If you’ve been to Texas in the middle of the summer you’d know what kind of heat I’m experiencing. The kind that sends perspiration trickling down your spine while you are trying to stand very still in the biggest shade you can find. No amount of thinking about building igloos in the North Pole can make the discomfort go away. There’s no tricking your body with mind games when the heat and humidity tag team you. I suppose all you can do is surrender to the elements when you absolutely must go outside, as I do to take these pictures of my mom’s burgeoning garden. Her tomato plants are wilted and I feel their pain. In the five minutes that I’m in the sun, I, too, am fried.
Even late at night it is warm outside. How do I know this? Because I did a drug run for my dad last night. When I arrived Wednesday night he was suffering cold symptoms. By Friday afternoon they were really dogging him, and around dinner time my mom was on the internet looking up swine flu (she had just come back from a location wedding in Mexico so that’s where the thinking was). Now I know I recently wrote about how much my life revolved around electronic data, but c’mon, the amount of information you can find on the internet can really make you nuts. Not only do we seem to become armchair experts in all topics that we can google, but apparently we also become major hypochondriacs.
At 9.30pm my mom insisted that we go find a specific brand of flu medicine so that she could dispense it to my dad, herself, and me. Symptoms or no symptoms, she was on a mission to exact a pre-emptive strike on this A/H1N1 virus that was going to plague us all at any second now! Of course all of this hullabaloo is happening while she’s making tea and dessert with one eye on the Dateline show, which BTW she is retelling me, fact by fact, as the murder mystery unfolds on the TV. So what I’m really saying here is that even if my personality appears a bit hyper in some of my blog entries, I am a mere breeze next to my mother’s hurricane.
Admittedly she has zen’d out a lot over the years, but sometimes when I’m home and observe her and my dad slyly from my ten simultaneous activities, I know my controlled chaos is the very genetic collaboration of my parents’ distinctive personalities. My father’s idea of a vacation is to accompany my mother to the ends of the world (well, it was just China last time but it might as well have been that as he detests long flights, foreign food, and any bed other than his own) and sit in a chair by the window to read any book that he happens to have at the time. So if I’m that aforementioned breeze, then he is the absolute stillness that you find in the middle of the Arizona desert. I believe when he is engrossed in his reading (and it’s never light reading), he is in the same meditative nirvana that people reach from years of learning how to tune out the noises around them. That’s how he rolls. My mother, on the other hand, will observe all the fine details most people miss, want to see everything, try anything, and instantly sum up how the world could run better if they had only done X instead of Y. How my parents operate on such opposite energy waves may be the very reason that they make a successful team now after decades of tumultuous experiences.
This was supposed to have been an entry about my dad, for father’s day, but I am relating a story about my mom as well as it is no longer possible to think about my father outside of the context of his wife. So father’s day and mother’s day blur into parents’ day for me. My mom jokingly tells me that they are now joined at the hips and sure enough, when she’s out loitering with me, she always has to call him to check in as if with a parole officer. I smile to myself when I hear her on the phone with him. They are the greatest gifts to each other now. There’s no present my sisters and I can possibly give him for father’s day that can rival the gift of spending every day with my mom. But I suspect a shiny new gadget is always appreciated.
Happy Father’s Day everyone!
PS: a big first happy father’s day shout-out to my brother-in-law D 😀