Thursday, January 16, 2014
A Bag of Grapes
As we were leaving my parents' house last night my Dad handed me a bag of grapes. To most people it would be just that- a bag of grapes- but to me it was (and always is) so much more. To understand that is to understand my father, and to understand that his way of saying "I love you," is often in the doing of things. It's in him standing at the counter for 10 minutes, sorting through the big Costco-sized container, plucking grapes from their stem, washing them, and putting only the very best into a little ziploc bag, so I can enjoy them on the drive home. It's making sure there are always fresh towels, fresh sheets, fresh everything when we come to visit. It's me reverting back to being 16-years-old whenever I'm there on the couch asking for this and that, and him humoring his totally grown daughter who is a Real Adult and wife and mother of her own now, bringing sandwiches and cold drinks and making sure my seat is as reclined back as it will go, because of course, I need to relax. It's in the way my Dad would always wash my car but not just wash it, vacuum and wax it, shine it and buff it, make it as good as new, all shine and sparkle. It's his cutting and clipping of any and all newspaper articles relevant to my life, the calls with traffic updates whenever I'm driving, the "be carefuls" and the "call when you get theres," and the coffee he will leave for Hank on the counter to find when he wakes up.
This is my Dad. He is vocal with his love but more than anything, his love is in his actions. And now as an adult I see this more than ever. Becoming a parent after being parented your entire life is a funny thing when you think about it. You have these models of what to do (or maybe what not to do), how to do it, what being a parent looks like, and then there you are, doing it yourself.
And last night as we drove and I finished off that little bag of grapes from my Dad, I thought a lot about the parent I am and the parent I want to be. I thought of Henry and Charlie, grown up one day, looking back at me as a Mama- at the things I did and the way I loved them. And oh, how I wish for them to look back at their childhood and just feel happiness. And so all of the little things in our little days, the way I cut the crust off Henry's sandwiches just the way he likes, the happy, sunshiney, good morning song for Charlie, the way we open the curtains with gusto as we get ready each day, the way I always make sure Henry's animals are back in their "home" every night- they're all part of something bigger. Little actions, big love. Teddy bears back on the special shelf, storytime tuck-ins every evening, and maybe even bags of grapes in the car one day too...I look forward to all of these things rolling into the larger story of the way my love feels to them.