Notice I didn’t say safe and ‘sound.’ That was deliberate because, at almost 86, my Dad isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. He knows it, we all know it – we just don’t put a label on it.
What constitutes being ‘sound’ really?
Ask a person, who has lived a long hard life, how they feel and they’re just as likely to answer, “fine,” as they are to actually attempt to describe how difficult their day was beginning with getting out of bed to completing a few everyday tasks. Or, as my Dad often answers the doctor when asked that question, “how much time do you have?”
Mom, on the other hand, seldom leaves her place at the breakfast table because even the slightest exertion gets her winded. She watches her programs, she reads, she does her crossword puzzles and she organizes my Dad’s meals and meds. Mom (who’s deaf in one ear and has perfected the art of ‘selective hearing’) has a unique way of filtering sound. When she sleeps, it’s on her ‘good’ ear so she doesn’t get bothered by outside noise.
Dad, like myself, not only hears every annoying beep and bang but involuntarily waits for the next one to disturb him. And, with nothing but time on his hands, that’s a lot of disturbance. As musicians, Dad and I are literally victims of the very sounds that we’ve spent our lives crafting for others’ enjoyment.
Is it healthier to face your demons head on or to ignore them in hopes that they’ll eventually go away? I guess that’s for each of us to discover!
“So I see you’re getting married.” “Yep.” “Do I know her?” “Nope.” “This woman. Is she good looking?” “Not really.” “Is she a good cook?” “Nah. She can’t cook too well.” “Does she have lots of money?” “Nope. Poor as a church mouse.” “Well, then. Is she good in bed?” “I don’t know.” “Why in the world would you want to marry her, then?” “Because she can still drive after dark!”
Ever since my Mom realized that I could tape her programs for her, she now happily goes to bed at a more reasonable hour. Because of football and baseball games running overtime on prime time tv channels, her favorite shows are oftentimes delayed by thirty to sixty minutes.
The problem is, now that I’ve made her life easier, I’ve simultaneously made mine more difficult. As many times as I’ve shown her how to operate the remote (and also written out perfectly clear instructions), she still insists that I do it for her. And, because the tv’s ‘guide’ only lists shows on the hour and half-hour, these tapings usually run ‘part-way’ through two consecutive programs. That makes it even more complicated.
So, while I constantly try to find new ways to improve my parents’ quality of life, I inevitably discover even more ways to complicate mine!
You can live an entire lifetime and never know true love. You can live a long and productive life and never be loved. You can love someone and never have that love returned. Love is… complicated.
But if you’re lucky enough to find true love and to live a full and joyous life with that one special person, then you’d be in the same small club that my parents are members of. How do you know? Simple.
You have been with the same person for more years than you can count.
You can barely remember a time when you weren’t together.
You think about that person first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.
So… Still not sure? Then ask yourself this question: “Am I a better person because he/she is in my life?” If the answer is, “yes,” then chances are you have found your ‘sole’ mate!
I’m all for full disclosure and share and share alike. But there are exceptions. Keeping the bathroom door open during use is one. Asking your grown daughter to remove an unsightly and ever-annoying piece of nose hair is another. I mean… seriously? That’s a job neither your barber nor your doctor want any part of.
Privacy is a funny thing. A toddler exhibits no understanding of boundaries when he rushes, head first, into his parents bed in the middle of the night – having no clue as to why mommy and daddy are playing ‘doctor’ when they should be sleeping. A parent will insist that a pubescent teenager’s bedroom door remain open during any and all ‘study’ sessions.
Yet some things are just better left unknown – unseen and unheard. Deeply disturbing sights and sounds (horrific crashes or parents having sex) can stay permanently etched in the recesses of your mind. Freedom to come and go as you please is a wonderful privilege. But a door is there… for a reason!