When he turned sixty, I gave my dad a short poem I had written, remembering a sweet moment the summer I was five. I was sitting in his lap reading The.Cat in the Hat C.omes Back out loud, and he was helping me, gently, with the harder words (what and the). I wrote the poem in my early twenties, and it wasn't very good technically, but it was read out loud to the celebratory dinner party; it was much appreciated and brought a tear or two. It still sits in its frame on the desk in his living room.
Last night as we were driving home from dinner (we have instituted a weekly dinner date) C and I were talking about how our parents occasionally allowed us a sip of tea or coffee or wine or beer when we were children. It allowed us to try things, but the tastes were always met with a frown or a "yuck!"
I flashed on a moment of sitting in the kitchen, on my dad's lap, his long bony legs angled slightly upward as he sat on the chair. I was 6 or 7 or 8, trying his tea or coffee or something. But I could feel his bony knees, and see his big hands. ...And I thought, what a nice moment it must've been, especially since my mom's was the lap of choice, and Dad was always working. Not easy to get close to him. But he was loving and open in that moment.
A sweet memory, and I thought about how I wish he had a grandchild with whom he could have that same experience. I wished I had a child who could have that experience with him. Just a "nothing" moment, after dinner, hanging out. Sitting on his lap, holding his hand, trying his tea.
It occured to me today that he had 4 potential grandchildren taken from him. The real hope of two grandchildren, taken. Twice.
It's just not fair.
I think about how sweet and silly he was when he visited, the week before we lost the boys. I let him pat my belly. He raved about how I should get be drinking organic milk, not the regular stuff. "Not for you," he joked. "This is for the boys." He loved them already.