Saturday, July 26, 2008

Daddy's girl

That's who I am, who I've always been.

This weekend was my father's birthday. My stepmother's caretaker prepared all of this wonderful Filipino food for us. My father had never had Filipino food before. I was asking, "Did you make any pancit?" Alas there was no pancit. But there was a wonderful soup with mussels and spinach. And chicken adobo and lumpia. I had thought about taking photos for y'all but I needed to eat up before it disappeared. Besides I just didn't want to go through the explanation for my stepmother. It was hard enough telling her a few times throughout the day who I am.

And then my dad and I talked.

About his crazy ass in-laws. My stepmother's sister-in-law and that woman's mother have been helping to take care of my stepmother. Last Saturday when my dad got home from my aunt's funeral, he was greeted by resignation letters from the two. Yeah, he was paying the heifers. And they said, "Well, we waited for you to get home to let you know."

About his crazy ass brother who must have been hitting a crack pipe. Before the funeral, my uncle announced that there was no need for him to fly back to Alabama when there was a perfectly good car -- my aunt's -- for him to drive back. I expected that. A few days ago, he called up my dad and said that he may as well take all of the furniture in my aunt's house when he leaves as well. What the...?

My dad said how everyone has been telling him what he should do. I told him it was too soon to make any decisions but that I'd support him in whatever his choices were.

Gosh. That felt kind of strange typing that. It seems like it should have been the other way around but that has been my relationship with both of my parents for way too many years. I am the person to whom they go when they are trying to make some sort of decision. I have done this since my teens. It's also why I think that sometimes I like to go out and act younger than my age -- or what people think that someone my age should act. A part of me has always been the grown-up. Being the grown-up is tiring. And not always all that much fun.

But back to the present. I did let my dad know my opinion about certain things. Like how I thought that some of his first thoughts were purely emotional and not the best financial decisions to make. Because between the tears, I can get all kinds of logical.

Bottom line is that my dad has some big decisions to make. That could result in some major life changes for me. That's all I'm going to say for now. I did also let him know that as far as my aunt's furniture is concerned, there is one piece that I'd really like to have. If it doesn't cause too much drama with the rest of the family.

After discussing his options for continuing care for my stepmother, we got to the other big issue. My father was sitting out on the patio with a big box. Filled with my aunt's papers. There were more inside. He said that every time he tried to go through them, he just couldn't. So I poured myself a glass of wine and proceeded to sort through the boxes of paper. Because I have the ability to realize that something is personal and quickly put it aside. My dad sees it and wants to linger. And then the emotions kick in.

I have only cried twice today. When I first awoke in the morning because that's how I start most of my days currently. And then when I speaking to one of my cousin's on the phone. I am sure that my dad could tell that I had been crying at the latter time but I did not actually cry in front of him.

And I say that maybe he didn't really notice because he was close to passing out by that time. Because while I sorted through the papers, he sat there drinking large amounts of wine and tequila. Because that's how he copes. And maybe that would be fine for someone who is not a formerly recovering alcoholic who is also diabetic. But he is those things. And seeing him sitting in that chair completely blotto took me back to my childhood. The unfulfilled promises. The time he asked me drive home from a family event and I only had a learner's permit.

I also talked with my stepmother's sister and my dad's friend about the surprise party that they have planned for tomorrow. In theory, it all sounds great. In reality, they are having a bunch of people show up at my dad's house. And large amounts of people stress out my stepmother. This of course means additional stress to my dad. My step-aunt apparently had the same reservations that I did. She said that when other people became involved, everything kind of snowballed. So we told my dad's friend how things would be. And I reminded him that if my dad ended up stressed out in any way, the people in question would have to deal with me. And no one in their right mind wants to deal with me under those circumstances. No matter how much crap I talk about my parents, I will protect them from others.

I know that I have said that I am stepping back from being the caretaker. I meant it about people other than my parents. They are why I became such a caretaker of others. While I can let go of it all for others, I just can't where my parents are concerned. Maybe I'm being a little selfish. I don't want to lose anyone else any time soon. So I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that my parents are here just a little bit longer. Within reason.

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