In case you don't know, my mom is very sick, and has been since the early 2000s (well, her symptoms really started manifesting then). When she first started seeing a doctor, they gave her basically no time at all, and yet she's still here. It's been this horrible roller coaster combination of will she live/will she die and slowly watching her die and her wanting to die and her not wanting to die and her being hospitalized and watching her broken body and her going into the hospital right before graduation and right before the bar exam and my siblings and me breaking down at different times and making plans for after her death for over a decade now, and it is hard.
Back in 2005, Mom and Dad had their 50th wedding anniversary, and my siblings and I gave them a second wedding, because they really didn't have one when they actually got married. Mom was strong enough then to walk down the aisle and dance a little, but not a lot. She's gone very far downhill since, and when she leaves the house, has to go in a wheelchair. (She doesn't walk much around the house, either.)
That may be the last time I've seen them dance; they used to dance a lot. They were good. They used to dance around the kitchen together, and put on music and dance in the living room, and Dad used to play the guitar and sing to her, to us all. (He's lost the dexterity and feeling in his fingers to do that now. Mom has, too; she used to play bass, and was learning violin. No more, though.)
I didn't cry during the ceremony, but I got a little bright eyed during the first dance, because you guys, my brother in law just makes her so happy, and she's my beloved baby sister, the Sam to my Dean, and it took us so long to be friends, and I just want such wonderful things for her. So a little bright eyed, but no actual tears, and I'm beaming at them while they dance, even though I normally find the first dance incredibly boring.
Then they invite everyone to join them. My dad starts to push Mom's wheelchair onto the dance floor, and okay, it's getting a little hard to see now, something's in my eye, maybe I should own waterproof mascara after all (but I never need it). Then Mom stops him, and slowly, so achingly slowly, stands up, holding his hands once she gets herself upright, and they walk out onto the dance floor together, and I am done. I started crying so hard I was pretty sure I was going to lose a contact, even though I couldn't stop grinning too. And they didn't dance they way they used to, all slick fun dance steps, but they held each other and they turned, and I was crying even when I got asked to dance (Me: Make-up? Jake: Little smeared. Me: Oh god, and it took forever).
My parents got up and danced together at my sister's wedding, nearly fifty-seven years after they got married, and I got to see it.
(1) See, also, this conversation:
Dad: You should write a story about warewolfes (which is basically how he pronounces it) bears. Bears like warewolfes. And moose! Vampire moose.
Jake: Vampire moose? Do they gore you instead of bite you and then lick the blood from the wounds?
Dad: Yes. Write this story for kids. A bedtime story.
Jake: That kid will never sleep again.
Carla: And mom wonders why I love horror.
(2) See, also, excerpts from things Mom and Dad wrote about me for law school graduation:
Mom and Dad put together one of those family ads for graduates. I thought I'd share the pictures with you guys. And an excerpt from their blurbs.
Dad: Carla is constantly seeking. Even as a 2 year old it was always “Tell me more, Daddy, tell me more.” . . . She has made any dreams I might have had come true. I didn’t get much formal education. But Carla has done it for me. She is my adventure child.
(Dude, could my user name be any more appropriate? My heart just grew ten sizes today.)
Mom: I taught her that books were adventurous and fun even before she could walk (as soon as she could pull them off the shelf.) I read to her every night even after she could read them herself. Being able to read is the foundation for all other learning.
(3) See, also, this picture of my dad in a St. Pat's parade: Link to a picture where my dad has the best grin.
(4) See, also, that time Dad made me want to clutch my laptop to my chest, I needed to hear what he had to say so badly: "[W]e will take off in some direction and ride til sundown . . . just a ride with nowhere in particular in mind as a destination. Just a ride to burn up gas, see things and accomplish nothing but have fun."
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