My father is going back into the hospital -Â since, my mom isÂ feeling better and it'sÂ his turn, anyway...dammit! - and thoughÂ this round of surgery is not life threatening,Â I do believe that this time, his going under the knife (for the 10th time in three years) will undoubtedly prove to beÂ myÂ family's undoing!
"...just wanted to let you know..."
"...your father and I are home."
"Good...um...is everything okay?"
"Oh, that...yes, your father's just trying to take his [blankety-blank] jacket off..."
"WOULD YOU JUST CALM DOWN...FOR THE LOVE OF...GETTING YOURSELF AGGRIVATED ISN'T GOING TOÂ HELP...IS IT!?!?"
"Ugh...I hope they fix him, soon...becauseÂ his [blankety-blank] pain is killing me!
"I'm sorry,Â Sweetie...did you sayÂ something?"
"Nope, see youÂ Sunday...love you...buh-bye!"
Typically, I would have stayed on the line and offered my mother a few comforting words - like, "Don't worry," and "You'll be fine!" - but, these days - what, with myÂ mother'sÂ new knees and my father'sÂ dead arm - I'm lucky if I get a word in above all the hissing, spitting and cursing.
"Um...okay, love you...buh-bye!"
On the one hand, I think it's natural for my parents to feel frustrated with the physical pain they've each had to go through for the past...well, feels like forever to them, I'm sure.Â On the other hand...holy cats!...do my kids have to see their grandparentsÂ scratch each others eyes out...every Sunday!?!
[shieldingÂ them from all the spit]
"I know youÂ are having a tough time - just take a look at all the zits on my chin - really, I do.
This is where I usually start toÂ lose itÂ - because I am A WIMPY-ASSED CRY-BABY!
"But...[snort]...that's no reason...[snarf]...to hurt each other!"
And then my father starts to cry.
"Don't youÂ know...[snarf]...howÂ much it hurts me, too...[snort]...already!?!"
And then my mother starts to cry.
"I just love these family-get-togethers; don't you!?!"
Now, we're all laughing (and crying)Â and blowing snot likeÂ it was 1999 -Â I can'tÂ quite remember what happened, then, but I'm pretty sure someone was getting somethingÂ repaired, rebuilt or replaced.
"Ummmm...why are guys crying?"
[eyes go wide]
Oh, [blankety-blank] the kids!
"Uh, we're not crying."
"Yes, you are...[snarf]...and...[snort]...it's making me sad!"
And then the rest ofÂ my kids...oh, you know.
On the one hand, I think it's okay for my kids to see that grown ups canÂ be sad, frustrated, angry...well, everything they feel about us, pretty much, andÂ on a regular basis.Â On the other hand, holy catharsis...I can't help but wonder, you know,Â do they really have to see...this...much...snot!?!
"Don't worry...we're fine...the sad is gone...these ARE happy tears!"
"Who's ready for soup?!?!"
And thenÂ my fatherÂ does someÂ funny gestures with isÂ dead arm, makes the kids laughÂ and they charge into my mother's kitchen to eat everything...they do NOT eat at home.
"Mmmm...I wuv mama's duck...es-pesh-wee da neck!"
So, what are you doing thisÂ Sunday?Â
This is where I wouldÂ typically think, TGIF.
"Have a terrific weekend!"
But, you're welcome to hang around - just a little longer -Â and tell me that everything is going to be, you know,Â okay.