Just the other day I found out my father is moving again. Not out of the norm for a man who never stayed put for too long. Every time Dad moved he was always eager to show his new home off to us and us off to his new friends. Each summer my sister and I would spend a week or two enjoying his new world which included lots of fun trips and food of course. So yes, you guessed it, my parents are divorced. Thanks to his propensity for movement my family tree includes a few extra branches; an “Ex-stepmom”, current step-mom, two half-brothers and a half sister-in-law. It may sound unbelievable to you, but I consider my life happier and richer with these five extra people in it!
What I recall most about those Dad visits were my feelings. I was filled with anticipation, excitement, happiness and that damned dread. Before our trip began I would think ahead to when our trip would be over and our father would drive us to the airport. I can recall pretending to be carefree and lighthearted while dread set my throat and eyes on fire. These are the memories and reasons why I still to this day despise goodbyes.
This latest move of Dads is quite different though. You can call it assisted living or a senior citizen’s home but I grew up calling it an Old Folks home. A place you go when you are of a certain age/health and need help getting through your day. My Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease many years ago. We have watched the disease very slowly but methodically deplete his mobility and cognitive skills. He and his wife have determined that his time living in their home is soon coming to an end. As my dad always has, he described his new world with excitement. He seems happy to have found a room with a few trees outside his window for his bird feeders. “When you visit I will show you around.”And I expect he will also show us off to his new friends and maybe we’ll even have a bite to eat. (So as much as things change, deep down they are very much the same.)
This latest change had me wondering what my take-away was? What constructive action will emerge from this? Well for one, I booked a trip. Not just to visit my dad, but my mom as well. Why? It’s really simple… because every time my mom and I speak about a trip there are always a bunch of reasonable reasons why it just can’t fit in right now. It’s either a football game, kids coming home from college, friends visiting from out of town or my sick dog…. but then I got the call about Dad and I booked a maiden voyage flight for me and Cornell.
Once again a trip filled me with anticipation, excitement, happiness and that damned dread. This time I dreaded the flight, TSA security and if he would have to go to the bathroom while in flight. We tried on pet carriers like outfits! For goodness sake I packed like he was a baby; wipes, poop bags, toys, snacks and his favorite blankie. But in the end, no one weighed him nor looked at the vet certificate. Heck, Im not even sure I was charged for his ticket. Yeah he peeded just outside of TSA security gate, but I wiped, disinfected and disposed of it before anyone saw.
So I bid you adieu directly from my mom’s home in sunny Florida. Cornell and I are having a wonderful time here and as our trip comes to an end I can see dread peeking around the corner.
Moral: Things change; good things, bad things, old things and new things. No matter, if handled properly they are all growing up things.
with love from my growing up heart,