Flash forward five days and I am in Newark, Delaware in the ICU unit of a hospital, staring at my dad hooked up to all kinds of machines. His left foot was amputated just above the ankle, and his face was swollen and practically unrecognizable. A few hours earlier when I got the phone call from my mom, I remember the thoughts rushing through my head. "Your father was hit while riding his motorcycle," she says, and before she even could complete the sentence, I was thinking to myself, oh my god, my dad is dead.
Again, for those of you who know me, you are well aware that my dad is not dead, and in fact, he is recovering nicely. He has been home from the hospital for over two weeks now, and he should be fitted for a prosthesis sometime within the month. In all, life is good--or at least, we are lucky that it's not worse.
Essentially, what this translated into for me was a month where I took a break from my own life and turned into a surrogate mom. I helped her with errands, dog watching, and cooking. Well, let's be honest--out of nowhere, I embraced my inner Julia Child. And of course, there were the daily hospital visits.
I don't know if it's strange, but I actually really enjoyed being a help to them. One moment I remembered in particular was pushing my dad's wheelchair through a corridor at Bryn Mawr rehab. I casually joked to him that I would check to see if there was an adult version of a jogging stroller--I could take him on an 8 mile run in Fairmount Park. He politely refused (I wonder why), but there was something very powerful about feeling like I was behind him, making sure he got to where he needed to go.
Eventually, I needed to return to my own life. I had an apartment in New Jersey that still needed to be vacated, and a new one in New Haven that still very much looks like a storage locker. But my domestic side hasn't left me. Just this morning, I sent Pat to work with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and coffee to go, jokingly saying, "have fun at school, honey!" I can't help it--despite my cynicism, there is a domestic in me somewhere.
I hope this trend continues when grad school starts. If anything, because we will have to adjust to living on a shoe string budget again; and daily Starbucks breakfasts simply will not do. It's funny though, right? Despite my strong urge to further my career and push my brain to it's limit; I am also just as satisfied with an apron and a spatula (well, I don't have an apron, but you get the idea). Oh, and I just broke out my muffin tin--we'll see where the day takes me...