How is it that it takes five kids, two visiting nurse aids, one physical therapist, one maid and numerous adult grandchildren to take care of two aging parents, when those same two parents managed to take care of five kids, two live-in grandparents, three exchange students, various runaways and then eight grandchildren without ever batting an eye?
I don’t know how, but my life is absolute proof that my parents are far more gifted at caregiving and multitasking than I. And while it may take a village to raise a child, it takes a small city to take care of aging parents.
Wednesday morning was all it took to realize I am not in the same league as my dad. My brother Chris (introduced earlier in “The Brat” story) and I decided that we would make my dad waffles for breakfast.
Waffles are a tradition in my family. My dad takes waffles so seriously that 40 years ago he began tapping our maple trees in order to make his own syrup for our waffles. Saturday morning was always waffle morning and Dad made it look easy, so it seemed like a perfect idea when Chris suggested we make waffles for dad.
We got him out of bed and wheeled him to the table so he could be with us as we prepared breakfast. Neither Chris or I have lived at home for a very long time. We visit often but are not always sure of where items are in the kitchen. And so the fun began.
Chris found the waffle maker (or so he thought) and placed it on the counter. When looking for a can of Pam we only found an unlabeled can that appeared to be “Pam” but could also have been WD40. I let Chris do the taste test and he declared it “Pam.” But as he was not 100 percent certain he decided to just pour a little Canola oil on the waffle maker. He looked somewhat perplexed when the oil slid onto the counter. He was just about to pour his very watery waffle mix on the waffle iron when I realized it was not a waffle iron but the sandwich grill press.
I considered not telling him but figured I’d be the one cleaning up the mess so I quickly pointed out his error. He looked back down at the grill press and suddenly it dawned on him what would have happened if he poured the mix on that. We chuckled as we got the real waffle iron out of the cabinet.
Chris then carried on with his mission. Dad was watching our antics with great amusement. When I saw him laughing at us, I said to him, “Dad how did you make feeding all of us look so easy when together we can’t seem to feed you?” He just looked at me with a big grin and said, “Are you going to do this show again for your mother when she wakes up? She needs a good laugh too.”
Martha Reed Johnston is a professional storyteller and member of the Story Spinners, which meets in Laurinburg.