Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grown Grandchildren and Life's Changes

Yesterday was Elijah’s 18th birthday. His mother’s comment on Facebook that she now had another adult child made me wake up to how old I am! Soon Trent will also be 18. It all seems kinda amazing this passing of time! We were so excited when these two grandsons were expected. Trent was supposed to be born first, and Elijah about two weeks later. I kept worrying that Trent would be a week late and Elijah early and they’d be born on the same day states away from each other, and I would be torn wanting to be with both new babies and their mothers.

But totally unexpected, Elijah came six weeks early in a most dramatic way. Jeannie had to persuade Leslie to quit watching her television program. Then she drove herself to the hospital with little Leslie because it took awhile for Rick’s boss to locate him and send him to the Marion Hospital just in time for Elijah’s arrival. (I bet he speeded getting there!)

Fortunately, Leslie’s Aunt Vickie was working at the hospital and was able to take charge of her when Jeannie arrived needing to be admitted immediately. I will never forget Gerald calling me on the farm radio while I was driving home from work in Benton. (No one had cell phones in those days.) By this time, Gerald had Leslie and Erin, I think, and they were headed to the Dairy Queen. I almost went into a state of shock, and it did not help when I saw Elijah with oxygen all warm in an incubator when I arrived at the hospital. Fortunately, he was fine, and they were back at their Crainville home with little delay.

Leslie has just posted some photos of those early days in Crainville on Facebook, and I have enjoyed again those two beautiful children that I said were our artist Jeannie’s masterpieces. (Of course, she outdid herself again with the birth of Cecelie up in Freeport, who was special born on her great grandmother Ada Glasco’s birthday.}

I realized it then, but even more now I realize how blessed I was that the Eilers lived in Southern Illinois during the early days of their family and that we were able to share more of those beginning times for Les and Lige. Despite the distance to Freeport, we actually saw Cecelie fairly often during her first couple of years, but that is no longer true. A couple of frightening winter trips while we watched nearby cars spin in circles on the icy highway put an end to trying to be present for Elijah’s January birthday and other winter trips.

Being between Freeport and Nashville while Leslie is in college has really been a joyous thing for us, and I am already concerned about the end of that privilege. Lige pointed out to his cousin Sam, however, that he will be three hours closer to us next year when he starts at Illinois State.

Yesterday I drove to Carbondale for a check up appointment for my new hearing aids. Although I am grateful for the improvement in my hearing, having to add those as well as glasses when I dress each morning re-enforces my age awareness. The only reason I don’t have to put on dentures is that I learned over 40 years ago that I could not tolerate the partial I obtained back then.

As much as having all these grown grandkids—five of them after Trent’s upcoming birthday--these old-age aids plus the increased nervousness about climbing on the footstools that a short person has to keep in several rooms make me take stock that times are changing. That is just the way it is supposed to be.

But I missed Cristaudo’s Café and Bakery, my favorite lunch place on the strip mall yesterday since its long-time family owners have retired. SoI treated myself to a visit to a long ago favorite gift store at that mall--The Apple Tree. I knew the ownershp had changed and the store was enlarged, but it was missing the china and crystal that brides used to register for there. A sweet dog wandered around sniffing at people’s feet, and that was a fun change. I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without, so that was a changen from the past.

Since two or three years ago, the Neighborhood Co-op moved across town to this strip, I also treated myself to a walk-through there looking at all the fruits and vegetables and interesting items. I was rewarded by bumping into Marion Carroll that I knew from my John A, Logan teaching days. Although younger than I am, she too has retired and has returned from taking care of her mother in Australia, who died at 99 years old. It was good to see her and renew our acquaintance. I bought some cilantro and a loaf of their wheat bread and had had all the change I wanted.

Since Cristaudo’s was no longer available, I came back to Marion to eat at Honeybaker’s, my favorite lunch place there. I can get a cup of their always delicious soup with a luscious hot roll and have water served in a glass with a slice of lemon. (That thick glass filled with ice and water is a visual treat.) I can rest in the quietness there as I eat, and I’ll be refreshed in less than a half an hour and ready for the next set of errands. Yesterday, however, even though I ate after the regular lunch hour, the place was full. The quiet I expected was replaced with chatter and laughter, and for the first time I was aware of, music was playing in the background adding to the clamor. I made a conscious choice to not mind the change. I was glad for their increased business and pleased that the hurried waitress was as kind and thoughtful as always. I figure if I learn to enjoy change, maybe I can stay some of the stress of aging.

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