Missing My Dad by Robin Gorman Newman
He's 93, G-d bless him, and I'm grateful for every day he's in our lives. But, I miss what he was.
Every phone conversation we have or get together is peppered with discussion of how he feels, which is never good. It's always something.
Back in April he had yet another abdominal surgery which landed him yet again in rehab. I had hoped that would bring his health matters to a halt at least for some time. I was wrong. Shortly thereafter, he complained about his vision and learned that he has the start of cataracts which he is now itching to take care of.
Earlier this week, he had a Ct scan to check up on the abdominial surgery had had because he still feels some discomfort.
It's very difficult.
He has a good friend, Bob, who used to get getting together with us. The three of us would have lunch, and he'd tell stories and make us both laugh. He's not laughing much these days. He's having difficulty walking and is spending more 'n more time at his son's place. Really, he shouldn't be living alone anymore.
Thankfully my dad has a live-in aide, which gives both him and me peace of mind.
But, it's sad.
I miss what my dad used to be. And, there are days when I wish for a second he would "fake" it. I'd just once love to hear from him that "things are fine....he feels ok." But, I don't anticipate that will ever happen. It's also partly in my father's nature to focus on himself...often to the point of obsession. He likes to share and talk about his "stuff," for better or worse, whereas someone else might want to spare their child the daily details of their chronic ailments.
As an older mom, this all gets me thinking.
When I have a day that I might feel less than patient with my father, I turn my mind toward wondering how I will be as an old woman. It's a bit hard for me, I must admit, to fathom that, G-d willing, I will be a senior one day. I certainly hope I'll reach that point and beyond...so I can see my son mature as the years go by. But, I also hope that I won't grow into a cranky post menopausal woman who my son will cringe to call because he hangs up depressed, as I sometimes do, after speaking to my father.
It's not his intent to leave me in that state, but I often find I have to "rebound," so to speak, to pull myself out of the funk that results from our conversation.
Sometimes I wonder if he might feel better if he tried to take an upbeat tact. Isn't there something to be said for mind over matter and the power of positive thinking?!
As later in life moms, some of us have a high conscious of mortality. I don't so much view it that way. I more strive to be as happy and fulfilled a person as possible, and hope that I may carry a positive outlook into old age. I'd hate for my son to miss me even while I'm still alive. I might not have the energey I did as a 40-something mom, but I'll never lose the twinkle in my eye I have for Seth, and hope that he'll, long after I'm gone, remember the days when I referred to him as "my little buddy" and he called me his "mommy girl."