Memories are starting to come through the fog, particularly when I started looking through my flickr stream. Last night I started realizing that everything I’ve done with Dad in the past couple months is the last thing of that kind that I will ever do with Dad. Had I known, I would have cherished them all more but then, I suppose, they wouldn’t have been real moments with Dad.
On February 5, we were supposed to have a 100th birthday party for my Grandma Evelyn. She had different plans, passing away just two weeks shy of 100 years. So I decided that Mom, Dad and I needed to do something fun that day (partly, too, because I was leaving MN the next day). I happened to find the Hudson Hot Air Affair in Hudson, WI, just across the MN-WI border. This will forever be the last “event” that I went to with my Dad. I know I had a great time…I think he would say the same.
I find myself trying to remember the day. I know we got up waaaaay too early so we could be there for the mass ascension. I remember that it was very foggy that morning, and that I drove because Dad was feeling a bit dizzy. (This dizziness is what finally got him back to the cardiologist, and was almost certainly caused by his decreased blood flow from his bad heart. It didn’t go away, and kept him from working all of February.) I’m certain he and I were a bit snippy in the car because he either assumed I knew where I was going or because he was not giving me very good directions (can’t remember which).
Sadly the mass ascension didn’t happen, but many of the balloons still set up so that we could see them, take pictures, and talk with the balloon pilots. Honestly, I was just as happy seeing all the balloons on the field as I think I might have been with the mass ascension. Mom and I certainly made fun of Dad as he wandered off without us to take pictures. I also had the presence of mind to get Mom and Dad together in a picture with the balloons in the background. (Of course, there are very few pictures of me and Dad in pictures, because we are the family photographers…sigh.)
After walking around the balloon field, we went into the school (whose grounds were being used as the balloon field) where they had food and crafts for sale. We started with cocoa and treats to warm up. Then we perused the crafts. I think Dad bought something, but now I can’t remember what it was – might have been something to help him keep warm at work (he’s a carpenter, and often works outside in MN winters). I also picked up some jewelry for my mom and aunt (which they’ll get at Christmas, if I can find them again). I’ll admit that Dad was having some trouble getting around at this point – but we all just assumed that the heart surgery would take care of these problems…at least after his long healing process.
I suppose that if I had known that this would be the last big event that I went to with Dad that I might have cherished him more. Maybe I would have followed him as he wandered off to take pictures. Maybe I wouldn’t have snipped at him for not giving me clear directions in the car. But then…that’s what we always did, so in so many ways this was a typical outing with Mom and Dad. And maybe that’s what I should be cherishing right now. The real moments we had together.