while at the eye specialist with my Mom. We were waiting for her appointment, it was a long wait. I’m not sure why we were there. Her new case supervisor requested it and I’m always up for a road trip. I think these occasional visits to the specialists are kind of mean. We know nothing can help her see. Her light bulb is flickering off and her world is mostly dark. I’m a reader, it would scare me half to death. It does scare me half to death. All things considered, she is an amazing little thing. Except when she has to wait more than five minutes for anything. Then she’s a screaming three year old I bribe with graham crackers and sips of juice. We waited over an hour in the waiting room, another hour in the exam room, and forty minutes for our medi-cab home. And it was during this time of pure boredom that I started watching the others who were waiting. A man in his twenties who was there to drive his Dad, a couple of business men, a lone woman reading and texting, another nursing home resident with an aide by her side, and us: my tiny grey haired Mother and me, her slightly pudgy (I’m working on that…really) almost 50 yr old daughter. People came in and out. The floor shook a little. They are removing a building in the area and you can feel it. Mom would complain now and then. She’d doze back off. And then I saw my Dad and Mom walk in.
I know they weren’t my parents. I’m not there yet. But they were my parents at the same time. He came first. Aging, grey, stooped over. He looked tired. And he held the hand of a little old woman. She followed along, obviously unable to see well. He wasn’t mean, he’d wait a step or two for her to catch up. He’d tell her what they were passing and she’d look less scared. That was my parents. Before that call, before I showed up and altered everything. Before Dad died. That was my parents. Married 63 years and taking care of each other all that time. Toward the end, my Dad would lead Mom around, holding her hand. He’d reassure her when she was scared and help her find the way. They were a ‘them’ forever, they took that vow and stood by it. I never saw them like that. Just that hour or two before they were separated at the hospital. But today I saw them clearly. Those two people in the waiting room, walking together holding hands were my Parents. Even though they weren’t.