Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ed

When I'm an old lady, I hope I get to live in a quiet wing of one of my kids' houses.  I want to have the hub-bub of an active house available but then also have my wing to retreat to.

Today was one of those days in which I hardly sat down.  The whole thing was a flurry.  My Portland bff texted at 8am to say "good morning sunshine, I miss you" which I replied to by explaining how much I hate mornings and that I had just screamed at the top of my lungs at an idiot driver barreling down my block.  I taught my kids on the way to school that it's okay to say "idiot" in reference to someone driving so fast down a residential street that they could kill someone.  I also told them that if I'd had a brick in my hand, I might have thrown it at the car.

There was a full work day (I am lucky enough to truly deeply love my job) and an evening of homework oversight, dinner, trying on a new Michael Jackson costume, and pop-in visits from neighbors.  It was so much activity.  If I were an old lady, I'd have retreated to my wing.

On my way home from work, I stopped in to check on my rapidly-aging father-in-law (who lives three blocks from my office).  I found him sitting quietly in his quiet apartment, not reading, not listening to music, not watching TV.  He was just sitting there in the quiet.  He agreed to come home with me for dinner, and he spent the next couple hours planted on our couch. We made him strong Irish tea, the same kind we drank together on our trip to the west coast of Ireland, his place of origin.  He was disappointed that we didn't put honey in it.

He ate a big dinner on the couch and read a book to our son as part of his homework.  It was a story about a girl with the biggest feet in the world.  I think she ended up saving her friends during a blizzard by being able to walk on top of snow drifts. Something like that.  He read the book very slowly, stopping once to sing to my son "When you wish upon a star," including strongly the message about it making no difference who you are.

I drove him back home while our kids worked on their cardboard box playhouse/rocket ship with two of the neighbor kids.  Earlier in the day, he'd cried when telling me about the conversation he'd had recently with his sister (18 months his junior) in which she said that she was too tired to even go to mass, that she would really rather just go.  He's not doing crossword puzzles or reading, two of his favorite activities, and I wonder if he wishes he had his own quiet wing of our house.

He called me over the weekend to read me a quote from Parade magazine about how "complicated" it is to be sandwiched by family.  He said, "I'm a loner!"  I kept thinking about that when I watched him read a book to our son.  Yes, a loner.  So am I.  He can give up his crossword puzzles, but I'm so thankful he's not yet giving up his family.


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