Sunday, November 25, 2012


Thanksgiving was good! Paul's mom arrived on Wednesday and we had a good time together until Saturday morning. Everyone was civil and behaved beautifully, even when slightly uncomfortable topics were brought up. It was nice. Thursday was a lot of fun; we ate and cooked all day and watched the first season of Downton Abbey, which we had seen but she had not. As usual, a feast that takes three days of planning and buying, and three hours of preparation takes three minutes to eat- but it was good.

I had asked her whether she was willing to go visit my Dad and she was surprisingly enthusiastic about doing so; I think she might have been thinking about it before she came up. I told her I wouldn't be upset is she didn't feel up to it, but she assured me she did and we decided to go on Friday. Friday rolled around and the rain was biblical, but we decided to still make the trip and we headed over around eleven. There was Dad, relaxed on the couch as we walked in, and he actually focused on me as I leaned over him to say hello, his eyes somewhat aware and a pleasant expression on his face. I introduced my mother-in-law and then Paul moved forward to shake his hand with a smile - and the funniest thing happened. Dad didn't want to let go of Paul's hand, he kept grasping it firmly as I sat down next to him, so Paul kept leaning over, grasping Dad's hand back. It was kind of cute.

As we all sat around Dad, with his caregiver and another resident on the couch, we had a great time. Dad didn't really participate in the conversation, and he had his eyes closed part of the time, but he would chuckle when one of us said something funny or the group laughed, like he understood what was going on. Every now and then, he would open his eyes and look at me and smile a little, and it was just so nice. The caregiver told us he had enjoyed his Thanksgiving dinner so much, he wielded his fork by himself, which he had not done for a month or more. Dad always did like his turkey and stuffing! As we left, I looked him in the eye and held his hand and told him I loved him, and it was so lovely to actually feel his attention. We told Paul's mother how rare it was for him to be that active and alert and we all agreed what a nice visit it had been.

Later that night, I felt a little melancholy. Not for any particular thing but just because of the events of the day. It felt almost like I'd been validated, my one parent seen and greeted by my one in-law, our marriage legitimized in some strange way, and as if a big part of my life that so few people see had been witnessed and blessed. Dad had been in such a good mood, it was truly a gift. And later, when Paul's mom told me how much I looked like him -that we had the same coloring and the same eyes - that made me sad, too, but just a little bit. It was just nice to have someone not myself see that and find it important.

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