Where Else Have I Been?

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Sunday evening we arrived at my parent’s in Illinois. Dad had surgery a few weeks ago and it was great to be able to see him and see him getting around pretty well.
Dad had the grill cookin’ when we pulled into the driveway and after hugs all around we ate some steak.

That night I went on-line and bookmarked my blog and Nathan’s (my son) myspace blog to make it easier for my folks to keep up with us. I’m still doubtful that mom understands she can comment on my blog posts. I also found out they had been printing off some of my posts and passing them along to family I’ve written about. I’ve had to seriously reconsider blogging about anyone I know who is still alive.

Monday
Slept in my old room which I noticed has shrunk again. Drove around the circle of our old neighbourhood and realized the whole place has gotten smaller. Houses, yards: everything smaller.

Dad had some projects that needed done and I was happy to lend a hand while he recuperates. (after that he’s on his own…) We pulled, cleared, lifted, burned, moved, swept and cut. The boys helped and we had a great time. That afternoon my uncle Keith came by with my aunt Louise. Uncle Keith stars in the Farm Boy serial and my folks had printed off part one for him and we had a nice chat about one of my adventures that I’ll be writing about soon. He was far enough away from it to actually laugh about it now. It was great to see both of them and spend a warm, Illinois afternoon with them before we all dug in to a pile of ribs my dad BBQ’d for us. A good time was had by all.

That evening I was telling Nathan about Uncle Keith reading my blog post, “Farm Boy”.
“What post?” he asked. And then it hit me. My son has not been reading my blog.

“You haven’t been
reading
my
blog!”
“You write too much, I don’t have a computer at my place…”
“But you’re on-line everyday at the youth centre.”
“Yeah but you write a lot, I can’t read all that…”

So much for passing on my life experience with my firstborn. My secondborn, Josh, overhearing this conversation, has tirelessly talked about reading my blog posts, how good my blog is, how funny I am in print, ever since.

I don’t think he’s read it either.

Tuesday
Spoil the grandkids day with some shop-therapy. I scored jeans. Plus Dad emptied some closet space and sent me home with some new gently-used clothes. (And fortunately my dad is very hip and trendy like me…) All my underwear is new though, I promise. Ate a horseshoe for lunch and mom and dad picked up the tab – thanks!

After more spoilage we went back to their place and just hung out for the rest of the day/night. Having only about 48 hours together we packed in a lot of “together time”, probably more than we would’ve had if we were spending a week. Uneventful and yet some of the best time I’ve spent at ‘home’ in years.

Wednesday
Up early. Right before the time when God wakes up. Very early.
Hugs, good-byes and on the road. It was overcast and threatened to rain so we didn’t make the short stop at Allerton (another story for another time) we had planned. Five and a half hours and one time zone later, our first stop back in Cinci was at the nursing home where Donna’s dad lives now.

We rolled him out for a smoke and sat and chatted in the warm breeze and sunshine. I noticed a hole burned in his pants and asked him about it. “That’s why they don’t want me to come out here and smoke by myself.” He said.

Oh dear.

Thursday
Last day. We spent time with Donna’s sister Barb getting things done, picking things up, running around. We visited the cemetery again and brought fresh flowers. It was hard but Donna really wanted to make another visit before we left town.

That night we all gathered at Barb’s again with Donna’s Dad for Cincinnati style chili and a game of Risk. I lost. Jeff won. Again. Jeff is one of the funniest people we (me and my boys) know. He was a great encouragement on this trip. Other than the beating me at every game we played.

We took Dad back to the nursing home and spent some time saying, ‘good-bye’ and ‘see you soon’. It was hard for all of us, but especially for Donna, to walk out of the room and head back to her sister Barb’s and eventually back to Canada.

All in all it was the best of times with family and the worst of times. It was a time that took us all deeper with each other in different ways. For Donna and her sister’s Sandy and Barb and her brother with two first name’s Doug/Brian, it was a time of loss, love and being surprised by the love shown by friends old and new.

Friday-Saturday
Road trip home. I didn’t listen to any Christian radio so it was fairly quiet. The closer we came to home the more introspective and sad Donna got. Home will always be missing something from now on ‘til we finally join Donna’s mom, Charlotte, in the Great Adventure. Late Saturday we rolled into our drive and were tired and soulsick but still glad to be here.

And that’s where I’ve been.

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About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
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3 Responses to Where Else Have I Been?

  1. Shelley says:

    thanks for including us in this process. I like the term “shop-therapy”…what is it about shopping that is therapeutic? or is that just for women?

  2. brianmpei says:

    Shelley: it works for all of us, even men, as long as we can get what we want when we find it rather than looking at 5 other stores and then coming back to the first one to make our purchase.

  3. Arron says:

    I really like how you can put really deep stuff in a few words at a time.
    I’m glad you got some good Bar-B-q-ing…….that made me hungry……..I’m sounding more and more like Homer Simpson all the tme, as I get older.
    I love seeing personal growth in my self.

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