The sun is shining down this morning from a beautiful, clear blue sky. On winter days like this, I can see straight through the bare branches of the maple tree in the front yard to my parents house on the next block. There are no signs of life over there yet, but it’s cold outside in spite of the sun. On warmer days, the garage door might be open and Dad might be seen puttering around on his workbench while Little Bear sits in the driveway, surveying his neighborhood.
Their flight home from Arizona arrived late Wednesday afternoon. My sister and I had prepared the house for their return. The heat was turned up and hot water turned on again. We dusted, vacuumed and scrubbed so the house would be fresh and clean for their arrival. My sister bought groceries as well as Dad’s favorite beer. She shoveled a winter’s worth of snow from the deck so that Little Bear could walk across it. Mark and Jake had been clearing snow from the driveway and sidewalk all winter long so it wouldn’t look so much like no one was home. They sprinkled Ice Melt over the driveway to rid it of any icy patches.
I found out yesterday that Mom is under the weather already, knocked down by another one of her intestinal episodes. It could be blamed on the drastic change in climate. Dad said it was in the seventies and eighties when they left Arizona. But more likely, this illness was brought on by the stress of flying back home from Arizona. There were so many details to attend to with selling their place and making the final move back home to Minnesota, not to mention traveling with a husband and a neurotic little dog who are both demanding of her attention and care. When I came home from work yesterday, Mark had just gotten off the phone with Dad and informed me we needed to go pick up a prescription for him. I knew something was up if my mom had chosen not to make the quick drive to the pharmacy and allowed my dad to ask someone else to go.
When we stopped in to drop off Dad’s meds, mom was curled up on the couch in her pajamas and robe. She looked tired and weak. I felt awful, but this is the kind of thing that makes me glad they’re back home again. They had good neighbors in Arizona. My aunt’s winter home isn’t far away from where their’s was. But I’m not sure how much, if ever, my mom would feel comfortable asking for help when it was really needed. With my dad unable to drive any longer, Mom is responsible for accompanying him everywhere he needs to go. Here at home, her kids and grandkids are close by and able to help and I’m sure Mom is much less reluctant to ask.
We didn’t stay long at my parents’ house, thanks to me having a head cold. I explained this to them, hoping they wouldn’t be offended that we weren’t staying longer. As I was closing the door, my dad said, “We’ll see you tomorrow!”
I shot a questioning look at Mark. “Are we supposed to be here tomorrow for some reason?”
“Nothing that I know of,” he said.
I just shrugged. When Mom and Dad are home and with them being so close to us, it’s not uncommon that someone in my family ends up stopping by several times a week for one reason or another. That’s probably all Dad meant.
At the grocery store last night, I spotted two bags of Milky Way Caramel fun-size candy bars. They’re my dad’s latest favorite. Just like my grandparents always did, Mom and Dad have a candy dish they keep stocked at all times. Their grandkids (and their kids) love it! Dad had the Milky Ways on the grocery list that my sister shopped from, but she couldn’t find them. She checked three stores to no avail. So when I saw them last night, I grabbed both bags thinking how pleased Dad would be that he would get his favorite candies after all. I guess he was right. He will see me today!