Will You Marry Me?

Holidays can be depressing. When you first wake up and think, Today is Black Friday, but I don’t have anything planned, and I can’t go anywhere, it’s a downer.
When you’re a care giver, everything revolves around that. You can’t run to exercise class today, because it’s been cancelled. You can’t go hiking today, even though it’s 70 degrees outside. It would take too long, and you can’t fit it in between your sister’s bathroom breaks.
You get up, eat a piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast, and get in the hot tub. One of life’s best pleasures is dunking into hot water. Then you post your blog for the day, take a shower, and get your sister out of bed.
She doesn’t want to do it by herself. You try to pull her up, and you hear your back cracking all the way up to your neck.
“I can’t do it for you,” you say. “You have to do it.”
You wait. She pulls herself up to the walker. It takes a long time. You can’t lose your patience. She’s your sister. It’s not her fault this has happened to her.
The physical therapist comes right after you’ve gotten Sis up, dressed, and fed. You see your chance and grab the leash. Your dog is getting a real walk today while the therapist is there.
Dozens of people are out walking their dogs, too. Not everyone went shopping.
When you get back home, the therapist is frustrated. She complains about how it went. She says, “If you insist on her pushing the wheelchair around the court, I am out. It’s too dangerous.”
“It wasn’t my idea,” I said. “I will never take her out that way.”
You like this therapist, but she surprises you when she says,” You can’t do this by yourself much longer.”
“I was going to have a ramp built, but it’s expensive and hard to get someone to do it.”
You heat up the leftovers from Thanksgiving and serve lunch. Then another bathroom break and you see you’re out of gloves.
“I’m running to the store for gloves and bananas,” you tell your sis after she’s back in her chair. “I’ll be right back.”
You are lost in your thoughts. It would’ve been a great day to go hiking. As you push the shopping cart back to the drugstore (you bought way more than gloves), a teen-aged boy runs up and yells, “Will you marry me?”
You turn and see him down on one knee. His female friend is taking a photo.
“Sorry, sorry!” they both yell after she gets the shot.
What? You’ve just been part of someone’s prank or dare. The two teens jump into a waiting car.
“You’re a little young!” you call to peals of laughter as the teens drive off.
Now you’re smiling. That was ridiculous. You could be his grandmother.
You get home and wonder, what am I going to do for the rest of the day? It’s a holiday, so the schedule is off. You pick up dog poo and sit in the sun. Your sis is asleep in the chair. Conversation with her is fleeting and mostly at meal times and bed time.
You send off a book review, do a load of laundry, and watch Ellen at 4:00. It’s a rerun. Your visiting daughter sends a text. She will come over for dinner after all.
Bring your brother, you text back.
You check with the agency to see if anyone is coming, the first time you’ve requested a Friday night. They don’t always come through.
Yes, a woman is driving from Vallejo. Meryl. You like her. She gives a good shower.
The kids won’t be there for an hour, so when the caregiver comes you take the dog to the park for some ball throwing. Then you drop the dog back at the house, grab a flashlight and take another walk. Everyone is wrapping up their outdoor holiday decorating. You find a bunch of mail in the middle of the street from several blocks over. Mail theft, and they’ve dumped the junk mail. You gather it up and take it home and call the police. They say they’ll be by to get it.
Your kids show up, and you feed everyone except Meryl, who feels weird that you haven’t left the house. After dinner, you go downtown with the kids to the tree lighting, which is mostly over, and wander the main street with the rest of the locals. People are wearing lights around their bodies and Santa hats. You hear some bad singing and good guitar-playing. The snow angel is wandering around, posing for photos.
“Look at all the Uggs,” you daughter says. “They’re out of style!”
It’s balmy for November. You decide to get frozen yogurt. You walk up and down the street three times looking for a place that is still open.
You get back by 9:00. Meryl says the police showed up for the mail. She puts your sister in her bed, you all say good night to her, and your kids hang out for another hour.
When you go to bed, your legs are aching from your three outings. It was sort of like hiking. Caregiver hiking.
It’s been a better day than you had hoped for.

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