Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Last Week

My niece, Annette, and I left the house at 5:00 this morning and she flew off from Eugene at 6:30.

We had an eventful week, full of reminiscing and laughing and discussing and sadness.

One of many amazing things about Annette is how she can laugh. She is a young woman who in many ways is defined by her losses. The biggest, of course, is the death of her brother last summer, which put her on a journey so difficult most of us can't even imagine. And then there was the detached retina in her eye a few months before she got married. It was repaired but has continued to plague her with complications and limited her life in ways one would never have thought of.

And yet, she laughs a lot. We sat in the van on the way home from church on Sunday and reminisced about how different hymns remind us of people at our home church, such as the bishop's wife hitting the high notes on "We'll work til Jesus comes" and "Cho-Dawdy" (Joe-Grandpa) hitting the bottom of the bucket on the first notes of "Come we that love the Lord." We had such a fit of giggles that, Ben told me later, he couldn't help but laugh too even though he had no idea what the joke was.

Meanwhile, the normal dramas of life continued all week, guest or no guest.

Emily had an eye problem while Annette was here, but thankfully it wasn't a detached retina. She had been complaining for a few days about her eye feeling like there was an eyelash in it. Being an experienced mom, I said it would probably be better in a few days. It wasn't. So Paul took her to the eye doctor, and he looked through his microscope and extracted a tiny piece of metal from her eye. We have no idea how it got there. It was in long enough that it left a little rust spot in her iris, like a little tattoo, a detail that Emily will no doubt trot out often in the next years when she thinks I am not taking her pains and illnesses seriously enough.

So Emily had to put drops in her eyes every few hours for three days. Yesterday she and Annette and I went out to the coast. On the way home we shopped a bit in Corvallis and then ate at Taco Bell. We had ordered our food when Emily remembered it was time for her eye drops. So I gave her the keys and she went to the car to put them in.

She soon rejoined us and I said, "I hope you have my keys." Her eyes got big and she shook her head. I thought sure this was normal fool-mom drama and laughed at her. She was serious. And she had locked the car. And Corvallis is 45 minutes from home.

I called Matt. By a stroke of grace and luck he had been at his sporadic job in Corvallis and was still in town. He and his blue car sailed into the parking lot in about three minutes. Was any knight in armor ever more welcome? Soon he delivered the keys to my waiting hands and I paid for a generous supper for him.

I found that having Annette here was a lot like having Becky here, in that I get totally absorbed in talking with and enjoying them, and then after they leave I slowly become aware, like a fog lifting, of all the clutter on the floor and piles of laundry and strange life forms in the fridge.

So, off to attack the chaos.

Quote of the Day:
"The grace of God and my stubborn will."
--Annette, on how she survives

1 comment:

  1. Sure glad you had a good time with Annette! And I can identify with the singing thing! Almost everytime I get with my sisters, we end up doing at least one of those...the in-laws look on blankly at first, then they laugh at us laughing, but even if we explain the joke, it's one of those things that you had to experience to really get the "funny" out of it! Pauline