Winter arrived the other day, just in case you weren’t paying attention. It really seems like we went straight from our 90-degree weather to pouring rain and wind from one day to the next, with no time to prepare.
Sad to say, I also wasn’t prepared for how the weather has affected me so far this fall/winter season. The arthritis in my fingers and bursitis in my left shoulder have become decidedly more pronounced since last year at this time. It is taking me longer to recover from cold, damp Friday night football games than in the past. And that’s not because I’m partying after a win, it’s because I’m photographing the game and trudging up and down the sideline with the team. It is an oxymoron; covering events at the schools and a variety of sports is fun and helps to keep me feeling young and energized … but the actual work schedule is starting to make me feel old. It didn’t used to be hard to get out of my car after driving home from an away football game. Now it’s like my knees don’t want to work and I feel like I need a hip replacement to get up the sidewalk and through the door. I did finally break down and buy a multivitamin in hopes of getting some needed iron for my blood count and potassium so my leg muscles don’t cramp on me but I guess I need whatever supplement is designed for memory because it’s been over a week since I bought the vitamins and I keep forgetting to take them.
The vitamin purchase came following a visit with my sister, who has started quite a health regime herself, she and her husband deciding to focus on good eating and exercise habits. My daughter and I were on a quick weekend trip to their house just outside Fairfield to greet the newest member of the family; my first-ever great niece. My niece Kristel and her husband Jon welcomed the arrival of their daughter, Lily, on Oct. 19. We had scheduled a trip for the weekend of Oct. 23-24, planning to see my niece just before the baby’s birth, as she was due that final week of October. But instead, and happily so, we got to see Lily in person.
It’s interesting how easy it is to forget how tiny they are when they are new. Lily weighed six pounds, 12 ounces — two ounces less than my own daughter at her birth — and I cannot believe mine was ever that little. (Or that quiet and content.) It brings back a flood of memories, from feeling so insecure the first time I tried to do anything — from feeding to bathing to burping her — because I just didn’t want to do it wrong. My sister, in fact, gave my daughter her first bath because she had already had all four of her kids by that time and was quite comfortable with a seven-pound bundle.
My daughter was amazed as she sat on the couch and held Lily, marveling over the tiny features, the littleness of her. She can’t wait until Lily does more than sleep and eat so we are looking forward to a trip around the holidays when Lily will be a bit more interactive with the world around her.
When I came out to interview for work here, and at the time it was the editor’s position at The Riverbank News that I was applying for, I was able to combine the trip with a vacation and spent part of the time at my sister’s house. My niece, probably only in second grade at the time, was eagerly waiting to hear about the possibility of me moving to California from my native upstate New York and being roughly 90 miles from them instead of 3,000 so my visits would be more frequent. After being offered the job here and accepting, I took Amtrak back to the station in Martinez, where my sister and niece came to pick me up. I vividly remember Kristel waiting on the platform, eyes big with wonder, looking up at me as I came down the steps of the train car, asking “Do you have a new job?” and being so excited when the answer was yes. We’ve spent a great deal of time together over the years, and my own daughter had a chance to grow up with cousins close by, as I did when I was a child. Now we share in the joy and excitement of a new chapter, a new season in life, with Kristel and Jon starting a family of their own.
October was a memorable month. My sister and her husband became new grandparents; my parents are now first-time great-grandparents. Fall — okay, some days more like winter — is in the air. And even when my bones creak and my muscles ache, life is good.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times and The Oakdale Leader and assistant editor for The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.