Talking to Dad
Mom and I were invited to a bridal shower today (my cousin’s daughter is getting married). It isn’t easy for Dad, who has some dementia (most likely Alzheimers) to stay at home on his own, so Mom brought Dad on over to my house to hang out with Owen and Ryan while Mom and I attended the shower (Rose was missing because she’s up at Korean camp for three more weeks). While we were gone, the guys had a nice time talking. They also replaced the batteries in my solar lights for me. That’s something I’ve had on my to-do list for quite some time. And Owen and Dad both took naps in the living room. Hot Sunday afternoons are perfect for naps 🙂
Mom and I got home from the shower and then my parents stayed on for dinner. As Owen and Ryan were preparing food, I busied myself by planting a few annuals in pots on the deck and I noticed one of my 5 gallon gardening buckets, a garden tool and two pair of gloves sitting near the deck. Then I noticed the bucket was full of weeds.
Hmmm? I was puzzled. What’s this stuff doing out here? Was someone weeding?
Sure enough, a little corner of space where I have hostas planted and a bunch of pots and sprinklers and stuff had been freshly weeded.
After some asking, Ryan told me that he and my Dad weeded that little spot of garden for me. That’s pretty much the nicest thing anyone can do for me – weed my garden.
We’re not a family that says “I love you” that often. Instead, Dad shows he loves people when he does things for them. He’s done this all along … like when I was in high school and drove a 1976 Pontiac Sunbird and had to park it outside in the winter. On cold Minnesota mornings when I rushed out the door to drive to school, Dad already had my Sunbird running and warm, the frost scraped from the windshield. Dad taught me how to change the oil in my truck. He showed me how to use the drill press and the lathe in his shop so I could build things. He taught me how to fix leaky faucets and toilets. Dad’s been teaching me how to fix things and the importance of helping other people for as long as I can remember.
Dad and I don’t talk about feelings much. We’ve never had really deep discussions about things. Our conversations tend to be about cars, farming, the weather and how to fix things. Now that his dementia is getting worse, it’s even more difficult to talk to Dad. But today, with the simple act of pulling a bunch of weeds from my garden, Dad (and Ryan!) said “I love you!” loud and clear without needing to say a word.