Bike Rides and Families

The biggest news of today is this: Cora Adeline Grace Johnson has mastered bike riding.

Look at her go!!

I have spent the week recovering from pinkeye, a sinus infection, two ruptured eardrums, and two ear infections. My left eardrum burst in the middle of the night after I went to the doctor. I'm grateful it wasn't as painful as when my right eardrum decided it had enough.

I feel like today was the first day that could really count as recovery. I'm not sure how long it will take for my ears to fully heal, to lose the ringing and echo-y sounds, or to feel kind of normal again, but I am certain this wasn't what I had in mind for my summer. The not hearing well part isn't great, but the dizzy spells are proving to be the worst. If I turn my head too quickly, or move in a different direction, I feel like falling over. One of my new life goals is to never experience Vertigo. Ever.

Last night, we watched an old family video that touched me. It was Christmas Day at Jake's paternal grandparents' (Mammy and Granddad) home in 1990. Everyone was there. All four children, their spouses, and all eleven grandchildren. Grandmother, Mammy's mom, was even there. This woman is legendary, and I've never seen her on video before. It was wonderful. It was also bittersweet.

Mammy passed away just before Christmas. I haven't written much about it. I've processed her death very differently without having been there during the last few months of her life when Dementia completely took over, and she wasn't really Mammy anymore. In many ways I'm grateful that she was still her when we left for Los Angeles.

The part of the video that really got me was the timing. Six months after it was filmed, that family was put through the wringer. It was changed forever. Vaughn's dad, Granddad, left Mammy on Father's Day in 1991. He didn't just leave her, he left the whole family - stayed in the same small town, but didn't have contact with any of his children or grandchildren. Actually seeing the faces of those sweet little grandbabies, and a family enjoying being together juxtaposed with the story, made me have to work really hard at staying in control of my emotions.

I realized, in watching it, that I knew all of the people, but I didn't know that family. It doesn't exist anymore.

Jake's granddad actually lives a little over a block away from the home his parents' have lived in for the last six-and-a-half years. While Cora was riding her bike this morning, I saw his car back out of the driveway and come our way. Jake had Cora pulled over "up the hill" towards his house when he saw the car coming towards them. I wondered if he would recognize Jake, or see that little girl on the bike and know that it was his great-granddaughter. And not just know that it was his great-granddaughter, but do a tiny happy dance that she'd just made it through a rite of passage.

In the middle of my flurry of thoughts, he turned at the intersection right before he got to them, and I was sure that he [or his wife] decided make that turn as a precaution, to avoid the kid on her bike in the street.


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