Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bald IS Beautiful...

I briefly mentioned painting bathrooms in my last post. Usually means a small space, with lots of cutting in (doors and windows and vanities and such) and requires getting up close and personal with a toilet. I really hate trying to paint behind a toilet.

I did do some bathroom painting this weekend and had the distinct privilege of getting up close and personal with Mom and Dad's toilet. The Captain helped with a large portion of that - thanks honey. There is a weird part of me that actually enjoys painting. I find it therapeutic to some extent. The old has gone, the new has come. Through many remodels and house projects, I have gotten to be pretty adept at painting. Painting at my parents house left me a little nostalgic though.

The reason we were painting is because my parents have recently redone their bathroom. They removed a small cramped tub/shower unit and replaced it with a large shower unit. My dad with his Parkinson's disease was having a harder and more difficult time getting his leg over the side of the tub and his shower chair never fit very well into that small tub they had. So, this should work much better. No door, just a small lip to step over and mom can help him much more easily without hurting her back. All good.

Somewhere between cutting in around the new shower and the baseboards, I started getting pretty sad. I remembered my dad helping us do various odds and ends when we moved into our first home in Tulsa. He helped me paint that bright red accent wall in our hallway that I just loved. He was a good painter. Very particular, very detailed as is his nature. Over the years, as Parkinson's has taken its toll, he does less and less in the home improvement projects, and that's OK. I know he would love to help, but just can't. He sat in his lift chair and offered words of encouragement from the living room, or he would shuffle over with his walker to let me know if I missed a spot - He really liked that part. : )

MOM: (peeking in the door) Shannon, are you OK?

SHANNON: (sniffle sniffle - turning away and paying meticulous attention to the cutting in above the shower) "Yep, must be getting a cold - or else this paint is getting to me...I'm fine."

But sometimes I'm not. I get jealous of other grandpa's doing things with their grandchildren that my dad never will. Will my girls ever know what a goofball my dad used to be? He had this crazy comb-over when I was a young girl and he used to let me fix it with foam rollers. And he used to drive around in his old powder blue Ford pick-up with his "Bald IS Beautiful" bumper sticker, and people would honk and wave whenever we went into town because everyone recognized that crazy blue truck. Did you know he once put baby mice in the pocket of my coat to "go show your mother", and that he bought me a pony - my very own pony? Did you know he could fix anything - REALLY. Did you know that in the summer he would get dark as an Indian in the Iowa sun, and that his corn fields really were the straightest and weedless long before all the fancy equipment and round-up ready corn? Did you know he liked to play golf and once shot a hole in one?

I try to tell them these things and show them too. I am grateful for the chance to live as close to them as we do. To help paint bathrooms of course, but also to give my girls some memories in what feels like a limited amount of time some days. Every once in awhile I see my real dad come out. Like when he had Maren convinced that if she tapped him on the head three times - that would make his teeth pop out (he has dentures). It was very cute when I saw her standing up on her stool that night looking in the bathroom mirror, hitting herself on the head, really hoping her teeth might pop out too.

I also remember last fall when mom had surgery and was on a five pound weight restriction, my brothers and I took turns staying over at night in case Dad needed some help. Once his last Sinemet wears off - he is as stiff as a board and can't get up on his own during the night. I had just gotten him settled to bed, and was about asleep when he called - "Shannon...need some help." I sleepily walked in his room and he had his blankets pulled up to his chin and I could barely make out his blue eyes twinkling in the nightlight, but then he said - "Just kidding"- with the tiniest little grin on his face.

Hope you like the new paint job in the bathroom Dad, you taught me everything I know.


Annie H. said...

Oh Shannon,
You are such a wonderful woman... so loving, heartfelt and dear...

You express it so well... the pain of aging and ailing parents. My heart kept paining.... for you, for myself.. as we love our parents through old age and sickness. It sounds like your girls will have a good appreciation of their wild 'n' crazy grandpa; the stories alone are wonderful. God bless you and your family....

Kim said...

Sweet Shannon. I'm having to stop and wipe tears. They are of joy, and sadness. So glad you can bring nice change to your parents home. Your dad finds happiness in you and your girls. How proud he must be of his only daughter. He is so very brave, too. *Sending you my love.

The B Keeper said...

Embrace these moments. Even the tears. The laughter. Feel it all. Say everything. My heart is breaking for you. My heart is joyful for you, as you have such great moments to share now & to remember always.

Give my best to your Mom and your Dad. Blessings.

Baloney said...

Shannon, this is so sweet. I love his sense of humor! Your kiddos will love hearing those stories over and over - always.