The post below was originally posted on Feb 24, 2015. So it’s a repost from Sundays with Dad. Although it’s a very different year, it is a Tuesday and apparently the day for Tater Tot casseroles in my life. I made one this week (we’ll have leftovers tonight). And as I’ve also been preparing for a podcast on a Season for Caring with Rayna Neises next week, it seems as if God keeps bringing certain old stories to mind to touch my heart with a little humor. Which I need.
This morning, I found written in the margin of my Devotional that my sister, brother and I had Tater Tot casserole at Dad’s condo on April 12, 2013 which caused me to remember I’d written a post about a Tater Tot casserole that happened to be made on a Tuesday in 2015. I’ve said it before, I get such a kick out of God’s sense of humor. I had to repost it! I hope you enjoy…here’s to Tater Tots and happy times while caregiving!
“Tater Tots on Tuesday” originally posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 😄
Anyone who’s lived in the Midwest knows how brutal the winters can be. Dad’s doctor started recommending he spend the cold months in Tucson with my sister. This is the second winter he’s gone and the trip was hard on him.
There are other things to consider besides cold weather and I was relieved when I heard he’d be coming home a week early. Two weeks ago, when I found out that he was in the hospital after his legs had given way and he’d fallen, I was afraid he wouldn’t make it home. I picked him up at Mitchell Field last Friday and the first thing he told me was how pleased he was with the airport wheelchair service. “Why I can travel anywhere in the world now!” he beamed.
It’s good to have him back in his condo—just three blocks from my office and three miles from where my husband and I live. And it was special to be together again this past Sunday with Dad.
Today, when I was making his lunch, he was crushing his pills and said, “There will be no pills in heaven!”
“Or grief or anger,” I added as I put extra butter on the bread for his sandwich. He’s down to 130 pounds.
“I really don’t have any anger,” he said after a moment’s thought. “When the Lord is ready to take me, I am ready to go.”
“What about patience?” I asked and he smiled. “You might want to focus on that or you’ll have to stick around until you get it right.” I smiled.
“You know, I’ve lost twenty pounds since my surgery in 2007?”
“You’ve also lost four inches of height, Dad. You don’t need the weight.”
“Oh, right. I forgot about that. You always make me feel better.”
(No, Dad, you always make me feel better.)
I had called him on my way to work after a meeting this morning. He told me his congestion was back and had let his doctor know but they hadn’t yet called him back. “Are you taking your Mucinex?” I asked.
“No, I stopped that.”
“Because I had put myself on it and then I took myself off it.”
“Well, put yourself back on it.”
“Can I talk to my doctor first?”
“Sure, if they call you back. If they don’t, take it.”
He chuckled. “Well…I left it in Tucson.”
“I’ll pick some up.” Walgreen’s didn’t have any on the shelf so I went to CVS and picked up two bottles. I was leaving the store when I saw his text pop up asking me if I could pick up his Warfarin prescription, and turned around to head back to the pharmacy.
I get immense joy out of solving the little challenges my Dad faces these days. There is always an answer if you take the time to look—even if it might be that you’ve only found some distraction from the fact that you are facing your parent’s mortality. As with my mom, I try not to think about losing him. He is full of life, in spite of the fact that he weighs 130 pounds, has no appetite, hobbles and coughs. He’s a fighter, a soldier, and carries around a copy of “Onward Christian Soldier” with him in his briefcase.
I love him.
Tonight after work I went by and made a Tater Tot casserole like my mom used to make for our family because he likes it. I made enough for our family because that’s the way Mom made it though it was just the two of us. I lit candles and he said the prayer. When we had finished and the dishes were done, the leftovers put away, he worked his way over to his chir with his new walking stick, slowly lowered himself ever so slowly into it and told me to sit down. “I have something serious to say to you.” I took a seat on the couch beside him. “I know I am getting weaker and won’t be able to stay here in the condo much longer.”
“Oh, I’ve thought about that, Dad. I think we can find someone to come in and help out a little more. They could prepare all your meals and just watch over things.”
“Well, I hadn’t thought of that.”
“One day at a time, Dad.”
“Okay. You always make me feel better.”
No, Dad, you always make me feel better.
If you’re in a caregiving season, you’re not alone. God is with you. And so is Rayna, who provides wonderful services and resources for our caring seasons in life. And I’m here to, if I can be of any support, please let me know. It’s precious to me that God has connected us. We’re doing life together. In the meantime, I’m sending love and prayers your way.