Home from work, I cleared the countertops and sinks of cups and bowls and spoons, loading them in precise fashion in the dish washer—I know exactly how each piece fits in its space. For decades I have taken great offense [hear my self-pitying sigh] at finding a dish in the sink after I have used copious quantities of my time and energy to empty the sink, and since I am the one that empties the sink, leaving a dish in the empty sink implies an unfair presumption that I am the family dishwasher servant [more self-pity]. When Mom takes these random dishes out of the sink and puts them in the dishwasher, I thank her, and am grateful for her courtesy to me. But it was time to stop ruminating and to load Dad into the Faithful Suburban so the dermatologist could examine this tag and that mole and this scab that will not heal, the skin doctor who is smiley and polite but profoundly disinterested. “Hello! How are you!” Three minutes of examination, and a declination to remove this or that because it is harmless even if Dad does not want this or that attached to his body because it does not belong and asks to have it removed. “Good-bye! Have a great afternoon!” I had terrible trouble getting Dad into the car, both times, succeeding only with an ungainly combination of pushing and lifting and shoving until he was on the seat and my muscles quivered and my lumbar complained. I had wondered what I would do if he could not rise from his wheelchair or if he collapsed once risen, and I had no answer—the only answer was getting him in somehow. “That was our last trip to Dr. Jensen,” I whispered to mom, distressed. And that distress and my tweaked back stalked me through making dinner and eating dinner and cleaning up after dinner and up the stairs and down the weeks and months of wakings. But Mom is sweet, and recently has taken to putting aside her needlepoint and shuffling over to the kitchen sink to towel dry and put away the pots and pans I have just washed, and I appreciate her effort to say thank you with a towel and an empty sink.
(Pictured above: felt rose craft I made for Valentine’s Day.)
(Pictured below: my valentine from my sweet granddaughter Lila.)