January 16, 2015

50 First Dates.


#NoseringFleekin #ThingsNikkiAintDoForReal

The perfect picture.

The clever caption.

The art of the story tell.

The ceaseless editing.

This is how I've spent much of the last 7 years. Living for the next picture-worthy moment. Living for the next story worth telling. Living this life with the sole purpose of capturing it-- to share it, to inspire, to teach, to entertain. But is that really living? And what's the sacrifice?

This blogger life is intense... and awesome, and rewarding, and then you look up and away from the screen, and shit's all different. Imagine having your own reality TV show, but it's not on TV, and you have to write all the content, and there aren’t producers forcing ‘real’ moments so it's only as interesting as your life allows it to be. #KeepingUpWithTheCurl-ashians. Well, I wrestled with this for years and in 2013, I re-prioritized my situation and have done my best to show up completely for everything, to be fully present for the good and the bad... and blog about it a little later. #ExceptForInternationalShenanigansTho #CauseILoveYallSoMuch

I've been back in the states since the 6th but aside from the curated hair articles I post to CN.com every morn, I spent every second of every day with Grandma Maxine. So I apologize for the radio silence. I've read your emails, I feel your prayers. My gratitude is too tremendous for words. Thank you. And as I sit here in D.C., I thought I'd take a moment to write this long over-due post.

Read On!>>>
Hubby and I were supposed to touch down in STL just long enough to scoop up the Boogs and fly directly to D.C. But those plans changed the moment I heard that Grandma was being rushed to the E.R. And at Dr. Daddy's urging, I canceled my flight (and Boogie's) and took up my post at Grandma's nursing facility (where she'll be recovering for the next few weeks). The reports of understaffing and unloving care you hear about at these places has always made me very wary, so I was there all day, every day of my stay, to 'make them care'. That, and to protect them from Grandma. #SheSpitsHotFire

The Reunion
The first thing she said when she saw me was, 'Well looky looky! When did you get back?! followed quickly by, 'what is that in your face, a diamond booger?' We hugged, laughed and cried and I found myself wishing the moment could last forever.

Grandma's 89, so between her age, the dementia, and being away from her home and routine, I wasn't surprised to find her a bit disoriented. So ala '50 First Dates', I had to gently re-tell the story of how she waited to have an entire heart-attack while I was in India, how she had to have a second surgery to install a pacemaker, why she had to stay here in this strange, smelly place to recover… and why I couldn’t sneak her out, no matter how many times she asked or negotiated.

We did this every day, sometimes several times a day. I'd touch her hand to the stitches on her chest and her eyes would grow wide with surprise every time, and she'd smile and say, 'well, now I'mma bionic woman... maybe I can fly too?!' I'd tell her about where I was when I got the news (eyeballs sweating every time I had to tell it), I'd tell her about poor Nyasha having to comfort me, and about the spectacle I was in the middle of that bar at the hotel... she'd laugh ‘til she cried and call me a big ole' baby. Then I'd read her the prayers (some of which were in German and Portuguese) and your comments and she'd look at me confused and grateful and request that I thank y’all for her. Sometimes I hesitated and didn’t want her to have to re-live the story, to run through those emotions again, but after I saw how much it enlivened her, how much she enjoyed hearing it and learning of her strength, I recanted it as many times as she requested.

We shingled Gma's hurr.  She had no idea she had curls!

Gia and I accompanied her to physical therapy every morning and every afternoon, we sat with her during breakfast, lunch and dinner, watched her nap, took naps with her, watched ratchet day-time television and played host to her numerous guests that came in and out all day like a revolving door. She is loved and she knows it.

Surrounded by people experiencing various levels of pain, confusion, despair, joy and hope, I thanked God, lived in the moment and had the best time of my life. Gia and I met and talked with other grandmas and grandpas who weren't fortunate enough to have families that could visit frequently and we became quick friends with all of the nursing staff. You know, blogger by day, candy striping by night.


Dr. Daddy offered to let me stay in STL for as long as I needed to, and while I wanted nothing more, I'm a momma, and Boogie needed to return to school and get back into her routine as well. I'm back in D.C. now, have already been to and from NYC once and expect to be back there next week again. Life is moving fast but I've learned that the real magic happens when you slow down and live like there's no tomorrow, one today at a time.

Later Gators,
Nik

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