May 9, 2011

Tin Cans

by Veronica

One of my favorite songs is "Love is in the Air" (listen here).  I'm thinking about my trip home this month and how much love has surrounded it, filled it, and defined it.

When I first arrived, as I shared earlier, my beautiful daughter and my dad greeted me at the airport. Big smiles, lots of hugging, dragging suitcases, talking about the flight and what to do first (eat at Bob Evans then sleep).

The next day I followed my dad into his room so he could show me where to turn on the internet. As I stepped over the threshold he said, "Don't say anything about the room."  Which was my cue to stop and really look around. The bed was the first thing I noticed and did anything about. The white pillow case was nearly black with dirt, the sheets in nearly the same state. My dad is not a slob or unclean; my dad is a widower fighting loneliness and depression. I did not say a word, as promised. That afternoon I went to Target and purchased new sheets (maroon) and five new pillow cases (maroon). I washed the new bedding and then the old bedding (now donated). I made his bed, turning down one corner and left for the evening. In the morning I threw the sheets from my bed into the wash. Dad came into the kitchen and said, "I called your brother last night and told him you disapproved of my lifestyle." I laughed and said, "I don't disapprove, Dad. I think if you walked into your parents' home and saw something mookie going on, you'd do something about as well." He didn't respond. I left for a time and when I returned in the afternoon, he had not only put my bedding in the dryer, but walked it upstairs, made my bed, and turned down one corner.

I shared food and girl talk with my dearest friends. Each time I greeted on of them for the first time, our hugs felt so real and important. Not the "pat pat, good to see you" or "pat pat see you soon" kind of hugs we generally distribute because we know the next time is just a week or two away. I felt myself staring at them, trying to fill my memory with the light in their eyes, the emotion in their voices, the passing of time written on their faces.

Driving in the blossoming greenery of late spring in Ohio has revived me. Although we have plenty of plants, trees and flowers in Hong Kong, it is the familiar pink blossoms of dogwoods, the deepening purple of the lilac and the delicate bursting of tulips that tell me I'm home. I am a creature of the defined season; the murky indecisiveness of Hong Kong's fall, winter and spring leave me flat. I'm not enthusiastic about the subtropical summers that boast highs of 95 and lows of 85. But accept that it might induce me to focus on my writing projects while hiding from the heat.

My brother married the mother of his two small children this past weekend. I could write a thousand pages about the road that led him to this moment - its stomach-clenching twists, fist-crunching turns and fear-inducing loops. I doubted he would actually make it to the alter. But there they stood, with all of my family at his side as groomsmen and audience members, promising to love and support each other, all the days of their lives. He deserves nothing less than a woman who will believe in him, love him and cherish him.

My sister is planning her wedding for the fall. We spent time looking at reception sites, talking with a florist and discussing how to handle cranky in-laws-to-be. I wondered at her future - at 33 there is so much ahead. As I look forward at 48, I have a future too, though less crowded with decisions and dreams and questions. I know the answer to how many children I'll have and what their names will be. I know divorce, single-parenting and remarriage. I know the arc of my career and my mid-life interests. I know to slow down, relax and enjoy because I can! I'm not chasing two small children or helping my husband build his career.

Finally, I have been apart from my husband for nearly 25 days. We are meeting on Thursday in Michigan, prior to a weekend trip to visit his family. He wrote me an email giving me three options. Option One: arrive on Thursday and entertain myself on Friday while he finished up his meetings. Option Two: arrive on Friday after the meetings were over. Option Three: he would quit his job, we would move to the country and he would sell tin cans in our driveway so he could spend all of this time with me.

I chose Option Three.

Love is in the air...

1 comment:

  1. I love option 3! So good to hear that you had a chance to breathe deeply and to love on your dad. Sounds like he truly appreciated it.