My mother has been on vacation since the middle of July. She spent three weeks with my brother and his family in Delaware and now she is in Massachusetts with her older sister. She will be there until the end of September.
This has given me the opportunity to spend time with my dad, just the two of us. I am loving this time together.
My dad is a changed man when my mom is away. He is relaxed, funny and more energetic. He has a standing joke that he uses on any unsuspecting soul. Here it is:
"I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that my wife left me. (Enter dramatic pause here.) The bad news is she's coming home at the end of September."
He recited this little attempt at humor to his cousin's wife, Eunice, on the phone the other day. He had no more gotten the first part out when she burst into tears and told him she could not believe it. "Why, after almost fifty-two years!? Oh, no!" She was upset and he had to back-step and apologize and tell her it was a joke. She was not amused. Serves him right.
We have been able to go through some family things, genealogy and pictures. I am trying to write down the stories he tells about his family so they will not be lost. His illness last year has given me a new perspective. Instead of tuning out, I tune in and focus. They may be things I have heard since I was small, but they are important to him. It is up to me to make sure they are preserved for our future generations. They will want to know who we were. At least I hope they will.
My husband and I took him shopping today. At the grocery store he uses an electric scooter. He is dangerous to put it mildly. For some reason, he enjoys sneaking up on people, waiting for the opportune moment and then "Beep-Beeping!" at them. He puts on his little old man smile (which makes him look slightly maniacal) and zooms past as they move out of the way. Smart people, because he is not above clipping your ankles if you don't move fast enough. Trust me on this one.
In spite of his little quirks, and he has many, my dad is a great guy to be around. We joke, we laugh, we get along better than we ever have. As much as I love my mom, I'll be sad when she comes back and I lose uninterrupted time with Dad.
I think I will have to take him shopping more often.