Thursday, October 25, 2012

A truly GREAT-grandma

My abuelita was 30 years old when she delivered my dad (her firstborn), and my dad was 30 years old when I (her first grandchild) was born. I promised her once that I would have a child before I turned 30 so that she would not have to wait until she was 90 to be a great-grandmother, but that turned out to be a promise I couldn't keep. By the time the quads were born, I was 32—and their Bisabuela was already gone. Today, on the 5th anniversary of her death, I remember her here with a tribute I wrote on the day of her funeral:

Her Faith Is Now Sight 

They're burying my abuelita today. I won't be there, but fortunately my dad was able to fly out soon after we got the news on Thursday. Although in Peru it is customary to bury a person the day after she passes away, the family chose to delay my abuelita's funeral long enough for my dad, her firstborn, to arrive. I am glad he will be there.

It will be strange to visit Peru next week with my abuelita gone. The family revolved around her. And despite the fact that thousands of miles separated us from her, she was a strong presence even in my nuclear family. I am certain that her steadfast Christian example shaped the way my dad treats my mom, as well as the way my parents raised me and my brother. Every single time I talked with my abuelita, she told me how much she loved me and that she was praying for me.

She and my abuelito, both of whom devoted their lives to the ministry, made a lot of sacrifices to provide for their family of nine. My dad remembers how his mother's hands used to bleed from doing housework. And she was always trying to find a way to make things last a little longer. When she could still see, she would tear plastic bags into strips and then crochet them into rugs. I didn't appreciate the beauty of these recycled treasures until I was older, so I got rid of most of them years ago. But I still have a lovely purse that she crocheted for me out of clear plastic bags, and I cherish it.

My abuelita was the family historian. She loved to talk and, if you let her, she could go on for hours, usually telling stories about people long dead. She had such a soft voice that I sometimes could not even hear what she was saying, but she did not seem to mind. She just wanted to reminisce. I was the first grandchild and I was born on my dad's birthday, so that day was like a national holiday for my abuelita. She would send us beautiful birthday cards decorated with traditional Peruvian scenes, and inside she would write: "¡Viva el 3 de setiembre!" For a while, she would even kill two turkeys on our birthday, and the family in Peru would feast in our honor.

My abuelita could also be quite cheeky. In Peru, we would say that she had a chispa, a spark. She retained it even when she was so sick that she could barely speak. In fact, when we thought she was near death on our last visit, I mentioned to her that I was growing my hair to donate it, and she immediately said, "Te regalo mis trenzas" ("I will my braids to you"). We all just had to laugh through our tears. I am sure that next week I will hear many more stories about all the funny things my abuelita did and said during her long and blessed life.

Everyone who knew my abuelita will miss her terribly. But even as I mourn, I am reminded that this is also a time to rejoice. Her pain and suffering are over, and she is finally home.

My abuelita in 1946, at age 30 (left), and in 2004, at age 88 (right)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cycle of sickies

Remember how we used to "lock down" for RSV season so that our premature babies wouldn't run the risk of getting sick? Yeah, I'm kinda wishing for those days right about now!

Just since school started, we've dealt with colds, vomiting, impetigo, more colds, more vomiting, four simultaneous cases of strep throat, and—as if that weren't enough—last week Lucy was hospitalized for pneumonia!

Thankfully, she had to stay only a little more than 24 hours, as she was not exactly a pleasant patient (despite her sparkly dress and unicorn sticker):

With our first trip to the hospital since the NICU behind us, I was hoping for a little break from illness. But not long after the kids got to school today, I got a call from the nurse, saying that Dahlia had a temperature of 101.7. At my mom's urging, I took Dahlia straight from school to the doctor. Diagnosis: strep!

Here we go again ...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The best medicine

El nombre de Isaac significa risa y no llanto. 
The name Isaac means laughter, not weeping.

That's what my abuelito told me when I called him almost two years ago, crying because we'd learned that Isaac's failure to start talking pointed to more than just a speech delay. In fact, our state's early intervention program had determined him to also be delayed in the areas of social skills, fine motor skills, and sensory integration. He'd qualified for speech, developmental, and occupational therapy, and we had no idea whether these interventions would even help.

The entire next year was hard. It was hard not knowing what exactly was going on with Isaac, and it was hard to see his siblings' development progress by leaps and bounds while he (and we) struggled on a daily basis. Even as I was thankful for an otherwise healthy child, I mourned what I considered the loss of everything I didn't even know I had envisioned for him.

But even in the midst of my doubts, God has been faithful. He's led us to some wonderful therapists and teachers, we've gotten a few answers, and today—after a lot of hard work, a lot of tears, and a lot of prayer—we have so much hope. Especially since Isaac began to read, we have seen significant progress in both his communication and his social skills, and his sensory issues have greatly improved, as well. So much so, in fact, that this semester he was able to join his siblings in the integrated classroom at the developmental preschool that they all attend!

Naturally, we will continue to watch Isaac's development in the years to come, and we are anxious to do whatever we can to help him catch up to his siblings. There are hard days in which I despair of this ever happening, but—more and more—these are balanced out by so many great moments in which Isaac thrills me with all the new things that he says and does. It's taken me a while, but I now realize that my abuelito was right: This boy was meant to bring me joy!

Thank you, Lord, for the healing balm of Isaac's giggles!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Picture, picture

Yesterday Ted and I accompanied the kids on a school field trip to a local farm. We had an amazing time as a family, and I took lots and lots of pictures—a grand total of 207 in the space of 3 hours, to be exact!

My faves? These two, which I think say so much about what I want my life to look like:

Mostly happy!

And what my life actually feels like most of the time:

Frazzled mommy, disgruntled kiddos!

Ah, 3-year-old quadruplets. Hard to live with 'em ... wouldn't want to live without 'em!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...