Sneaking in while she’s not looking

Last week was hairy, stressful, and fraught with challenges.

I’ve had a difficult relationship with my dad since he disowned me a few years ago. That sounds weird, right? Why am I spending time with someone who disowned me? That’s a long story about my son’s pace maker, and my controlling step mother who wanted attention over the situation. It was the final straw of a long string of narcissistic behavior, and I put my foot down. So now I’m out of the family.

My dad and I talk on the phone occasionally. But that’s been the extent of our contact for the last few years except one brief visit in February of 2017.

He’s in declining health. His wife was needing a break from taking care of him, and my brother was going in for a few days and asked if I wanted to visit while she was away.

When I got in town, I was instructed to go to the main gate of the community where he lives to pick up a gate pass. When I pulled up, the attendant was adorable and was so excited that I was there as a “surprise” for my dad. I got my gate pass and headed to his condo. I parked in the driveway and called my brother to make sure it was ok to go up.

The last time I saw my dad was over a year ago, and his wife would only give me 30 minutes with him, and hovered without giving us a chance to speak without her in the room. It was a terrible visit.

As I got to the stairs to his 2nd story unit, my brother came out on the porch so exited. “Dad, look who’s here!”

My dad made his way to the porch, way too thin, a little too shaky, but happy to see me.

A surreal moment. He cried, and kept staring at me. He kept calling me beautiful, and apologizing for staring. He also kept saying ‘I’m so happy for how you’ve turned out’. I’m not sure what that means to him, and I really didn’t want to ask. I just held his hand and asked about him.

I cried, my brother cried, I think the neighbors cried. It was a weepy community by the end of the day.

My dad is suffering from dementia and Parkinson’s, but mostly I think he suffers from boredom, inactivity, and a controlling wife.

We ate, laughed, reminisced, but he got tired quite often, and he would nap. We tried not to wear him out.

When his wife called on Wednesday night, he covered for me, and didn’t tell her I was there. That shocked me.

The Jig was up on Thursday, and he didn’t remember to keep my presence from her. The trouble was soon on, and my brother did a magnificent tap dance session to calm her down.

I left on Friday happy to have had some time with him. I may have to continue to sneak in, and it might be more difficult next time, but I’m up to it.

An old Polaroid from 1979.

Tony-Good Guy. “Good Guy” because my dad has always been a very snappy dresser. He always had on his Gucci. Gucci shoes and belt had the GG on them. If anyone ever asked what the GG stood for, he never said Gucci, he said it meant “Good Guy”. He will always be Tony-Good Guy to me.