This morning started out like any other: I woke up with Nathan’s alarm but rolled over when he turned it off and buried my face under my pillow. I stayed like that until Topher padded in in his footie pyjamas. “Mommy?” he asked. I didn’t move. “Mommy?” Sometimes I like to stay as still as possible so he thinks I’m not there anymore and goes to find Nathan instead.
Nathan was already at work so after a few minutes of playing possum I dragged myself out of bed and stumbled into the kitchen to make breakfast. When Ellie was contentedly shovelling oatmeal into her mouth and Topher was munching on a strawberry pop tart, I sat down at the computer to check my e-mail.
The first message – from my sister, in New Brunswick – stopped me in my tracks.
"I called the ambulance to take Nanny to the hospital this morning. She is ok but likely has broken bones. She was outside for who knows how long having fallen trying to take the trash out early this morning. She was an ice cube. Talk to you later. She is ok. I don't think she lost consciousness but we don't know for sure."
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This is a picture of my grandma taken at my sister’s wedding back in June of 2007. The photographer captured her perfectly – whenever I look at this picture I can hear Nanny’s voice in my head: “Are you listening?!? ARE YOU LISTENING?” – as she tries to offer (usually unwanted and often ignored) advice. Or the “Oh, shut up Gord!” dismissal she often gave to her husband when he was trying to push her buttons. At 87, she’s got more spunk than anyone I know. Not only does she have the biggest and best maintained garden in the entire town (it’s more like a field; tourists actually tour it!), she’s also constantly renovating her house a la her beloved Trading Spaces – and she (stubbornly!) does everything herself. Stripping wallpaper, painting, pulling up carpets … you never know what you’ll find Nanny doing when you stop by for a visit!
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Two hours later I finally received an update: A broken shoulder and badly bruised hip. They want to keep her in the hospital for at least a few days but Nanny – true to form! – is arguing with her doctors, begging them to let her go home with 24/7 home care instead.
The winner remains to be seen.
I hate being so far away from my family when things like this happen. I always thought my kids would grow up in the same town I did. We’d live down the street from my parents and my sisters, our kids would go to school together and be the best of friends! When I came to Alberta I had every intention of moving back east as soon as I was finished school – but then I met Nathan, and he completely messed up my plans.
Funny, how that happens.
Now I’m a city slicker with two kids who have no idea that the “chicken” on their plates at dinnertime is the same “chicken” they pick up and cuddle at the petting zoo. One sister lives in Calgary, a mere three hours away – but the eight kids between us makes even that short trip difficult to arrange more than once every few months. My other sister lives in New Brunswick, just down the street from my parents. We see each other once every two years, which is slightly more often than I see my parents.
I hate learning about things through e-mail and Facebook and I hate waiting for phone calls to update me on what’s happening when I could be sitting in the waiting room at the hospital. I know there’s not much I could do even I was there, but being so far away makes me feel helpless.