counting the days

Today I went to my parents’ house as soon as I was done dropping off kids and fetching groceries. They were just back from the oncologist’s. They’d heard a number. The number represents the amount of time this doctor thinks my father would have if they “did nothing” in terms of medication or treatment. It wasn’t a very big number.

My parents and I sat at the kitchen table and talked about our options, our choices, the time we have left, all the medicine and treatments and our future plans. It was a good conversation; there was a lot of laughing, actually (my father’s insistence on a coffee-can ash receptacle inspiring recitations of scenes from The Big Lebowski). I felt a lot of hope. It’s also sad, and it just stays sad. It doesn’t suddenly one day get poetic or easy or anything.

In the afternoon after Sophie’s first-ever school conference (high marks, natch!) we went back to my parents’ where the children played and snacked while my mom and I baked up a huge amount of pumpkin pies – 24 miniature ones, and one large one – for Sophie’s school tomorrow. As soon as the pies were done we went to a house my mom is interested in buying (a downgrade from the large family house they are currently in). The house itself was a 1916 little cottage in a ghetto / river / industrial corner of town. The yard was amazing and even more so was the owner who’d built the garden – a jack-of-all-trades, an entrepreneur with glass-blue eyes and painter jeans, gesturing excitedly with his cigarette while talking to my father about solar power. He and his partner had formed the most amazing, beautiful garden I’d seen – orchards of cherry, fig, kiwi, pear, apple – bushes of beans and peas and carrots, potatoes, fennel, tomatillos, garlic – I mean literally almost anything you could think to grow. It was a really interesting part of our day. It was really lovely.

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