The last 6 weeks have gone by in a blur.
Between Jeff and I we’ve had three people we care about pass away including my father (Grandpa Bob to Ellie).
The day after hearing about my dad I rushed to CA to be with my mom and siblings while Jeff tried to make things feel as normal as possible for Ellie here. I was gone twelve days and during that time, Ellie and Jeff spent almost every evening with friends or the grandparents Carlsons. I think there was this prevailing thought that if we kept Ellie really busy, then she wouldn’t worry about death or miss me too much. It worked to some extent.
Jeff came down to California for the service, but we decided to leave Ellie up here with Papa Larry and Nana. We flew home a few days later and brought my mom with us. She and my dad were already planning a visit, so my mom decided to stick to the schedule and enjoy some good play time with Ellie. Nothing like a three-year-old to put things in perspective and bring joy to the situation.
Our first full day home was my birthday. It was nice to have a quiet morning with my girl.
Jeff took me kayaking in the afternoon, then we went to Alki beach for dinner at Duke’s and a walk in the sand. There is something very healing about watching water, even from a busy beach.
I had already taken several days off from work in anticipation of my parents’ visit, so it was really nice not having to rush back to work. Most of the week my mom and I ran errands and played tourist, and tried to come to grips with my father’s death and start planning for the future.
But you can’t have too many downer days, so we took Ellie out of school a few times so we could play with her, too.
The 30th was Jeff’s birthday, and it also being Memorial Day weekend, we decided to head over to Folklife Festival at Seattle Center.
They had a long line up of awesome kid bands that we wanted to see. As it turned out, Ellie was much more interested in the giant fountain than the music. That is, until it was time for CASPAR BABYPANTS!!! Then, Ellie was either dancing like a mad thing or rushing the stage. She seriously grabbed my hand and weaved us through all the people sitting on the grass in front of us until she was at the stage standing directly in front of Caspar.
Afterwards we took the groupie out for ice cream and made pizza at home (according to the Birthday Boy’s wishes).
As it turned out, the same day Patty left, Susan (Jeff’s mom) arrived in town. Jeff’s sister picked up Susan at the airport and they went home to Allyn for a few days, while we took some time to regroup.
On Saturday, we headed over to Allyn to celebrate cousin Emma’s birthday and to pick up Susan and bring her back with us.
We got her for a whole week, and we tried to make the most of her time here by having lots of adventures. One day, we all went to the zoo! Although we have season passes to the zoo it is a rare day that Ellie gets both parents, as well as a grandparent, along for the trip. On another day, Jeff, Susan, and Ellie went to Carkeek park.
But mostly, Ellie liked to just “hang out” with Deppa. I would walk in the room and they’d be hiding under the dining room table together, or snuggled on the couch playing with Susan’s iPad, or just telling each other stories.
At school, Ellie had to do her first show-and-tell (called Special Sharing). She decided she wanted to bring Susan as her favorite thing. Ellie did a great job of telling everyone that Deppa lived on a farm in California and had a dog and they grew almonds and cherries and…the only thing she forgot was to tell the other kids that this was her grandmother. But, she kept her head up, spoke loud enough for everyone to hear, and answered questions from the kids – all with an impressive amount of composure. She was awesome. I was so proud of her!
Susan went back to Allyn today and will head back to California soon. And now we have to make the transition from tons of sadness, joy, activity, and visitors into the boring lives we usually lead. Ellie is doing okay, although the stress and changes in her routine of the last few weeks has made her very clingy. She doesn’t want to be left alone, and is particularly attached to me. If it continues for a long time, then I’ll worry. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy all the extra hugs and attention.