"Sure, Poppy," I reply. This is odd. I've probably been here for an hour and a half at this point, and this is the first time he engages with me directly. And it's to pluck out the hair in his ears.
I gather the tweezers from my mother and slowly walk back to my father who hasn't moved from his reclined position on the outdoor lounger. "Here we go Pops," I remark as I take his chin in my hands to turn his face sideways. He complies.
I make small talk with him as we move through the task. I ask him about memories from his childhood. He still holds keen details of those days. "I remember when you called your brother, Brother," he offers. He brings that up each time we're together and I wonder about the meaning from that tagline, and how it managed to cement itself into his ever-growing-hazy memories.
As I turn his chin in the other direction I think of how often he turned me over when I was helpless, changed a diaper, bandaged a scraped knee. Now the tables are turned, and I'm thankful for this moment, each of us holding the other in shared memories, eyes persisting to find mine and hold on.
It's in these small and brief moments that I find my father again, and I know I was prepared for these trying times by the gentle man who held my hand in his, and is still holding on.