Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A balancing act, with difficult ease.

Sometimes balancing the time between life (like being with your husband and sleeping and hygiene and walking your dog and putting together an outfit that won't scare small children), work (pretty self-explanatory) and taking care of Dad is handily embodied by the image of the 2 of Pentacles in tarot. He's part sideshow juggler and part village eccentric, but he's also pretty adept at his juggling craft and almost seems to be enjoying the challenge. But if you look closer, the waters behind him are disturbed, stormy. It's "Anything Can Happen Day" for him, 24/7.

He may enjoy what he's doing -- it may even be a calling. But it's just not easy.

My dad is my buddy. My dad has always been my playmate and fellow Mischief Maker. It was my dad who really reveled in taking us to amusement parks, in making sure we had time to relax, play, bask in some amusement from time to time. I remember my first visit to Disneyland clearly, my Dad spinning us into giddy dizziness on the Teacup Ride, blurring us into a swirl of candy-colored laughter.

Dad last visited Disneyland with us on his 80th birthday four years ago, which also happened to be the park's 50th. Even back then, we could tell Dad's physical condition was on the wane, but his spirit remained peppery. While he wasn't able to take on the Indiana Jones ride, he was able to tackle Pirates of the Caribbean, his long-time favorite. The downward dive of the boat splashed water in his ear, making Dad giggle impishly at the experience. Later in the day, as his energy drained, he enjoyed sitting near Main Street and listening to the ragtime piano player, sipping an iced tea and the sweet summer air.

Toward the end of our visit, Dad took us aside in the hallway of the Disneyland Hotel, "I can't wait to come back!"

Dad walks with a walker now. His amusement park days may be over. This reality wracks me.

Every park I visit, Dad gets a post card. Every park I visit, Dad gets an update.

I take Dad along every single time.


  1. This brought tears to my eyes Pam. I grew up @ Kiddieland with my Dad. With his cane, he took my daughter and I there for "one last time" this summer. My heart took more pictures than my camera.

  2. Elene, I'm glad the three of you had that time to share. I can guarantee you'll all remember it forever.

  3. Pamela,
    Yours is the very first blog I have visited. How really interesting yours is. Just draws you right in. Couldn't stop reading even though it is midnight and I am dog tired. Your writing is compelling and the artwork is wonderful. Can't tell you how much I respect your relationship with Dan, the way you speak of him is very, very touching to me. Unusual also in my experience. Keep writing and I will keep reading-

    steve zzzzzzzz

  4. Steve -- thank you SO much for your kind words. Working on the book is helping me work through some of the things that are going on with Dad. He's always been a fellow "kid", always made having fun a priority in our house.

    Thank you, thank you!!