Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Parents' Gift

I was talking to a patient the other day, and she was telling a story of a practical joke her dad had played on her and her sister.  That led me to tell some of my own stories of what my dad as pulled.

Like the time he brought us cookies.  I thought it was odd that he brought them to us, but I tend not to question the hand that feeds me cookies. They tasted weird, but I didn't want to offend Dad (since he'd made them), so I ate it anyway.  He, on the other hand, couldn't believe my brother and I ate them without a word.  We'd forgotten it was April Fool's, and he'd sprinkled garlic salt on them!

Or the time that he got us our breakfast, and I was drinking my milk, only to find something weird and slimy in there.  I freaked out, Dad laughed and pulled the gummy worm out of the milk to eat it.  First I was grossed out because I still didn't know what it was.  Then I was sad because I wanted a gummy worm for breakfast.  (He had more where that one came from, and he shared.)

My mom was always the one that laughed or shook her head at my dad's antics.  

Like the time that we were at a hotel, and all woke up to find our shoes tied together in millions of little knots, even Mom's.  Everyone but Dad's.  That was hilarious, because we were too young to understand the concept of framing someone, and we did not believe Dad's protestations of innocence.  Good one, Mom.

Or how about the time when my mom told the story about when they were in college.  Several people were complaining about the cafeteria food, but my mom piped up and said it wasn't too bad.  In fact, she'd gained a few pounds on it.  (My mom is skinnier than me; you'd never find me admitting that!)  She shook her head and said that after that, everyone started calling her "Pudge."  Whenever she told that story, she always finished by saying, "I don't know for sure, but I think it was our friend Mike that started it.  He certainly said it the most."  I remember her telling this story a number of times, but this one time, there was just a little too long of a pause.  Something that she saw when she looked at my dad.  All of a sudden she yells, "You!  YOU started it?!  12 years of marriage, and I find out that you started that awful nickname?!"  She was laughing too hard to be that upset.

Anyway, I don't remember which stories that I told, but I know I mentioned the one about the hotel and the shoes, and the patient had a little kind of sad look in her eye.  She told me that her parents divorced when she was really young and she had no memories of them together.

I have honestly never thought what it might be like to have memories of times with my parents, but not of my parents' interaction with each other.  The security of having two loving parents in the home never looked quite the same as it did right then, when I saw the reflection of something completely different in my patient's eyes.

1 comment:

  1. Those are the stories we want to keep and remember so we can pass them down in the family on and on. They link us in a tangible way to our ancestors, to those who lived, loved, laughed and suffered and are connected to us on into the unseen past. Too often those stories are lost and forgotten after a generation or two.