Wow, what a weekend. We slammed more into a Saturday and Sunday than we have in a long time. I guess this is what you do with your grandparents when you only see them every couple of months. We should probably slow it down and just ‘chill’ and enjoy each other’s company more, but we like to be on the move (in fact, I get that from these grandparents!). The kids lead pretty busy and active lives, and we need a bit of down time on Saturdays on Sundays, I think. In fact, yesterday afternoon, Demetrius just crawled into bed and stated he was going to sleep…which never happens…and this is after taking a nap on Saturday!
Ultimately, I think, the kids just wear themselves out. First, the night before the grandparents arrive, they are so excited that they have trouble going down…then, of course, the night that they arrive they just go crazy. We don’t get to bed at the regular time (fight going to bed because we have a captive audience that worships us) and we are up early. I get up early to go jogging as you well know, and typically Grandpa is up waiting for us in the morning. Demetrius gets up an hour earlier or so than he is used to being up…and well, this is just burning the candle at both ends.
But it is so worth it. “Grandpa, will you come out and play with me…” “Nonni Cheryl, will you do my hair…” I’ve said it again and again…these are not the people that raised me. I don’t remember saying, “jump!” and ever seeing it happen that quickly when they were 30 years younger. Yesterday, after we went out to breakfast, we caught an early movie, Open Season. If I don’t have to see another kid’s movie for two months, I’ll be happy. As we were walking out of the cinema, Demetrius turns to Grandpa and Nonni and asks if they will take him to Target. We (the parents) say no, that the kids have enough stuff…but that was just for show, of course. We leave Target with a new kids DVD (I guess I won’t be hitting that two month milestone) three pairs of Spongebob Squarepants pjs, and some Hello Kitty markers. The oldest (my folks) and the youngest (the kids) got their Target fix. Kim and I just chaperone and drive.
Demetrius had a baseball game on a beautiful, autumn Saturday morning. Everyone went, and our friends the Carraghers came also. We all did lunch afterwards. Mea Culpa here, I didn’t hang out with Grandpa and Nonni during the game. First, I watched Maya for a while at the jungle gym, and then I talked to Joseph about sports while I watched Demetrius. Last time Nonni went to D’s game, she cried. I think that when Demetrius is part of the fabric of the house, the four of us, etc…his disability is just part of our life…but when you see the games, and these other kids, its kind of like being at a Gallagher show with his sledgehammer and watermelon. You have special needs all over you by the end of it. And this is the first one that my Dad has attended. I retreated a bit to let him take it in on his terms.
Like many of us, grandpa was my coach in just about everything until I hit high school. He still has the thank you awards in his study that the kids gave him over the years (the computer is in there, so when I travel to Texas and work from that room, those mementos bring back so much of my childhood). He was a very involved dad and very sports oriented…probably more so at 37 years old than I can ever claim to be. So how was he going to take all of this in? This baseball experience? Should I have stood there next to him? Let him be? Tough call. I watched him watching…no expression, which is not that uncommon for my dad – he’s very reserved. He’s not emotive like my mom, thus, who is much easier to read (and was chatting up Elaine and cooing baby Maddie). So, obviously, she is the social butterfly, has seen this once before, and is expending nervous energy watching Demetrius – but my dad just stood there and watched. Mom is probably better at dealing in the moment in terms of blowing the steam that’s building; I never know with Dad.
Like I said, I let him take it all in. We never really had a chance to revisit and discuss. I’m not sure he wants to. I’m not sure I want to. Sometimes it is easier to go places with Mom than Dad because she wears a lot more on her sleeve. Dad…to discuss might just get a bit uncomfortable – maybe more for me than him. So maybe this is all my issue here. I’m okay with that I guess.
I’ve had my moments with my father through this journey. That stoicism let me tell you, has helped me. Knowing he’ll listen, give the best advice he can at that moment, then again a few days later after thinking about whatever that situation was…in his same tone regardless of whether he is upset or happy…that’s been a pillar of strength. Long and short, it is a guy thing. And a guy thing that can probably only be fully understood between fathers and sons. Don’t get my wrong, this isn’t any Don Corleone slapping and yelling, “Act like a man!”…this is just hearing something ‘same’ in his advice or reaction that I’ve heard since I’ve been listening, and the times I wasn’t or wouldn’t, over 37 years.
So for in the brief moment I was alone this weekend, I wondered if I did the right thing by my Dad? Then I figured I know his answer if I asked him, “It was fine.”