Time flies when you're having fun and we've been laughing a whole lot, my parents and I. This trip has given me great insights into where I'm headed in 30 years, (no denying these two supplied me with genes, we are scary-alike,) reminding me how important a good sense of humor is; how not taking myself, politics and the weather forecast (!!) too seriously can make life more enjoyable; and how important regular exercise is.
My parents' memory is incredibly bad, and we have to discuss the same things over and over again. This makes Mama feel incompetent, and I remind her I'm not much better, which is true. It's the too-buzy-ness and the preoccupation with Dad's new diet regime that's consuming her attention/head space/time/energy, but two months on things are starting to settle a bit. Dad, on the other hand, is adamant Mama/"they"/bureaucracy is in the wrong, and that we forget/neglect/purposely omit telling him stuff, or we move stuff without telling him.
Dad's eyesight has been bad for years, but he continues to blog; the writing gives him great pleasure, but his pointing and clicking, not so, and every time an unexpected page/error message/request for account/password appears, it's the CIA/(insert convenient foe)/the computer interfering with "his Internet". I can only chide him, but sometimes I say something contrary to what I said before just to see if he notices, which sometimes he does!
In addition, both of their hearing has (have?) gotten worse, though the effect is inconsistent I can't modify my speech well. Much seems to depend on their health and mindset, so I could be speaking at the same level but sometimes I am too loud and sometimes too soft, and sometimes too loud for one and inaudible to the other. Their selective hearing is a source of great laughter; if I'm with Mama in another room and kid/criticize her or suggest something, Dad mysteriously hears me and shouts enthusiastic agreement or opportunistic criticism from the other room. Yet sometimes we can chide Dad while in the same room without his hearing us.
The "Use it or Loose It" balance has been astonishingly difficult. Mindset affects old people's physical health much more than I expected, which makes them incapable of mundane chores one day, but capable of great work the next. Dad has always been a hard worker at work but a lazy, era-appropriate husband at home, so we can never tell if he indeed needs help or just wants to interrupt Mama to show who is boss, (which he does sometimes.) From mid-October to early December, he was really sick but we and the doctors could never gage how much, Dad has multiple health issues, doctors tend to lump his problems as age-related, which doesn't go down well with my parents.
Mom and I want him to do as much as he can so his muscles and brain don't deteriorate further, but we want to be kind to him, too, and can't seem to find a happy place. In November we didn't expect him to see the new year, but now we think he'll be good for another few years, (though his norm will continue to deteriorate and Mama and he will have to get use to this,) so "using" what abilities he's got left has become more important and we try to stick with tough love, which needless to say, he finds annoying.
Stuff I've trained to do this side of, oh, 2002, in trying to improve my weaving has improved my life in more ways than I knew: trying to experience textiles, art and life with all my senses, trying to not worry about the outcome and experimenting for the sake of experimenting, and in general keeping an open heart to the universe. I've been sharing some of it with Mama, and intend to leave a list for her to glance at when she feels stuck in a dead end. I have all of you to thank, as well as my art/textile friends in Nelson and Marlborough. I'm lucky to be in your company, and to be able retell Mama stories you shared and show her pictures you've shown.
Now I've really got to either weave a piece, or pack stuff I need to post; the parents have been on my case about the packing for a few weeks, but now even I think it's time.
PS: I owe a few of you personal email replies, but I think they will have to wait until I'm home next week. A lumped but heartfelt apology.