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The Vacation I Became a Parent to My Father

In Hawaii, I walked around in white pedal pushers, carrying a large, white straw purse, (even larger than my mom’s) thinking that all the boys would surely notice me. Well, if they did it wasn’t as anything but a flat-chested twelve- year-old carrying a purse way too big for her and smiling like a complete dork.

In New York, I was a bit more sophisticated. Sort of. I actually fell in love and had my heart broken all in one night. This incident caused my father to go into a rage and want to go kill whoever had made his baby girl cry so horribly. (The closest I got to a Baby moment.)

When he found out I was sobbing hysterically because I would never see that boy again, he wanted to kill me!

But no matter what age I was when we traveled, I knew my father would get us to our destination safely. He would take care of everything (hotels, car rentals, food, souvenirs, fun) while we were on our vacation. And see to it that we arrived home in one piece.

Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t lose my patience a bit. Especially when my father was asking for a cocktail only a few minutes after we had taken our seats on the plane. But then I couldn’t blame him.

The first-class passengers were drinking wine and eating hors d’oeuvres, while the coach passengers were still boarding. The combined age of those first-class passengers was probably only a few years past that of my dad’s.

We arrived safely in Mexico and as I had promised my father, there was a wheelchair waiting to take us through customs. And as I had also promised there were beautiful sunrises (well, I guess I didn’t have much say in that event) and delicious huevos rancheros (again not something I prepared) and many wonderful hours playing cards, drinking margaritas and laughing.

can take credit for some of those.

Upon returning home safely, my father grasped my hands, looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you so much. We made it home safe and sound, didn’t we?”

“Yes, we did,” I said. “But you don’t have to thank me.”

To be honest, it was difficult at times. Traveling with elderly parents presents many obstacles.

But the truth is, now that my father is gone, I wish I could do it all over again.

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