Monday, August 18, 2008
Vacation Part 1 Concluded; Part 2 Beginning
We stayed at my dad's house until Friday morning. The remainder of the week was quiet... good weather, but the three of us were so burnt by our one day at the beach we stayed inside reading. "Mom, we're indoor cats" Larry-O said to me. Indeed.
Each time I leave my dad I do so with a potent mixture of emotions. In many ways I find him difficult to infuriating. We disagree politically. We disagree on parenting. He harbors enormous anger and resentment about my divorce (directed at the ex Mr. Mags), which I don't find at all helpful. And while he dotes on Petra (he said about fifty times how beautiful she was) he can be quite hard on Larry, complaining about his eating habits, his clothing, etc. In fact, it seems to me that my father tries to work out some of his issues with my brother through his relationship with my son. Which, of course, isn't fair.
And my dad is angry. He can get very worked up over tiny slights, and he can be downright paranoid with regard to things like insurance companies and lawyers (of course, lots of folks would sympathize with both those sets of suspicions!). I mentioned to him that I think he like to fight, and he was very hurt and put out about it. But it's true. He was complaining about a dinner check, about the amount of money spent on sodas. I said, "Next time the kids and I can have water. No problem." His face fell. He said, "Don't give in so easily!"
But... he is my dad, he is my only dad, I love him and he loves me, and I know he loves my children (weirdness with Larry notwithstanding). And he is a few short weeks away from his 87th birthday. And, as I remind the kids, we just don't know how much time we have with him. His health is pretty good right now, but that sort of thing can turn on a dime.
So I hug him goodbye, with all this complicated relief and grief stirring around in me all at once.
Tomorrow Petra and I are off to Peaks Island, just off the coast of Portland, Maine. One of my oldest and dearest friends has moved there, and given an open invitation to stop by this summer. Another old and dear one will be there too... both people I've known since I was 17 or so. We'll just be there for four days. But we will take ferry from the mainland, and we'll hear the bells of the buoys clanging in the harbor, and we'll taste the seaspray on our lips. And I may... may... have a blogger meet-up to report upon when I get back!