You know, at a certain point in life, dealing with an elderly parent is like fighting with a large 4-year-old. I lived with my dad for a number of years (he made the mistake of saying “Son, you can move back in and live here till you’re eighty” not realizing I’d take him up on it). When I moved in, he was being the good father and helping me out, but eventually, our roles reversed and I became the parent taking care of him:
Me: I think your laundry is damp.
Dad: It’s fine.
Me: Hand it over.*checks* Yep, it’s going back in the dryer.
Dad: *grumble grumble grumble*
Me: Hey, you can’t wear that shirt — it’s wrinkled!
Dad: *puts wrinkled shirt on*
It’s definitely odd when the roles reverse. I don’t know how many times I had to tell him not to eat cookies while lying down on the couch — not that he listened. Finding him asleep on the couch with a half-eaten cookie hanging out of his mouth became routine. He also left more crumb trails than Hansel and Gretel in the forest. My siblings and I started calling him the Cookie Monster.
Anyway, we shared a birthday on Feb. 25 (He used to joke I was a rotten birthday gift because he couldn’t return me), so I was just thinking about him on Monday and got a Facebook reminder about this memory. It’s funny, having the same b’day used to screw him up. On more than one occasion he put his birth year of 1936 down while filling out forms for me when I was little. When I was five, an airman working at the base hospital glanced at my form and said, “Damn, that’s one old kid.”
Even though it got to be difficult in the last year of his life, I still miss the old guy. He could be ornery, but as my mom used to say “You’ve got a father in a million.” And she was right.
He had a lot of awesome stories, and I kick myself for not writing them down.