September 22, 2007 – FIRST DAY OF FALL

11/04/2009

Today is the first day of fall. With Uncle Jack’s funeral just behind us, the cool breeze in the air, the leaves beginning to burn orange, the flowers clinging to their short life that’s left, it’s a heavy week for the heart.

I went with my dad this morning to a 5K run he was participating in at Kensington Metro Park. I followed him while he parked, tried to remember what to put in his pockets before leaving the car, how many layers to wear/carry, and how to conquer the process of signing in amongst a crowd.

I have this incredible pull now to watch him all the time, ready to jump in at any moment to help alleviate any confusion or danger. I am SO WORRIED about him. I’m sure this is close to the feeling a parent must feel for their child, wanting to keep them happy and safe and out of harm’s way. I suppose, slowly, that the tide is turning where I’m now going to be the one in the parental position of worry.

I brought the video camera along for the day’s events. This is the 2nd time I recorded for the documentary. We did some talking in the car, as I positioned the camera in my lap, not wanting him to know that I was taping so we could share authentic conversation. I asked him how he is doing. His honest answer was that he is very concerned about my mother. He’s afraid of what she’s going to have to endure in the coming years, the tough decisions she’ll have to make, and he doesn’t think that she deserves this burden and heartache in her golden years. His love for her is palpable.

The gunshot went off, and Dad instantly took off running. As he faded out of sight into the crowd and around the bend, I got a pang of anxiousness, like he was going off without me and I wasn’t going to be able to protect him while he was on this path. How prophetic of the times we’re actually living!

When he returned and ran across the finish line, I was so joyous to see him again!

After the event, I had plans to workout at my gym (Triad Health and Fitness) where I had gotten Mom and Dad to join some time ago but Dad hasn’t been there for a while (he prefers running on a track). He said he’d pop in and say hello to the guys before heading home. We chatted it up with the staff inside and then Dad took his leave. As he was pulling out of the parking lot to head home – just a measly 4 miles away! – I started crying. I was panicked that something might happen to him within those 4 small miles. What if he takes a wrong turn? What if he forgets where he’s going?? What if he stops for gas and someone takes advantage of him financially??? The list is endless. I’m not sure that his current state warrants this amount of concern on my part, but I can’t turn it off. It’s part of the tender pang of not properly understanding what’s going on in his brain, when it’s working properly and when it’s misfiring. I’m not sure WHAT he can handle currently, and so I find myself reverting to the little girl who just wants to put him in my pocket like a tiny stuffed animal and take him with me safely everywhere I go…

Xmas morning hallway 1981 COLOR CROP

A typical Christmas morning with my buddies safe in tow!

Sparky in Wedding Bouquet

Showing Dad the surprise in my wedding bouquet - my little buddy Sparky!

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