Saturday, August 14, 2010

This time. Another Generation. With Grace.

It was an extremely quiet morning.

The rains came and probably with perfect timing. It is always drought or flooding here and there is absolutely nothing like a good rainy and overcast day. WB rose early and was napping by 10:00 am while Kate's rescue, Andy, paced from room to room in search of her. He (Andy) is a nervous wreck. As for WB, we are still not real clear on the fallout just yet. 

All know who visit here that we packed and carted Kate off to the University of Alabama yesterday. I had been gathering things since last Fall in preparation as we knew it would be expensive. A little here and a little there and I have truly turned in to a bargain shopper. If it cannot be purchased in conjunction with a coupon, sale, promotion, barter, from an outlet or from ebay, it simply will not pass muster.

For those who do not know, Kate's decision to go to the University of Alabama was not an easy one. Well, easy for her that she wanted to, had always dreamed of it and pretty much expected that would be the plan. However, after Bill's diagnosis, closing the business thereby losing our job(s), then losing her 529 plan, all of our savings, retirement, etc. things were not so clear. 

She understood early on the consequences those issues placed on her education and knew her grades and ACT scores were not just a wild card, but her ticket to ride.  She hired and paid for a tutor herself to raise her ACT score 3 points, added several AP courses to her schedule and buckled down to study. 

Kate had a private school and Montessori school education first, then on to a local Fine Arts School by audition. She has always been "off the charts" smart and never had to crack a book. We had discussions early on about staying in-state for college and then because of WB's decline and financial concerns associated with that, we planned for her to live at home and attend one of Alabama's local state schools. 

At the end of the day, Kate's determination paid off. A year in Tuscaloosa will cost roughly $22,000. She will depend on us for none of that. Through scholarships, grants and gifts she will make this work. The bonus: she's less than an hour's drive from home.

Relief? OMG. Proud? OMG!

I am a crier. Always have been, always will be. In business, with family ~ it simply doesn't matter. I cry happy tears, sad tears, tears of frustration, tears in anger, tears with God at every shower. You name it, I can cry on it. So it struck me early yesterday morning; Kate would expect this out of me. That if I did not wail and sob, she may feel as if there was a disconnect, a cog in the wheel, a malfunction.


Leaving her last night with a huge lump in my throat, listening to the CD she burned for me titled "For Mama Coming Home", knowing without a doubt that she will take this experience to another level altogether, I smiled. 

That is another one of those Steel Magnolia moments...laughter through tears. Thousands and thousands of women just like me have sent their daughters off the college. Pfft, how hard can this be?

Will I miss that quirky/sideways little smile and quick whit all day today, tomorrow and the next? You bet. Will I think of her more often since I've taken for granted she would be underfoot? Oh yes. Will I write to her more, share with her better, call her and text her with abandon? Oh yea. Will I make a better effort to cook her favorite meals upon her return, make home a better place to be, lighten the load? Absolutely. Will I take more time to listen, ask more questions, be more available when she's here? Without a doubt.

I smiled this morning when thinking about her allowing the entire first wave of our clan to help her move in. She wouldn't have had it any other way.

Then another wrinkled up smiled when brushing my teeth and noticing Kate had placed a vinyl cut-out on my mirror, "Hope". She is absolutely my daughter and that is all I can take credit for.  She can read faster, comprehend better, program a computer quicker, and dance prettier than I ever could. She is more disciplined and focused and has been coddled over by a huge family and a friendly village. Yes, I am the parent, but she has been my rock too often and it simply should not be that way. That is just not the natural order of things. Lord, I am grateful, honored and proud knowing that I just may be around long enough to watch what happens, next.


And, I smile.

Its her time to test those wings and make new memories.  It is my hope that she take her "rearing" with her and refer to it often. It is my prayer that she never forget where she came from but that she never let her past hold her back. 

Tears of joy, tears salty with satisfaction, tears of relief and accomplishment. 

Her call just a few minutes ago confirmed it. (I had better check her tomato plants.)

Crank up the tractor WB and smile, your daughter is on her way!

Keywords: Teens and Alzheimer's, Early Onset, Alzheimer's Dementia, Living with Alzheimer's Dementia, Billy Ray Brantley, JustBrantley, Rhonda Brantley

My name is Rhonda Brantley. My husband, Billy Ray Brantley, has Early Onset Alzheimer's Dementia.

1 comment:

  1. Kate is the beautiful. thoughtful, smart and talented young woman she is because of the way you prepared her for this day. While I'm am blissfully happy and excited about Kate's first solo adventure, I am just as proud and respectful of the parents that got her there. Your youngest now has one foot out the door and there will be certain times of "slingin' snot" offset by smiles when remembering all it took to get here. Standing on the edge of the nest, looking behind her knowing that the nest will always be there, she leaps and tries her wings for the first time. Congratulations Rhonda and WB! She is flying!


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