I brought the kids up to see Vernon on Sunday. It was overcast and damp, but Vernon wanted to get up and go outside regardless. It wasn’t his best day. There was a lot of shouting from Vernon and crying from Justine. On days like this, I wonder what I’ve done to bring the children up…have I made things worse for everyone? But I can’t know before I get there, and I keep thinking…this isn’t all about me, it’s about them and their dad, and if worse comes to worse, they have the opportunity to work through it. That sounds great in theory, but in the moment, part of me cries for them all, even as I’m snapping at Vernon about his manners or trying to make honest-but-light with the kids.
Maki leaves for his summer home, New Zealand, in less than two weeks, and as we will be away next weekend, this was the last Sunday for them to see each other for months. I’m thankful Maki goes with the flow like he does. He rarely complains. And even in these pictures, I can see the love between them.
Vernon, from Day One, is Team Maki. He told me last week that no matter what Maki decides to do in life or where he goes, he’ll be behind him all the way.Vernon’s got the best parenting suggestions, even in his state. He seems most concerned that the kids are alright…especially Maki (as I know I have written before.)
Justine, on the other hand, was nervous around Vernon due to his agitation and shouting. She relaxed by the time I took this photo. For the first time. she cried out loud —to me but in front of Vernon: “It’s NOT FAIR that I have to have a dad in a nursing home!” She’s held it together for a long time, but now, she’s growing up.
That said, Vernon does apologize profusely when he calms down and realizes he’s hurt someone’s feelings. But it takes work to get him there…there are so many lessons in communication that I don’t always pass. Especially on an awkward day with the three of them. But that’s life, right? You can’t plan your life around the way someone will act. It’s all an improvisation. We just have to show up.
Vernon fell from his chair at dialysis this morning, so he was later sent to the ER for a closer look in case he’d damaged anything. It’s medical protocol, but I keep thinking: he’s only 49, what bones is he going to break at that distance? Still, that’s how it works and those are the rules. He’s fine, by the way. Just hoping there will be less agitation tomorrow (its been going on for a few days straight again.)