I visit my folks at least once a week. They’re in their upper 80’s now, with my dad being 89 and my mom a month away from 87.
They’re pretty remarkable people, mentally very sharp. I can have more pointed, nuanced discussions with them than most people I’m around. We talk a lot of politics. We talk about the Catholic Church and its problems. We talk about abortion. We talk about my work. We talk about everything.
My mom always has root beer. I love root beer, and she knows it. Normally, she has some diet form of whatever’s on sale. But, last week, she bought something special, IBC. She said she wanted to make sure I’d come visit. It was a bribe.
She just got a cat. His name is Thomas (after me). My dad doesn’t like cats, at least not that he’ll admit to, and for sure, not in the house. She’s been sneaking him in a little bit at a time. Pretty soon, I’m guessing he’ll be a full time resident.
Thomas trolls the neighborhood at night. I’m wondering if my mom thinks I do the same thing.
Dad’s almost blind. He can see light and dark, mostly shadows. He’s fought cancer a few times. And, we’ve almost lost him once or twice.
The other week, my mom asked if I could give her a ride to the body shop to pick up her car. She got rear-ended by somebody while she was pulling into her driveway. It wasn’t serious.
Since my dad can’t see, I told him that the damage to the front of mom’s car wasn’t too bad, and that the body shop did a nice job. He was in on the joke in a second and started teasing my mom about old people driving and having their drivers licenses taken away. He said he was going to have to start driving her around for her safety.
He doesn’t like it when you talk about how well he’s handling things, and his positive outlook on things, like he’s Nelson Mandela or something. He asks, “What choice do I have? These are the facts and there really isn’t an option.”
He chooses to be happy. They choose to be happy. The only option, in their minds, is to make the best of it. Live the life that’s been dealt at the best of your ability.
A lot of people say that in words. They do it in deeds.