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Today was the big kickoff for the rush to the wedding – bridal portraits. And what a day it was! Our Bride absolutely hates to have her plans go awry or to be late for anything. The demands have been wearing on her for a few weeks now, and what started out on track had begun to derail by early afternoon, leaving her weepy and stressed.
We settled on a late afternoon photo shoot at an incredibly beautiful local plantation – Houmas House. I had toured the home a few years ago with my granddaughter and the grounds are a photographer’s dream (the photos below were from that visit.) Things began to slide with her hair and a last-minute change of mind to add some curls. Her hair is waist length and doesn’t hold a curl very well. When the stylist began to comb through the curls, the product he used began to flake and had to be plucked out – won’t be doing that on the wedding day. She is now 30 minutes late for the make-up artist, catching every red light and calling me every few minutes to cry. The makeup artist – Lauren – was great and she was FAST! She calmed her down and did an amazing job to get us back on track. I loaded everything in the car and we had exactly enough time to get there, under normal circumstances. Just as we turned out of the neighborhood and she is fretting that she didn’t check that everything was in the car herself, the skies went black and the flood began. The photographer called to say he was in the parking lot, waiting it out and it was much worse there than what we were driving through. We can’t pull up to the house, I discover my grandson took my umbrella out of my car, and we have a trek to get to the dressing area and then another to get to the house. I buy an umbrella in the gift shop to hold over her, it’s okay if I get wet, and we start hauling. The rain gives us a little break when we head to the house and the photographer sits her on a lovely antique settee. “Katrina, everything you just went through never happened, the sun is shining outside and you look beautiful.” He was great! The extra time in the house allowed shots he never took before, tourists from all over the world were peeking around doorways raving over the gorgeous dress and stunning bride. “Your groom will pass out when he sees you for the first time!” The docent was in love too, suggesting places for great shots around the house. We finally made it outside, hiked to the front of the home, spread a sheet to protect the dress (not) and started snapping away. I feel raindrops and head back to the house to get the umbrella. As I look back, she is framed by the oak trees with the light shining through her veil, throwing her in silhouette. It is amazing. We need to get this one, so I wade into the grass and across the massive lawn shouting to the photographer he needs to frame her from the opposite direction. He wades out to meet me and agrees, this one HAS to be taken. I just know this will be a favorite. The over-cast sky, thunder clouds, wet foliage, slate and ornate wrought iron garden furniture with the oak trees and the soft light shining all around her – stunning! Good call Mom! Exhausted, sweaty and a picture in contrasts – her still pristine and me looking like a wet, half drowned rodent – we load it all up and head home. We have some great mother-daughter time and memories from this one. It is a story that will be fun to tell in the future. I assure her, the post-thunderstorm light was great, the photos will look so serene and perfect – and she can look at them and remember the rain, stress and sweat running down her legs and laugh that the crazy day doesn’t even show.
As we were finishing, a huge group of senior couples arrived for dinner at the home. They were enchanted to see her standing with her dress in her arms and telling her to take a look at them because they are her future. I know they were joking, but that future is exactly what I want her and her groom to experience. A long and love-filled life together – I live that dream every day and it’s wonderful.
Diva Challenge 39 is titled “Love is All You Need” – a call to interpret love in our tangle for the week. So appropriate for my contribution and one I had been waiting to create for my daughter’s friend. She had a little baby boy several weeks ago – Easton. Despite today’s medical advancements, all were surprised when he was born with a critical birth defect. He was immediately flown to Boston for surgery. Little Easton came home this week and I was given the go ahead to finish his gift. This Zentangle will be framed with a mat signed by all his mom’s co-workers to capture how very much he means to so many people. The thoughts guiding my pen were centered on the intense love this first-time mother must surely feel for the little boy who has already fought so hard to stay with her. Much love to baby Easton and his new parents – enjoy!
“Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.” Wayne Dyer
There is so much truth in this, yet the times when miracles occur can be among the most difficult. It has been a challenging few days for me with the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and today, the anniversary of what I think of as “The Accident.” Our miracle was in moments, less than five. So long when you are watching the clock, but a blink when you live it.
The call came around 5:30 that Monday afternoon as I was settling in to work late at home. There has been an accident. It’s bad and Maggie (my granddaughter) is being airlifted. You need to go. As I drive to the hospital, I can’t reach my youngest daughter. She is studying at the library and her phone is on silent. My husband is hours away, offshore on an oil platform, and there is no answer. The rest of my small family was in the accident. I arrive at the same time as the helicopter, but I can’t find a place to park. I see them running to get her, little pink sneakers going by on the stretcher. A man gives me his parking place and I am hustled to a hallway and told not to move. “She is the grandmother – she can sign.” “We are working on her – you can’t see her.” I am given a bag with her clothes – they have been cut off of her – and those pink sneakers. The nurse warns me that the doctor is blunt. I’m okay with that so long as he’s good. He comes out and quickly tells me the risks of surgery. Dear God, how do I sign for this? My daughter is not even here and what if I am wrong. This is her baby. The doctor looks me in the eyes and says, ” I tell you these risks, because I must. You don’t really have a choice. She WILL die if I don’t do this now.” I sign and pray with each stroke of my name. My youngest daughter arrives on the heels of the ambulance transporting my older daughter and grandson. I send her to check on her sister, I am needed for the children. The ambulance was so far behind because they had to be cut from the car. We are in the ER where my daughter is a nurse. Her co-workers stunned, yet having to do their jobs. She knows it’s bad from their faces (some with tears streaming down their cheeks), but she is seriously injured and they don’t want to tell her until she can be fully assessed. Then she sees the organ donation team and the priest. Now she is frantic and I am called to calm her. What do I say? I never lie to my children and she is demanding I tell her the truth. I see the doctor pass with Maggie on the way to surgery. He stops and comes in to tell my daughter “It’s Dr. C. You don’t worry, I am going to save your baby.” He motions me out to tell Maggie goodbye and give her a kiss. The nurse hands us a plastic bag with the Pandora bracelet and silly bands from her birthday a few days before. I finally speak to my husband, so far away, and give him the news. I hate making this call with him unable to even attempt to come home till the following day, but he has to know. Hours go by and finally the doctor comes out. It went okay. Her skull was too fractured to repair, he has replaced the right side with a titanium plate. There was a mid-line brain shift and he had less than five minutes to save her. He did the best he could. I can be with her in PICU once they settle her. My youngest daughter and my sister are deployed to the other hospital rooms. My oldest daughter, suffering major concussions, only marginally pacified when promised I will not leave Maggie’s side and her sister will remain with Jack. The state trooper tells me it was a drunk driver and gives me more info. Then he asks if he can check on the children when he gets off. He comes back around 3 am, still in his uniform, and silently weeps at my granddaughter’s bedside as he bends his head in prayer.
I am happy to report that Maggie made a recovery that has been nothing short of a miracle. Off the ventilator within 18 hours and home only six days later. Back at school in only two weeks, though it was part-time at first. She got her braces off and danced in her ninth dance recital in April. She competed for and was awarded a spot on the school dance team in May and moved on to the seventh grade. The scar is now hidden by a cute little pixie ‘do. All three will serve in our Bride’s wedding next month. Slowly they are regaining what was taken from them last year.
As we pieced together the events of that day, it became clear that the five minutes the neurosurgeon needed came by way of Maggie’s mother. She was unconscious and trapped in the car. When she came to, her ER training took over. She could not see either child, but barked questions at both – getting responses from Jack and none from Maggie. The medic was preparing to transport Maggie to a small regional hospital with no trauma services via ambulance. She demanded a helicopter for Maggie and transport for all of them to the trauma center a little further away. Saving critical moments that made all the difference, paired with the efforts of so many dedicated professionals, including my injured daughter, ready to seize them and deliver a miracle.
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” –President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001
Each year, on this date, I relive those awful moments in time. Even though so many years have passed, I cry each time even though I am not one to cry easily. I never watch news footage of that day, it is just too much for me. I feel the same way about Hurricane Katrina. This year, I broke with that and watched the interview President Bush gave to National Geographic about his thoughts and actions that day. It was an interesting insight into the transformation of our leader with a single event. Now, as then, I feel grateful for his leadership at a crucial time in our country’s history. Seeing the footage is even worse all these years later. Why would that be? Maybe because the shock is now gone and I have had time to truly understand the losses suffered that day. My heart breaks for those families forever changed on that day.
My Zentangle this morning seems to reflect my unease. The jumble of Paradox with Mooka in blue ink captures my mood today. Sadness over past events and worry as my brother flies home from S. Korea, today of all days. There’s hope there too, just around the edges, ready to grow and hide the chaos over time. But never forget, it is always there, deep in our hearts.
”Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.” Welsh Proverb
Twelve years ago I was blessed to become a grandmother for the first time. She was a true gift from God for me. I almost lost her last year, but God gave her back, just as perfect as she was before. She was in my thoughts as I worked on tiles for the Diva Challenge – mono tangle tiles using only Paradox. It is one of my favorite tangles because it takes a lot of focus and concentration. Since I am not much of a cook anymore, I thought a tangled cake would be in order and the tangle is fitting. Our girl is very much a paradox these days as the wild mood swings of the pre-teen years take hold. That’s okay, she’ll grow out of them and we are ever grateful she has that opportunity.
I am such a lucky Kacki to have my Maggie Moe. Love you my Mags! Happy Birthday!
“There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” Henry A. Kissinger
A few years ago a friend was describing the various criteria she used in shopping for a new car. This very intelligent, no-nonsense woman went on at length about the importance of a good cup holder. Her experience was that most were just too small for a “Big Gulp” and that was unacceptable to her. I teased her about it at the time, but she never wavered from her convictions. Fast forward to this week…
My week was booked solid with appointments starting at 8:30 and running through to 5 pm and beyond. On Thursday morning, exhausted and stressed from the intense schedule, I noticed my husband prowling around the house – searching. When asked, he explained he was worried about his Mom getting in his truck. He was taking her for a doctor’s appointment that day so he was searching for something to help her step up and into the truck. His Mom had a stroke some years ago and his concern was well founded as her mobility is not very good. I suggested we trade vehicles for the day – he could take my car and I would take his truck. Problem solved — for him.
I hate driving the “Bubba Truck” and should have known I was in trouble as I struggled to climb into the truck in the skirt I was wearing that day. Hubby leans in and warns me: “Now this is a FORD truck. Remember there is about a 3 second lag when you shift to reverse.” Yeah, yeah, I won’t be driving in reverse. I am a little early, so I decide to stop for my favorite drink, a 44 oz. diet coke from Sonic. It’s not the drink, but the ice that I love – plus it lasts all day and I needed the caffeine. I rumble into the local Sonic and order my drink. Uh-oh, no wallet in my purse, no money, no license. Hubby had taken it out looking for a gas card. Paying the carhop with all the loose change I could scrounge in my purse, I head back home to get my wallet. As I turned out of the drive thru, my 44 oz drink went airborne, covering the passenger side of the truck, narrowly missing my LSU purple Coach purse. NOW, I am going to be late and call to warn my team to start without me. I pull in the driveway, leave my phone ringing in the truck and rush into the house to find the wallet and get a towel to clean up the mess. First bathroom, no towels. The second has so many, that when I pull out a beach towel, the whole stack spills onto the floor. Darn, I just organized all that a few days ago. Finally, wallet and towel in hand, I am out the door and on my way. I was only 30 minutes late for my meeting. Not so bad, all things considered. Once I got to the meeting site, I pulled out my Zentangle supplies and started working on my Diva Challenge tile for the week as I listened. By the time I had finished the tile, my focus was back and the day went on as planned.
I called my friend to share the mornings antics and let her know I have a new respect for her cup holder obsession. We laugh together and I wonder why my husband didn’t have the good sense to tell me about something as important as his crummy cup holder when he warned me about a 3 second lag for reverse. I mean, where are his priorities!