Sunday, March 1, 2015

Face to Face

We sat at a small table, just the two of us.  He eagerly devoured the hot cocoa in front of him.  I sipped on my tea.  I took out the large sized art paper I brought with me for the occasion.  With ceremony, I displayed the array of colored pencils and markers I anticipated he would enjoy.  He smiled haphazardly.  

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.


  1. The role reversal of parent and child takes such strength. I am in awe of your dedication. What an amazing daughter you are!

  2. Thank you for this peak from your perspective.
    My dad's recently been diagnosed with cancer. He's different too. I having been pushing myself to take every advantage of each and every day.

  3. Oh Deserie, the way you wrote this is heart moving. Made me teary. Such love in your family.

  4. This Slice of Life is so meaningful.Thank you for sharing it with us. What a gift you are giving, what a gift you will receive from this time spent getting to know and accept your dad as he is now, while lovingly remembering the one he was as you were growing up.

  5. Reading your journey is so moving - I am awed by your sensitivity and patience. And your love.

  6. Oh, this slice hit home for me. The way you write this story was very moving and took me right to a special place in my heart reserved just for my own dad. It's quite a role reversal when you become the parent instead of the captured this moment so well. Thank you for sharing it!

  7. when you love someone that much, you'll do anything for them...we can even adapt and be happy with the new normal. keep up the good work on taking care of your POP des.