Saturday, August 2, 2008

Thursday would have been my father's eightieth birthday.

I had two dogs scheduled for a vet visit, and my sister called to offer me help wrangling the Labradors. I wasn't going to take her up on her offer, but then I remembered the date, so I gratefully accepted.

Neither of us mentioned the anniversary that day.

However, the next day, I reminded her. "I know," she said.

She then shared with me that she is reminded of my father many times a day, as every time she looks down at her own hands, she sees my father's hands as well. "And I don't know what to do about it," she said.

"Get a tattoo," I suggested, joking, as I have never wanted anything decorative as permanent as a tattoo.

"What," she asked. "Like LOVE and HATE?"

"Or maybe SIT DOWN and SHUT UP," I suggested.

My family lives in the house I was raised in, and I have been hesitant to make changes. It almost seemed like I was eradicating my parents' memory.

However, I now know I need to make this house my own, not just by the repairs we do, but by the decorating. Never mind that the decor is not at all to my taste, it is not healthy to keep it a shrine to my parents. So this week, I will finish preparing the bathroom, and then I will paint it my beach-themed aqua and hang my shoreline prints on the wall. Then I will move to the hall, and tear down my mother's beloved wallpaper and use plain white paint, and then start on yet another room. Like my sister, I will always have some constant reminders of my parents, but I can change the form of some of them so the memories are truly mine.

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