Ground Hog Day with Mom and Dad

After I’ve taken my early morning walk and started up my laptop, getting a few hours of work done before breakfast, I head into the kitchen. Every morning my mom is sitting next to my dad in her powder blue velour robe. They both smile and ask how I slept and I ask them the same. Then it is time for Ground Hog day. I mean this in the nicest way.  In a world full of computers, emails, phone consults, recording radio shows, printers, all the modern day technology, I get my ‘back to my roots’ and grounding every single morning.

Mom mentions that she is sure the sun will come out today and Dad always contradicts her, “It’s raining cats and dogs. That sun won’t be coming out.”

Dad talks about how all the feral cats are waiting on the porch for me to feed them. It never occurs to him to feed them but he has to make his daily feral cat report, “You know that white one? He comes over and puts his nose on the window every single morning. I think he wants in.”

And every morning I tell Dad that the white cat won’t let anyone get near him. Dad talks about how one day he’ll get it so that cat can be petted. Of course…it won’t be Dad. Dad isn’t allowed to touch animals anymore. Mom sees to that. Once he got scratched by a cat and got an infection Mom does everything but wraps him in plastic wrap to keep him from getting sick again.

Dad pokes his finger at the window and the white cat runs, “Don’t know why he runs…it’s just a finger.” Dad always laughs and begins to eat his cereal that Mom has gotten him for the full sixty years of their marriage.

“You know…that cereal doesn’t make itself,” Mom says hinting to a thank you.

Dad smiles and says, “It does for me!” He laughs really big and Mom whacks him in the arm, “See if I ever get you a meal again!” but she does…every single meal.

I watch this ‘show’ every morning as I sip my coffee. The same subjects, the same lame jokes, and the same banter of two people I have admired all my life. They represent stability to me. In a world that is ever changing, they stay the same and in their own way. Dad will never use his debit card on his own and Mom will never understand how YouTube works but what they don’t understand they make up in what they do understand when it comes to life.

Peanut comes walking in and pulls out the Life cereal.

“How’s Life?!” Dad jokes every single morning.

Peanut rolls her eyes, “Tasty, Grandpa.” He always laughs really big.

He leans over and nudges Sissy who is studying for a college test, “I wish you weren’t so dumb,” he teases.

Sissy looks him square in the eyes and said, “Well, Grandpa…I have to get it from somebody!”

He laughs really big and takes another bite of his cereal.

“Don’t call your granddaughter dumb,” Mom says and then breaks out in song obviously directed at Dad, “How great thou AREN’T…”

Every morning like clockwork.

They remind me of the simpler things in life that are so very important in this fast pace world, the true appreciation for all the things in life that many take for granted. The love of family, the joy of feeling the rain fall, the taking the moment to slow down and smell the roses, and knowing there are ups and downs to life but focusing on the ups more than the downs but not only that…the humor in it all.

Every morning the kitchen is a bustle. Lee is still sleeping as he is a late night owl but all the women in the house, and Dad, get up relatively early. Once Sissy, Peanut, Mom, and I are in the kitchen I always turn on the light over Dad. Each morning he looks surprised that there was a light there.  “How come every time you girls come in the room, it gets lighter?” he teases. And I always come back with, “Because you boys are always sitting in the dark until us girls come in and spread some light in your life.”

He chuckles and takes a sip of his coffee.

“Bethie, you’re a light in my life and I don’t know what I would do without you.”

Mom quips, “We’d be without a place to live, THAT is where we would be.”

I know better than that. But I have always known my parents would live with me. I am the baby of four siblings and even as a little girl I could see that I would be the one taking care of them in their later years. That thought kept me going at times especially in my tougher painful years as a teen. Even when I was cutting, even when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be here, even when I became pregnant at a young age, I knew. They needed me and they were part of what would pull me through. I knew that through my own problems that I could choose to find the up in life and even though at times I wondered if there was an up, and in hindsight, I realize that those experiences made me who I am today. Those experiences helped me to understand others and move to a better feeling place in life. My first baby helped to save my life kicking in my mother instincts instead of the self destruction path I was beginning to tread. But again…I knew my parents would be there for me no matter how confused I was. 

Not only do I love them…I knew that I would be the one to reciprocate all they had done for me.

Dad comments on every move we make from cutting up the guinea pigs’ vegetables to how Sissy types on her computer…every single morning. Mom will sometimes mouth his words knowing the ‘morning script’ but the one constant, every single morning, is the feeling of love.

Mom will begin to talk about the latest book she is reading. She loves ‘out there’ books as Dad calls them. She loves to hear all about the afterlife and give her own ideas as well, “You know…Sylvia said that the temperature is just perfect on the other side.” Dad will retort, “Where I’m going, I think it will get pretty hot.”

But Mom also loves to read medical books. She loves the thought of how supplements can make everything better. Something that she does that makes me laugh is she will talk about what she has read but she throws in her own quotes as well as if they were the writer’s thoughts. She watches Dad’s health like a hawk so anytime she can say, “Lotion fixes everything on the skin” she will.

“Did you know that the book I am reading right now says that if you just lotion the skin you won’t have ANY kind of eruptions?” She is saying this for Dad’s benefit, not mine. Funny thing is I read that same book and it doesn’t say a word about lotion and skin. I muffle a giggle and she says, “What are you laughing at, Bethie? My OWN book of medicine?!”

She knows she does it and that makes it funnier but Dad takes it hook, line, and sinker. “Really? Guess I better keep lotioning up then.”

Mom smiles that smile like she won somehow…her work is done.

We sit and talk of old times and I catalogue the stories for a book I am writing about their story and our family stories.

I look forward to my ground hog mornings. They are a constant reminder to me of the positive feeling vibrations that exude from my life. Whether life is hard or soft my parents have taught me to look at the bright and lighter side of life. That brighter side feels and looks so much better than what many focus on.

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