My Ya-Ya is GROWING UP. While this is something that I've known and observed for quite awhile, recently it seems to be ever more apparent. She has spent most of this past week away from home. At the first of the week, my father-in-law's girl friend (of 10 years) passed away in her sleep. To those that know me, it's no secret that she wasn't exactly my favorite person, but please don't misunderstand and think for one second that I wanted for her to die.
She was a diabetic who refused to take care of herself, or take responsibility for herself or her illness. She used her illness to manipulate people, including Dad into doing as she pleased. For example, on Christmas Eve she didn't want to visit with his family, and so while he was at Grandma Wade's with the rest of us, she went on a full fledged hunger strike and refused to eat. So Dad spent all of Christmas Eve and Day in the ER. She did that kind of thing so often that even the ambulance drivers got tired of responding to her calls. She wouldn't work or provide for herself or her children, she would go on hunger strike if Dad came to visit Tim or his grandchildren, or Tim's sister. And as sad as what it is, her death, while far too soon, was not really unexpected. Just about everyone who knew her responded in the same way, "well... she finally let it go to far, huh?" Which is exactly what happened.
Dad worked swing shifts like Tim does and was on night shifts. She went for the day, refusing to eat in a response to a fight she had with her son and went to sleep. Her sugar dropped in her sleep and she simply didn't wake up. Dad found her the next morning. Now as I said, I didn't want her to die. I would have much rather seen her grow up and take responsibility for herself and take care of herself. And for whatever reasons he had, Dad cared for her, and we all care for HIM, so it was quite a week. He mostly just seemed lost the first few days as though he didn't know what he was supposed to be doing, since most of what he used to do was dictated by the girlfriend. Angela and Tim both took time off work so that we could be out there with him as much as possible.
We had to explain to Ya-Ya what had happened, and though I was worried about her, she took it in stride and stepped up like a very big (too big) girl. She has been busy keeping Dad busy. She has spent nearly the entire week with him, helping him to feed the animals, asking him to put on this movie or that movie, and eating WAY too much Lucky Charms in the process. She has been an enormous comfort to him, but I have to admit... I'm starting to miss my kid.
In the next couple of months, we will celebrate her 5th birthday. So far, she has consistently asked for a princess themed cake and party. Which is good, usually she has a new idea every week, but this year, it shall be princesses. There will be lots of pink and purple and sparkles and white ponies and unicorns and rainbows and tiaras. It will be....... um....very princess. And I will be trying not to sob in the corner about how she is already 5 years old.
This very week we have kindergarten registration. KINDERGARTEN. ALREADY. Before too long we will buying crayons and paper and scissors and backpacks and lunchboxes. We will get a sign to put in our yard that tells the bus driver she is a new student. And she will be gone, 5 days a week until 2:30 in the afternoon. While, with the new baby, I am sure we will be very busy, the house is still very quiet without her in it.
Not to mention she is a tremendous help. She loves her brother and will make silly faces and play games and sing songs ALL DAY LONG. She will zip diapers to the trash can without even thinking about it, much less complaining. She can be kinda bossy and sassy, but she protects the baby from other kids when they are around, making sure they don't whisk away his toys or accidentally step on him. In those moments she seems so big to me. She likes to help with house cleaning, and she cleans her own room most of the time. And if you take out hamburger, she is in the kitchen on her stool lickety split because she is "Daddy's Hamburger Helper" and she refuses to let you forget it.
She is a very big KID now. There is hardly any baby left in her at all. It makes me, at the same time, very sad and very excited.