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April 8, 2017 / Meredith

Those Old And/Or Dead Parents

Today marked the five-year anniversary of my father-in-law’s death.  Knick took me out to lunch at Flameburger, the go-to place for a fast meal when we visited his dad at “the home.”  Most notably we, Knick and I, took a quick Easter breakfast at Flameburger in the midst of standing vigil at Faux Pa’s side; it took the guy thirty-six hours to drift off into the big sleep.  Fortunately we didn’t miss his passing while we shoveled down greasy eggs and flat pancakes with all the patrons who had nowhere else to go on Easter morning.

We toasted Faux Pa with our big glasses of pop but didn’t talk about him at all during our lunch.  I thought Knick would have more to say in the memories of his dad, but no.  That seemed kind of strange and a little sad to me, but Knick and his parents were strange and sad in general as far as families go.  That’s only my opinion, and I’m sure plenty of people say the same about me and my family.  What I miss the most is the stories I could tell about Knick’s parents, how completely absurd they were.

I wasn’t my mother-in-law’s first choice of wives for her only boy, her only child.  On the other hand, she never treated him with any more respect than she would treat a dog, and she didn’t like dogs much.  I didn’t care much what Faux Ma thought of me because deep down I know she knew I was a good fit for Knicky.  She just had to be annoyed at something and I was a pretty clear target.

Faux Pa, on the other hand, well, I think he liked me and was glad to see his son happy in marriage.  For as long as I knew Knick’s parents Faux Pa was pretty subdued and succumbed to his wife’s fancies.  After studying the dynamic of the family of three I suspected Faux Pa wasn’t as easy-going in his younger days, and through the years my suspicions were confirmed.

The whole family was a frustrated bunch, and they frustrated me.  The best thing was, they provided endless blog fodder.  The paranoia, the mind games, the passive-aggressiveness, and the food.  Oh, the food!  Faux Ma was probably one of the worst cooks of any mother I’d ever known.

Knick doesn’t recognize the anniversary of his mother’s death because, sadly, he’s glad she’s dead.  Even though his dad ruled a bit more forcefully in Knicky’s youth, Knick has a soft spot in his heart for him.  I’ll never pretend to know completely what went on during Knick’s years with his parents, but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t great.  If he wants to piss on his mother’s grave, I’ll give him support.  If he wants to honor his father on the anniversary of his death, I’ll support that too.

Today’s thoughts reinforce the relationship I have with my parents.  Yes, they’re still alive, but besides being very loving and considerate people they’re the most frustrating, aggravating, stubborn people I know.  They gave me a good childhood, opportunities at their expense, and support and encouragement throughout my entire life.  They’re old now.  The least I can do is provide to my parents the patience and encouragement they gave me for so many years.  Because for me, being an orphan would suck.  Will suck.  And the time with them grows shorter with every day.

The End

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