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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Good Attendance

I recently thought about a "perfect attendance" plaque that was awarded to my mother, many years ago when she was employed at Picatinny Arsenal, in New Jersey. I believe she had a perfect attendance for just over one year. However, she never bragged to me about her achievement. My guess is that she just didn't think about it. She just woke up each day and went to work.

I'm also thinking about her today, because today marks 27 years to the day she passed. I've been quite open with both Bubs 1 and Bubs 2 about their "Grandma Kathy." In fact, we're at a point now where both bubs offer me their undivided attention whenever I decide to share a story about my mom.

Grandma Kathy circa late 1970's
As Bubs 1's mom and I continue to teach him how to approach social situations so to appropriately respond to them, I find that my sharing about my mom to be an effective teaching tool. Bubs 1 does recognize the feelings that accompany a "sad story" and offers proper social responses... even if it just means to simply listen with good eye contact. I find this to be a win-win situation, because, well, I enjoy talking about my mom to both bubs 1 and 2.

I don't want to scare both bubs with horror stories about how she passed from cancer, but I do want to share the humanity. I share with them about the times that I held my mom's hand, when she asked me to, while she suffered the effects of her chemotherapy treatments, but I don't lament on the "day in and day out" suffering she experienced. I also share the happy times with my mom - before her cancer diagnosis. For example, like when my mom and I would drive long distances, back-n-forth between my grandmother's house and our home. After my father moved out of our house, my mom and I made many trips to grandma's house. For my mom, she was trying to deal with her divorce from my dad. For me, it was the construction of memories that evidenced strength and determination in the face of utter fear... some would call this "survival." Throughout all of our travels, my mom and I had many conversations and I share some of her stories with Bubs 1 and Bubs 2. They love to hear them.

Near the end of my mom's life, she ended up taking too many "sick days" due to the toll that the cancer took on her. She told me that her co-workers were offering up their accumulated sick days so that she could still get paid, while dealing with her disease. I remember her expression when she told me about this. It was both embarrassed, but yet thankful... at the same time.

Through these stories, both bubs 1 and 2 are learning about their "Grandma Kathy" whom they've never met. I guess it's a good thing, but it's also seems sad at the same time. I always make sure to end on a positive note and with something they can "take away" from these stories. 

"Good attendance is important," I tell them. They'll understand one day.       
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