Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Visiting Great-Granda

My Russ was a very dedicated grandson and visited his much-cherished grandmother at least weekly, until her passing in late 2009, I'm very grateful for his encouragement to visit my grandfather regularly (and his company on visits). Since James' arrival we've enjoyed seeing the interaction between the two, although it has been against the backdrop of seeing Granda become increasingly frail.

My grandfather was a bachelor of around fifty when he married my Nanny, a widow with four grown children and two grandchildren. Robert had been in the army and by then had been a faithful employee of Royal Mail for many years. He was always Granda to us and took great interest in all the eventually ten grandchildren he acquired through marriage. He now is a very proud great-grandad to (currently) seventeen great-grandkids though I think he prefers photographs to visits at times as he's now quite nervous of sudden movements or excessive noise. I have a fabulous memory of bouncing a twirling stick off the top of Granda's head as a youngster, it must have absolutely hurt like the dickens but I don't ever remember his being cross. Despite having lived through a world war and working to defend King/Queen and country he is a very gentle (if fairly grumpy) old man.

Granda wanted to live out his days in the home he shared with my Nanny (his grief over her loss is still fresh after seventeen years) but as his self-care deteriorated he was left weakened and unfortunately/fortunately he moved into a nursing home shortly before Christmas 2013. He has gradually become brighter and stronger since the transition, which is amazing to see as we did not think he would see last Christmas. The other positive note regarding the move is that he is ever so slightly closer to us, though he is still about an hour away. As James grows ever more lively and with respect to Granda's energy levels our visits must be short and sweet (under an hour at most). With petrol prices being what they are we combine visits to Granda with visits to other family in the area or with shopping trips to the nearby 'outlet' or as with today to Ikea for a couple of items and dinner (very handy as it's along our route home).

Last night we prepared a picnic lunch (with a note of what to take out of the fridge) and laid out clothes. This morning we'll set off just after breakfast (Russ is hoping to fit in an early morning training run), enjoy a talkative and scenic drive with plenty of child friendly songs and then visit with Great-Granda. James will enjoy his mid-morning lunch (ham, multi-seeded bread, cheese, celery, dates and a boiled egg) while we visit and a couple of exploratory walks about the nursing home with Daddy to give Great-Granda breaks from rambunctious (or any naughty) behaviour and also allow time for grandfather-grandaughter bonding. After a quick breastfeed/storytime in the car, we'll drive slowly to Ikea with lullabies (possibly "Chant") to send a certain someone off to the land of nod.

James will only have time for a short nap as we drive, though Russ will remain with him at the car if he stays asleep once we're parked. If the weather's agreeable they might be able to enjoy some Daddy-son bonding time at the outdoor park but otherwise the play stations throughout the store are very entertaining as are all the people to watch (and planes landing/taxiing/taking off next door).

I keep an ongoing Ikea shopping list on my phone as I really love their products and we'll return an extra storage box before working our way through onky the little bits and bobs on the current list (incuding the ubiquitous meatballs). Mid- or post-shop we'll enjoy a meatballs and mash dinner in the restaurant before heading home for jammies, teeth, stories, milkies and bed. Perhaps bed for all three of us as yesterday was exhausting for me and Russ will have begun today with a run and then driven the length and breadth of the country.

I'm really looking forward to this visit as we haven't been down since February! Alas every opportunity to visit has found one or other of us with a cough or cold which you just can't be bringing into a nursing home. Hopefully James' vastly increased vocabulary since then will make up for our absence.

Tomorrow will be day two of "Project Barn" after a trip to the optician's to see about the next size of glasses for James.

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