Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Laughing


I could act, dance and sing the entire score of The Phantom and still not entertain or capture Marty's attention as much as our daughter, Erin. I could attribute it to the whole mother-daughter thing (that I don't begin to undertand), but it could be that Erin is just that much more entertaining.

Marty is always on her game and more engaged when the kids are around. She talks more, she interacts more, she adds more to the conversation. She just simply tries really hard to be Mom when they are home. Being the Mom is much more compelling than the wife or the patient.


You can see from the picture that she is having a ball carving a pumpkin with Erin. Erin and significant other Lyle came to the lake this weekend with a pumpkin. They had been carving Jack-o-Lanterns in Dallas with new parents Matt and Sarah and decided they needed to bring this joy to us.


Marty always loved Halloween, it may have been her favorite holiday. She really liked the costumes, dressing up, taking the kids trick or treating and of course, carving pumpkins. I had never seen a pumpkin carving kit until Marty brought one home one Halloween. Marty got a kit so she could carve more elaborate pumpkins.
Marty really liked to experience the whole Halloween experience. I wish I had photos of Marty with her "Billy-Bob" teeth. These are the fake, large, buck teeth that are just good enough you would be afraid to ask if they were fake, in case they weren't and someone just had really bad teeth. She would wear them to her work, to my job, to church and to the kids school functions. I'm not sure Matt has recovered from the time she wore them to the football game and completely embarrassed him. I'm not sure Todd, our young associate pastor at the time, has gotten over Marty sitting at the front of the church smiling her "Billy-Bob" smile as he tried to read scriptures.

That was Marty, that is Marty. She now has this really cool hat with spikes and eyeballs hanging from strings. Renae and Nikkie will take her to the mall this year trick or treating with their kids. She will wear her hat. This is one of those events where Marty says, "Well, I'm going, I don't care what you do."

Anyway, the lake. Marty, Erin and Lyle had a blast carving the pumpkin. But, the best moments came later. Late in the afternoon as I watched THE game Marty and Erin piled up in her bed and watched THE game (yeah, a good win). Marty is never more content, satisfied, relaxed and right than these moments. When I went in to check on them there was Marty drinking her gator-aid lying in bed with her daughter and Lyle (Lyle, you are a man of great compassion and courage). I asked them what they were doing and Erin said just laughing. Marty looked at me, giggled as she does and she said, "just laughing".

How does it ever get better than, "just laughing"? Thank you Erin.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pictures

Noah and Parents -- Noah and Auntie Erin
Noah and Great-GrandMaMa
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Little Noah

Matt, who will henceforth be known as Noah's Father, called us about midnight Friday, 10/16 to tell us little Noah was on his way. Marty was already in dream land so I didn't bother to wake her. I think I stayed up a bit longer than usual just to honor Matt and Sarah's all-night`er in Dallas.

When I awoke on 10/17 Noah was still making his way into the world. I had not heard from Matt and waited patiently, what a guy. When I went and woke Marty I bent down and kissed her cheek as I do each morning and gently and movingly whispered in her ear that Sarah was at the hospital having a baby, our Grandson, Marty stretched, gained recognition of the morning and said, "Glad it's not me". Me too.

Matt soon called and gave us the great news that he (Noah Robert Kinard) was born. He dutifully provided the vital stats about Noah I went in and told Marty that I wanted to drive up to Dallas and see him. She looked at me and said she wanted to go. Marty has been a bit under the weather with sinus stuff so I persuaded her to stay home this day with promises we would go back up on Sunday. She agreed, reluctantly. Marty has never been one to be left to hold down the fort. I don't think she was particularly happy about it, but accepted it.

I got to Dallas about the time the nurses wanted to chase everyone off of the maternity floor at Presbyterian Hospital. I understand the need for quite time, babies, new Moms and Dads need their rest when they can get it. This was the first time I saw baby Noah, pretty precious stuff.

The next day Marty would hear of nothing but going to Dallas to see her grandchild. Marty's emotions are pretty well contained as a result of the stroke. Her emotional affect is generally pretty static because of the brain trauma, which for Marty is a complete change. The old Marty would have been in the big middle of everything telling Sarah to push, the new Marty, not so much. But, just the thought of Noah brings animation to her face and to her voice. She laughs, she remembers his name and is genuinely excited about having a grandchild. You can see it and you can hear it from her.


Sunday I got to hold Noah. I had forgotten what power an infant has. I had forgotten how tiny and new the life is. I had forgotten how good it feels to hold your own. Marty was reluctant to hold Noah. She is so unsure of herself sometimes. Again, not like the old Marty at all. She told me she was a little afraid she might hurt him. But, for whatever it's worth, she's kind of worried that Matt and Sarah might hurt him too. She is just letting them keep Noah based on faith alone.


When Matt was born 30 years ago we sent birth announcements out that said, "Every child comes with the message that God is not yet tired of the man." It was a quote Marty unearthed by some eastern philosopher dude named Raindranath Tagore, which sounds cool but has nothing to do with why Marty chose the quote. The quote is meaningful. Every time I am around small children, every time I see an infant baptized and hear the baptismal sacrament spoken I go back to that quote. When I saw Noah the first time I was reminded that God still believes.

Marty will get to hold Noah soon. We will convince her it's safe. Matt and Sarah will slowly convince her that Noah is safe with them. I already know when Marty holds him she will feel the comfort of holding one of your own. I already know she will smile. I already know she will love this child like she loved hers. I already know she remembers God's message.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

He's Here


When Matt and Erin were old enough to start going out on their own with their peers Marty would often see them out the door with, "Remember whose you are". They would turn and look at her, go out and do their thing. To my knowledge, they would always remember and got into very little trouble, to my knowledge (as any parent will attest ignorance can be bliss).

When Marty would send them off she was trying to reinforce what we both believed about all of us, that we all needed to live our lives and conduct ourselves with the honor and integrity that would make our faith and our families proud. She was reminding them that they were loved and belonged. Marty was reminding Matt and Erin that they were not only our children and responsible to us but they were part of a larger community, children of God.

Soon, relatively speaking, Matt will get the chance to say the same thing to his own son, to Noah Robert. No, they didn't name my grandson Larry Bob, they went with Noah Robert Kinard instead. A good choice for a magnificent event. Noah came October 17 and weighed in at 7 lbs 11 ounces and is 20 inches long. He has light hair, blue eyes, long fingers and his father's round face. He is absolutely intoxicating. It's amazing.

Some day I know Matt and Sarah will want Noah to have the same regard for faith, honor, and responsibility that we wanted for Matt and Erin. Some day I know they will want to tell Noah to "remember whose he is" so that he will know he is loved by his mother, his father, his grandparents and all of his family. Some day I know Matt and Sarah will remind Noah that in "remembering whose he is" he is accepting a legacy as a true child of God. "

It's a true gift that with the birth of Noah, with any birth, we are all reminded to "remember whose we are". Babies make it easy to remember.

Monday, October 12, 2009

This Little Piggie

I remember sitting in Mrs. Hall's Senior English class discussing the women's movement of the day, the day being the early 1970s. I remember arguing with Connie Carter about the role of women in society and I was making the not so enlightened point that women were taking good jobs away from men and the men needed those jobs to support their families. What a pig.

Then I met Marty. She saw the pig I was and decided to take pity on me and turn me into a silk purse. Marty has always been a woman of strong thoughts, opinions and words and she quickly explained (sounds more polite than the conversation was) the absolute lunacy of my ideas. I'm not saying she completely changed my views of things, but, maybe just shining high beams of new light on stupidity made the difference. Certainly, over time, my views have changed radically and after all of these years and history I can clearly see how much the women in my life have impacted me.

I'm not sure when I ceded control of my life to the women in my life, but it is clear I lost control somewhere along the way. I am now adrift in a sea of estrogen. I'm not making a value judgement about this, I'm just stating it as fact. Women rule my life, I think they always have, and if most men are honest, well, we're not always that honest, so why make the point.

Clearly, I have always been drawn to smart women. I married a smart woman. A smart woman gave birth to me. I helped sire a smart woman. I love all of these smart women. Between Marty, Renae, Nikkie, Erica, Erin, Sarah, nurses, doctors I'm surrounded by smart women, all of the time. It's exhausting. I'm not sure which is the most exhausting part, the smart part or the woman part or the combination thereof, I just know it seems like I have always been told what to do by really bright, really strong women. I'm clearly serving penance for my ignorance as a young man.

The last part of my career with TXU I spent working in call centers. Most of the people who worked in call centers in TXU were of the female persuasion. Most of the management of call centers at TXU were women, really smart, strong women. I can't tell you how many of my male compatriots at other parts of the company marveled at my ability to work in such a female rich environment. I like it. I liked working for Helen, Brenda and Jan, well not Jan not so much, but the others, they were incredible people who were always a couple of steps ahead of me. They were smart and I like that.

I'm not sure what all of this means but to recognize as a young man, and yes sometimes as an older man, I have been stupid and I had stupid ideas and opinions. Many of those rather misogynistic ideas have now been put to bed, buried. What's left is but to say to Vicki, Barbara, Janet, Roseanne, Susan, Helen, Linda and yes to Connie: "I was wrong and you were right". And then add those six magic words my bride taught me years ago...."How do you feel about that?".

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

HouseKeeping


I have some very profound philosophical musings that I am sure the 10's of, well 10, of my readers will find quite thought provoking and stimulating. But, before I get to that discussion of women,men, politics, religion, sex and perversion I need to care for a couple of housekeeping items.


Sarah, better known as the Mother of Larry-Bob, (you all know we will soon have a Kinard Grandson)re-designed the blog. One afternoon at the lake I asked her to kind of "sex" it up, since I personally have no skills in that arena -- designing blogs that is. Sarah is great with all of that kind of stuff and she took it upon herself to do it all. She chose the red because my bride likes red and she put the couch in it because, as she said, Marty, the psychologist is still teaching and counseling all of us. Pretty cool stuff, I think. And, she is the MTB (mother to be) of my first grandson who shall be called something other than Larry-Bob. Anyway, thank you Sarah, you did great. Don't she and Matt look cute (sounding like a girl again).


As you may know, if you have read previous posts, we recently went to Dalhart to see Marty's mother, Jean Watkins. She is a case study in perseverance. She has had countless medical issues over many years and is still ticking. But, it is always a question, will she remember us since it is so long between visits. She always remembers Marty, and me most of the time.


Jean was pretty sluggish when we went to visit in the morning but she was on her game that afternoon. Mostly she wanted to know about Marty and how she was doing. I told her we were taking good care of Marty, Marty, thankfully agreed. Jean wanted to know about her doctors and if we should be getting Dallas doctors to help. All very appropriate.


When it was time to leave I told Jean, you have to yell since she can't hear well, we were leaving and she said she wanted to go. I started fumbling around to find the right thing to say: "so sorry you can't go", "you need to stay here so they can care for you", and last "I just can't get both wheelchairs in the van". This is where my dear bride threw me under the bus, she says to me, "take her this time, I'll stay here". Bless her little pointy head. I fumbled through some other inane excuses and finally left. Leave it to Marty...


We are headed to the lake this week, God willin' and the creek not spillin', so I will be writing about perversion from RC. So tune in next time. Later.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Their Fault

Marty and I were in the offices of the Great and Wise the other day when a middle-aged patient came in hacking and coughing. My first reaction was stay away from us, H1N1 is not our friend. The patient was carefully led back to a sub-waiting area where we later saw them lying on a couch still coughing huge coughs.


We later found out that this patient was not a flu case but a patient with emphysema, a chronic respiratory ailment. My first thought about this patient was not sympathetic. My first thought was, well, they probably were a smoker and brought this on themselves. It was their own fault. Then, I caught myself. How could I know anything about this person? How could I have made this leap, this assumption, that basically this person got what they deserved. I was being judgemental, blaming and presumptuous all at the same time. It's a familiar feeling, let's blame someone, preferably the first person we see.


When Marty first got sick I really wanted to blame someone. I really wanted to blame something. I wanted to find fault somewhere. This whole thing needed to be someones fault. Someone or something had to be held accountable. I blamed Marty, I blamed the doctors, the nurses, the hospitals, I blamed God. I was pissed at pretty much everybody and everything, including myself. I still get that way from time to time.


I believe in many ways blame has become almost a cultural more of dealing with completely unacceptable circumstance. We want to blame someone. It's their fault. We want to hold someone accountable even if that gets in the way of sympathy and understanding. Tell me if I'm wrong, when you see the homeless person, it's their fault. Tell me, you really think differently when you see the overweight lady with the oxygen riding on her cart, she did something wrong. Tell me you've never thought, "if they did this, or if they did that then they would not be where they are." Brother, I am there, and too often I find myself wrestling with those same demons. It is all too common that we look at the person with the chronic illness and blame them for it and somewhere in our mind our demons tell us that they are a burden on all of us.


But, here's reality, the hard truth. Marty did many things in her life that helped cardiovascular and respiratory illness become a part of our life. Marty did not exercise, she smoked and she often didn't eat as she should have. Marty made some bad life style choices, but she didn't give herself a stroke. As much as I have sometimes wanted to blame her, it's not her fault. Marty did not want this, did not ask for it and certainly did not deserve to have so much taken from her so young. Marty, in spite of her mistakes, did not do this to herself.


Does this mean we can abdicate responsibility for ourselves? Absolutely not. We all have to realize that how we care for ourselves, how we carry ourselves, how fate treats us impacts a lot of people around us. Going to the gym is not just for yourself, it's for your spouse, your children, your friends. But, we can't go around believing that sick people are bad people, that a person with a chronic illness is somehow less than and not worth as much. People with chronic diseases don't want to be that way. I know Marty hates it every day.


For the most part I have quit blaming Marty, I have quit blaming God, I have quit blaming fate. Not to say that if you get in my way I won't find a way to make you responsible somehow, but that's stupid.

I don't think God had anything to do with Marty getting sick. I think God takes a pretty laissez faire approach to this kind of thing. I think our frailty is how God brands us as humankind. We get sick, we have accidents, we make mistakes, we break. God doesn't break us, God just doesn't stop us from being broken, hopefully God simply helps us pick up the pieces.


Yes, I'm still looking for someone to blame. I'm still looking someplace to place my righteous anger. I do have a better perspective, but from time to time I still feel the need to not just feel angry, but be angry. Now, if I could just find the right place to put that.