July 6, 2016 Leave a comment
This is a story my cousin Tiffany recalled during a recent family gathering when my mom asked us what we remembered from the summer my parents were away a lot, leaving me and my brother and cousins to fend for ourselves. As soon as she mentioned the dust, I remembered that picnic too, and we were able to reconstruct the story. I decided it’s entertaining enough to tell in public.
Twenty-seven years ago this month, I was 16, my brother Ben and cousin Tiffany were 13, and Tiffany’s brother Mark was 10–and our grandmother (Janmother) was hospitalized suddenly. My dad, Ben, and I rushed to Oklahoma City, where she lived (a 3-hour drive from our home), to be with her while she awaited the test results that showed her cancer had recurred. She would spend the rest of that summer in the hospital having treatment.
Meanwhile, Tiffany and Mark, who lived in Tennessee, had non-refundable plane tickets to visit us–arriving just a few days after Janmother went to the hospital! We drove from Oklahoma City to the Tulsa airport to get them and took them right back to Oklahoma City at first.
Then we began the pattern that defined the rest of the summer: My dad, who couldn’t take much time off from his job, spent weekends in Oklahoma City. My mom, whose work was mostly during the school year, spent weekdays there. Every Sunday night and Friday night, they switched places. This meant that one of them was always on hand to supervise Janmother’s care–which proved frighteningly necessary in that hospital! In order to overlap so that they could update each other on Janmother’s condition and the state of things at home (and have a little time together, for gosh sakes!), they left us home alone for 7 or more hours each time. We also were alone every weekday while my dad was at work.
We were responsible teenagers! We didn’t have any wild parties, burn down the house, or get seriously injured. We just got a bit more silly than we might have been with supervision. Read more of this post