Big booties to fill

Been thinking about Grandma Alma again.

Alma had a husband who made her promise to keep the family together and then died leaving her with eight small children, no money and a mortgage she couldn’t pay, and then people bought her farm stuff for pennies at auction and some of them never paid her.

I have Alma’s baby shoes, thanks to dear cousin Dort who gave them to me. They are little leather booties. Very big shoes to fill.

They give me perspective on my current travails.

 I have a husband with a stroke but he’s alive and has great health insurance and the protections of ADA. A tree fell on our house but it will be getting a new roof, new decks and refinished floors courtesy of excellent insurance while we live in another beautiful home.

Yes, it’s chaotic and stressful and really hard to manage, but it’s not going to destroy me. Alma is my grandmother and I am made of sterner stuff.

I keep her booties on the mantle overlooking Tom’s chair, along with Gregory, George and Mogadishu, and my Dad’s watch.

They remind me to just put one foot in front of the other.

When I wake up too early, I remember that Alma got up before dawn every day and started the wood stove to bake bread for the day.

My brain concentrates on my to-do lists, and while in this mode of taking care of the essentials I have succeeded in burying any interest in art or learning. Alma didn’t have time for those luxuries either.

Despite the focus on essentials, today I failed to get Tom’s glucose levels three of the four times that I should have, and I failed to get any exercise. Too many essentials. Surely Alma had lot of days when she didn’t get everything done.

But I got Tom fed and made sure he got his pills and I got him to therapy on time, just like Alma got those kids fed and off to school. I talked to my friend Kimberly and I talked to the community volunteers who are going to help us out with rides to the gym for Tom, and I know Alma got a little help from neighbors and friends.

I talked to the restoration company about leaving trash around our house. Managed the pack-out of the house and the transfer of our things to the rental house by phone and text message. Alma had to move four times after she lost the mortgage.

I took a nap for more than an hour after lunch. I bet Alma didn’t get a nap until she was in her 80s.

I answered emails and did some work on the revised grant proposal and budget. I finished and published three blog posts. Alma sent her kids out to work on other people’s farms and in other people’s houses.

I made fried pork chops for dinner that turned out well. Simple food with good ingredients is what Alma did best.

I talked to my sister Ann, and sorted medical paperwork while we talked. With eight kids, Alma knew how to multi-task – and those kids took care of each other, too.

One foot in front of the other.

In the course of the day I took 5,000 steps, according to my Fitbit. Alma would have had a party on her wrist every damn day if she’d had a Fitbit.

Today’s penny is a 2013, the year I inherited Alma’s booties.

5 thoughts on “Big booties to fill”

  1. oh my dear Lisa, you had an such an eventful year; just happened that the events are straddling between life and mortality. What does not kill you makes you stronger, I guess that is a western wisdom since it doesn’t involve the topics of rice or bowl, otherwise people would say it is a Chinese saying to render it more aged truth and credibility.
    Indeed it is putting one foot before the other and requires focus like tunnel vision, and determination. I wish I can douse you with a daily dose of irrelevance and humor to make light of the circumstance, which I found useful for me in the past..
    Remember I told you that you are an inspiration to me? what you are able to do now is equally if not more so inspiring, even though you are barely putting one foot in front of the other. in the matter of 6 months, you will see July 2016 in your rear view mirror with a shrug. by then you and Tom should do a victory lap around the US of A or around the world!


    1. LMAO re: Western vs. Chinese wisdom!

      Yea!! I love the idea of seeing 2016 in my rearview mirror!!

      And seriously – thank you for writing this comment. There are days when the comments on my blog posts are the only thing that feels like encouragement. Love you, Penn!

  2. It’s very inspiring to be able to channel Grandma Alma. Sometimes I go through crazy days and channel my inner Lisa. You’re going to be able to write yet another book. Actually, I think you already are. Much love my friend.

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