Yet, today, my focus is not on my grandmother. Today, my focus is on one of her 5 sons, my dad. As children, we only think of our parents as someones sons or daughters in order to make logical familial connections. We are self-absorbed and think only of family relationships only as they relate to ourselves.
As adults, our perspectives shift, and as parents that shift deepens. Yesterday, with the arrival of news that my 101-year-old grams was in the hospital for the second time in a week and very possibly for the last time, I found myself watching my little boy; wondering if 60 years from now he'll take care of me like my father has taken care of his mother. Brilliantly. Lovingly. Gracefully.
For 40+ years, my father has lived next door to his mother. A two-minute walk down a hill, past her art studio and beyond the pond. Another son and his wife, their children grown and gone as well, live an equal distance on the other side.
But it is my grams' Tommy Boy, my dad, who has for the past 10 years or more given every spare moment to his mother. Caring for her, safeguarding her, ensuring her every need has been tended to, including her need for independence. Arranging home-care so she could continue to teach her art lessons summer after summer, be surrounded by the familiar things she'd gathered or created in her long life, visited frequently by friends and family who love her so, and live right between two of her beloved sons.
Through selflessness and love, he made those things possible for her.
Through conversations from one mother to another, I know what my dad means to my grams. Her eyes shine when she talks about him, her rosy cheeks rise high with her bright smile. Pure love and appreciation radiates from her. She knows how lucky she is.
Today, I think of my father from a mother's perspective. Damn, my grandmother must be proud. I know I am.
I love you, Dad.
|My grams and The Boy last summer. I'll be blessed if my son turns out half as wonderful as hers.|