Thursday saw me getting all my work totally up to date, so I could fly down to visit my family in Norwich with a clear conscience on Friday.
I had choir-practice on Thursday evening, nipped in to the supermarket for baking ingredients, and arrived back home in pouring rain. Got a neighbour to babysit while I ran the babysitter home. Baked buns for the school Christmas Fayre, and a cake for the family. (My sons set great store by the fact that their mum does real “home-baking” for the stall, rather than raiding Iceland at 8.45 am. Who’s the sensible mum, though? Not me!)
Rang my mother from the airport on Friday morning to learn that Dad, who has been hospitalised for 6 weeks already, had just suffered another mini-stroke, the day before his 80th birthday. There would be no birthday meal at our local restaurant - medical permission was cancelled!
The next 24 hours passed in a whir. I visited Dad twice. The second time, I had to persuade my sister to stop at a garage for oil, or we’d have been stranded in deepest, darkest Norfolk in the middle of the night. Her car took nearly 3 bottles of oil - I shivered at the thought of what might have been!
Every time I see my Dad, I'm painfully aware it could be the last. Yesterday evening I tucked him up in bed and kissed him goodbye - the wheel turns full circle. Is it REALLY all those years since I was the one being tucked up at bedtime?
(It's hard to believe that it's 45 years since he tucked a three-year old up in bed after having demonstrated, practically, why it wasn't a good idea to drink orange squash then milk in close succession. You try mixing the two together, and see if its very appearance doesn't turn your stomach! Of all the bedtimes, the funniest occasions stick in one's memory. Another vivid memory is his bedtime stories - of Esmerelda and the flying carpet, or the wicked witch who disappeared when a little boy got all the villagers to throw water at her.)
Saturday evening - I should be at a concert. I’m too d… knackered! I did the supermarket run and am about to do my nails. That’s my idea of indulgence. It's rather sad, isn't it?