Back home from visiting my dad after his operation. He’s had a recent cancer scare (see my earlier post) and is now living with a new appreciation of things.
He’s looking really good. He’s lost a bit of weight and is looking pretty trim. He’s well rested, although a bit sore still, and is very positive. He told me he’d been pretty down recently and before the op was moping around feeling very sorry for himself. He did all the usual things such as renewing wills, organising finances etc in case the worst happened. Thankfully it didn’t.
It is almost 20 years since I was last at the farm. My parents bought it when I was in junior high school and I have never had a chance/reason to visit since then.
I guess I’m not really that close to my parents. No special reason, just worked out like that. But seeing them for the weekend was fantastic. My brother Scott picked me up from Brisbane Airport and we drove together the 2 hours chatting and laughing the whole time. I have two brothers and they are both really cool. Scott is a plumber in Brisbane and Andy is a bricklayer up around where my parents live in Toowoomba.
When we arrived at the farm, mum was waiting out the front and gave me a big hug. Dad staggered out and shook my hand. We went inside, sat down and talked. They have just moved into their new house on the farm. The house was completed a few days before dad went into hospital (I think he feared he wouldn’t see it again) and is big and warm.
The night was chilly and they had a big fire warming the place. Fantastic. I love a fireplace in winter (we don’t have one in our unit and even if we did we aren’t allowed to light them in Sydney as they cause too much pollution).
That night mum showed me to my room. It had the bed in it I had slept in as a teenager. I’m quite tall so my parent bought me a special extended length mattress when I was living at home. When I moved out in my mid twenties I took it with me. It wasn’t until I got married that I no longer needed it. My parents took it back to use as a spare.
And here it was again. They’d brought it up to farm when they moved from Sydney, stored it, and now it was in their new house. Here I was back under my parent’s roof, sleeping in my own bed. It was kinda weird but I also felt… safe, comfortable, young, I don’t know, it was just something I hadn’t expected.
Over the next few days I chatted extensively with mum and dad, even fixed a few computer problems they were having. I showed them stuff I was developing for work and listened as they told me all about the farm, locals, the house, avocados and ultimate fighting (this is a weird sport by brother follows where people get in a cage and beat themselves senseless. It actually has a few rules but is pretty much anything goes. Andy has all the videos of the world championships which I find a bit scary, and my parents just shake their heads in bemusement).
I visited a few places and caught up with my Uncle Bob (yep, Bob’s me uncle) although I had very little idea what he was saying as he mumbles in a kind of country farmer drawl the whole time.
My parents drove me back to the airport and I flew home, feeling much closer to my family, relieved for my dad, and really happy for them in general.
I have a tendency to exclude family and friends in favour of code and learning, but this visit taught me much about appreciating how lucky I am to have a family that cares for each other and me. Although dad had a close call and came through OK it made me aware of how fragile they (and we) are. I won’t always have them around, so I’m going to reprioritise my time to spend more with the people who matter most.