Goodbye, Boppa

Knowing something is coming doesn’t make it any easier.

My grandpa, nicknamed “Boppa” by my sister when she was little, had been pretty sick the last few weeks. But, while expected, his death today hit me very hard. It’s hard to imagine life without the man whom I lived near for the last 17 years. No longer will he sit at the head of the dinner table on Sabbath afternoons or drive his power wheelchair at full speed through the house with no regard for anything in his path.

Last Thursday, my mom called to tell us that it was time, so we packed the car and headed north as fast as we could. About halfway there, my mom called to say that he was stable again, but we continued, dropping Lucy off with my sister-in-law and spending several hours at the hospital. We got to say our “goodbyes”, just in case.

And, I’m glad we did. When my mom called around 7 a.m. today, we were out of the house in about 10 minutes, but it didn’t matter. Boppa passed away at 7:20 a.m. Do I have regrets? Sure. I wish I had stuck to my guns and spent the weekend at my parents’ house. I had this feeling that Boppa would die today, and had we gone up on Friday night, we would have been there with him. But, I do feel thankful that I didn’t have to watch him take his last breath. That would have been so tough.

In his 86 years, Boppa touched a lot of lives. He was a Seventh-day Adventist missionary in Japan when my dad and uncle were little. He was a pastor and church planter. He was a religion professor. He was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was one of the greatest men I’ve known. And, he and my grandmother, called “Bomma”, were the perfect example of marriage and love. They were married for 66 years, and seeing how deep their love was always impressed me. Seeing Bomma sitting at his bedside these last few weeks, clasping his hand and telling him how much she loved him, spoke volumes to me. And, when I was told that Bomma rushed to his side this morning, holding him and telling him she loved him until he died in her arms, my eyes filled with tears.

I feel blessed to have been able to live near Boppa and Bomma for the last 17 years. I got to spend so much time with them, and for that I’m thankful. I was able to have Boppa speak at my wedding, something that was very important to me.

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And, when my daughter was born, Boppa dedicated her to Jesus. Lucy was the only great-grandchild he had the honor of dedicating.

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Boppa overcame so much that I always told Joe he was invincible. Sadly, I was wrong. But, though I am very sad now, I am comforted to know that I will see him again when Jesus comes. I just hope that will be soon. Boppa, I am so proud to be your granddaughter, and I will always love you.

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Ringing in the New Year

We started the new year in the North Georgia mountains. Joe’s parents have a cabin in Blue Ridge, and we usually go up there for New Year’s Eve since my mother-in-law does a traditional Southern meal for New Year’s Day. We were bummed that Joe’s sister and her family couldn’t make it, but Lucy enjoyed all the attention from her grandparents.

We arrived late Friday night, and on Saturday we were up early to head to downtown Blue Ridge so Lucy could see the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, which travels from Blue Ridge to McCaysville. Lucy loves trains, and she really liked getting to see one up close. We’re thinking about taking the girls on the train ride this summer.

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We waited for the train to leave, and then we headed over to the park to let Lucy play. She completely bypassed the smaller playground and made a beeline for the large playground with the longer slides. She certainly isn’t timid! She spent a lot of time sliding down the big, enclosed slide.

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After the slide, Lucy played at the rock climbing wall. She liked to peek through the openings and shout, “Boo!”

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It was a fabulous morning. We headed back to the cabin, and Lucy took a 30-minute nap (SIGH), which meant we were all dragging the rest of the day. After sundown, we put on some Disney movies and Curious George and watched until 11:30 p.m., when we put Lucy to bed. She probably could have made it until midnight, but we decided she had stayed up late enough. The funny thing is that Lucy made it through the movies while Joe’s parents and I dozed off.

We watched the ball drop online and toasted at midnight and then headed to bed.

On Sunday, we had a lazy morning and at the typical Southern meal of greens (for wealth), black-eyed peas and rice (for luck), meat (for progress and prosperity). There was also spaghetti for the vegetarian (me!) and broccoli for my veggie-loving daughter.

We had a nice, laid-back weekend, which is what going to the cabin is all about. I’d love to the mountains one day. I always miss the peacefulness when we come back home.

Celebrating the Holidays

Since Christmas and Hanukkah fell at the same time last year, we had a crazy busy holiday weekend. We gave Lucy her gifts from us on Friday morning since we were heading to Joe’s parents’ Friday night and then going to my parents’ on Saturday. Her big gift was a Dora coloring table, which she LOVES!

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She had a blast playing all day with all her new toys.

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I had to work, but at 5 p.m., we were out the door headed to Joe’s parents’ to celebrate Hanukkah. We always have a great time, and this year was no different — except for the fact that I was still dealing with the effects of my Reclast infusion. I had to miss out on the lighting of the Hanukkah candles because I was too light-headed to stand, but Lucy and Rivka really enjoyed it. They are so much more fun at this age!

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Lucy had the best time because she got Let’s Rock Elmo. She is in LOVE! Also, she is his drummer. He’s pretty lucky to have her in his band.

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The cupcakes also were a big hit with the kids.

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On Saturday, we took our time packing up and headed to Chattanooga mid-afternoon. We had a fun Christmas eve with my siblings, even though my dad wasn’t able to join us. Lucy always has a blast with her cousins. The three of them ran through the doors separating the living room from the hallway for about 20 minutes before we opened presents and 30 minutes afterward. They weren’t loud. They just ran. And ran. And ran. Joe said the adults were trying to keep them quiet when I passed out in bed after presents, but I didn’t hear a thing.

Anyway. All the kids had a blast and got some great gifts.

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I showed off Lucy’s new bath book, Barnyard Bath! We are big Boynton fans in our house.

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We forgot to take pictures on Christmas Day, but we had a very nice lunch with my family (minus Ryan and his family who were at his in-laws’) and Joe’s parents. Once it was over, though, I took one of my anti-dizziness pills and passed out for the ride home. We had a fun holiday weekend, but here’s hoping everyone is healthy for next year!

Thanksgiving

We had a very nice, low-key Thanksgiving. Joe was selected to be part of the NASA Tweetup for the Mars Rover launch, so he was in Florida over the holiday. I packed up myself and Lucy, and we headed to Tennessee to spend the holiday with my family.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures, probably because I was so busy solo-parenting (and I now have SO much respect for single parents). We got up there mid-afternoon on Wednesday and just hung out and relaxed that night. On Thursday, my brothers, sister-in-law and nephews all came over for Thanksgiving dinner. Lucy was excited because she loves her cousins Harrison and Marshall. Maybe that excitement is why she only ate a few bites of her lunch. She did, however, eat almost an entire piece of Aunt Oriona’s pumpkin pie.

After lunch, the kids and Oriona rocked for a while on my grandparents’ porch swing.

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And then, they all played outside since it was such a nice day. (And, the kids had popsicles, which explains Lucy’s purple mouth.)

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Before Ryan, Oriona and the kids left, Lucy had to give Harrison a hug.

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We headed back mid-morning on Friday, and Joe finally got home on Saturday. We missed him a lot, but he had SO much fun, and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

Reminiscing

Last weekend, we headed up to Collegedale for alumni weekend at my alma mater, Southern Adventist University. It was the 50th anniversary of WSMC, the college radio station, which my brothers and I all worked at, and so Joe and I left Lucy with my parents and headed to the station’s new studio for a tour and skit.

I don’t really like the new studio. I liked it better when the station was part of Brock Hall rather than being detached from the college, as it is in its new location. The studio and production rooms are much smaller. But, it does have two floors now, which is nice.

On the second floor, which staff members say they plan to use for live performance, is the old studio desk from our days at WSMC. My brothers had to check it out.

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The skit was pretty funny and definitely rang true for anyone who had been in radio. Afterward, we all headed to my favorite local Mexican restaurant for dinner, which was a lot of fun.

On Sabbath, after going to church and eating lunch with my parents, Joe, Lucy and I headed back to Southern for the department open houses. It was fun to show Joe and Lucy the School of Journalism and Communication, where I spent any time that I wasn’t in the Accent office. I just wish more people had shown up. At least Lucy got to meet Dave, our resident Republican. 🙂 She also decided she’s going to be a TV news anchor when she grows up. I think she’ll be good at it.

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Before heading home, we walked up to the promenade to check out the new nursing building and had an impromptu photo shoot with Lucy. We got some super cute pictures.

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My dad taught Lucy how to fist bump, which is one of her favorite things to do now.

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And, since my brother and his family met us there, we got a few shots of the three cousins.

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Swimmin’ Machine

Last weekend, we headed to South Carolina to celebrate Nana’s birthday. A 4-hour trip isn’t a lot of fun with an active 19-month-old who doesn’t want to be sitting for said four hours, but we made it.

On Saturday, we hung around Nana’s house. Joe, Lucy and I took a long nap since Lucy can’t sleep in new places anymore, so she and Joe didn’t get any sleep Friday night. Apparently, Joe didn’t get much sleep during the nap either, since Lucy had to sleep on him again, so we ended up heading back home Saturday night. He didn’t want to go another night with no sleep.

That evening, we headed over to Teri and Rob’s, Joe’s mom’s cousins, for dinner to celebrate Nana and Arlene’s (Nana’s sister-in-law’s) birthdays. We had a blast, and Lucy couldn’t wait to get in the pool! She LOVED the raft and wanted to be on it ALL.THE.TIME. We called her the Queen of the Nile.

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We actually got a good shot of all the kids/grandkids, including one with CHEESEFACE!

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And, of course, Lucy got in some good swimming time. She really impressed everyone, and I was glad to see that she still remembers things from last summer. She can kick really well (obviously), and she still knows how to use her arms, which surprised me. She loves the water.

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I was also impressed by the fact that she rolled off the raft several times and went under the water, and when we pulled her up she acted like nothing had happened and was ready to go again. That’s my girl!

On Sunday, we took her to our local community pool to get some more swim time in. As expected, she had a blast there as well. I got some good swimming time in both days as well, which is really good exercise. Maybe I won’t need to check out buyphenphedrine.com to help me lose this weight if we start going to the pool on Sundays!