“Why is the Rum Gone?”
Okay… so this strictly isn’t a sea-faring quote… but Jack Sparrow always enjoyed a good party.
Today is Dad’s 70th Birthday. Had all things been equal and life had not thrown us this curve we are currently on, Dad would have most likely have been down in Albany with family (and a substantial number of Submariners who might read this) for the annual US Submarine remembrance service. For some reason for the past few years the event has always seemed to coincide with Dad’s birthday.
The idealistic part of us had toyed with the idea of seeing if Dad would be up to the trip, but the reality is, that a 4 + hour journey down to Albany would be pushing our luck. So instead we planned to have a quite one here at home. Having completed his radiation therapy just in the last week or so, we are now in the lull between treatments before Dad starts his 5 day a month Chemo regime, so we are taking the opportunity to not have to worry about being here there and everywhere each day. (rather refreshing)
I expressed to Mum a few days ago that I felt guilty not giving Dad a better party for his 70th, considering especially we had done something for Mum’s last year. But Mum, ever the voice of reason, reminded me that we couldn’t really plan anything with any certainty.
But all was not lost when I had a call from Auntie Jane down in Albany a couple of weeks ago with a solution. If the Submarine can’t come to the Port, the Port will come to the Sub! Auntie Jane and Uncle Graham and Uncle Shane and Auntie Shirley had come up and were staying at my Cousin Paul, his partner Gary at their lovely situated home overlooking a valley. And so, today Mum, Dad and I headed down to Jarrahdale just south of Perth to visit .
Oh there was one other member of the family who made the trip too… Coco. Shane and Shirley had brought their poodle Pebbles up and so along with Chai, Gary and Paul’s Chihuahua there was a full house of family and pets. The dogs were brilliantly friendly with each other, not a grr or woof of anger from any of them. Coco had her first interaction with a parrot at close range which resulted in some very cautious elongation of staffy as she stretched forward to try to work out what this squawking yellow feather duster was.
We sat down to two birthday cakes, (Mum had decorated one with 70 candles and we were joking that we should have brought the fire extinguisher with us… not so much a joke when I nearly singed the hair off my arm trying to light the last couple!), some slice and cups of tea. It was really great to have Dad there; sitting between his brother and sister just enjoying each other’s company.
Mum decided after a couple of hours that it was time for us to go. Dad’s mind was saying no… let’s stay… but his body was saying something else. We are becoming more adept at spotting the differences in Dad’s actions/focus to give us an idea how much he can take at a time. It’s still a learning curve, but we are getting better. A leisurely drive back gave Dad some time to have a quick doze with a very tuckered out little Coco next to him.
It was lovely to see the family and to share the time with them and I’m sure that Dad had a great day, but in some ways it’s been bittersweet for me.
It started a couple of days ago when I was struggling to find something to buy Dad for his Birthday. Some of the usual gifts I might have considered really weren’t appropriate for this birthday, and finally I fell back on the classic DVD option (now a blu-ray of course). That ‘limitation’ of what to get was the first niggling. Today however, I caught myself unintentionally “counting” the time between now and the next family ‘event’. We are a bit one sided in our family timeline, sort of like Australia’s Public Holidays… all our birthdays and anniversaries are done and dusted by Dad’s birthday… with the exception of Father’s Day the next ‘biggie’ is Christmas.
The prospect of what that will look like scares me a little… so as much as I have waxed lyrical about being the ‘big picture person’ here on my blog, it would seem that it only works if I taken all emotion out of it… let that little bugger in and I start going to pieces pretty quickly. This is not to say that I’m bottling up my feelings… far from it… but I know me… and if I let that side of me get hold at the moment then I am not going to be any good to anyone. It will come… don’t be surprised if it turns up at the MOST inappropriate moment… but it will come.
After feeling a little bit shit, I shook myself and realized I would take whatever came however it came and to accept every day as a gift with Dad from now until… whenever.
As someone once said to me… “We’re here for a good time… not a long time!” and as long as we have with Dad, we will make sure that it is good times!
So, Happy 70th Birthday Dad