Monday, May 9, 2016

4 Years in a blink of an eye, and also an eternity

I'm late. I got distracted. Eleanor is distracting.

The Vitals: 38lbs, 42 inches, which is right on par with her 75th & 90th percentiles

Highlights: OMG the stories! She tells me stories, all these crazy delightful stories about monsters and Santa and her whole heart is just... full of imagination. Also, she says the most delightful things. Heartbreakingly sweet things. Like "When I grow up, I'm going to have a baby and name it baby Papa and then we'll have a Papa again since ours died." Yeah. That happened. While I was driving. She misses my dad a lot, but she tells us stories about what she remembers. She remembers a lot more than I thought, and that's a huge comfort. We look at pictures frequently, so that helps too.

Oh! She makes up songs now! Improvisational music! My daughter! I'm delighted.

She's still never had a haircut, but she wants to go to the "salon" with me, so I've got to figure out a place to take her for a fancy up-do or something.

We've discovered she can't curl her tongue, but that doesn't stop her from sticking it out all the time.

Skills: Running, jumping, climbing trees. Being a big helper in the kitchen. She's great on slides and is starting to figure out the swings (other than on her belly). She's tried dance a bit, but still has a hard time focusing and following instructions, so we'll try more this summer. Solid on the alphabet (though can't pronounce F or V), can count reliably to the mid-teens, is working on basic math. Her handwritting is... well, it needs work, but she can draw all the letters of her name. Now to get them in order. She sings & dances in music class. She's a pretty good line leader, door holder, light switcher and snack helper. She dresses herself completely, even if she still only gets her shoes on the right feet about half of the time.

She Likes: Dance parties, monsters, goldfish and fruit snacks, the Jareth movie (Labyrinth) and Dark Crystal (especially the skeksis), taking care of her babies, putting on makeup, picking her own outfits, twirling, very recently Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, still My Little Pony, and now also R2D2, pink and purple, splashing in puddles, singing all the things, HER G Dragon and HER BTS, making phone calls, Amma and Papa, carrying her purse or backpack, she's still a baby because she sleeps with a blankie and don't you dare tell me otherwise, wheedling, stalling and negotiating for more privileges, hide and seek, making a fort out of couch cushions, wearing capes and waving a wand, fighting monsters, cooking (especially with Uncle Glenn), blowing bubbles, sliding on slides, digging in the dirt, climbing tall things

She Dislikes: Sharing, not getting her way, being quiet, raw vegetables except tomatoes, kebabs (which she calls thingamabobs and no one tell her otherwise), the distinction between when I'm her music teacher and when I'm her mom, quiet time

I like: Her beautiful hair. The songs. The stories. Her sweet heart. Teaching her bible memory verses (and learning them myself, too). Our dance parties, my cooking helper, when she wants to follow instructions she's very very helpful. Her creativity. She always wants to make pictures for everyone and she says hi to EVERYONE. She says "when I was a kid" to describe the past, which is charming though inaccurate. She also thinks 16 is a grown up, so... yeah.

I dislike: Temper tantrums, the assertion of her will, disobedience and the need to be consistent. I just want peace, but giving in makes it worse and being a good mom is hard. I don't like having to discuss grief and grieving with her, but she's handling it amazingly well. I don't like when she runs to J for snuggles instead of me. I'm not the always-favorite anymore, which is wonderful and freeing, and also just a little bit sad.

the inside of her "rainbow" cake. For Rainbow Dash, naturally

Sunday, January 31, 2016

To write the wrong

I never thought I would write my dad's obituary. I don't know who I thought wrote them, but I never imagined it would be me.

Yet, when the time came, it was just one small thing I could do, so my mom could focus on... the million other things you have to do to hold a funeral. The short one for the paper wasn't a problem. There's not much room for stories in 250 words that must also contain the details of the services compete with church address.

The longer one, that went into the program for the funeral... that was harder. So everyone in the house helped: my mom, my brother, my aunt. I probably even asked the cat for spelling help. We tweaked language and details, tried to cram 7 decades of life into two pages in a folder church bulletin.

I love writing. I like to hear myself talk, even in pixels. I did not love writing this. Trying to put every single story and facet of my dad into words. His stubbornness and temper that were the flip side of his hardworking and passionate nature. How he loved to laugh, loved good puns and a "clean" dirty joke. Those things didn't make it in. There just wasn't room for every story. There wasn't time to retell his whole life and capture how much he meant to so many people. 

Then I tried to write some remarks for J to read at the services. A eulogy? Glenn helped me edit that too, refining words until we had something close to what we were feeling. It was hard work, writing something joyful and hopeful in the midst of such somber reflection. 

My dad was diagnosed with endocrine pancreatic cancer in June of 2008. He lived an amazingly full and vibrant life these past seven and a half years. In some ways, my prayers were very eloquently answered. We had a multitude of good days together even after cancer. His bad days were few and his decline swift, which was a blessing, even though it feels, on this side of it after the fact, like being crushed. It's not quite right to say that his death was a surprise, but it's also not wrong.  

My dad had seven and a half years of wonderful life after cancer, and much of that is due to the fantastic care he received at the MD Anderson Gastrointestinal Cancer Center. I will continue to donate to their ongoing fight. I think it's what Dad would have wanted. 

Garry Wayne Boswell

November 6, 1946 - January 21, 2016

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged for The Lord, your God, is with you wherever you may go" Joshua 1:9

Garry Wayne Boswell, a man of faith, a man of science and a man of action, died January 21, 2016 after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer.
Garry was born to Glenn Leroy and Velma Mae Boswell on November 6th, 1946 in Woodlake, California. After graduating high school in Stockton, California he continued his education at the University of the Pacific where he met his wife, Barbara Jonte . They were married in June of 1969, following their graduation.
In March of 1970, Garry enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. Upon returning in 1971, he completed Advanced Officers Training, achieving the rank of First Lieutenant and was promoted to Captain within the year.  While he was stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco, Garry and Barbara welcomed their son Glenn Haworth into the world on June 26th, 1973, just two days before their fourth wedding anniversary.
During his time in Vietnam, he served as a hospital pharmacist, and he saw the value of continuing his education. After returning from the war, he taught as an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific, then became a student again, attending the University of Southern California, where he achieved his Ph.D. He remained a faithful and devoted alumnus of both his alma maters, giving annually to both and a proud supporter of  USC Trojans football team.
Garry was drawn to pharmacy because it was his way to combine a deep love of learning and the sciences with the ability to serve people. He often said that the beauty of being a pharmacist was that every town in the world would always need a pharmacist, so he’d never be lacking opportunities to work.
In 1980, Garry returned to service in the Army, stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco. On October 11th, 1980 he welcomed his daughter, Linnea Ellen to the family. As he matured in his career, he was captivated by research, and found himself on a path that led to specialized work in the field of pharmacokinetics. Garry continued to serve, remaining on active duty in the Army until 1992, then continuing in the U.S. Army Reserves,  until retirement  as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1997.
Throughout his career, both professionally and in the military, Garry and his family moved around the country in pursuit of the challenges and opportunities his skill set offered. From the Bay Area of California, to Southern California, back to the Bay Area, and then on to Texas, Illinois, Nebraska, back again to the Bay Area once more, then near Houston, Texas and finally settling in Weatherford, Texas to a custom-built house that he and Barbara designed.
Garry loved to travel and he brought his family along for the ride. Humble camping trips just a few miles from home were made extraordinary with exploration and discovery. On one memorable trip to Inks Lake in Texas, Garry, Barb and the kids found more than ten different kinds of wildlife in the space of about twenty minutes. Garry was a fan of adventure, exploration, good food, good friends and good fun. In retirement, he and Barbara were hardly idle. Between 2010 and 2015 they took 23 trips, totaling 257 days of exotic escapes around the globe.
In everything Garry pursued, he pursued it with his whole heart and mind. He never stopped asking questions and learned throughout his life. Whether it was running, tennis or golf, he approached even the most physical tasks with his mind, learning how to be better and more effective with each attempt. He loved to hunt, fish and hike and shared these activities with his family. He loved to solve puzzles, and even found this curiosity extended to playing first-person-shooter computer games with his son Glenn and son-in-law Jeremy. He was always learning how to beat the next level and solve the next puzzle, in life and in his games. His love of learning was applied in his woodshop, where he hand-crafted bowls, picture frames, and candle holders for family and friends.
Family was everything to Garry. He was dependable and he loved caring for his family. He was proud to be a Boswell, proud of his Cherokee heritage and proud that he was a descendant of Chief John Ross. He was available to teach, guide and advise. He adopted friends and made them family. To many people he was “just like a brother” or “a second father.”
He loved animals, never passing up an opportunity to scratch a furry ear or chin. He enjoyed his saltwater fish tank, keeping it stocked with familiar fish, much to the delight of his grandchildren. He was baptized into the Methodist church along with his granddaughter Eleanor in 2013. He served in his Sunday school class and with the Meals-on-Wheels program and the Center of Hope. He believed strongly in working hard and helping those who couldn’t.  

There aren’t enough words to sum up the entirety of Garry. May he always be remembered with love in the stories we tell.

J has my eternal gratitude for reading these words for me at the services. 

My dad analyzed everything. It was just his nature, to look at things and try to figure out the building blocks, the pieces that made it tick. I don’t know if he ever disassembled a toaster as a child, but it seems like something he would do. I always think of him as a scientist, a researcher, a thinker.

It’s a bit shocking when you realize that your parents are fully formed human beings with lives of their own, outside of being just your parents. In 1999, I was living in my parents’ basement while attending college in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s a cliche, but it was wonderful. I had decorated the side of their refrigerator with magnetic poetry. Four full boxes of it, including the Shakespeare and Genius editions, so it was full of fabulous and fancy words.

One day, probably a Saturday afternoon but I honestly don’t remember, I noticed a short poem on the front of the fridge. The exact words have been lost to the transient nature of fridge poetry, but what I do remember is that it was a tender love poem, just four lines long, but full of adoration and a sense of life-long commitment. It touched me, and I thought it was amazing. So I told my mother, “Hey, that’s a lovely little poem there on the fridge.”

I’ll never forget the look on her face. She scrunched her eyebrows at me and shook her head. “I didn’t write it!”

It took my brain much longer than seems reasonable now to put the pieces together. My dad had written it? My DAD? My scientist dad? My fixing things with his bare hands and a wide variety of power tools dad?

I never thought he was un-romantic. Not at all. He knew my mother so well, picking out gifts of clothing and jewelry with ease, knowing what styles she liked and what colors suited her best. He wasn’t against flowers for Valentine’s Day, or Tuesday. One of my favorite facts was that he arranged all the flowers for his own wedding, and that of my Aunt Cher, and later, I convinced him to do it for my own wedding too.

But there, in 1999, standing in that kitchen, I realized that there was more to my dad than I ever understood. I am grateful for all the years I had to learn just what an amazing man he was, and it is with a profound sense of loss that I learn: no amount of time would ever have been enough to know him completely.

Jeremy then ended with this quote

"And there's nothing I should fear
For you'll go no further than God
And God is very near" --Leahy, Borrowed Time 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Two years old

I'm not incapacitated nor have I forgotten how to write.
I just, kinda, got kpopped. A lot this summer.

Anyway, This is my child at 2 years.

The Vitals:
He's tall-- 36" tall (officially one quarter inch taller than his sister at this age) 90th percentile
He's heavy-- 28lb 11oz (heavier than she was too) 60th percentile

This boy is fearless. He loves the pool at Amma & Papa's house, floating around in his little life vest with as little supervision as he can get away with.
He wanted to play with the firecrackers at 4th of July, just like the big kids.

Climbing-- one time, like a week ago, he tried to climb out of his crib. He has a toddler bed now.
Talking--all the sentences, all the words, paragraphs and grammar and questions and everything. He's super polite when he's not being a terror. He says please and thank you in adorable ways that not even Eleanor is willing to do. I spent the afternoon on Thursday with some not-my two-year-olds, some who are almost 3, and was just... surprised. I knew Garrison's language skills were a bit advanced, but I didn't really know what that meant. Anyway, again, this is not due to any superior parenting on my part. He's probably had less attention and focus than Eleanor did. He's just like this and I love it.
He has almost all his teeth at least poking through.
Letters and Numbers. Look, it's ridiculous, and I take zero credit as an awesome parent, but he knows all his letters on sight, can name them, count to 10, identify all the numbers 1 to 12. I don't even know. I swear it's not anything I've done, other than get him the Endless Alphabet & Numbers games on my phone.

He likes:
anything with wheels
animals! Not just our pets, but all the toy animals he has. He's pretty good at identifying them too
pretending to be a monster (rawr)
the monster house (which is what he & Eleanor call the haunted house where J works)
Moni & cheese
His sister
playing Ring Around the Rosy
music (Sing Old McDonald, Mama!-- must be the animal thing again)
Hats! Hoods! Headbands! Ponytails! Sunglasses! (all the things Eleanor hated)
books, especially Little Blue Truck and The Pout Pout Fish (I highly recommend both)

I like:
reading him books
the snuggling
how social he is. He runs up to all his teachers at PDO and calls them by names and runs into their arms for hugs
His crazy fluffy hairs
His fabulous pronunciations of things! He calls his pacifier his "buppa" because when J & I wake him up, we pull it out and say "bup!" He calls it "zooping up" his pajamas. He way he says "big tv" sounds like "victory" and I love that.

He dislikes:
being told no
certain textures--like artificial Christmas trees, apparently
being in his room for "quiet night"

I dislike:
the sudden need to push and tackle his sister
the fact that he can get out of his bed and thus no longer plays quietly when he wakes up. I mourn the loss of my mornings with just Eleanor.
He no longer says "guggle" and I hate it.

First day of Mother's Day Out

wearing a hand-towel like a little man

really getting into the building

Shark fin cake... sorta
shark babies!!

gnome baby

Sass 100%

Tongue curling! It's genetic!

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