I'm visiting my dad this weekend, a very common trip for me. It's only a couple of hours away and although I hate the drive, it is always worth the trip. Given various circumstances that made up my childhood, my dad was my primary caregiver from adolescence on. My mom was also a caregiver during those years, but I really looked to (and still do) my dad for day-to-day issues along with any significant dramas that came up. He's a quiet man who requires very little which is both a blessing and curse. Most times I hate that I can't read his mind in order to meet whatever small needs
he may have. But when he does open up and reveal something about himself, it feels especially meaningful.
Today we went out for lunch in the city he grew up in. My dad has always been a fan of taking the long way to our destinations. As I teenager I hated it, as an adult, I find myself doing it too. We took the long way to the restaurant through his old neighborhood, a common route. He grew up in a three family house filled with siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. His childhood experience was so different from
how he raised his children. For us, it was just the three of us kids, each in our own room, in a large colonial house. So, the stories that he tells about his childhood always fascinate me. In addition to all of the family that lived in this house, there were a number of aunts, uncles, and cousins who lived down the block and around the corner. It's fun to imagine this huge (and I am not exaggerating here) clan of Irish immigrants and their broods of children running up and down the blocks of this urban neighborhood.
We took a long, slow drive today and I had a chance to hop out on a couple of occasions to take some
pictures. He, of course, thought that was really strange, but I think that my interest prompted him to share a little more than he usually does. Days like these are becoming more and more the reason I come home so frequently.