Grace & Patience

I wrote a piece recently on my personal blog about a beloved rocking chair that my dad restored.  He’s been gone for many years, but the sweet little rocker is a cherished memento of something he lovingly touched as he restored it.  I’d say he improved it…the luster is pretty fabulous:

When I wrote about the sweet rocker I searched high and low, looking for photos of my dad (the original owner of the rocker) or my sister…who received it next…or a pic of our DD (dear daughter) enjoying the wee rocker.  And I came up empty handed.

Are you like me?  The harder I seek something, the more elusive it can be.  For the life of me I could not find the pics – one of Lisa in her rocker “reading” the newspaper when she was a tot and a pic of our daughter enjoying the same chair…nearly 50 years later.  But here they are now! 😊 I outsmart myself (often) organizationally and the pics were in a file folder of photos to scan…and…are you ready for this…the folder was marked “rocking chair”.  Sigh.  Big sigh.

Around here, I’m famous for saying “Everything is somewhere” when we play unexpected games of lost and found.  Emphasis on the lostWhere’s the remote?  Who took my glasses?  Someone moved my…(fill in the blank).  For friends who live alone, I often wonder who they blame when forgetfulness or poor housekeeping results in similar household hunts.  Do you blame the dog?  The cat? The fish?  (Through some miraculous deviousness – hopping from his tank to dastardly hide your stuff?)

No pets?  Do you suppose a sneaky burglar swooped in and stole the elusive singleton sock?  Maybe I’m channeling too much of my book club pick – “Remarkably Bright Creatures” – which…makes no sense unless you’ve read the heartwarming story about a brilliant octopus. 😉

I know I’m not alone in the daily ‘hide and seek’ adventures but lately I’ve begun to think about generational issues with memory in a more serious way.  My mother suffered from dementia and Alzheimer’s and years ago, before the conditions were diagnosable, I suspect a few members of her family suffered, too. 

Way back when, labels weren’t applied and doctors weren’t consulted because becoming foggy was a fact of life and in some cases, a badge of honor for hanging in there.  Aging provided a license to be naughty, forgetful when it suited.  And a reason to enjoy an adult-sized rocker for a well-deserved snooze.  I’ll explain.

My mother had an uncle, and I will never know what his actual name was because he was always referred to as “Uncle Fuzzy”.  (I wondered, years later if his nickname was a taunt from the family about his behavior or if it was related to his curly hair.)

Tall and lean, Uncle Fuzzy had a stooped posture – even when he was young.  When I met him, I suspect he was in his late sixties and he must’ve dealt with spinal issues of some sort, given his pronounced stoop and curvature.  But his smile?  Million-dollar wattage…missing teeth and all. 

Whenever the family gathered, someone always rounded up a plate for Uncle Fuzzy and he’d sit, carefully balancing his plate on his lap with a large napkin tucked into his trademark plaid shirt.  Actually, the napkin was typically nestled into the collar of his undershirt…on account of spillage there from time to time.  The grown ups would sit at one of the big tables – either in the kitchen or dining room – but not Uncle Fuzzy…

He preferred his comfy spot on the sofa in the living room, sitting on top of an old quilt spread out just for him.  He’d pat his shirt and napkin and wink at the kids.  We had a small card table in the living room – the kid’s table – with the older cousins helping the littles who were still in highchairs.  As we all got settled, Uncle Fuzzy would point at his “bib” and then ours and say, “Me, too!”. 

He could never remember our actual names, so he’d rotate through ‘cutie pie’ and ‘little darlin’ for the girls and the boys were referred to as ‘big boy’ or ‘buster’.  No one cared because his delivery included a smile most times.

I remember eating at the little table while watching out for Lisa, my sweet older, and disabled sister.  I helped her cut her meat given her motor and dexterity issues but I also had eyes on Uncle Fuzzy.  I’d pop over to sit next to him on the quilt and give him a hand with his knife and fork and I remember worrying the first time I offered unsolicited help.  Will he be offended? After all, he was a grown up…but I sensed he was different in ways I couldn’t describe. I learned he didn’t mind my help and we’d laugh about the wiggly Jell-O salad that he hated but always found its way onto his plate. “Those damn sisters” he’d say.  I guessed he meant one of the aunts because they made his plate for him.

Uncle Fuzzy would get anxious toward the end of the meal.  Restless.  Sometimes he’d get up and throw his plate on the floor when he couldn’t remember someone’s name or if he got confused about which holiday we were celebrating.  Little flashes of anger weren’t uncommon but everyone knew he wasn’t mad AT someone.  He was upset at himself. 

My dad always had one watchful eye on Uncle Fuzzy and would take him outside for a walk, ‘to get some air’ when the thunderclouds came.  On the porch was a set of rocking chairs and after a while, I’d find the two sitting together, humming a song.  Peaceful…and then Uncle Fuzzy would nod off, and dad would cover him…you guessed it…with his quilt.

Years later when my mom began to show signs of memory issues and ‘sundown syndrome’ – confusion late in the day – I remembered Uncle Fuzzy’s episodes.  The family did their best to include him and worked around his declining health.  Most of all, I love recalling those glimpses of my dad’s grace and patience with Uncle Fuzzy and I’m reminded that we often need to give those exact gifts to ourselves, for all sorts of reasons.  Grace and patience? Yes! I give you permission. Be good to yourself today. 

Vicki ❤

P.S. But wait…there’s more! Check out my Victoria Ponders post for a quote that sticks with me…all about resolve and resiliency…the best compliment I ever received. You’ll like it…I promise. ❤

39 thoughts on “Grace & Patience

    1. Oh my…thank you so much. Your phrase ‘a touch for tenderness’ is filling my heart this morning. What a lovely gift, Dr. Stein. Hugs to you for your kindness! 🥰


  1. What a lovely piece Vicki. Such a sweet and tender story about your Uncle Fuzzy. Its funny how many of us have memories of a children’s table and adult tables. As the oldest grandchild I was fortunate that I bridged the two worlds. I also find it amazing that some of the best memories are of the adults who cross over to be with the children.

    Cognitive/mental decline is, as you say, worrying as we age and it can be distressing when we see our loved ones suffering and disappearing. Maybe we need to look through the lens of innocent youth more often

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    1. What a beautiful comment, Brenda — encouragement to ‘look through the lens of innocent youth more often’. I think you captured exactly what I was trying to evoke. Thank you for that. Big hugs! 🥰

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  2. God blessed Uncle Fuzzy. Now that I am a grandpa myself, and having experienced one of younger grandchildren take me under their wing a couple of times, I have no doubt your reaching out to him, was one of the highlights of his afternoons @ the family gatherings.

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    1. Thank you so much, Doug. I think you’re right…allowing ourselves to be helped completes the circle. Uncle Fuzzy enjoyed the interactions and I think it helped him focus less on his needs and differences, by just being together, sharing a meal. Who cares who helped who? Big hugs to you this morning! 🥰

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  3. Well you have to know I’m laughing about the file labeled “rocking chair”! I cannot tell you how many times I have been in the same place, looked and never found ‘the thing’, and then on the next check there ‘the thing’ is. I fully acknowledge the blame falls to me as my only housemates are my plants and they seem uninterested in mischief 😉

    I try to remind myself of the gifts that families who have Uncle Fuzzy’s or lovely big sister Lisa’s among their ranks get to experience. I learned early to experience the unique qualities such amazing people bring to their families. I learned from Howard who is an extended family relative, a few of my own uncles, and now from Dale- my daughter-in-laws father. We really never know what is ahead do we? We all deserve patience and understanding. Thank you for the reminder 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Deb — so glad to know I’m not alone in the “hunt” for stuff. 😉 I’m glad you chuckled! And yes…we don’t know what’s ahead but I’m hopeful and encouraged by kindnesses…about differences…and I’m not surprised to hear you feel the same. Xo! ❤️

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    1. I love that you caught that tidbit…yep – not a ‘blood relation’ for my dad, but he loved Uncle Fuzzy’s quirks and helped the rest of the family accept him. Good lessons for me in watching, observing. 🥰

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      1. Wow…I’m with you all the way, Betsy. Underappreciated – yes – and I’m not sure what my life would’ve been like without my dad’s positive influences. Thanks for making that point. xo! 🥰

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  4. Your family has the most creative nicknames, Vicki! Grace and patience – what a lovely story and a perfect permission for the day, week, month and beyond!

    I’m laughing about where you found those pictures – a story perfectly told and a beautiful post. Thank you, dear Vicki!! ❤

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  5. This is a lovely story, Victoria. Your dad’s kindness and compassion is a wonderful example for us to follow as we face the reality of our aging parents who are struggling with the downing of the sun, literally and figuratively. 🙏

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    1. Oh…I love how you expressed that, Ab…the literal and figurative implications of “sundown”. Yes! Kindness and compassion in the face of reality. Thank you for that. 🥰


  6. I love the visual of a mischievous fish… which made me think of Marcellus, as I just finished the book. 😊

    I have so many memories of sitting at the kid’s table and (as Brenda mentions) being visited by my goofy uncles. It’s so sweet that you recognized that Uncles Fuzzy could use a little extra help, and that your father also keep his eye out for family. Grace and patience, indeed. The world need more of both, doesn’t it?

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    1. Oh gosh, yes! More, please! And yes…Marcellus absolutely came to mind when I thought about things that go missing…such a good book, right? Thank you for enjoying the memory of Uncle Fuzzy, Erin. 🥰🥰🥰

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  7. Kindness just runs rampant in your family, doesn’t it? I love your dad’s kindness, and the care the family showed to Uncle Fuzzy, and the loving care that you give to Lisa. Your stories warm my heart. The lost and found stories make me giggle—I’m a pet-less live-aloner with no one to blame for items that go missing in the night, except, of course, those devious little invisible cosmic clowns who love to sneak around and hide things from me then return them later (or not). I mean really—it couldn’t be ME, could it? Nah. I’m going with the little invisible sneaky ones.

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    1.’re making me giggle…picturing cosmic clowns foiling you with their pranks! I’m sure they’re the culprits! Most of all…thank you for the generous and loving comment about kindness and enjoying my family memories. That means so much to me, dear Julia!

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  8. Such love coming through your words and memories, Vicki. This is a precious piece. You feel like your Dad with his loving nature. xXx 💗

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