Saturday, March 8, 2008

In Boston

We're in chilly, rainy Boston right now, where March seems to have come in like a lion and stayed that way. Technically, we're in Dedham, the actual town where I grew up and my parents still live, but no one outside Massachusetts has heard of that!

We've been visiting pretty frequently lately, since my dad's condition (he has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) is slowly deteriorating. Although he's lost most of his motor control, though, he mercifully can still speak without difficulty, and I think that is the Lord's gift to him. He's also surpassed the point at which 75% of ALS patients have already died -- next month it will be 6 years since his diagnosis. Anyway, we're grateful to be able to spend time with him and with my mom, especially while he can still communicate easily and enjoy the snuggles from his granddaughters, who love to steer his power chair as they ride around on his lap. I want them all to remember him, to remember these happy moments, so we make them happen as often as we can and are thankful for each of them. It's interesting how the kids have asked so few questions over the years. They just seem to accept the progression of his disease (first the walking stick, then the scooter, then the power chair and now the help with dressing, writing, etc.) at face value. There's a certain beauty to it.

There are times, you know, when I'll just be walking along and it'll hit me how blessed I am to have two strong legs that do what they're supposed to do. That may sound cliché, but it's so true. Since I've watched my dad slowly lose the use and control of his legs (and I can still remember his very particular gait) these moments have occurred more frequently, and I'll focus all my consciousness on that action of putting one foot in front of the other, running or walking, and marvel at the miracle of what my body can do. I don't know what lies in store for me in the future (my dad was always healthy until this happened) but I hope that if a day comes when my brain is trapped inside an uncooperative body, or I lose even a small part of that control, I won't have taken for granted what I have now.

We're really having a great visit, poor weather and sick son notwithstanding. There have been trips to the craft store, there's been ample scrapbooking, there's been Boggle and reading loud with Grandmommy and a fire in the fireplace and going out to tea with my mom and bonding between the kids and their "Aunt" Renee and "Uncle" Jaime, who live in the house who take care of my parents. (Renee is also the sister of Phoebe, who's marrying my brother; how's that for a small world?) They're fantastic people; we love them and so do our kids.

Phooey on this whole Daylight Savings thing. Tim starts foaming at the mouth about it! Better go to bed.


Jenny said...

Sounds like a wonderful visit!

Tracee said...

Good memories, hope you are taking pictures for the scrapbooking. BTW, I'm so sorry about your Dad's illness. My Grandma on my Mom's side had ALS. And this was 30 years ago, how times have changed! I have very fond memories of her, walker and all. It was just the way she was.