Every family has a set of stories that breathes life into it. My brother has always provided the animation for our family. One time he told my mother he was “That p word. You know-pissed. P.I.S.T” When my mother was trying to teach us about sharing, he screamed, “Let Rob SHARE!!!” Such are the lessons and struggles of parenthood.
My brother hasn’t been around to take turns with my father’s care. That’s been hard. Although, I know his military training largely has kept him away, there were opportunities for him to be present with our family. He chose not to. I don’t think he wanted to be absent from the end of my dad’s life, but for whatever reason, he is hopelessly unable to cope with this.
I might only do one thing right in my entire life. I’ve racked up more epic screw ups than anyone my age should accrue. I hope I don’t screw up this too. If I only get on thing right, I want it to be my dad. It’s hard to stay patient all the time. Sometimes I wish my brother were here to take his turn, and even my mom gets overwhelmed with it at moments. But, I am determined, determined to do the right thing for the next few weeks. Every time he wants to play his mandolin, I’m going to give it to him. Nevermind that he hasn’t been able to play a note in weeks, and it breaks my heart every time he tries to play and asks me to press down note with his left hand. If he asked for his 12th piece of candy, I’ll give it to him. If it nearly kills me, for the next few weeks, I will do it regardless.
Sometimes I wonder when my turn is going to arrive. I’ve spent so many years taking care of others. I don’t even know what my life would look like if I did all the things I want to do. Travel, finish my education, be single and free to live where ever and follow whatever dreams my come… My mind is not even open enough to the idea to know what that life would look like.
And then at other times, I think that perhaps my turn has already arrived. I wouldn’t trade a single moment I’ve had with my dad, not even the really horrible ones because I would like to believe that I’ve brought my dad some ease in those dark moments. Every smile we’ve shared and every time I’ve held his hand has been worth a lifetime. I’ve had nearly 30 years of lessons and love. That’s so much more than most children get with their parents. I just have to hope that it’s enough to last me the rest of my years.
Love you daddy. I’m glad we’ve had our time to share.