It is so hard to buy my folks a card these days. My mom is 71. My dad will be 80 in March. Their anniversary is this week, so I wanted to send them something. I went to look at cards.
I had to skip all the ones about doing fun things or traveling, because my Dad has gotten to the point where he can barely walk; he loses his balance all the time, and he gets nauseated in cars now. Sometimes they don’t even make it all the way out to Sunday dinner. My folks had planned to travel for their retirement, but after only a few trips, my dad was stricken with this strange malady where he can’t walk and falls over all the time.
Jokes about lawn mowing and barbecuing are out, because although he used to do these things, all he can manage now is a little lawn mower pushing before he is tired and has to come in. But he still feels like he needs to try and help. He became too depressed to do grilling and gave it up many years ago.
Jokes about enjoying a beer on your special day are out, because Daddy is a recovering alcoholic, so we can’t joke about beers. Don’t want to even put that idea in his head.
Jokes about becoming forgetful in your old age are out, because Daddy has been diagnosed with early stage dementia, probably due to his long standing alcoholism. He is increasingly distressed by his loss of memory of his once incredible vocabulary.
Teasing references about grumpy dads are out, because my Dad has always had an anger problem, and the dementia had only made him more irrational.
So what the hell do you send? I finally settled on a card with a cute little animal couple on it, suggesting that they debate about which of them is “the better half”. Even that one is a little dicey.
I never knew buying a greeting card was going to get so hard. There are so many things that you are not prepared for. No one tells you that when your folks get old, that nothing, not even innocuous things , are easy to do ever again.