It always seems December is an extremely busy month, but I have to say December 2013 will go down in my record book for the busiest ever.
You are thinking I was a party animal, and all the holiday parties were the cause of my “busy-ness.” Not so much.
My month started out with my daughter and her family purchasing a different, much larger house in Manlius. Because of that moving, my husband and I agreed to take on babysitting her three boys and providing transportation to and from school and preschool for two of the children. That assignment started on Dec. 1. We are happy to do it — the kids are great.
The actual move took place beginning on Dec. 5 and took a couple of days. Two adults and three children can acquire quite an accumulation of stuff. Of course, this winter held true to form those days — it was cold and windy. My son-in-law, by the third day, said he could not stand to be cold any longer.
So, we made it through the move. The unpacking ensued, but I did take a break from that for a day to visit the Williamsburg, Iowa, outlet mall with a couple of my friends. It was a great day — of course, cold again, but we had such a good time. That day gave me an opportunity to start my Christmas shopping. Until then, I had nothing done.
The babysitting has been so much fun. We take turns delivering the 4 year old to preschool in Princeton. On the days I had my turn during December, the 4 year old and I discovered you can play Blake Shelton’s “Jingle Bell Rock” exactly 10 times before you finish the drive from Manlius to Zearing Child Enrichment Center. We “rocked” our way down the road to and fro, making a memory for each of us.
Throughout this moving, babysitting, shopping and singing, my mom failed to bounce back from an illness in November. After several days in the hospital, she returned to Liberty Village, but her condition never really improved substantially. She had some good days, but more of her days were spent in pain or asleep. She had a good day the day her new great-great-granddaughter came to visit. This new baby, named Vivienne, was named in honor of my mom. The name is spelled slightly different, but for my mom, the name was the same. How special that she was able to hold this new life in her arms.
On Sunday, Dec. 22, she went to sleep and did not awaken. At 100 years old, she left us. It was expected by all of our family, but at the moment of being told, it was unexpected, too. It is the kind of news that you think you are prepared to hear, but you never really are.
My mom lived a quiet life. She was a life-long homemaker. She was a 4-H leader for several years, was always available to donate food to church activities, and for a few years, drove a bus for the Tiskilwa schools. She loved to read, sew and cook. She also loved the Chicago Cubs. My dad was not much of a baseball fan, so she would sit in the kitchen in front of her tiny television and hope for a Cubs’ victory. I had the pleasure of taking her to her first game at Wrigley Field. She loved it. So happy to have had that experience with her.
My mom passed along to many of us her love of music and some of her musical abilities. My mom could play the piano “by ear.” She did not read music, but if I could sing a song to her, before I would finish, she would have picked up the melody on the piano. I envied that ability. It was special. Singing and her playing the piano are some of my favorite memories.
On Saturday, Dec. 28, we said goodbye to my mom. We celebrated her long, special life. And, for me, I said, “Farewell, until we meet again.”
Nita Wyatt of Wyanet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.