I have never written about my year in review before, I think because I always seem invested in what keeps unfolding right in front of me. I’ll initiate writing about this year and see where it leads me.
It has been a very hard year for most of us. As safe and healthy and boostered as Kendal is, there are breakthrough COVID cases occurring and we have staff shortages, food supply issues, rising costs, and unexpected crisis to address just like everywhere else. We are becoming more resourceful, thrifty, and engaged in novel ways. New residents arrive and deal with the reality of Kendal today as opposed to the more open and dynamic Kendal they remembered from pre-pandemic times. Still, no one has yet died because of COVID, though some have passed with COVID as a co-morbid condition. We all do come here to live well and then to die, with the support and care of those who are employed by Kendal. Every single person has gone above and beyond their original job descriptions, including the residents. It is inspiring and it has been challenging and occasionally daunting to keep rising to the occasion.
We move on, and I have to say we seem to be a quieter community. There is less visible bustling activity though we strive to keep functioning, advising, entertaining, and engaging ourselves in new venues. We interact more online and also with some hybrid committee meetings. Gradually we congregate in person, masking carefully, with people holding microphones for us rather than passing them around as we sing or come to share an event. When a positive diagnosis is declared among residents or staff in the more restrictive Care Center where I live, we don’t shut down completely anymore. We cannot keep preventing visitations from friends and family and ask only that people show a negative test result before they come inside our living spaces. So far, this system is working.
As I wrote in my last blog, my personal health issues have meant that I am once again adapting to my own changes. I try to take on each day with open assessments gauging how much I can safely do. Perhaps I am once more stabilizing a little and the last few days I have tolerated being busier with fewer repercussions. Holiday greetings are given and received, and I am able to meet more friends face to face. When I ventured outdoors on my electric scooter in the unusually warm December weather, I heard lawn mowers at work and delighted in the fresh cut grass perfume.
I have saved the biggest tiny news for last. I have a new grandson, Sebastian, born on 12/8/21. He is healthy and gorgeous, and tiny and vulnerable and has completely reorganized his new household as newborns do. His two-year-old brother Max initially responded in Hallmark moments of gentle interactions, curiosity, and with his one-and-two-word vocabulary, began to process actually seeing the baby brother that everybody had been talking about for so long. “Mama home. Hosible. Doctor. Tummy. Empty. Baby brudder. Sebastian.” Then he sucked his thumb and thought about things for a minute. He reached over and touched his brother lying across his mother’s lap and his own legs. “Eyes. Nose. Mouth. Arm.” He gently pointed to and touched all the parts and thought about things some more. And life went on as he climbed off the couch and ran around to play.
Mild jealousy is slowly creeping in after six days of sharing his home. Max is by nature a thoughtful child but- he is also two years old when conquering the world and identifying it all as his, is exactly the right developmental behavior. As all siblings know, time will lead them on a journey of rivlary and love and sharing their childhood experiences together with their parents. I am delighted to be able to watch their paths unfurl for as long as I am around to watch them grow up together. I can’t wait to see who Sebastian is in his own right. He was born with startling platinum blond hair- a great thatch of it. It will likely darken over time, maybe replaced with darker hair altogether, or maybe he will retain this glowing angelic mop. I am not posting pictures to respect the family’s privacy, but this grandmother says he is truly adorable.
Meanwhile I am a happy grandmother and so proud of my daughter and son-in-law as they navigate the realities of an infant and a toddler and jobs and childcare in the midst of the turbulent world that we all share. I am stretching my heart open and holding the sobering crisis of our country and planet at the same time. I endeavor to witness, breathe, stay present, and live as fully as I can without despair or feeding fear and dread into the world my grandsons are inheriting. Life goes on and I get off the couch and go play even as a big, tiny, viral unknowable has taken up permanent residence in my world.