Granted, my parents lived 500 miles away, but even when we do visit back and forth, other people are with us.
Now you've got to understand my dad a little bit... he's struggles with effects from a stroke and multiple other brain issues, including dementia and Alzheimer's. He doesn't speak much because, quite frankly, he can't. He often can't remember words, so we're left to interpret hand gestures, single words and grunts.
Today my mom had brunch with a friend and Dad said, "I want to go somewhere particular."
Alright, then. That doesn't help much. "Where, Dad?"
"Let's go," he answered.
"Is this going to be a long trip or a short one?" I mean, I do have two kids to coordinate.
Once we made it to the car, he remembered the name of his favorite haunt from the time he lived here. "Phil's."
Ahhh. Not so short.
So he and I sat in a booth in the bar of the restaurant and watched football. (I'm not a football fan, btw.) He occasionally sipped his beer. I had a few bites of a meatball sandwich.
We didn't talk.
Okay, so I offered up a few football opinions here and there. He nodded and smiled, maybe laughed if it was funny. But he didn't say anything in return.
Back when he lived here, my dad went to Phil's almost every day. He loved it there. And watching him today as he sat there was such a blessing. He was happy. Happy. Dad doesn't seem to feel many emotions. I'm not sure his brain works like that anymore.
When he sees me after a long separation, he's happy for a few minutes. Sometimes he gets frustrated. Occasionally, angry. But each emotion only lasts a few minutes.
At Phil's, Dad was relaxed. Comfortable. Pleased. For an entire hour and a half.
Thank you, Jesus, for Phil's. Thank you for giving Dad an opportunity to feel this content again.