Watching Dad – Day 1

I always feel a little anxious before seeing Dad after a long time away from him – at least in the past 10 years or so. He’s gotten so old looking for one thing. And he has a temper. And he doesn’t remember things very well. He cannot do much of what he did as an adult including drive, work or cook. He refuses to shower and I have no idea the last time he washed his hands. The house reeks of unwashed body odor. Sometimes I look at other 79 year old (and older) men and feel envious that the children of those men still have their fathers.

Mom left at 4 this morning to go on her cruise. I was awake and heard them leave. I had trouble sleeping – possibly from worry about what I’d gotten myself into.

Dad was in high spirits today. I asked him about Mom – if he was going to enjoy the time away from her and he said, “yes” and kind of laughed.

I woke up to the sound of garbage trucks in the neighborhood and remembered that the garbage needed to be taken to the curb. Then I heard the garbage bins being rolled, one at a time, to the curb. Dad was doing one of his jobs. We had coffee and a little chat. We talked about when dinner should be eaten – I’d planned on making it our noon meal, and asked him when he wanted dinner. He remarked that since I was the “chef” I could make it when I wanted. I decided to have it for our evening meal and planned on serving it by 5, which is after his usual bedtime.

I got some work done today – about 6 hours worth. I also made a strawberry-rhubarb pie for dessert. Dad watched the garbage bins with the vigilance of a mother watching her toddler play. There was a cool breeze in the air, and dad sat in the back yard wearing a jacket and gloves. (although the gloves may have been worn to keep his hands clean)

I also changed the room around a little. Mom had the bed against the windows and I don’t like sleeping with my head so close to windows. It is not quite perfect, but it works for me now.

Dinner was not what he expected. I overcooked the beef so it was dry and tough. He had trouble swallowing his first piece and nearly choked on it. He allowed me to cut up the rest of his meat and said, “look at my little girl taking care of her daddy”. Kind of sad, but kind of sweet. He did enjoy the pie though and he was awake until after 7:00 pm, which is unusual.

I retired early and am watching television while writing this.

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