Family

I didn’t get much done on the weekend, but I did catch up with my (maternal) grandmother, as always.   She was very happy indeed, as my sister and step-mother had taken her shopping on Saturday afternoon and, because of their efforts, my grandmother was able to get everything she needed.   The helped her try on make-up and they pushed her around in her wheelchair.

Now, for anyone that knows my grandmother, its very difficult t push her around indeed.  She’s a tough old bird who tells things as they are – no gloss, no sugar.   So, its rare indeed that she sings the praises of anyone, but she enthused about her shopping trip for nigh on an hour.   It made me happy just hearing how happy she was.  

I also had a chance to speak to my father.  I was pleased to hear that his ear infection had cleared up, as I knew he had struggled with it and it made wearing his hearing aids difficult.   It was a small moment of joy for me when my stepmother let slip she had to wash the socks I sent my father.  You see, I had missed father’s day in Australia, again, this year, but I had bought the socks and card back in June (father’s day in the UK); I just forgot to send them because I am out of touch with the Australian calendar.

My father is hard to buy for, so it was a pair of socks with a reference to being a great dad (or some such – my memory is atrocious these days).  I really wish I could get my father something special for father’s day and his birthdays.   I’d like to know: what do you get a man that wants for nothing?  Not that my father has it all, just that he rarely wants for anything, he doesn’t have extravagant tastes, he likes the simple life.  

I am proud of my father, though.  He is intelligent, dexterous and a very gentle man.  I don’t think I have ever seen my father in a fight, except with a scalpel and that left him looking pretty rough.   Although there was a time he and my second cousin, Patrick, were rough housing and they both fell through the wall separating our lounge room from our kitchen.  Neither were hurt, but the wall was left with a hole the shape of the two of them.

My father may not express himself with words, but you know he cares.  He would do anything for those he loves, and he loves his family, and they are very important to him.  

For a long time, I worried about my father.   The break-up of his marriage to my mother left him depressed for many years.   I thought he might be unhappy for the rest of his life and that hurt me.   Then, out of the blue (well, I was in the UK so how could I have known?), he met someone who seemed so perfect for him.   They were like giddy teenagers and I was pleased.   He married this new sweetheart.  Actually, they eloped like errant teenagers.   My stepmother has been so good for my father; I could not have wished for better.   Its nice to know your father is happy and content but, just as important, that he has someone with him who cares just as much about family.

It would be nice to have long conversations of mutual interest with my dad, but I am content with knowing he loves me and is tolerant of my kooky ways and desire to live on the other side of the world.

Someone once asked me why I didn’t return to Australia if my family were so important to me.  As important as they are, I have to live my own life.  And its not like I don’t get to see them from time to time (weddings, etc.).   Its just that Australia was never really my home and I think I’ve found my place here.   Advances in telecommunications means I am only ever a phone call away from my family and that keeps us close.  Yes, I wish I could see them more often, but travel is not as easy for my parents as it once was, and not as financially viable for me.

One day, I might get a home computer and a webcam and then, at least, I will be able to see them as well.  I do love my family, but I can’t afford to miss them.  As my (paternal) grandmother, Kath, told me when I left Australia for the first time:  “If you get home sick, get over it” and that advice has been the best for me.  I lover her for it, even if the rest of my family might not.

Thank you Grandma.  Thank you Dad.   Thank you Audette.  Thank you Sis.    Thanks for a good weekend.

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