Post-Pandemic World on Fire, Part 1

Okay so it’s been over a year since I updated my blog. Lots of changes have occurred! This may have to be a 2-parter…

First of all, my middle son and his new wife announced they were expecting, so BIG change for me was becoming a grandmother. I tend to take after my great-grandmother, and one of the funniest stories I heard about her was her complaint that she was “too young” to be a grandmother when my dad was born – she was only 41 but then again my grandmother was 19 when she had him. She decided that she would teach him to call her by her real name, Marie (actually her middle name but I digress!). He was probably two or three at the most, so the best he could manage was “Ewee”. That stuck, and his brothers, cousins, grands and great-grands all called her that. I wanted a special name as well, but wasn’t going to ask mine to call me by my name. I despise my first name, and my middle name is, well, Marie so that isn’t going to work either. One of my oldest friends became a grandmother several years ago, and her grandma name is Yaya. I always liked that, and the more I thought about it, YaYa fit for me too because the last syllable of my name is ‘ya’. So in a way, I’m carrying on the tradition my Ewee and my dad started over 70 years ago. He was also due the week before mine and my husband’s birthdays, so even better!

Also in the middle of this ridiculous time in our world’s history, we were planning a wedding! My daughter became engaged on the day that she should have been walking down another aisle – to graduate from college. So freaking proud of her – Summa Cum Laude. The ring was amazing and sentimental – her fiancé used a diamond from one of his deceased grandmother’s necklaces and had a ring made around it. So I took graduation and engagement pictures in one day! She had her heart set on the date as well: 10-10-2020. The major issue with this was the panorama we were in the middle of. Most places were not open nor would they accept reservations for October because they just didn’t know. We soldiered on and continued to plan and buy flowers to make all the bouquets and decorations. She was able to set up fittings for dresses at David’s Bridal in Monroe, and found THE dress…and some mild drama/hurt feelings with her future mother in law but anyway…we kept going. We finally found a perfect venue – a 115-year old mansion in Junction City, being lovingly restored by a local couple and rented out for weddings and other events. It was reasonable, and I even sprung a little extra for them to do the clean-up – priorities people! The closer we got to the day, the closer I needed to be, so in September I moved back to El Dorado. I want to be clear that this was not fun for me but it definitely made the rest of the wedding prep easier.

The week of the event, a hurricane decided it needed to form in the Gulf and of course we were directly in the path. This wasn’t unusual, but it was unfortunate timing. Our original plan was to have the actual ceremony and reception outside and keep the refreshments and such inside to avoid bugs and mess. In case you are not where these types of storms affect you, we are about 6 hours from the Gulf but tropical storms and hurricanes don’t stop just because they make landfall. The venue was swamped, so this was going to have to be inside. In spite of the last-minute change, it was a beautiful wedding. My very pregnant daughter-in-law was thankful for the change as it meant she could comfortably be barefoot and inside with air conditioning – not only was the outside a muddy mess, it was literally swampy humid.

Time moves on and we are still in south Arkansas, working for NWA companies from home. On the plus side, our internet here is way better. I turned my sons’ old room into my office, taking a dining room table and making a big desk, setting up a twin bed and transitioning a dresser into office storage. I set up my Roku TV and decorated. Still needs painting but that will have to be later. Hubby took back his post in the living room at his desk. We initially thought this might be a temporary situation as we assumed we would be returning to our offices at the first of the year, so we didn’t completely move everything back. Two weeks post wedding, we get a call that we weren’t expecting for at least another week or two…Kayla’s water broke and she’s in labor! This was unexpected but exciting news – baby Colt was on his way! The only problem? She refused to use local doctors or the local hospital, so they were having to drive 2.5 hours to Little Rock. I had issues sitting in the car for the 5 minute ride to our hospital while in active labor with Luke – driving 2.5 HOURS in that same situation? Yikes…

The birth of Colt Douglas changed our situation – as the parents of the husband/father, we were going to have to jockey for time with the little man as her mom and grandmother were naturally her go-to people. The point was made that if we were to move back north, our time with him would be even less. I wanted to be there so he would know us and yet I was conflicted – I really liked living and working there. Well, the current living situation wasn’t great, but I was looking forward to when we had our own place. This town is just not it for me. I know I can sound like a broken record, but I haven’t felt like this is “home” since I was a kid. I am familiar with the art of compromise, and I knew yet again that was what I was going to have to do.

Before Colt even made his appearance, there were concerns – ultrasounds showed some unusual things in his skull that concerned the doctor. Later scans read by another doctor dismissed them. But, within a week of his arrival and while my parents and I were sitting with Kayla’s sister while she held him, he stopped breathing and turned blue. It took a bit to revive him, and to my dismay her grandmother and mom dismissed it with “all babies hold their breath”. No, none of my three randomly did that. Well, that wasn’t the last time he did that. They bought a monitor that had a wrap for his foot and the monitor went off many, many times. They rushed him to Children’s in Little Rock and ran a battery of tests on him. He had meningitis and a bleed within his skull that were causing seizures. In my (non doctor) opinion, this was probably what was seen on the ultrasound at 20 weeks. The photo of him hooked up to all the monitors broke my heart. Bless his heart, he’s a fighter though. He was put on anti-seizure medication and has to be monitored regularly to make sure the blood is being absorbed and there is no swelling. He is also going to physical therapy once a week to make sure he has full use of both sides of his body as it seems he is favoring one side over the other.

Stay tuned for part 2…

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