If I could have cloned myself yesterday, I would have. I truly would have.
It was 8:55a.m., T-5 minutes until we were to leave to drive Butterfly back to college. My husband and I were going to split up the marathon drive to OH and back. As we were about t0 leave, my mom called in a panic, saying that Dad was in excruciating pain. He had had a total knee replacement three weeks ago, and was healing and progressing along well. But he’d woken up in the middle of the night with his knee swollen, hot, and in terrible discomfort. She had a call in to his doctor.
After a quick consultation with Super Hubs, I made the decision to go to my parents’ house instead of to OH. I felt like they needed me more. My dad was barely mobile because of the pain, and I knew he’d have to go to the ER and probably be admitted. If it was an infection, it could be serious.
I kissed my college daughter good-bye with a heavy heart, knowing I wouldn’t see her again for a few months. My car headed off in one direction, while my husband and daughter drove off in another.
I accompanied my parents to the ER. It was a typical ER visit….lots of waiting, prodding, consulting, TV watching, more waiting. In the midst of the waiting, my teen son called, confused and angry that both cars were gone. How was he supposed to get to church and have lunch with his small group friends? In my haste to get to my parents, I had totally forgotten that he’d be left without a car. He had still been sleeping. Now he was angry. He had no car and was stuck at home. I hadn’t given him any notice to even try to find a ride with a friend.
But I’d been worried. As I drove to my parents, I kept thinking, “What if this is it?” My dad is in his 70’s. Although healthy and active, I’m not naive enough to think my parents will live forever. We’d lost my husband’s dad two years ago. I wrote about it here.
I kept thinking about my dad and his TED hose, the tight medical socks he’s had to wear since his surgery to prevent him from getting an embolism from being sedentary. The day before, I’d gone to my parents’ house to help “take down Christmas.” My mom was at a meeting, and my dad asked me to help him put on his TED hose. It took me a while, because TED hose are tight, and I was trying to be very gentle and not hurt his knee. While I was doing that, I thought about how many times he’d helped me put my shoes and socks on when I was a very little girl, and how, forty-something years later, the roles were reversed. I felt good that I’d helped my dad with his TED hose the day before. If something bad happened to him….. if this knee problem turned out to be fatal, at least I’d had that moment of caring for him the day before. I could hold that with me forever.
Mixed in with my fear about my dad was guilt over my son having to miss church, and guilt at having said only a quick good-bye to my daughter. I’m good at feeling guilty and over-responsible. It’s probably a first-born thing. I knew when I saw the strawberries in the fruit drawer that I’d bought for my daughter, or the tv shows she’d recorded on U-verse, I’d feel badly that I didn’t take her to OH for a proper good-bye. I had only had time to give her a quick kiss before I hurried off to my parents.
In the end, it all turned out all right. My dad was sent home, reassured that his knee did not have an infection or an embolism. Ice, elevation and ease up on the physical therapy, the doctors said.
Super Hubs and Butterfly had a good drive to OH together, and then my husband was home by 7pm. I think he enjoyed the solitude on the ride back.
My middle son was no longer angry at me about missing church. He said he understood, and I made it up to him by getting a pizza for dinner.
On some days I feel torn, stretched, pulled in many directions. People need me, want something from me, try to guilt me. Or I try to guilt myself. But then I think about Jesus. How did He do it? I picture the masses of people pressing in, wanting healing or teaching or absolution or attention; everyone wanting a piece of Him. Jesus was prayerful, stayed close to His Father, and did what He felt God was calling Him to do in each moment.
Yesterday, God kept reminding me of the TED hose. I believed I was supposed to be with my parents.
Amazingly, everyone else survived with me.