My father is wearing dirty underwear

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

My father is wearing dirty underwear.
My mother will never know.
Before leaving, she reminded me that I would need to lay out dad's clothes each day. No problem. Find a nice "Evelyn Harnett white" t-shirt. Check. Find a clean, crisply-pressed pair of khaki shorts. Check. Socks. Check. Underwear. Cue the screeching brakes.
I didn't know where his underwear was. I searched everywhere I could think of but didn't find them. So, I grabbed the dirty stuff from the laundry hamper and threw it in the washer. And I put his underwear from yesterday on his bed for him to wear today. He'll have the clean stuff tomorrow.
My mother will never know.

My father went out with messy hair.
My mother will never know.
Dad's hair has always had a life of its own. Growing up, some of my fondest memories are of dad's 70's comb-over waving at me in the breeze. As I waved back, my mother would admonish him to "do something about your hair, Guy." Dad's valiant struggle to tame his hair has been a constant in our family's life.
No struggle today. I was too conscious of parenting my parent. I HAD to tell him to take his pills. HAD to tell him to get dressed (yes, in dirty underwear). HAD to tell him to change in his room and not in the living room. HAD to tell him to put on his seatbelt. HAD to tell him to walk on the sidewalk and not on the road. His hair? Not on my HAD to list. I even waved at it a couple of times.
My mother will never know.

Dad used a garbage can to water the flowers.
My mother will never know.
My father is a do-er. He was never the sitting in a Lazy-boy reading the paper kind of father. Even in retirement, he worked eight to ten hour days. So one of my challenges has been to have a viable answer for each time he asked if there was anything he could do. This afternoon he asked if the plants needed to be watered. Sure! That would burn ten minutes or so. Next thing I know dad is heading into the bathroom. Oh-kay... (going to shave again, perhaps?) Water runs and dad heads out with a bathroom garbage can filled with water. Hunh? Whatchu doin dad? Watering the plants. Oh-kay... at this point, I know my mother would have sent him back and instructed dad on exactly how she wanted the plants watered. But if I've learned anything from parenting six kids, one with Down syndrome, it is that sometimes being operational is not the best choice. Results are what matter. Would it make any difference HOW the water was transported to the plants? I didn't think so. The plants are thriving in damp soil. The garbage can is once again catching waste in the washroom.
My mother will never know.

I think dad's been using my toothbrush.
Maybe I'll tell my mother that one. Just for a laugh.


  1. Love your writing style. You write how I like to read. Big words get lost in the translation. Great post

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