With Regrets…The Grown Up Breakfast Club
Posted on December 2, 2013
We never really know how a holiday is going to unfold, especially during a year like 2013. Can you spell ‘craptastic’? I know who people who can’t. I honestly wasn’t sure what Thanksgiving would be like. Would Ralph be depressed? Would my father behave? Would my mother get loud if he didn’t? Would my grandmother irk my mother? Would my mother irk her mother? Would I get irked with all the irking going on? Would Ralph take an irksome tone with me of the sheer amount of irkdome in the house? Or would it all go smoothly? And would there be any deep thoughts that came to the surface? There were, but I’ll tell you about those in a bit. First…
It went surprisingly smooth, but I overthought the menu again. The honey ham and honey turkey were quite delicious. Getting to that course of the meal was a bit tricky, however. We first had to get through the snacks, the cheese & crackers, the M&Ms, the white chocolate truffles, olives, spinach & artichoke dip, then the appetizers like mini quiches, pigs in a blanket and deviled eggs, then load up on garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and honey biscuits with honey butter…all before getting to the aforementioned honey turkey and honey ham.
Our guests enjoyed themselves and though I rarely made it out of the kitchen, I did, too. Ralph did the socializing and entertaining, which was very much appreciated. Any real depth to the day, though, was relegated to after company left, after we both took a shower and were finally relaxing on the couch.
I’m not entirely sure why, but… No, I do know why I broached the topic. There have been many times since we moved in to the house when I’d catch myself thinking about my father-in-law, thinking about how the place used to be and then feeling like I was falling into a bottomless pit of realization that things will never be that way again. They’re a slippery slope, those thoughts, and no good can come of them. The worst part is what it takes to rescue yourself from that bottomless pit. You can’t climb back up. Rather, you have to will yourself simply to exist back in the present and escape the past.
Anyway, I told my husband that I had one regret where his father was concerned. We (me, my husband when he was home and my brother-in-law) would visit his father at the rehabilitation home for several hours a day. The man wasn’t always very talkative when we were there, but he’d come alive during the last half hour of the night before visiting hours ended. He’d come up with a handful of things plus some that he wanted/needed done and there was no way to get them all done in the time we had.
There were days when I’d have already had my own father for the day, my brother-in-law worked, and we’d be ready to leave once they announced visiting hours were over. To stay later meant having to find somebody to let us out, which wasn’t always easy and could be quite time-consuming, plus getting home late, plus running any errands we needed to fairly late, plus so many other things. None of us anticipated it would only last until April, so staying later after we’d already been there for a while kind of irked us. All of us had grrrr moments with it, but I now regret having mine.
Telling this to Ralph prompted a little story of regret of his own where his father was concerned. I’ll not be sharing that here since it’s his to tell, not mine. Suffice to say it was a moment where we both shared something very personal that brought us a little closer together. It was also something I didn’t know about and there aren’t many things I can say I don’t know about him. I know. I ask. It annoys him. And he reminds me that he doesn’t ask me.
I also shared a little something I regret about my father with him. Dad repeats himself endlessly and there are days when it gets to me. There are days when after the fourth or fifth time of hearing the same four or five things over and over again that my way of stopping him is to tell him that he’s talking just to hear himself talk. That’s essentially exactly what he’s doing, only he can’t help himself. He doesn’t know. It doesn’t mean anything to him. But silence has its virtues, so even a couple of minutes of it before he starts up again can sometimes make the difference. Yet I regret telling him this.
Who knew what The Breakfast Club generation would grow up to be like? We were supposed to make our way out into the world and conquer it…or some such thing. I can’t say I’ve strayed very far from the nest, but there have been times I have and I’ve seen some of my peers have done the same exact thing. Some of gone further for longer and some of have gone shorter. Some of us have taken care of our parents and some will later on. Is it what we expected? No. Do we do it anyway? Yes. And we’ll all have our regrets. We’ll have to live with them…in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.
The Grown Up Breakfast Club
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.