was not the woman I met almost 20 years ago when I began dating her son.
When I told my sister about our plans of having my MIL come live with us her response was, "Do you REALLY want her to stay with you?!" She knows that my MIL and I are not friends. I am not Korean so that began my MIL's complete dislike for me from the start. In her mind, I was not good enough for her first-born son. Now that I'm a mom to a little boy, I can now see how it must have felt to her. In her mind, I was taking her baby away from her. While I had always hoped to have the kind of relationship where my MIL and I could go out to lunch together or shop til we drop, I realized after years of trying that it just wouldn't happen. I am old enough to know that sometimes in life we are called to do difficult things. Wanting or not wanting my MIL to come live with us isn't something that occurred to me. She is my husband's mom and the grandmother to my child. She is having trouble living on her own and we have the space in our home and our hearts to accommodate her. Why wouldn't we help? When I asked my son how he felt about his Halmoni (grandmother in Korean) coming to live with us he said, "She kisses me way too much but we're family, and family sticks together."
So my friends, 2017 will be a year of sticking together. I will continue to be the best friend I can be for my friend suffering from cancer. I will continue to make her laugh, console her when she's upset, and be an ear when all she wants to do is vent about how unfair this awful disease is being to her. I will pray that she is given strength, comfort and an amazing set of doctors that will help her fight. In addition, I will continue to be the best daughter-in-law I can be to my MIL. I know moving in with us will be hard for her but I'm hoping in the transition she can feel more secure and nurtured and maybe we will see glimmers of the proud woman I once knew. I hope that she will build a strong bond with my son, her only grandchild, and that maybe, just maybe, she and I can work on our relationship. While this period of change is happening, I hope you dear readers will continue to stick with me as I take on new roles and chart new territory. I'll probably have many funny and interesting stories to share.
Wherever 2017 takes you, whatever goals you have made for yourself and your family, I wish you good health, an abundance of joy, and as much happiness as your hearts and hands can hold.
Peace, love, and lots of chocolate,