My Dad and I are drinking tea and watching Newsnight. Dogford is contentedly curled on the rug and so is Eeyore, although I’m not sure why. I’ve got a to-do list the length of the room and a pile of ironing to the ceiling. But somehow, everything feels right with the world. Dad is here. Bear and I went to collect him from Auntie’s where he’s been for the past two weeks. Auntie won’t get a break exactly, but she will at least have some freedom from the relentless responsibility. That’s what Auntie and I can do. We can give one another a break.
We are mindful that we have a shared responsibility. We know we have to check with one another before we arrange to go away, even for a night. Going anywhere together for more than half a day is out of the question.
Dad has always been there for us. Over the years, he has cared for our children, taken Dogford out for countless walks, made a million cups of tea and coffee. The sink was always empty of washing up when he was about. One of the most thoughtful things he did was playing with the children whenever my friends visited, so that we mums could talk for a bit. Heaven knows there’s little opportunity with little ones. Heaven knows we needed it!
He would never accept thanks for anything. He just wanted to make our lives easier. Over the past few months, Dad has had to get used to a new way of living. He is no longer as mobile or active. He can’t really do much for us anymore. He’s had to understand that while we appreciated the help, the main thing was being together. That hasn’t changed. It’s just that we’ve changed places. He understands that he needs more help day-to-day but still he doesn’t take it for granted. It’s not about paying it back. It’s not about being fair. It’s just people who love one another doing what they can. And even if we were counting, don’t worry Dad, you’ve still got loads of credit in your account!