That phrase “the tyranny of distance” has a new meaning in my life this week. Over the last couple of days I have driven over a 1000 Kilometres for the express purpose of attending the wedding of my nephew. I would not have missed it for the world, but, the drive made me think about all those times we were “just down the road” and how little we all appreciated that.
The bride and groom were just gorgeous and the whole day was blissfully beautiful, if a little hot, out by the lake for the ceremony. That however, is their story to tell, so back to the road trip and beyond. However, there was a moment that I will share at the end of this entry. A moment that had a big impact as I processed it today on the long drive home….
20 Minutes exercise.
Dad reminded me, before I went to bed, to brush my teeth and close the bedroom window. One I did (force of habit) the other I decided to ignore and live dangerously with the fresh air flowing.
Due to circumstances beyond our control the planned early morning swim did not eventuate so it was time to do my yoga/exercise routine in the quiet of the family room while mum and dad slept.
There is something serene about being in a different space and yet finding your centre as if you were at home. Soon I was stretching and planking and going through all my elements completely immersed in my own space.
I realised that even after only 18 days this is becoming part of how I function and that without it the day would not feel the same.
Mum appeared shortly after I had finished so it was time for hot water for me and a cup of tea for her.
20 Minutes learning.
So the guitar survived the road trip. That is important!! More important is that in the two days it got practised more than twice!!
Dad, who plays piano by ear, loved it and even had a bit of a hold and a strum. He lights up when any of us show any interest in music. Even mum, who has to be the least musical person in the family, commented that she liked the sound. I was humbled to think that this learning of mine was something that made them both smile.
We laughed as I stumbled on a few notes, I didn’t realise how stiff your hands and arms get after driving for 5 hours until I tried to play my simple but ever improving notes. It gave us something new to talk about and that is always a good thing.
20 Minutes planning.
It turns out that both my sisters and I are all on similar roads to better health! Paleo, a word we would never have used in conversation before, was now on the tip of our tongues. So over the last two days there has been much more than 20 minutes a day spent sharing ideas, recipes and things we want to try. What a strange world we live in that we are separated by the hundreds of kilometres and yet our hopes and dreams are aligning.
The Cinderella Dance ( a personal reflection).
Toward the end of the celebrations for the personal and heartfelt nuptials, of the gunslinger and his gorgeous teacher bride, there was the traditional bridal dance. Followed by, at the request of the father of the bride, the Cinderella dance where all the fathers and daughters in the room could dance together.
The fathers of the bridesmaid and other young women in the room were soon working their way around the dance floor. At first I sat watching the goings on and then as I glanced across the table at my dad, who is 80 in January, I thought to myself we should be up there. So I got up and went round the table and asked him to dance. He mumbled about being tired but graciously took off his suit jacket and then held my hand as we walked to the dance floor.
I never get tired of dancing with my dad but I didn’t realise until now how important it is to me. Fluffy picked up my camera and took a couple of shots of us dancing so then I tagged teamed her and took my camera and did the same. It occurred to me that Jamtart was still at the table and so I raced over and got her so she could tag team Fluffy and then I took a couple more shots of them.
I put the camera back on the table and returned to the dance floor where a much more animated dad was now doing his version of modern dance to something that he assured us you couldn’t waltz to. He gave Fluffy a bit of a jive lesson and we all laughed at the antics. When the song finished we all returned to the table and sat down sliding right back into the ongoing festivities . Nothing earth shattering as we have all been doing this all our lives.
Then today on the long 5 hour drive home I started thinking about that dance…
From the time we were little I remember dad running around the garden playing soccer with us girls and our brother the bike rider. He was always taking us on adventures. Mum would pack a box of sandwiches and a couple of thermos and off we would go exploring, wood collecting, fishing or kangaroo spotting in the national park to name but a few. He even drove us long distances to go to the rodeo and watch things that took our breath away.
My favourite thing though was when he danced with us. I don’t remember a time when he and mum didn’t dance. Whether it was out at an event or in our own lounge room with ballroom dancing records (and later CD’s) playing. He danced with us all at our weddings and there were a number of toes that were saved by his guidance of our betrothed.
This dance was different however, as this was the first time that I felt his age and his frailty. Don’t get me wrong he was still leading the way but it is different now. Once upon a time when you were unsure of the step he almost lifted you and firmly directed you on the path across the dance floor. Now his hold is so light and gentle and he is the one who had to think about the steps.
Tears streamed down my face as I drove as I realised that for all the frustration we now face as he dodders about we have been truly blessed. He and mum are well and fit for their age. We have seen our cousins grieve over the loss of parents yet the universe continues to fuel ours with the precious breath of life.
Our lives have been filled with stories from the man who has been on lots of adventures that he shares willingly with a sparkle in his eye. Some of those adventures have grown in dimension over time and have been repeated and reanimated for grand children and great grandchildren alike.
So it is with a heart filled with love for my family and gratitude for serendipitous moments that I reflect on yesterday.
The Cinderella dance was a gift and one that I am so grateful we got to share with Dad. Here’s hoping for yet more to come.