Dave’s father is here. He arrived rather suddenly on Monday evening to discuss plans for him to move here. This is something we’ve always offered our parents: a home when they can no longer manage one of their own, for whatever reason. His reasons are partly financial (he doesn’t really have any) partly emotional (his beloved wife died last year) and partly physical (heart attack and major surgery have left him weak and a bit unstable).
So here we are, suddenly preparing to take in an aging parent.
I’ve been watching him, listening to him, to the way he interacts with people, watching Davey for signs that he isn’t going to be able to make this work for harboring too many bad childhood memories. I’ve watched all this this week with more than a little bit of wonder and joy in the family culture we’ve created here, at how far removed from his origins David is. And we both know that his dad will have to be reigned in quite a lot in order for us to prevent his negativity from seeping into our lives. All children will be made aware so that they can guard against it.
He’s not too bad, mind you. He just has a habit of little digs, of putting people down. Constantly. We have a habit of building each other up and helping each other along. We know our faults and weaknesses, but we know our strengths and virtues, too, and we build on those. Different outlooks.
He’s also used to watching television all the time, round the clock, even while he’s sleeping. We get like three air channels, when it’s not too cloudy, and turn our set on only to watch an occasional movie. So he’s on a TV detox this week. He’s no longer sitting on the couch staring at a dark screen, so that’s good. He enjoys reading the paper on the porch swing and chatting with the children as they bike by.
For the long term, we’ve decided to put a small addition on the house, a bedroom with a bathroom, so that he’ll be close in case of need and for regular feedings. No part of his messed up financial life shall touch any part of our hard-won financial stability. Now we just have to figure out how to pay for that addition.
He’s heading back to NJ tomorrow for appointments and birthday parties and whatever else. I’m not sure when he’s coming back, but he’s mentioned early May. He’s been sleeping on the sofa, so we’ll have to make some other temporary arrangements for him. And it will all be okay.
In other news, I am chairing a committee for our county Extension Homemakers for a tasting event. I think it’s going well, although these things always take more meetings than you think they should. It’s my first time chairing anything, but lots of these women are old hands at this, and they are doing an excellent job.
Also, my two eldest daughters are out of the house these days more than they’re in, which means Rosie got to be my barn buddy last night! I had to do all the milking, but she’ll learn. Megan has been hanging around more, with her friends all gone, and helping with house chores and cooking. All this has brought to light a major failing in my systems – I have not continued to train people up! Once somebody else could do something, I relied on that person to do it. Now that those people are separating from us a little (which is right and good) I’m scrambling to train new employees.
Let this be a lesson to you other mamas out there. Never rest on your laurels.
Oh, and the lilacs are in bloom. I picked one little bloom last night and carried it around with me everywhere I went, just so I could breathe in that lovely perfume. I woke up a dozen times in the night, just to be conscious of its scent filling the air. I hope heaven smells like lilacs. Or jasmine. Either one will be fine.