Monday, June 13, 2005

It is what it is...Part 2.

Thanks mom, for the sweet hair-do.  Posted by Hello

Yesterday I spent the majority of the afternoon with my parents for a 50th anniversary celebration of the church we attended while I was growing up. For some background, my parents are in their early 70’s, and yes, I was a mistake, or a “pleasant surprise” or whatever clich√© label you’d like to give me. Growing up with older parents I never thought of myself as any different than any of my other friends. Sure, I may have had siblings that were old enough to be my parents, and yes, I was given everything I ever wanted because my parents could afford it and were more “established,” and it wasn’t until my father had his first stroke when I was twelve years old that I realized that maybe it wasn’t fun having older parents.

After his second stroke I spent the early summer before my Junior year of high school teaching him how to read, write, add, subtract, and minor things, like what the game of baseball was. It wasn’t easy seeing my father go through something so difficult, but it nonetheless is something I will never forget and would do again in a heartbeat.

I spent the following years wishing things would be different, wishing things would be back to the way they were and they’ve never been. And although he’s not who he was, there are still pieces of his old self that come though. He’s witty, and funny and manages to crack a joke here and there despite all that he’s been through. I discovered this as I was holding him up in the church parking lot yesterday, because without my help he would have fallen right over. While my mother was frantically searching for her keys, frustrated to the point of tears that he was having another “spell” he looked at me and said, “I’m fine.” I looked at him and said, “Yeah, I can tell.”

A few pills later and”caffeine free diet coke” (I tried to get him to drink water, but he’s too stubborn!) he was fine, like nothing ever happened. It was time for the banquet and I was ready for another episode. I expected it to happen, and it never did. He was social and attentive and I was thankful. Not only for him, but also for my mother.

I was feeling sorry for myself when I went to the bathroom and something amazing happened. I walked into the ladies room when this large woman wearing a bright colored floral moo-moo smiled at me. I smiled back and walked into a stall. As I sat down I heard her say, “It sure makes it hard to go when you’re constipated.” I smiled to myself and then realized, wait; I’m the only one here. She continued her “too much information” rant with “Maybe it’s because I eat too much cheese.” Great. “ Don’t you think that could do it Dear?” She asked with awkward wonder? I put my head down and looked under the stalls to hopefully find at least another set of feet and when I didn’t, I regretfully replied, “I suppose so.”

I tried to wait until she was done, but she wasn’t leaving and I had to leave. I could mentally hear my father announce to everyone there that I must have “fallen in” and that maybe they should call a search and rescue team to retrieve me. It was still only she and I when I walked out and there she was with her head in the sink…washing her face and exclaiming something about hot flashes and menopause. Then she glanced at me through the mirror and said, “Well, you’re too young to know about that.” Yup. I quickly washed my hands, wished her a nice afternoon and split. I about ran into my mother as I exited and as she was entering I made the crazy motion with my finger.

My mother was misfortunate enough to catch the other end of the conversation, something about a bad haircut and a horrible reaction to Bush’s baked beans. We had a good laugh and then I realized, although my dad has had his difficulties, and may have been through a lot in his life, he was never crazy like the dame I just encountered in the ladies room at the banquet hall, and for that, I am thankful.


Steph said...

Hey you!
Although my dad is not as old as yours, he's close. My sister already came later in life for my parents, and then I was a big old mistake a year later. So I get wishing I could have my dad longer than I know I will.
But look at how awesome you are! So much about your life, and who you are, screams what a great job they've done! You're so lucky. We both are.

darianj said...

Thanks for sharing that Jenni. I put a smile on my face to see that there are still people that look after their parents (that probably made me sound a lot older that I am).

The Muse said...

Jenni -
That seriously almost brought tears to my eyes. (And I'm not wearing waterproof mascara today!) I feel the love, man, I really do.

Dammit, those hippies from the music festival are rubbing off on me. ;)

Rob Lowe said...

You rule. Much love.


*~BendersGurl~* said...

that did bring a tear to my eye!
Your dad should be exteremly proud of you!


Charlie Mc said...

beautiful post, thanks for sharing!

madman said...

Truthfully--that was a good read and a very nice story of you and your father.

I do hope you can forgive my Mom for the bathroom conversation--she does that to everyone!

Jenni said...

Awww, thanks everyone. You're comments are appreciated. My dad and I have a special relationship that is very important to me. He is such a part of my life and who I am that I thought I should probably share a little something about him.
Thanks for reading!
Madman...Maybe next time you're in MN you should visit your mother, she seems a bit loneyly. Oh, and bring her some Metamucil or an enema while you're at it ;)