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Lisa Crockett
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Visits With My Dad 2
Two weeks ago, I set an appointment to visit with my dad while my 80 year old mother substitute taught at the high school (another topic for future blogs). I faced this visit with a bit of anxiety - what would I talk about? You see, my father, while being a person who expressed emotions quickly, never was much to share personal thoughts. He was the guy we went to for comfort and the fix-it man. But, mom was the talker. Dad didn't share. This time, my sister Jennifer was home and joined our visit. He likes to sit in the sun-filled formal living room of my childhood home. I went in ahead of him, as walking is a difficult task for him, and one he is determined to do on his own - holding on to walls, and stopping every few feet to catch his balance and his breath. He refuses to use a cane, or even an extra arm from his daughters. We also need to speak loudly, as his hearing is failing. Dad's physical strength may be waning, but his mind is still at full capacity and I was soon to find out that so are his childhood memories. I must confess that I do t know much about his childhood, only that he loved his mom, my Nana. For some reason, I had the impression that his father, Pa, was not a pleasant man. In fact, whether wrong or not, I had the strong sense that he was a dark, perhaps even evil man. So, I was quite surpassed when our conversation quickly turned to details about my Pa, his dad. My dad was searching for a pair of old snowshoes that he knew one of his chi,dren had. I am the fortunate holder of said snowshoes. I was excited to tell him that I, indeed, had them. He began to open up about where they came from. I was immediately drawn in to his words, and began to feel as if I was reliving adventures thru his memories. This simple shoes, that I have been using for decoration for years, were a gift from native Indians to my Pa. He and Nana lived in Ishpeming, pper Michigan, when they were first married. Pa was a worker in charge of the dam. The company he worked for housed Pa and Nana near the dam. The winters were desolate and often harsh. There were many times that their food deliver and supplies couldn't get thru due to heavy snows. So, the natives made Pa and Nana snowshoes. When the roads were impassable, they could snow shoe to the general store in town. My dad is not sure if the shoes came from tribes I. Canada, or MI. I hope to do more research to find out.
It seems that before I could blink, our time together was up. I, in fact, was sad. I wanted the conversations to continue. There is so much I don't know about my dad - and so much he wants to share. I CAN'T WAIT until next week - I plan to visit weekly.
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Visits With My Dad
For a long time, I felt the need to spend time just chatting with my dad. I have spent a lot of tine with my mom, and continue to do so. However, my dad is aging rapidly and no longer able to get out as he used to. So my only times to see him are when I make the effort to go home - all though it is only 1/2 hour away. Work, volunteer obligations, and family have prevented me from doing so on a regular basis.
This year, I received one of the greatest blessings - my first grand child. (this has the ear markings for another Blog) With his arrival, my husband suggested I retire early so I could help care for him while our daughter finishes Nursing school. (It didn't take a lot if arm-twisting.)
With my new-found freedom, I struggled with just what and when I should do things. How much time should I spend with my daughter and grandson? How much time should I spend at home catching up on general home care (cooking, baking, crafting, gardening, sewing, etc.)? How much time should I focus on time with my husband (keeping in mind that he is still toiling away at his job so that I can play)? how much time do I spend with friends? And, how am I going to fit in visits or time with my parents, while ensuring everyone in my life feels attended to and loved?
This took a little side turn when a friend asked me to take a trip to Miami during the summer. We needed a little spending $ so we picked up a temporary job work at Chet's Blueberry Farm. This turned into nearly full-time summer work - but with great benefits for all, including all the berries we could eat and share.
At the end of August, my daughter started her classes again, but in Wis. rapids - which is where my parents live. My daughter was sad to leave her son, so I suggested I bring him to my parent's home while she was in class. Then, if she was able to take break, she could pop over to see him. In addition, this would give me the extra push to ensure I visit my parents, as I knew they would love to see their great-grandson.
Success! My grandson, Warren, was enthralled with my dad, Poppi. (of course he adored my mom, Abi, too). It also helped that Lauren, another daughter, agreed to go along to help entertain Warren in the car - as I was apprehensive about doing this alone for the first time. While my daughter, Alex, was unable to get a break to see Warren, the trip was the push I need to start scheduling regular visits at home.
This time, I wasn't able to spend much time focussing on my dad, but it gave me the beginnings of reconnection. I felt this was important for my dad, but, as you will see in postings to come, it also has opened new desires in my heart. Watch for more Visits With My Dad.
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