Saturday, July 3, 2010

D Day Minus 198 - (August 22, 2009): Delaying Dreams

“Do you want to renew this?” I asked, holding up a subscription renewal card to Cruising World. Bills and letters were sprawled out on my side (and dangerously close to Dad's side) of the kitchen table. The zebra bag I packed in Sterling was thrown to the side and leaking Dentyne gum wrappers. Dad had just set the kitchen timer for an hour so we could have my steel cut oatmeal for breakfast.

“What needs renewed?” Dad asked as he squinted and took the renewal card out of my hand. “I can’t see anything. Where’s my glasses.” He stretched his right arm as far it would go. I sort of half got up to help him find his glasses. “I really need to get into the eye doctor.” Dad complained.

Cruising World, should I renew? I was a little annoyed. Dad only said that he needed to get his eyes checked every day for the past six months. And he had twenty pair of glasses all over the house, but not one when he needed them. I asked him really slow. “Or not?”

“Do you think we’ll be getting a boat any time soon, Nance?” Dad asked ignoring my snotty “or not.”

I worked hard to not let out a big sigh. All I wanted to know is whether I should write a check so I could finish up with the bills. Liberty Fair Mall in Martinsville was calling. I only wanted to pick up some good deals at the J.C. Penney outlet. Now renewing the Cruising World subscription was becoming an existential question.

I guess it was a big deal and you and I both know I can get pretty darn cranky when I do bills. Anyway, just before your last scan at MD Anderson, Dad and I resurrected the dream to get a sailboat and maybe –just maybe- sail around the word. If not the world, maybe Caribbean or along the Eastern Seaboard. Our plan was getting real. Dad had done his homework and passed it on to me. He picked out sailing schools in Annapolis, read blogs about other sailor’s treks around the world and researched sailboats. And when I say researched, I mean he studied old versus new sailboats, the best size, the most sea worthy, and best type - sloop or catamaran. Sometimes he’d confuse me with all the details sort of like you do when you talk about the details of bread making or cars, but it was fun to see him so excited. We even planned to put our house in Basset on the market in September to pay for the dream.

“It depends.” I trailed off, while I stacked the bills and letters into neat piles.

“I know I can’t put everything on hold. If it were the right time it would be easy and flow.” I said, a little defensively, as Dad picked at the mole on the back of his neck.

“Remember, how I was obsessed with making $60K. I’d interview for jobs, be over prepared--probably a little obnoxious with all the prep. I even followed a script I found in some stupid job hunting book. But I never got the money I wanted or the dream job. It wasn’t until I decided to be happy and appreciate the job I had that it happened. I finally got the money and job I wanted when I stopped pushing so hard.” I said it in one breath and pretty fast. To Dad’s credit, he didn’t tell me to slow down. I think his brain had finally trained on how fast I talk when I get excited.

“And.” Dad said furrowing his brows. “What’s your point?’

“When it’s right, the sailboat and the dream will come easy. We’ll know how we’ll support ourselves and it will just work out. Right now I feel like it would be forced. I get stressed and my stomach goes in knots even thinking about it.” I looked up at Dad who was leaning on the counter in front of the dishwasher. “You know, we’d both be torn if we weren't there for Greg. It won’t be right until we know he is ok.” I exhaled harder than I meant to but I was trying not to talk so fast. Then I asked Dad sort of quiet and intentionally slow, but not snotty. “Who knows if this treatment will work?” Dad didn’t say anything, but I’m sure he thought I was going to cry, but I didn’t. Instead he opened up his arms for me and I got up from my chair.

“Jeff, I think we’re just looking for a little relief and a place to relax.” I said as he wrapped his arms around me. “It’s more about a feeling than a boat or a house. Don’t you think?” Looking up, I added, “We can try on possibilities and see how they feel for now. We can dream and hope. Because without that, then what’s the point?”

Dad and I talked about possibilities and dreams for all of us. Morgan becoming the big boss and loving it. Your cancer going into remission. Dad winning the lottery. Dad being the Captain and me being the First Mate on our sailboat with satellite television and Internet. We talked and talked until the timer for my oatmeal went off. I smiled when I wrote a check for a two year subscription to Cruising World. And thought of another fun possibility – you meeting Dad and me on our sailboat in the Galapagos Islands and having the time of your life.

No comments:

Post a Comment