The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Happy Places

Both of the big kids experienced some discoveries this summer.  I think discovery for one was more enjoyable than the discovery for the other, but in the end, both kids had incredible experiences.

I am pretty sure that I have mentioned before that Cap took a couple of sewing classes last summer. The first week of this summer he took a class during which he made this cool pull-over long sleeve hoodie thing that he wears every single day he can do so without melting. It's black, silver stripes down the arms, very cool.  He enjoyed it a lot, but didn't really seem super excited about registering for more classes.  I realized then that I should really get Bitty into a class - I just knew she'd love it.  And oh man was I right.  Bitty absolutely loved the class, the teacher, and everything she got to do.  Jane, her teacher, reported to me that Bitty was absolutely delightful in the class.  She had to stay extra long on a few days to finish her projects because apparently she's a very cautious and careful worker, but Jane couldn't be more happy about it.  

I was so thrilled to find a happy place for Bitty, whom I feel like I've been trying to pour happiness into and sometimes she seems to have a leak in her happy tank.  I know my tank gets leaky sometimes too. It can be tough, and could possibly use further attention.  But for now, to find a place and a woman so safe and happy for Bitty was really joyful, both for her and for me.  Here she is showing off some of her creations:

I'm so proud and happy for her, and just registered her for more classes this fall.  I can't wait to see the smile on her face and the new duds she'll be making.

Cap's learning experience was a little steeper and we kind of had to hype him up to get excited for it.  My sister, his cello teacher, hosts a summer camp for teens every summer.  She has these thick binders full of fun and fabulous music that get passed out around the end of school.  Frankly, both Cap and I felt a little intimidated, and spent a lot of time going over the music he'd be playing, but still feeling nervous and like he had a long way to go to be ready.  Camp started anyway.

Camp itself was really only three days long, taking up most of a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, with a performance Saturday night for the families to see and hear what music they had been working on.  I have to say, when Cap came home the first day and was totally pumped up and excited I was a little shocked.  He had been nervous at best and resistant at worst, and to see him get home and be excited to go back and proclaim that he never wanted to miss another cello camp ever was really fun and rewarding.  What a high.  When we went to see him on Friday evening I was moved by the amazing music.  Such a range - Bach, interesting modern pieces, other classical things I've never heard - it was wonderful.

One serendipitous moment from the evening happened when I connected with a woman who has a daughter who takes from Margaret.  This woman also grew up in Boulder Colorado, and was one of our family's favorite babysitters.  We adored her and her little sister.  Roxanne and her sister Allison were practically family members, and to get a chance to reconnect was delightful.

One last crowning event for the week was a repeat performance of the concert on Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market in downtown Salt Lake City.  Hard to believe that a pack of teenage cellists could draw much attention away from the hustle and noise of the crowded market, but we gathered a bit of a crowd.

I felt so proud of Cap for conquering his reluctance and enjoying the process playing cellos with other kids.  My sister is amazing.

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Golden 50, A Bittersweet Evening of Celebration

This summer marked a pretty big day for my parents.  On August the 6th, they reached their 50th wedding anniversary.

Way back in the springtime when the family was planning our big trip to San Diego there was some talk about possibly putting together a celebration for them at that time, despite the fact that it would be a few weeks early.  But then in May my mom's Alzheimer's Status took a dive. Since her functioning and awareness had decreased dramatically it seemed like a celebration in her honor would confuse her rather than delight her, especially since she would be in an unfamiliar and chaotic setting.  We let that thought go and just enjoyed being together there in the big blocky house by the sea, all together.

As the summer wore on we didn't think much about the upcoming anniversary, but when August finally rolled around I found myself pondering the 50 year marriage of my parents.  It seemed just as wrong to avoid the event as it did to place my mom in the center of a noisy party.  At first it seemed like my dad would be happier just letting it roll on by, but later, as the day drew nearer he began to agree that we needed to observe the day together in some way.  We decided to just meet quietly on our summery back porch and perhaps grill a few hamburgers.  Still seems kind of anticlimactic, don't you think?  I thought so too.  I looked more closely at the calendar and realized that the weekend surrounding the 6th wasn't a busy one, so I got on the phone with my brother Peter and encouraged him and his family to come up for the weekend. I was so happy when they agreed. Peter and Sheri actually share an anniversary with my parents, separated by exactly 40 years.  I found it very generous of them to join us for the weekend of their 10th anniversary.

Besides having Peter and Sheri, I also thought it would be nice to invite a few of my freinds over.  I know that might sound strange, for me to have my friends over for a celebration for my dad (and mom too, I know, but truly, this was all for my dad). But I'll say that I just so happen to be blessed with many many dear friends in my life - wonderful wonderful people everywhere I turn.  I consider that fact to be one of the great blessings of my life.  And a couple of families who live in the neighborhood here have spent some time with my parents before and my dad had an absolutely wonderful time getting to know them and spending time together.  So I thought he'd enjoy the attention of these fine people.  It turned into quite a lovely evening - we served tasty enchiladas with a full spread of Mexican food, almost more than you could fit on one’s plate. (Don't worry, I managed somehow to pile it all on.)  We had jazz music in the background and an ice bucket filled with tasty drinks.  My mom was pleasant and calm and I was grateful to all my friends who sat beside her for a while and did their best to talk with her.  I was happy to give my dad the gift of celebration, even though we did little but enjoy a summer meal together.

Witnessing my father’s care of my  mom as she has walked the downward staircase of Alzheimer’s has been an incredibly emotional experience.  One of the most tender things I have seen is how my mom, at least up until this point, has always found my dad to be her anchor, the center to her universe. As long as she has known where he was, she felt oriented.  Well, him and a lipstick.  For some reason, she just really feels better about life when there is a lipstick in her hand.  A good man and a good lipstick; all a woman needs I guess.  I know that sense of orbiting around him will most like decline and even disapprear at some point, but it’s been powerful to observe.

A Weekend in the Hills

I guess we're about up to a month since I posted anything.  I'm having trouble even typing because my fingers are so out of practice.  But since I have a list of about seven posts to write up I better warm up and get going.  Summer came, summer went, I survived with only minor emotional injuries, though I can't speak for the let's see if I can remember anything that happened well enough to actually write about it.

Event #1 for the records happened at the end of July - a weekend at a cabin in the hills of Utah county with a few very dear friends. There was only one sad thing about it.  My dear husband has been called away on business multiple times this summer, and at the last minute he was sent on another one, so he wasn't able to be there with us.  I missed him.  So did everyone else.  But the other families were really sweet with me and tried to help me out during my single-parent status over the weekend.

We had a lovely time together, mostly just hanging around the cabin doing things like hammering metal discs into jewelry-type things, learning how to knit slippers, playing board games and card games, eating too many peanut m&m's, and covering our arms and legs in henna tattoos. The kids decorated t shirts with fabric markers and by stamping them with painted leaves. We watched hummingbirds swarming our sugar feeder, we made messes as we roasted marshmallows, and my friend Elyse brought a play parachute the kids loved and it turns out they knew all the same games I played as a kid.  Parachute day was the best day of the school year, if you ask me.

We also spent one day back down in the big city of Springville where we popped into a museum to see a quilt show, one of which was made by my friend and hostess of the weekend, Becca.  We also stopped at a small little reservoir that had recently been installed at the mouth of the canyon for I think recreational purposes - it was like going to the beach at a very cold lake.