Monday, March 30, 2015

Travels with Grandpa

Mom and I took my grandpa to Wisconsin this weekend.

Wisconsin is the state of his birth and, conveniently, my sister was playing in a tournament.
We actually cooked up this idea before we found out about my grandma's bladder cancer, so it was just a bonus that we were able to give her a bit of a break.

He.
Is.
Exhausting.

It just takes a lot of energy to be a caregiver. Making sure that he can get his shoes and his coat on, opening doors, helping him buckle his seat belt. It's not much different than having a toddler, honestly, except he moves slower and can read.

He is exhausting but is also very friendly and sweet and agreeable. For the most part, there were no issues. Our flight to Wisconsin was the "best flight I have ever been on." The pool at our hotel was the "best pool I have ever seen." The BLT he had for lunch on Saturday was the "best BLT I have ever had" and our flight back home was also the "best flight I have ever been on."

So I'm not sure which was actually the best flight but that's cool. It was nice that he was happy.

Except for the part where he wasn't.

On Friday, I drove him and my mom to his hometown. My mom was born there and spent time there as a kid visiting her own grandparents, so they both enjoyed the trip. It was a lot of driving -- two and a half hours each way -- for the amount of time that we spent, but it was worth it.

When I suggested the hometown excursion to my mother, I mentioned it along with something like "it's a long trip but he can sleep in the car" and so we decided to go ahead with it.

Problem being that he never slept. And then we went straight to Meg's game and, when we were driving home after the game, he blew a fuse.

My grandma's always telling us about when he loses his shit but we haven't really witnessed him losing his shit and, well, we can't say that anymore. All three of us. My mom said something to Meg about my grandma's procedure and he just lost his mind. He screamed and yelled about how he had to take care of his wife and how if we didn't like it, we could just leave them alone and he called my mom an asshole and -- okay, it mostly made no sense. My mom started to argue with him but she dropped it quickly. I turned up the radio. He kept yelling. And then he tired himself out and he stopped. The whole thing lasted maybe 10 minutes.

It didn't take long for him to apologize after we got back to the hotel. He sat in the chair and he was really quiet (after struggling to get his coat off -- my mom was not offering her help and it was surely on purpose) and then said to my mom "I need to apologize."

Meg and I made a quick exit, sitting  on the counter in the bathroom for a good 45 minutes while they talked it out. Grandpa cried. Grandpa cried about things that happened 60 years ago. It was a lot. He apologized to Meg and to me later that night, when we brought him pizza for dinner. Which he ate in bed, which was pretty awesome.

He was fine for the rest of the trip. Meg's team got booted from the tournament earlier than expected and, rather than sit around an extra 24 hours, we flew out on Saturday night.

He had a good time. It was important to my mom to be able to spend that time with him and to be able to give my grandma that break. Mom called me this morning to thank me for coming along and I assured her that, really, it was my pleasure.

Because it was.

My grandpa is 82 and alive and healthy enough to travel. Sure, he might need help putting on his shoes and he doesn't share his dessert but you can't tell me that I'm not lucky.

Still exhausted. But very lucky.

3 comments:

Accidentally Me said...

I absolutely LOVE that picture:-) I kinda figure they'd all be serious and revved up when they come out of the locker room like that, and seeing her stop, smile and reach for him like that is just adorable.

I'm glad that you get to do these things with Grandpa and that you appreciate the time you get with him. It really is a blessing:-)

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Ha, I love your grandpa's "best ever" perspective on things. I'm glad you guys were able to get away for a weekend and give your grandma a break. Sorry to hear about the melt down. I am sure that was hard on all of you but I'm glad your mom and him were able to talk things out...

A said...

Meg couldn't resist grandpa, even leading up to a big game! Nor could her teammates. After they got knocked out of her tournament, a teammate was sulking outside the arena. Grandpa did a little jig to make her smile. Worked like a charm!

 
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