Friday, December 17, 2010
Wait. Wait. Click.
Dad continues to improve. His sense of humor is in tact, even though we all know there are times when this is a cover. The feeding tube has been replaced by a PEG. At the time this decision was made, it seemed a set back, but as we move forward and Dad's swallow has begun to improve without the feeding tube in the way, we realize the decision for the PEG was a good one.
Dad will not be home for Christmas. This is the first time in my 47 years and I know the first time in the nearly 50 years Mom and Dad have been married that we will not all be home for Christmas. We will make it work. I promised Mom.
As far as Christmases go, we are pretty darn flexible people. You have to be when you have a family as interesting as ours.
Sometime around my parents' 25th wedding anniversary, Dad moved from working the graveyard shift to working swing shift. Dad earned just a bit more working all night and that was needed for some time. It would be much later before Dad earned enough seniority to fill a rarely open day shift slot. When we were young, Dad often worked the 11pm - 8am shift on Christmas Eve. It seemed normal to us, but we were kids and not always excited about what might seem normal. It was hard to sleep in so late on Christmas morning. We were excited. We would try to peek. We would wake mom while trying to not be too quiet.
Dad would arrive home smelling like planes and trains. I remember he wore overalls while he worked on helicopters and a navy blue mechanic's uniform for train work. I never remember his hand being greasy or black grease under his nails, but that must have been the way his hands were at times. I think he did his best to wash away the work when he was home with us.
Dad was never, and still isn't, too particular about coffee. If it looks like coffee, smells even slightly like coffee and can be warmed in the microwave, he will drink it. We are not alike in this way. I am a coffee snob. Dad would need a cup of coffee and a cigarette when he arrived home Christmas morning and when we just about thought we would die from waiting, he would get out the camera and tripod to capture the annual walk down the hall and be surprised to see what Santa brought picture.
In our minds, we waited hours. My children have it good.
This Christmas will be a little more quiet, but a lot more special. Home for the holidays will be wherever we are with Papa. He is our gift this year. What could be better than that. Don't worry Dad, I will take the pictures.