Thursday, May 10, 2012

There is this thing about napkins

I have realized some things.

I came home from work one day and Brett told me that when he had gotten home from work, there was baby Jesse, sitting on my mother's lap; hands held up high over his head clutching a napkin in each hand. Happy as can be. 
This is the start of him figuring out how to use his hands, after staring at them for the last couple of weeks.  What a huge step this is for him. His awareness of himself and watching him learn how he can interact with the things around him is amazing to watch. He concentrates so hard.
Gah, time is flying by.

* * *

My grandfather has dementia. He lives alone with my grandmother, who has Alzheimer's and is quite sick herself. 
I remember on Christmas, my grandfather's breast pocket of his button up shirt was bulging with its contents. He had inside a stack of napkins. Not good napkins or even clean ones, but the cheap thin ones you get at diners and ice cream parlors. He kept pulling them out of his pocket all night, to show off his stash. He was quite proud of his collection. He would wander around the house quietly and alone, constantly peeking inside his shirt pocket.
Fast foreword a few months to spring. I went to visit my grandparents in their home. I used to have sleepovers there when I was a child but hadn't visited the house in years. I wandered around, taking in all the details about the house my mother grew up in. I had my camera, and wanted to shoot some stills of my grandparents bedroom. I was drawn to my grandfathers clothes chest, where there was a huge stack of napkins on top. Napkins from all different restaurants, some even from Dunkin Donuts. Beside his napkin stack was a wooden jewelry box. Now, when I was a kid I remember being fascinated with my grandfather's coin collection and tiny treasures he kept inside this case. I opened it, prepared to see all those treasured trinkets I remembered from my childhood. I was shocked when I opened the top drawer and found it packed with nothing but napkins. And also the next drawer down, and the next one. The treasures were gone. No more silver pennies. No more gold teeth or cuff links.

Two weeks later it was my mother's turn to take care of their dinner. She took them out to this restaurant. The waitress was walking about setting her tables. Behind her my grandfather followed, picking up all the clean napkins she was setting down with silverware. In addition to that he had wandered off and gravitated toward some small children, who he was terrifying.
That night my mom said she will never take them out again. My grandfather has also now misplaced his teeth. So now she goes over their house and makes them simple food that they wont make faces at, and that my grandfather can eat with no bottom teeth. Macaroni and Cheese, Grilled Cheese with chopped fruits in the shape of tiny squares.
Things she would prepare for my brother and I when we were small children.

* * *

It is an interesting parallel, going in opposite directions, watching both my grandfather become a child again, seeing and my son start to grow and develop. My grandfather already needs so much care. He cannot bathe himself, he just doesn't know what to do. He needs to be fed. He is awfully quiet and just makes faces during conversation. It won't be long now before he is in a home. It won't be long now until he cannot do anything for himself.

I take care of my baby while my mother takes care of her father.

Anyways, I hope to make this a new photo series. Starting now.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

'Untitled' Part one of 3

These are neat. Click on the image, then use the arrows to go back and fourth. I like to watch the changes pop before my eyes.
I wish I had shots of the earliest stages.. and please excuse the brushes in the first shot.