Holiday Stress? Watch the Roches Perform Handel’s Hallelujah

Our family had a very, very challenged couple of weeks as we awaited Santa. It feels like Jesus came tumbling by way of a King’s Island roller coaster this year.

On my side of the family – no hitches: all three major trans USA move transitions went fine. All systems, go, go go! (Doing the thankful daughter/sister/mom dance in my mind because when I try to do even a mini office chair samba my brain sort of explodes and my hip dislocates a bit).

Why even try to samba? Because my people are happy and that’s the goal:

1. My brother is in proud dad heaven as my niece grabbed the golden ring of what she wants to do with her life, 2. My cousin who survived hurricane Irene on Long Isle and I still love each other more than anyone, 3. My aunt and uncle’s children seem to be doing especially well this year, and,

4. My father?! Holy smokes. When I talked to him on Christmas day he sounded happier than he has, honestly,

since well before my mother died of colon cancer eight years ago.

What favorite daughter of the best dad in the world isn’t trying to reach THAT brass ring? Eh?

John Fugiel troop Douglas McEwan photog.With a little bit of help from my brother and I, his perfectly laid out plan to organize, sell his home and move permanently to Florida is, as he would say: “Finito!” Done.

It worked! The rewards of his hard work to grieve and retire at the same time seem to be that his new neighbor Rose loves him (he killed and threw away the scary dead snake in the road), my cousins went from enjoying to adoring his company (he reminds them of our grandfather), and even dad’s doctors love him it seems. (Aka: He is being compliant to their plans and in return his kidney disease issues are at a standstill for now).

In addition, though his favorite new walking park let him down mightily by closing off a path so they could chase away alligators by draining a pond, his life seems to be moving at his perfecto pace at last. Hell. After two years of weekly poker losses, he says that he’s now even winning some card hands now.

If you’ve ever met my dad even once for ten minutes, you’d agree that his life is now wonderful indeed.

Boo, and YA world! High fives all around the globe.

I imagine that you, whoever you are: stranger or not, I imagine that you are staring at your PhoneComputerTouch screen and thinking, “and this made your 2012 Christmas a disaster because…?”

…there’s more of course.

On my adoring Sleigh Driver’s side of the family, elder care issues

have come home to roost in epic proportion.

If your Christmas celebrations have you feeling like this:

(click the word BESTBEST if you have 5 minutes to watch and hear a righteous cool Handel’s Messiah rendition.Thank you SO much @JamesMartinSJ and @suzzyroche – that tweet share last night has me confused about whether or not this is the best or worst Christmas season I’ve celebrated in my 45 years.)

Or, if you feel a bit guilty that you didn’t have a crappy or complicated holiday season, just google

sudden onset of dementia

and your heart will break just enough to empathize with my favorite husband.

He has a very, very large German family in a lovely rural Appalachian corner of Ohio. We have all helped take care of his grandmother for a couple of years now as she has had some health issues. Despite those efforts, she has suddenly become what I can only describe as a five foot GermanHandful of frustration and occasional cuteness.

She was and will always be the Matriarch of, I exaggerate not, dozens, which if you count the great-great-greats, is probably more like hundreds.

But. She apparently kept us all fooled that it was perfect apple pie that was keeping us in line and clicking our rosaries for the last 100 years. It was actually her mind.

Over the past 20 years she has become blind, deaf, and in the last year or so has developed mobility issues. We’re trying to figure out what she needs most, and my SO not an “expert at geriatric care” opinion is that “Little Grandma” has been suffering from some normal oxygen loss which results in tired thinking issues. In turn, this is creating a sudden onset of dementia that is moving faster than is easy to manage for her two daughters.

I didn’t expect that my mother in law and I would be at her kitchen table trying to figure out if all of a sudden Little Grandma has Alzheimer’s or not.

You’d think since my mother in law is a librarian and I’ve mostly been a teacher or student we could combine our tired noggins and figure that out at least a little bit.

Not so much over just one cup of lukewarm peppermint tea.

For now, my approach is going to be to watch and re-watch that music video of the Roches singing Alleluia that I found on Twitter while finally giving myself a Christmas sixty minutes alone.

Ma’am, would you like your cake first?

Well.

What I wish is that this morning I could have some time and energy, and focus to write “a bit” about the terrorism that has swept my nation right before starting the school year.

I’m not so sure how much energy I have to help “us” process how, or why, or when, or where to take a knee on the terrorism part.

I’m a pretty big fan of theaters and houses of worship. (Looks at calendar on wall). Yup. Pushing 50 years of both types of buildings being my safest, bestest spots on earth other than a nice little tree stand to sit and day-dream for a minute before misplacing my planner again.

Not good timing in this family as our calendars rotate by way of the school year by trade and young’ins.

Nor as the daughter of the best actor on earth, or friend of the hippies that really did start Saturday Night Live.

But, I’m digressing again, and won’t go there yet other than to share that Mr. Coop and I fell into a date last night by default of kids being too busy to eat with the rents and we had a couple of seconds to take a deep breath over schmanzy heated salad dressing.

And, I’ll admit that I wasn’t much of a date other than I am certain I brushed my teeth before we left.

My mindset for the first, at least, quarter of our yummy meal, or maybe half, was the big deal I made with the waitress that dessert needs to be ordered first.

She actually came back to the table and said, :

“Ma’am, would you like your cake first?”

because I was being so complicated with my food order.

Okay. Truth told, I managed to pull out my theater background and make the entire evening about that chocolate heath melted surprise. But, Professor Cooper was a sport and yes, I got my cake and ate it too.

School readyness thinking on my part a few weeks ago was along the lines of the kool-aid mom thing going on in our new ‘hood. This is fun, worry about the pencil box later.

After baseball was over for our youngest he figured out that much of the team is within a block or three reach of our door. He’s extroverted. I’m not. I get that.

I didn’t think he could surpass his oldest brother with extraversion, but he has in a certain cute way that involves fifth graders in and out of the door for most of July. I picked up on complicated baseball conversation that involves something about Omar from Chi-town and dancing in the rain at the Big Red Machine Stadium vs. Babe Ruth and did the Great Bambino use to stuff their gloves with sawdust or not?

These, thank GOD are still at the top of the minds of some of the littlish people who crossed the door this summer.

These, I think, I know, are very good worries for a guy to have.

Fast track to a few days ago realizing that my favorite son of the week, the track star who I forgot to sign up for ACT’s who really does want me to remember to buy him a birthday cake this year for his birthday, zzzzpt…fast track to the one who is my favorite at Christmas who has decided to rock the work world in Ohio for us and made me take a nap in his apartment this summer on his couch….pppsssszzzzdddt. He’s the one that I can’t remember if I dreamed about mailing a birthday cake to last December or not. It was an odd winter on that front.

Sons. Hmm. Overwhelming? Yeah.

Are they doing okay? Yup. Check. Not bad at all really.

I could scroll the play list for you to my father moving, my brother and I helping him do that while balancing moving our adult kids into the universe, another niece getting married and one starting kindergarten and,

yeah.

I guess insomnia does have some logic of late.

And.

Thankfully, I had a moment to take a knee by way of scoring the two photos in this article from Facebook. The cute daisy from a bestest college friend who knows I don’t sleep, and the other of my father’s favorite students of the ’70’s.

It will all be okay.

John Fugiel Improv Troop, circa '70's

John Fugiel Improv Troop, circa ’70’s