Carol Shwanda chronicles her blended family's lives and experiences offering hope, guidance, wisdom, inspiration and humor to anyone who is in or about to enter into a blended family.
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A Good Son
We had a lovely Christmas Eve celebration last night. All of the kids were here for dinner, along with Paul’s 92-year-old father, who was recovering from recent hernia surgery. As we were about to sit down to our traditional Italian dinner of seven fishes (although we only had three kinds this year), Paul left the table to assist his father in the rest room.
It took quite a while.
Paul came out a few times to get some things for his dad while the rest of us patiently waited for them to join us. The kids were all chattering animatedly, cutting jokes and excited about the fact that I let them drink wine, all the while too aware that Pop Pop seemed more feeble and frail than usual. The thought that this might be his last Christmas was a sentiment left unspoken.
I can’t remember who spoke first, I think it was Cheryl, who jokingly commented to her brothers, “That’s your job when Dad gets old,” referring to the toileting assist process that was going on in the bathroom. Mark replied, “Happily. I would be proud and honored to take care of my Dad when he gets old.” The conversation evolved into a discussion about caring for aging parents and how each child would be honored to care for us in our old age.
I started to cry tears of joy as I recalled spoon feeding my bed ridden father as his health declined after several strokes or changing my mother’s bed pan after her heart surgery. These are things a child does for a parent as pay back for all the years they tended to our broken hearts and skinned knees. It’s not an obligation or a chore, it’s a privilege.
Pop Pop finally joined us for dinner and enjoyed his meal. He loved the pecan pie, but couldn’t eat it because the nuts were too big so Paul chopped them up into tiny little pieces. Afterward, Paul and Mark took Dad home. They stayed to help him get his pajamas on and tucked him into bed.
When Paul returned home to me he told me, “I think this might be my dad’s last Christmas.” I hugged him and whispered in his ear, “You’re a good son.”