Oma Sue's Blog
Hi – I’m Sue Reyzlik. I recently realized my life-long dream of building a writing hut in the backyard. The writing hut serves as a creative space and home office for Oma Publishing. This blog will be intermingled with family history, varied experiences and insights on being a Grandma (Oma), creating my special backyard space, as well as, my “retirement” career as a self-publisher of children’s stories. And perhaps a little bit on the 32 years I served as Executive Director for Keep Fremont Beautiful and the wonderful people who are sharing this adventure.
Both of my daughters took dance lessons growing up – both starting in Kindergarten. The girls were 14 years apart in age. Sara was finishing her years of dance, just as Ramie was beginning hers. For over two decades each Memorial Day weekend centered around either the low-key dance demonstrations or the more “high performance” dance recitals! The end of May was an opportunity for our dance athletes to show off their new moves and refined skills.
It was delightful to see the little ones in their fluffy little tutu costumes, pointing their toes, galloping in circles, watching each other for cues and finally striking their frozen final pose as the lights dimmed. You couldn’t help but smile. It always surprised me how each class performs measurably better than the last – an additional year’s worth of practice, growth and discipline.
When Ramie was done with dancing, I felt a little sad. I missed the end of May Dance Madness. No Dance Demonstrations – No Dance Recitals – No Nothing. May was lacking.
Luckily for this old Grandma, both Sara and Ramie were blessed with little girls who wanted to dance – hooray! That old May Dance Madness returned!
Rai started dancing last year when she was in Kindergarten. 2018 was a recital year so that was special! Costumes, pictures, performances – we were right back in it! This year is the 40th Anniversary of Kathy’s studio so she decided to celebrate by having a recital again this year – bonus!
Rai takes dance lessons at the same studio her Mom (Ramie) attended. The same studio (and teacher) that her Aunt Sara attended! This has been a family tradition in our little town of Fremont and one that I know meant a lot to both of my girls growing up.
Sara would have loved it if she could have had her daughter take lessons from Kathy but the dance studio in Wahoo is so much closer to their home and more convenient. Luckily Gracyn’s dance recital was in the middle of May with Rai’s scheduled for the end of May – no conflicts!
It’s not just a thing for lawyers and the FBI - I write contemporaneous notes. Especially when caring for Rai - always have. I wrote these notes after a conversation I had with Rai, just over two years ago. Saying no isn’t always enough for Rai… sometimes she needs more. Here is a sample of “more.”
I would say “Be Quiet Rai, I have to call your Mom.” You would whimper softly while I dialed the phone and then it would ring and ring and after several rings it would go to voice mail. I would leave a message “Your dingy daughter did a handstand in the bathroom and she hit her foot on the toilet and now we think her foot is broken - please call me!”
I would hang up the phone, turn to you and say “Let me help you up - don’t put any weight on your broken foot” You would take my hands and you would slowly stand up, making sure not to put any weight on your broken foot.
I would grab a tissue so you could blow your nose and when you were done wiping away the tears and blowing your nose you would throw the used tissue on the bathroom floor and I would yell “RAI - Don’t throw your tissue on the ground!” and then you would hold onto the side of the sink and bend over to pick up the tissue with one hand and I would hold onto the other arm so you didn’t fall over on your head because your broken foot was up in the air and you were so unsteady and we didn’t need a cracked head and a broken foot. You would be glad that you didn’t have a broken head too.
Once you threw the tissue in the trash can, I would help you hop to the stairs making sure your broken foot didn’t get hit again. You would still be crying and making a big deal about your broken foot and that you wanted your Mom and your Mom hadn’t called us back. So, I would have you sit down on the top step and have you put your foot gently down on the second step. Then I would go back into the bathroom and get my phone and more tissues.
I would sit down beside you, give you another tissue and text your Mom the details of the broken foot and to let her know that I was taking you to the hospital emergency room for x-rays. You would start screaming again and act like you were going to pass out - I would yell at you to get a grip and then would try to pick you up but would end up straining my back because you are too heavy to lift and I should have known better than to have tried that.
So now we are both sitting on the steps - both hurting - both crying - both blowing our noses and my phone dings the text ding a ding. Your Mom has sent a text...All caps - WHAT??? I AM ON MY WAY - WAIT FOR ME - I WILL BE RIGHT THERE!!! Now your Mom is upset.
We are still sitting on the steps, still hurting, when your Mom and Kyle come rushing into the house. You had stopped crying but when you see your Mom, you begin screaming again “I broke my foot, I broke my foot”. Your Mom starts to cry because she is so sensitive and she doesn’t like to see her little girl hurting. So now you are crying, your Mom is crying and I try to stand up and my back is hurting and I begin crying.
It’s all tears, crying, snot and pain... what a mess. Kyle just smiles but he is really scared because he hates the hospital and he knows this will not end well.
Your Mom screams at Kyle to pick you up - he does what he’s told and carries you to the car. Your Mom comes over and helps lift me up by putting one hand under my armpit and the other hand pulling my hand up and out. I wince in pain but am able to walk to the car.
Kyle takes us to the hospital. We go to the waiting room and we sit for hours because they are so busy. Your Mom gets mad because she has lots to do. Kyle gets mad because he was going to watch Nascar and they don’t have that channel in the waiting room. Kyle doesn’t like hospitals so he goes outside to wait until we are finished.
We finally see the doctor and he orders an x-ray of your foot and an x-ray for my back. The x-ray shows that your foot is broken and they put a cast on your foot and ankle. My muscles in my back are strained and the strained muscles moved a part of my spine out of alignment. The doctor says they have to admit me to the hospital for a few days and put me in traction. That means I have to lay down on a special bed and they stretch me out. The nurses put weights on my feet and a brace on my neck. I have to lay flat for at least 36 hours so my spine gets put back in the right place.
You have a cast on your foot and can’t go swimming for six weeks and can’t play baseball either. You are mad about that. I have to make sure I don’t lift anything over 10 pounds and can’t work in the garden. I am mad about that.
So, that dear Rai, is what would happen if you did a handstand in the bathroom?
You can see the wheels turning in her little head as she processes that scenario… finally she says “OK” and gets in the tub.
Facebook post from the morning of May 11, 2019 – 10:59 AM. The following, unscheduled, Grandmother event occurred 12 hours earlier on the evening of May 10th. An evening that will live on, in the infamy of Rai family lore.
“Don’t you just hate it when your 7 year old granddaughter gets mad at you at 10:00 PM when you take the iPad away and tell her to go to bed and then she disappears and you go to find her and she is nowhere to be found and you panic and you look everywhere even in the shed and around the house and yell until you are hoarse and then you think maybe she tried to walk home so you try to call your daughter but it goes straight to voice mail so you jump in the car and drive over to her Mom’s so she can lose her shit so you aren’t losing your shit all alone and then you decide you need help so you call 911 on the ride back to the house and give them all the details and tell them to hurry and you arrive back at home and yell for her one more time right in the 911 operator’s ear and you hear this sweet little voice answer “what Grandma” and you yell in the operator’s ear one more time “Were you hiding from me?” and your sweet granddaughter says yes and you tell the nice operator that you found your granddaughter and you are going to kill her… ya, weekends with Rai took a dark turn…Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers and Grandmothers out there and try not to stroke out.”
I have shared lots of stuff about little Rai on Facebook, using the social format as a journal of sorts. I have saved the posts thinking that I would one day write a book about our time together and perhaps inject some Grandmother wisdom amongst the various snippets of our shared experiences.
Many of the posts have been cute, endearing, idyllic – moments to be cherished while other posts have described times of a less than perfect environment. Those posts have recounted everything from the incredible uprisings of a child entering the fabled terrible twos to the devastating destruction of a curious four-year old with paint and lipstick.
Over her seven years of existence, weekends with Rai have been filled with humor, fun, excitement, challenges and love. Many weekends are exhausting but this past weekend was the first to bring me to a state of complete and utter panic. Like I said, weekends with Rai took a dark turn but it was a learning experience as well.
The Officer was professional and courteous but firm in his discussion of the facts of the case. Rai listened and this time seemed to absorb the importance of not repeating the offense. I also appreciated the fact that the Officer didn’t blame me for getting all panic stricken – he gently explained that a missing child is the scariest experience a parent or grandparent can ever know. He asked Rai about the times she had been scared and helped her recall what that had felt like. He helped her understand how scared I had felt when I couldn’t find her.
I shared with the Officer that I saw people walking on the sidewalk as I drove to my daughter’s house. I told him that I was scared that maybe someone had taken her. He understood how I could have thought that. The Officer then warned Rai of the dangers from strangers and that sadly there are people who live in our town who hurt kids.
He warned her of the dangers of hiding during a house fire. He instructed her that if there was ever a fire she was to get out of the house, even if she had to break a window. She said she would. Rai was receiving a lot of information from a tall, imposing, gun toting, law official and she seemed to be “getting” it.
Raising kids and grandkids, for that matter, is hard. Helping to raise Rai has been an adventure. I do want to gather those Facebook posts and write the story of “Weekends With Rai”. I told one friend I should call it “WTF is she up to now.” I don’t have to decide the title yet – we can wait to see what future weekends bring! The Rai Adventure Continues…