I have a new Buddy. He is game for any excursion, and passionately interested in my health and well-being. He calls me every night, to ask me how things are going, if I have heard on any jobs, what jobs I have applied for that day, and finally, if “anything special” is going on. My new Buddy has a very full life, with a huge family, a lovely and active wife, and a pretty packed schedule. But, Buddy always has time for me. He has other names too. Some call him Robert, Bob, or even Bobby. I call him Dad.
Let’s get this clear from the start. I love my dad! At 79 and three quarters, he is smart, opinionated, well read, and culturally current. He is in better physical shape than I am, running several times a week. And while he may not be running marathons anymore, he is still good for a 10K, and will most likely place high in his age group. I also like my dad. He is funny, punctual, and interesting, and I find myself seeing similarities to him, especially as I grow older.
All that said, my dad is making me a little crazy this summer. When I first got laid off, I told him he could not call me every day and ask me if I got a job/interview/call. I had been laid off before, in 2006, and remembered well how stressful those nightly calls were. And for the first couple of months, he honored my request. But after the appendix event, it seemed like all boundary bets were off. Probably something about seeing your child in extreme pain, and through a hard recovery, that just makes a parental sort revert back to instinctual hovering. I don’t know. I am not a parent.
I know my dad is proud of me, and respects me, but sometimes I think he forgets that I am a mature adult, and thinks of me as a small child, possibly one with special needs. My siblings sort of snicker at this when I complain about it, and tell me this would all stop if I just stopped sharing things with him, but the truth is, as I said, I like the guy.
We’ve been taking little excursions this summer. We have gone to the movies, to the Long Beach Aquarium, and tomorrow, we will take the train(!) to see the Space Shuttle. In fact, if he were 30 years younger, less bossy, and oh yeah, NOT my dad, he would be a perfect date! But we enjoy each other’s company quite a bit, and especially since my mom died last year, I realize more than ever that these moments are precious, and won’t last forever.
So for now, I put up with him asking me if I remembered to take my medicine, if I called the accountant, if I sent my resume out to enough places each day. I may groan when the phone rings every night at 5:00, but I would miss it if it ceased to ring. He is a pain, he is not perfect, but neither am I. After the Space Shuttle, we’ll plan our next outing, and it will be something fun or educational. I am blessed to have had time this summer to spend this special time with him, my Buddy.
The end, for now