I landed in Iowa and my hair started curling and frizzing. Heat and high humidity combined with occasional sprinkles have reminded me how much I hated my hair when I lived in the Midwest! Cleaning out my dad's garage storage cabinets also resulted in the rivulets of sweat that start with any activity in this kind of heat. There is a reason I worked at a swimming pool when I was young :-)
I've spent with the last 5 days with my dad, as I do about every 3 months. We get done what errands he is able to do and spend lots of time eating and talking. Every time I arrive I can see the incremental losses in motion and ability since I was last there. His mind, as sharp as ever, dwells in a body that cooperates less every day. Emptying the dishwasher has become an energy-sucking chore. Getting the top off of Tupperware is almost impossible. Walking to the mailbox requires a 2 hour rest. Days are long with few visitors and yet he perseveres.
We talk about the news and argue politics. We remember good times and talk about the struggles of life and aging. We share memories of my mother and laugh at old pictures. Underlying the love and companionship is the pang of loss and the shared awareness that time is short. Each visit could be the last, The hugs goodbye are tight and tears glisten in our eyes.
But softening the sorrow is a little boy with blonde curls, who at 14 months has boundless energy and a giggle that lightens the heart. He hugs his great grandpa and says "hi" 40 times in an hour. He is the legacy - continuing the love that binds family together, carrying the love of music and gadgets, stories and hugs.
Life is good.