Happy 59th Anniversary to my parents! They were high school sweethearts. On May 29, 1961, they exchanged vows at 21, just a couple of kids.
My dad is David. He’s a cool dude.
Even though my dad lives a twelve-hour drive away, he is actually with me every day. So many years ago, let’s just go with 1984, my dad said, “Crystal, you can choose your attitude.” I was fourteen in 1984, and I’m not sure when my perspective shifted, but one day I chose to believe him. His philosophy forever shaped my life.
On the day my dad asked my mom to marry him, he bought a box of Cracker Jacks, opened it up, excavated the prize, and re-inserted a lovely solitaire diamond on a simple white gold band. Later on their date, my mom and dad shared their Cracker Jacks, and my mother found her prize.
“This looks real,” she said.
“It is real,” he said.
My parents celebrate their 59th anniversary in May. My dad will celebrate anyway. My mom has Alzheimer’s. They’re both 80. However, my dad still lawyers during the work week, and during the summers he still takes running dives into his swimming pool, and he still travels with my siblings and me.
Mid-March Dad texted me to say that my mom’s nursing home implemented a no-visitor policy. So now Dad calls the front desk and asks them to open the blinds of my mom’s window, and he visits from outside. I can only imagine him waving his arms like a mad man and making the craziest faces to capture her attention. Then he will send me and my sister and brother a group text with his success. I mean, what can I say? My dad is a cool dude. Obviously, my mom thinks so, too.
Thanks so much for spending time with me at my first ever A-Z blogging challenge. As I hover at home this April, I’ll be seeking the good in every day and reflecting on it here. I count you as part of the good.
Sunday morning of Thanksgiving week included my parents and my sister, Philippians 4:6-8, and a blood-stained sock.
After breakfast, Dad drove, and I rode shotgun to Mom’s memory care home, where she sat alone with the Christmas tree in the community living room. Dressed for church, she was ready for the day when we arrived, and her eyes lit up like the tree at the sight of us. Dad grabbed a brush from her bedroom and demonstrated his skills as a stylist. I attempted small talk. Alzheimer’s is a thief, stealing more all the time from one of the kindest people to ever walk the earth. Dad helped Mom stand up. He helped her with her coat. He helped her to the car and buckled her in, and together the three of us took a Sunday drive to kill some time before church.
In the sanctuary, Mom, Dad, and I found spots at the very back, where friends stopped by to say hello and check on my mom before the service, and my sister slipped into our row next to me. The graphic design on front of the bulletin read, “…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God,” and the minister spoke on the same theme for another few verses. The words of the apostle Paul turned over in my head and resonated with me. I remembered my mother’s voice. I remembered times gone by when she spoke these same words. I realized the meaning had stuck. I realized that every meant every. Pray with a thankful heart in every situation. I heard my mother’s voice, now silent. I heard God’s voice, “Peace…which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts” and “if anything is excellent…think on such things.” Leaving the sanctuary that day, I felt thankful for the message, for my safe trip from Houston to the Oklahoma panhandle, for a week of vacation and time with family, for more time with my mother, and for the peace I carried with me.
Dad and I took Mom back to the nursing home. I helped her change tops and took off her shoes to help her change pants, and that’s when I spotted the blood stained sock. Mom’s toe had been bleeding obviously, and I’m not good at this type of thing. “Um, Dad?” I said. He was hanging up her church clothes. “I think Mom’s toe is bleeding.”
I stepped away and let Dad take over. He rolled down Mom’s compression sock and pulled it off her foot. I caught a glimpse of the horror. Dad left the room to find a nurse. Mom’s toenail stood perpendicular to her nail bed, bleeding. It seemed as if the nail had caught on the sock when they had gone on. Then the foot had been shoved into a shoe. My stomach still turns, four days later.
A nurse showed up promptly, filling a pink plastic basin with warm soapy water and submerging Mom’s foot to soak for awhile before the inevitable toenail removal. I’ll skip the details. “Now, are you her daughter?” The nurse darted a glance at me from her position on the floor before further examination of my mother’s toe.
“Yes,” I replied as my mother made a funny face and laughed with unrestrained joy. I looked back at Dad, sitting directly behind the nurse and caught him mid-face-contortion. Mom cackled some more.
“Does that tickle?” The nurse asked Mom, oblivious to the mostly silent comedic flirtation of my parents.
“No, they’re making faces at each other,” I replied for Mom.
“I love seeing them together,” the nurse said. “They really have something special. You just don’t see that very often. She looks at him with so much love.”
I always knew my dad hung my mom’s moon, but over the last year or so, I’ve come to realize that Mom hung Dad’s moon, too. And these excellent things, I will think upon.