Mundane

This entry doesn’t really
have a theme.
All I have is
a tiny story.
I spent Saturday
with my father.
He lives in an assisted living apartment
an hour away.
We ran some errands
and ate at his favorite spot, Bob Evans.
In the afternoon he lay on his bed
while I set up an ironing board
in his small living room.
He napped and I ironed.
The staff there does his laundry weekly
but they don’t do ironing.
Nice clothes were never a priority for him,
but I’ve become aware that nowadays
his pants look more wrinkled,
and his shirts have more soiled spots.
Dad’s eyesight is so diminished
that he can’t see the difference.
But I can.
Others can.
So I stood there, cleaning spots
and pressing out wrinkles.
Before long I had two realizations.
First: “I’m happy doing this.”
Second: “This is meaningful to me.”
I was performing this very mundane task
with great contentment
because it was for Dad.
His hands couldn’t do it
and mine could,
so it was perfect that mine did.
He couldn’t see the results
but he deserves being clothed in this way,
so I ironed very attentively,
taking special care.
He didn’t expect this act at all,
but he had cared for me
in so many ways through the years,
and now I could care for him
in a tiny, personal way.
There was nothing more I wanted
to be doing while he slept.
Nothing more I desired
when later he sat in his chair
and we chatted and reminisced
while I stood opposite, iron in hand.
It doesn’t happen all the time,
but sometimes caregiving is so simple,
so basic, so tactile, so natural,
such a minor expression of a major love,
that one feels,
“This is just right!”
And it is.

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