Random Thanksgiving Thoughts about Dad

Linda

Random Thanksgiving Thoughts about Dad

Linda
Mom and Dad in 2011. Mom and Dad in 2011.


A year ago this week, I was at home in Kentucky taking a break from Mom's caregiving, and Mom and Dad were preparing to eat out at a restaurant for Thanksgiving with Dad's sister and her son. I don't remember where they went to eat, but I do remember Mom telling me that they had to wait in line a long time. But, she said, "The meal was delicious!" She raved over the serving sizes (enough to take home to eat for lunch the next day) and the pie. Dad didn't say much about that day, other than the fact that Mom held up pretty well considering her ongoing physical issues. He agreed that the pie was good.

This time of year, Mom and Dad usually get their annual photo taken together for the church directory. The photo shown here, taken in 2011, was the last photo they had taken together. In 2012, Dad had some heart issues that preempted the photography. In 2013, Mom was too sick. This year, Dad just didn't want to sit for the photo without Mom. He shrugged off that photo session, and I know that those photos were more Mom's doing than Dad's.

Mom was in control of their social life, including those photo sessions and all the get-togethers or plans for holidays. Dad never had to talk much around other folks, because Mom did all the talking. So, Dad never really learned social skills. On the phone, he'll tell you everything that's happening with him, then he'll say goodbye. It never occurs to him to ask the other person how he or she is doing. But, he's getting better at asking how other folks are doing.

This past week, a couple from my parents' Sunday school class asked Dad over for Thanksgiving dinner. He accepted, and then asked how long he'd have to stay. Fortunately, the folks in that class understand Dad. They told him he could eat and run if he wanted. When Dad told me that conversation, I just shook my head. Then Dad said, "I guess I better take something over there when I go." We discussed some possibilities, but Dad wasn't happy with any of them. He said, "I guess I'll call tonight to see what I can bring." Brilliant idea, Dad! When in doubt, ask.

I think Dad will be fine for Thanksgiving. He'll go out to dinner, he has football to occupy some of his time (he bets candy bars on the games with both of his sons -- so far he owes both sons about 12 candy bars each), and he'll probably take a walk. I don't know how much he remembers about previous Thanksgivings or whether he ruminates about those memories. He's a very sentimental guy, but he doesn't like to talk about the past. I'll probably call him on Thanksgiving, and I think my brothers will call him, too. Those phone calls wear him out, because now he has to remember to ask us how we're doing.

I think he'll do just fine.

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Denise

Hi--I just love this post. :)\r\n\r\nI also love your dad's focus on the bottom line (or the end zone, so to speak). I love that he directly asks what's expected of him. That's incredibly refreshing.\r\n\r\nHe sounds like he has a sense of adventure and that he'll be in good shape for Thanksgiving. I hope this will give you comfort and peace of mind.

Linda

Hey Jan -- I do pay attention, and I'm grateful that I sense that dad is ok for now. This time away is limited, I think, and I'm milking it for all it's worth.

jan

That's an insightful post, Linda. It brings up alot of issues, like what happens to the introvert when the extrovert spouse passes on? What issues that you see indicate a mental decline or just a settling-in of the personality? As an extrovert, I judge another person's \"happiness\" based on my standards, but an introvert might be satisfied with something completely different. \r\nI have an introvert spouse and daughter, extrovert caree mother. \r\nYou obviously pay great attention to detail in your dad's life. It sounds like he has a good support system. Hope that knowledge helps you to relax a little for your own Thanksgiving dinner.