Monday, March 29, 2010

I am doing this

I can hear it in his voice every time I call and say we can't come. We have hockey practice, homework, skating skills, dryland training... I think all he hears is "too busy." My Dad tells us its fine. He understands. But I know he doesn't really. Today I went to visit Dad alone, the boys at a baseball clinic for the afternoon.  I so badly want the sight of me to be enough.

But the disappointment registers instantly on his face when I tell him I am by myself.  I used to bring the boys to him and they would play catch in the front yard.  But the boys are stronger, bigger now.  Dad is weaker, and not able to move very far without his oxygen levels dropping.  The boys were so excited to go to their baseball clinic.  I try to explain, but it just sounds so empty.  He sits quietly, nodding his head. The whoosh of his oxygen tank the only sound in his room.

Finally he looks at the calendar and asks if I'll take him to his next doctor's appointment on Wednesday at 2:45. "We could go for lunch at Village Inn, and then you could take me to my appointment afterwards" he says.  I cringe, knowing he has forgotten the kids will be out of school at 3. He reads my face and says, oh... well don't worry I have 4 more appointments coming up, maybe one of those will work? I know I will take him to one or more of those times, trying to make it up to him.

How did this get to be so difficult? When did I start having to choose? My family, or my family.  I want to do both.  I need to do both.

I realize as I am driving back home today, it HAS been a long time. I take the side streets I avoid in the winter that are usually clogged with snow and ice. The houses look weathered. The trees are brown and bare, the grass dormant and bent over from the load of snow its hidden under for months. I recognize the culprit, the same one responsible for the look on my father's face. Winter-weary.

Its sunny today and I can feel the warmth of the sun, as I squint, feeling more intensity in the rays streaming in through the window. I wind my way down by the river and am surprised to see how much it has retreated. I pull over to look.  I sit there for a bit, with the words "I want to do both" playing in a loop in my mind.  Slowly, I begin to chain my thoughts together, using the beams of the sun to glue and bind them into a solid path.

I reach for my phone. "Dad," I say. I know its free pie day at Village Inn on Wednesday.  If mom takes you to your doctor's appointment, I'll bring the boys over and meet you at Village Inn after school gets out.

I know convincing the boys to go for pie will not be a hard sell.  Dad will get the cherished time he wants with them, without having to wear himself out.  After a pause, "That'll be fine," he says.  The absence of the disappointment in his voice is enough for now.

I continue home.  I can do this.  I am doing this.



21 comments:

  1. ARGH, I felt so sad for you all at the beginning of your post but it seems that there was a happy ending. I hope you all have a fab time at the Village Inn :0)

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  2. I think making those moments happen is so important, even when it's inconvenient. You will be grateful that you did, this I know.

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  3. Vicky...I feel your 'tugs'...your 'pulls'. I am glad that your Dad will see the boys at the Village Inn on Wednesday. It will be a cherished time for all of you.
    Much love to you and to your Dad.
    Jackie

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  4. Being in the middle of different generational needs is hard. How wonderful that your creative mind found a solution that will be good for all 3 generations.

    A beautifully written description of trying to fulfill such different needs Vicky.

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  5. Vicky, I know your Dad will enjoy the visit with the boys. You're doing the best you can. You wrote this post beautifully with such honest feeling and emotion. I felt like I was with you for that moment when you sat in the sun thinking how "to do both." You can do it :)

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  6. Oh, I know it is hard to juggle all the families needs but I think you came up with a wonderful solution.

    I have made the decision for Callum not to play soccer this year even though he enjoys it. There is just no time for us to rest and soccer practice means I have to leave work 30 minutes early when I already get to work 1 hour late 3days a week.

    Your situation is different to mine and you can't sacrifice the boys sport for your dad nor do I think your dad would want that.

    You will work it out, I know you will.

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  7. It is hard to be there for all the people in our lives, but sounds like you found a place to land amidst the choosing.

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  8. Eternally, yes, I somehow always have to go with the feeling of the moment like a purging of sorts, and then I try to move through it and move past it :)

    Karen, I believe what you are saying. Thanks for the reminder, I need to hear that :)

    Jackie, thanks... I will get back in the rhythm soon, with Wednesday being just the first of many days we'll spend with Dad :)

    Bonnie, thank you. Just trying to keep moving forward the best that I can, without leaving anyone out!

    Kelly, thanks, I just needed to purge in the moment and that was certainly a play by play of it :) Thanks for the encouragement!

    Liss, thank you :) I always want to think I can, but realistically I struggle at times. I will get back on track again... thanks for the support :)

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  9. Little visits often mean just as much as long planned out get-togethers. It was good to see you at the DQ!

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  10. I've been on both sides of this and I commend you for your heart for all of your family ...

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  11. Hi...just wanted to say, your first paragraph was powerful and grabbed me completely. I'm so glad I found you.

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  12. This is something everyone deals with. You're not alone. You write beautifully by the way.

    Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing

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  13. Hi Vicky

    It must be hard to fit everything in and share yourself around.

    You did a great job finding a solution that suited everyone.

    Happy days

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  14. Jen, I sure hope that I have anyways :) Thanks.

    Heather, so true. I just have to admit I sucked at the short ones too :) Did you run today? I am so hoping you run the 5k!

    Susan, I knew all of you who have done this would understand what I was saying :) Thank you.

    Saint Delores, welcome :) I'm glad you found me too, and I'll be over to say hello.

    Ally, its true I know... I've perhaps been luckier than most in not dealing with it till now :)

    Delwyn, thanks... yes, I seem to get focused in an area and then end up leaving something else go that I hadn't intended.

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  15. Wow Vicky, I felt every one of your thoughts. Pleasing everyone is hard, and then to keep a smile on your face is even more challenging. Hang in there, you're doing a great job.

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  16. Oh, girl. I love you and your heart. It's so hard to be the parent for your children and your parents... the one trying to make life work on all fronts. Especially because your heart rests on all fronts.

    I am always praying for you and your family, but I will pray specifically that solutions like these come easily to your mind... so you can feel whole with them all and not torn between the two.

    Love you, friend.

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  17. I'm going to pray with Gitz that you'll be aware of solutions...
    This just made me cry...so close to my heart is the pull of family and family.
    If Mom were still with me, I'd do things differently Vicky. Some days I feel I'm simply living out the rest of my life so I can see her again and tell her how sorry I am ...other days I believe she knows already.
    You are living well. You are doing it right. The thought process alone proves this...love to you and yours my Sweet friend.

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  18. It is hard but it looks like you figured a way to make it work. You can only do so much and something tells me that when he says he understands, even though there is some disappointment, he does understand.
    Hang in there.

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  19. A wonderfully written post, Vicky...and oh, I know how hard it is to be sandwiched...and that is exactly where you are...You are amazing, though...and I'm sure that although it is hard, you won't regret it ...it is worth the struggle! You are in my thoughts...and will be in my prayers as well as you try to juggle all of this! Love you! Janine XO

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  20. It's the loneliness which makes him want to see all of you often. And I am happy you are scheduling things to do both. Very glad. I am sure he appreciates and loves you for it :)

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