EJ and I enjoyed a quiet weekend. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we watched Darby O’Gill and the Little People at Amazon video. When I was a child, it was our tradition to watch it when it aired on TV every March 17, and when JJ was younger I used to sometimes rent the DVD from the library, but we haven’t watch it for quite a few years so I figured we were due to watch it again.
I have a lot of Irish in me from both my parents. In fact, my ancestry is mostly Irish with a dash of “Pennsylvania Dutch.” (Pennsylvania Dutch are the German-speaking inhabitants of Pennsylvania, descendants of 17th- and 18th-century Protestant immigrants from the Rhineland.) I love my Irish heritage, and I have learned some Irish history–and I love the myths, music, and dancing–but I don’t know much of my personal family history. My parents didn’t tell many stories of their childhood or of family history. I think my Dad became interested in his genealogy a few years before he died, but by that time my family had mostly disowned me. I do have a couple family trees booklets he printed off for all his kids before he died. I believe that my Irish ancestors came to the US during the potato famine, which was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849 but I can’t remember what part of Ireland they came from. Unlike my parents, EJ and I have told many of our childhood stories to JJ. I think it’s important.
Today is JJ’s 23rd birthday. He has to work all day so we are going to celebrate his birthday tomorrow by taking him out to eat at Culvers after my hand therapy and after EJ gets out of work. Our gift to JJ is getting new front tires put on the HHR, which JJ is buying from us. The HHR needs a few repairs so we are really just “selling” it to him for the cost of repairs. So we are actually giving the car AND new tires to him. We will take the car to the repair shop as soon as he gets insurance for it and transfers the title/registration to his name. It makes more sense for JJ to have the HHR since he will be doing mostly city driving. Of course, without 4-wheel drive he won’t be able to make it up our driveway in the winter, but he can always park at the bottom of the driveway and walk up to the house.
A couple of weeks ago our snow had mostly melted away, and then we had a week of snow that covered the ground in several inches of snow. The sun and daytime temperatures in the 30s is melting the snow again, although there is still some ice in the Bay. I’m really hoping we don’t get more snow. I love Winter but this year I’m so ready for Spring! I’m really glad we are not experiencing the multiple snowstorms the northeast has been getting hit with!
My hand therapy is going quite well. I faithfully do the exercises the therapist gave me to do at home, and with the workout she gives me during my sessions with her, I am able to continuously improve my mobility. I think I am able to bend my fingers 65 degrees now, which is a huge improvement on what I could do at first. I’m also able to mostly turn my hand from palm down to palm up, but bending my wrist forward and backward or side to side is going much slower and is more of a painful struggle.
Yesterday, JJ watched Katy, my therapist, put her hand over my fist as she worked to stretch my wrist backwards. He said, “I hate to tell you this, Mom, but I think she’s winning the arm wrestling match.” I replied, “I hope so! Because if she wins [if she is successful at getting my wrist to bend backwards], I also win.” Katy agreed wholeheartedly.
I have been able to get my other fingers to touch my palm for several sessions, but I’ve struggled with my littlest finger. Katy and I have called it my “rebellious little finger” because it constantly resisted my efforts to bend it that far. We cheered yesterday when I was finally able to get my littlest finger to touch my palm with the others. JJ said that I should get a gold star sticker for my achievement. “In fact,” he replied, “if you can get 5 stars today, I will buy you a peanut butter shake,” which he knows is my favorite flavor. At the end of my session, Katy said, “Let’s see….you get a star for getting your rebellious little finger to bend, and a star for making improvement in turning your hand palm up, and a star for being able to finally look at the incision scar on your wrist without fainting, and a star for this improvement and that one [I can’t remember what they were]…That’s FIVE stars!” She got out a bunch of stickers from a cabinet. She put five of them on my shirt. “I guess your son has to buy you a peanut butter shake today!” she exclaimed. I didn’t hold JJ to that because now that he’s out on his own, he can’t really afford to buy me one. However, while we were at his apartment waiting for his Dad to pick me up, JJ generously shared his jelly beans with me. I love jelly beans. I always crave them at this time of year.
If it weren’t for my injury and the effort and soreness of stretching ligaments, it would be fun to go to hand therapy sessions. My hand is always sore after my therapy session and after I finish my exercises at home.