Sunday, June 22, 2008

Things that suck, things that don't

The rear section of my dad's current, and my former, backyard. Yep, that's a cornfield back there.

I visited Dad last weekend for Father's Day with the kiddos in tow. Part of the visit entailed having scary, albeit necessary conversations about doctors, legal documents and what the future may hold for him and for us.
Put that in the "what sucks" file. But in the blessed, in-between times, there were many, many gracious gifts.
O.K.--I can't fight it. I was gonna avoid putting everything into lists, but I cannot help myself.

What Sucks Lately
1. Having scary, necessary conversations about your one remaining parent's health and what he wants for his future.
2. Thinking "Someone else should handle this--someone you know, grown up"- and then you realize that grown up is you.
3. Having to leave people you love, all the time. . .whether its leaving the kids at day camp to go to work, or leaving Dad to return to my real-life grown-up home. Sometimes it just bites.
4. Having to explain to a new, inexperienced supervisor all the ways you have your duties covered while you take one day off out of your humongous amount of saved vacation time to visit an ailing family member. Then having to re-explain it.

What Decidedly Does Not Suck
1. Stumbling upon my Late Great Aunt Polly's neglected, overgrown flower garden. Liv and I crept back there when we saw the nodding blooms of a few deep blue French Hydrangeas peeking out from the side of her house across the road. We discovered about six of the shrubs, all with dinnerplate-size blossoms hanging low and heavy, in shades of indigo, lavender and baby blue. There were also gardenia bushes with blossoms glowing white in the dim light of dusk. We greedily clipped as many of the beauties as we could hold and put them in little vases and jelly jars in nearly every room at my dad's house.

2. Watching Nate and Liv splash in the wading pool in the backyard. I can almost hear the time ticking away the moments when they'll be just too big and waaay too cool to play in that thing.

3. Immersing myself in the stack of Southern Livings bestowed on me by a co-worker before I left on my roadtrip. While sitting "poolside," of course.

4. Watching the kids gleefully careen around with their older cousins on a homemade slip-n-slide (big, wet plastic tarp) while Holly controlled the hose action.

5. Tossing bread crumbs to the swarm of turtles living in the Pamlico's estuary marsh at sundown every night. It's just something you don't see everyday in the big city.

6. Coming home to the other super dad in our family, and telling him all about it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream

Dear Mama-
I finally, finally dreamed about you last night. Remember how I used to have little "dream visits" with Granny---she would be doing nothing special, just being herself, and it was like I was with her again, just for a fleeting, fuzzy moment. Last night was sort of like that. I couldn't sleep at all at first; work is really stressful right now and I eventually came downstairs to get some water and then went back up to read for awhile instead of tossing and turning. I finally put my book down and drifted off at around 1 a.m., and before I knew it, there you were.
We were in a rented car, flying down the highway together and I was trying to figure out where the cruise control was located. The car was packed with luggage and Dixie, our long gone oldie-goldie dog, was in the back seat panting away.

I was able to piece together that we were headed to a vacation house at the beach, and Daddy and Mark were coming later. You were clutching an envelope in your lap that contained the keys to the place--I could even hear them jingling around when you moved it. We didn't say much in the dream, but there was that glorious, palpable excitement of the first day of vacation--there's nothing like it. Even though virtually no words were spoken, I knew our plan for the day: We'd arrive and get settled before heading out to the store so we could stock the fridge. When we drove up to the house, we walked around the back to check out the pier. That was it, or at least, that's all I can remember. Thanks for the visit, Mama. I needed that. xxoo