Today I realized I’ve been taking Dad’s nurse Ali for granted. Each morning Ali is on duty, Dad arrives at the breakfast table clean, shaven and dressed his four-course meal prepared and waiting for him to enjoy. Mom tells him how good he smells and that she loves him.
This morning Ali and I left the house early to shop at the farmer’s market leaving Mom in charge of Dad. When we returned about an hour and half later, our house was like a scene from the movie Mr. Mom. Dad is not shaven or dressed — he’s only wearing a white undershirt, no shorts and a has a towel resting on his legs for privacy. He’s sitting at the breakfast table, but there is no food for him. At the other end of the table lies a cereal bowl and yogurt container — Mom’s empties. With her back to Dad, Mom is sitting on the other side of the room playing Lumosity, her brainy video games. Billy, Sammy and Maven are excited to see me; they’re hungry and have no food either.
Ali, Dad’s second biggest advocate after Mom, assesses the situation and understandably is not pleased with Dr. Guy’s interim role as nurse. Mom admits she couldn’t really handle Dad this morning, that the best she could do was get him out of the bedroom, giving herself props for not leaving him back there all by himself. Ali points out that Mom ate breakfast but didn’t offer Dad anything — not even a glass of water. “But he just kept looking at me,” is all Mom can say. Apparently Dad was confused as to why Mom was taking care of him that morning rather than Ali. For sure all of us are grateful for Ali’s daily support; job security has never been easier to justify. For the record, Mom is not a bad caretaker. It’s just that some days are better than others.