For the next hour and a half we waited. I decided this morning that my dad and I would journey through the normal routine chores of my life together. What can be more routine than an oil change? I knew this morning would not be filled with personal and lingering conversation. I knew he may forget where we were, why he was with me, and sometimes ask for my mother. What I wasn't sure about was how anxious he may become. How uncomfortable would he be away from his couch and television set? What difficulties might he have with eating or walking? When would he ask for me to take him back home?
He glanced out the window of the restaurant and hurriedly sketched the tree just outside of the restaurant. He looked up at me, "This one's for you, Mija."
"Aren't you going to sign it for me?" I teased.
He bent his head down towards the picture and awkwardly signed his name. "There," he stated.
Over the next twenty minutes, we bantered over his drawing. Each time he attempted to move it towards my side of the table in a gesture of finality I asked for more detail. "What about the umbrella on the table? I think you left out the flowers. Where's the sky? How will I remember what the weather was like?"
Each time he hesitantly obliged.
Spending time with this changing man, my father, is not yet completely normal for me. I'm still letting go of the patient, soft-spoken and extremely personal "Poppy" I grew up with. He's been exchanged for this anxious and detached man who I love, and am working to get to know, understand and accept.