“Hi Dad! How are you doin’ today?!” I’ve called to check in because I totally missed Christmas Day this year. I slept right through most of it and haven’t talked to Dad since the Christmas Eve service. After all those preparations, the special day came and went without me. Flu does that. Dad’s present is still under our tree, the ham’s still in the fridge and the shrimp…oh my gosh, the shrimp! Is it too late for stir fry…?
Gifts for the relatives that were out of town for the holiday still sit unwrapped on the dining room table. Wrapping presents after Christmas loses its charm. I don’t really feel like being accompanied by carols and sipping wine, which is what gets me through the project in the first place…maybe sip the wine, skip the carols.
“Oh, I’m okay,” Dad answers my question with concern in his voice. I’m immediately concerned. “There’s just a little confusion over here.” Oh no. I assume the worst.
“What’s that?” I’m afraid to ask but already have.
“I got this email.”
Can someone tell me why I suddenly feel like I’m in trouble? Our past conversations and/or disagreements of who remembered what, when and how, come to mind….once a daughter always a daughter.
“It’s really screwy,” he continues as I begin a quick mental inventory of all the things I’ve recently posted or sent to him. “I got a bill that was sent to b.wenzler@……” He goes on, “It says I owe $210.15 and need to pay it right away but I have no idea what it is. So I’ve been on the phone with my phone company trying to get it straightened out. Then I noticed there’s a dot in this email address. Mine has no dot!”
“Oh. That was nice of you Dad, to call and get it straightened out, I mean. You probably saved a guy harassment from some collection agency.”
“I found out the email was meant for a Barry Wenzler. He’s got a dot in his email.”
“Well, there you go.” I close my eyes, feeling the pain you call sinus ache and decide to just listen and not talk.
“My voice is bad today.” He clears his throat, then again and again, his frustration mounting. “I need to do my exercises.”
“Have you had lunch, Dad?”
“No. I just had breakfast!” It’s almost 1:00 p.m. and I realize I haven’t even had breakfast. Well, starve a cold, feed a fever…..or is it feed a cold, starve a fever….? I think for a second.…how could Dad receive an email with an incorrect address? “How did you get that email if it’s not your address?” I ask.
“I don’t know!”
“Well, it’s nice you’re straightening it out.” DELETE IT!
“I’m not being nice! I didn’t notice the dot when I called the phone company to get it straightened out.”
“Oh. Well, it sounds like you have things under control.” I was really hoping to read my new story to him but it seems now is not the right time.
“My voice is terrible.” he says sounding a little like Clint Eastwood in Grand Torino. “I need to go do my exercises. I had lunch with Jonathan yesterday, did I tell you that?”
“I don’t think so, no….”
“I found out you could get a friend to join at the Club for $1 initiation and $10 for the first month’s membership. I told him I wanted to do it for him so I could always say I paid his initiation! You know usually initiation fees are expensive. So I paid the fee and his first month and he bought me lunch.”
“Awww…that’s great and you can work out together.”
“Your voice doesn’t sound so bad, Dad.”
“Doesn’t it?” he asks with good bass. The wonders of a little encouragement.
“No, in fact it sounds pretty darn good.” I’m sounding like my dad.
“Well, thanks.” He seems pleased. His heart valve replacement irritated his lungs and though his heart is stronger, his breathing is bad. He walks for an hour at the club every morning to keep his lung capacity up and does voice exercises. He deserves to feel pleased.
“You bet.” I love making him feel better, even if it’s just for a moment. A moment makes a difference.
“How are you doing?” I’ve been waiting for him to ask me. A girl never tires of a little sympathy from a parent, no matter how old she gets.
“Well, I’m in my chair today so I’m vertical…..and doing a little writing….” I really want to read him my new story.
“That’s good. Anything I can do for you?”
“No Dad, but thanks. I just wanted to hear your voice.” I close my computer to save it for another time. It will be there. Like Christmas.Though it didn’t happen for me on December 25th, it will be there all year long, if I let it. “Go do your exercises Dad, and don’t forget to have lunch.” I can’t help saying it…once a mother, always a mother.
Maybe I’ll give my son a call…he might like to hear my story. Or just post it, right?
I know this is a simple little blog. Have I told you though how grateful I am for each of you? How much your time and encouragement means to me? I am and it does. Thank you. You each make a difference.
Here’s to you and the hope of the Christmas Miracle blessing you each day in the coming year.