Back in the middle of February, I flew back to Maryland by myself. Since my mom went into a skilled nursing facility this past December, my dad is now alone at home. It's been kind of hard on him, because growing up, my mom did about 99.9% of the cooking for our family. I talk to my dad every evening, but it's still not the same as being there in person. My dad and I have always been very close. He coached me in soccer and walked me down the aisle when I married my husband.
When I was going to college at night and wanted many times to give up, my dad would say,"Cathy, keep going, your college degree is something that you will always have and no one can ever take that away from you." My dad and I share a "love" for meatloaf. Whenever I tell him that I have made one for my family, he'll say, "can you put some in an envelope and mail it to me?" Of course, meatloaf is ALWAYS on the "menu" when I come into town. It takes me just a little while to put it together, but it provides my dad with leftovers for a week! My dad is a man of simple tastes and loves to have someone make him breakfast. He is easy to please..... two scrambled eggs and a piece of toast. I loved making him his breakfast in the morning when I was there. He was so appreciative and since everything in my parent's kitchen is still where it was when I was growing up there, it's easy to maneuver around. The Sunday before I went back home, since I knew I wouldn't be there to help celebrate my dad and brother's birthdays, about an hour before my best friend, my brother and his mother-in-law were expected for dinner, I went on a secret "mission" to the Giant grocery store and picked up a cake. I had the gal in the bakery department personalize it. After dinner, I excused myself and brought in the cake, lit with candles and started singing "Happy Birthday." They both were totally surprised! It was pretty cool. When I was talking to my dad last night, I was telling him that I couldn't even imagine what it must be like for him to be separated from my mom, knowing she won't be coming home. It has to be so hard. My dad is turning 80 this coming Sunday. That, in itself is hard for me to believe.
My dad thanked me profusely for taking time out of my life to fly back and be with him in February. I told him, "you took care of me growing up, now it's my turn to take care of you."