September 2, 2015

Priceless. (My Summer in Pictures)

Hola Chicas,

After a 3 month long residency in St. Louis, MO, #TeamWalton has finally made their triumphant return to D.C.  Dramatic?  Maybe, but it was a dramatic ass summer, tho-- one of growth, change and self-reflection and now that I think I'm done processing my situation, it's time for me to catch y'all up.  Ish got real, but I'm blessed and smiling.  So below find my summer in pictures--

Read On!>>>

I came home in May to care for my Grandma Maxine.  She's been sick off and on for the last few years, and on what everyone would agree was her death bed no less than 3 times since Gia was born.  Each time, I'd drop everything (thanks Dr. Daddy for understanding) and rush home to nurse her to health.  This time, the illness is dementia and there's absolutely nothing I can do.  She's physically healthy (despite the recent heart attack), mobile and hilarious but her short term memory is busted and she needs care around the clock.  Due to her quick mental decline, she had to surrender her driver's license and her independence and she moved in with my parents back in February (kicking and screaming).  It was rough going as Dad wasn't getting adequate support from other family members #YouKnowHowThatShitGo and it was taking a toll on his health and personal life.  She would be up all night and so he had to be up with her which would leave him sleepless for days in a row. I knew he needed me.  I knew she needed me.  So, in May, we packed it up with the intention to hit up Israel and then stay in STL for as long as it took to help them find some normalcy.  #TheAbilityToMoveFreelyAboutTheEarth #Priceless

Boogie (who told me yesterday her name is Gia Nicole, not Boogie) attended Girl's Inc of St. Louis this summer with my sister-in-law as her teacher and my mother as the director of the center.  #Spoilt #Priceless

Boogie-less, Gma and I spent our days hitting up casinos (she loves slots, I love cheap wine), buying stuff we didn't need from the Dollar Store and brunching at all the STL hot spots. If we were not in the streets, she stayed trying to pack her bags to board some mystery bus to Jackson, MO (where she grew up). At first, I'd try to intervene ('cause I'd be the one to have to put everything back), but eventually it dawned on me that she enjoyed doing it and it wasn't hurtin' nothing, so I started helping her pack, lol.  Sometimes, we'd pack up (and unpack) several times a day. #Priceless

There were 2 or 3 turn ups with the crew #StressRelief #Priceless

some VIP seshs...#Priceless

some two-step action with Bugs... #Priceless

some new Mac action with Nephew #CollegeBound #Priceless 

Some humidity proof twist-out action despite the rude dew points... #FinanceDisrespectingCurlCream #PricelessTho

Gia whippin' and nae nae'ing and in this pic, breaking her legs at the Surge basketball game #TheyWonToo #Priceless

fireworks in Ferguson over the lake (and no one got shot) #Priceless

Date nights with Dr. Daddy under the Arch #AlwaysPriceless

Lunch with my honeys #Priceless

#NerdDay She was so self-conscious and didn't want to go into the class because she thought her friends would tease her.  She was nearly in tears when we told her that everyone was dressed silly and that it was fun... we later found out that nearly all the girls were apprehensive and felt better once they saw what the other girls were on... and so it begins.  #Priceless

Boogie caught a bass!

Dr. Daddy took center stage! #DontAsk #UniverSOULCircus

Meramec Caverns-- yes that's a light show. It was only barely a cave.  There was linoleum on the floor at times, hand rails and light switches, so...#FauxSpelunking

Riverboat whippin'

fake campout havin'

boston baked beans eatin'

Toward the end of my trip (taking over for Dad as primary Gma care giver, I was beat) it was abundantly clear that Gma needed around the clock, professional care.  Despite my best efforts, I couldn't keep her at home.  I felt like a failure.  I felt guilty.  Helping Dad make that decision and getting the arrangements in order was... terriblĂ©.  Dementia runs in our family so her mother, both brothers and sister all ended up in nursing homes.  It almost seemed inevitable but it didn't make it any easier.  We toured several facilities and decided on the one she recovered in the last two times.  The staff was familiar with us and her (she used to visit her siblings there), so we felt as comfortable as you could, given the situation.  The last nights with her in my parent's home were so bitter sweet.  Gia had no idea what was going on, but she knew something was up.

After practicing all summer, Grandma and I packed up her ish, but forreals this time.  

I hadn't been to her house since I'd been home but wanted to walk through since we'd have to rent it.  I grew up here and wanted to see it as it was before someone dismantled all my memories, lol.  And yes, that's a Christmas tree.  She had a heart attack the week of Christmas (while I was in India) and hasn't been home since. 

Dad and I took her to the nursing home. Leaving her there was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  Dad left first.  4 hours later, I worked up the courage to tell her I had to go but would be back tomorrow.  And while I was holding back tears, I knew it was for the best because she didn't even know she was there.  BUT, she still knew me, so for that, I was thankful.

But I returned and stayed posted up.  We'd gossip and talk ish and she'd tell me about her 'co-workers'-- she's convinced that she works at this 'community center' and she's there to help the patients. She's probably going to get suspicious if she doesn't get her check soon tho...

Ice cream social fun--
Gma was reminiscing on a recent family reunion which was held in her honor because she is the last elder from that generation. I tried telling her that now she's the "mah-, may-, mat-" of the family.  I couldn't remember the word and I was like, 'yeah grandma, they held it for you because you're the... it starts with an M'.   And she smiled and responded, 'cause I'm the mother f*cker' and we fell out laughing.  I said, 'naw, you're the matriarch'.  And she responded, 'I'm the mother f*cking matriarch.' #Boom #Priceless

happy hour fun at the nursing home (and yes there was liquor!) #Priceless #ShoulderWork

and there's a mini-horse on site and Grandma was terrified of him...

until she forgot she was, and now they're buddies!

 and then August came and we had to go.  It was almost as hard as leaving her there weeks before.  She told me to hurry back.  I kissed her and we headed back to D.C.

... to do what we do best #RoofTopShenanigans

but it was short lived cause I had to go to NC to give a keynote speech on 'choosing happiness, now'. 

and 24 hours later I had to practice what I was preachin' because my baby was going to big-girl-school and I didn't wanna ugly cry

 But Syl did (ugly cry, that is) when Perry proposed to her by the lake!!!!!!! #CauseThatRockOnYaFingerIsLikeATumor #YouCan'tFitYaHandInYaNewPurse #ThrowBackJay

and then Momma  and Daddy flew in (and they're still here) for Gia's 5th bday... which was Saturday. 

and even tho we spent the whole summer in STL, our DC friends still loved us and showed up for Boogie.  #Priceless

Interesting side note...
Dude that has the kids hiding behind the couch is the world's best kid party performer, ever.  He has a TV show being made about his life, where he may be played by Joel Mchale.  His show was totally amazing and the kids loved him!  Check him out here--

Later Gators,

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