The big day has arrived. Open house day will be very busy. Dad has slept in and I’ve barely slept after completing some middle-off-the-night baking and preparations. Checking my list, I realize that I forgot about the hot mulled cider. Did I ask someone to bring a gallon of cider, or not? I didn’t check it off, but I think I might have. Oh, well…if I didn’t, we’ll just do without. Dad’s daughter will be arriving soon, so it’s time to wake Dad. He showers and gets dressed. He’s not very hungry, but I’m not worried, since this afternoon, he will munch on all the goodies at the open house.
I leave the house in plenty of time to meet the bus when it arrives, but 30 is the new 45, and traffic is heavy. I’m just a few minutes late. When I arrive at the bus station, Nina runs out from inside, throws her bag in the back seat and climbs in, teeth chattering. It has been unusually cold for February and we are all complaining.
Back at the house, Dad is excited to see his daughter. We sit down to a light breakfast, catch up on what’s been happening here, and decide what else we need to do for the open house. Guests begin arriving long before the event, some to help with setup, others just bringing food, intending to return later. The gallon of cider has arrived and by the time the clock strikes 3, the table is laden with food, the cider is mulled and hot, and the house is already full of people coming to wish Dad well in the next chapter of his life. There is so much food that I wonder what we’ll do with the leftovers after everyone leaves.
By 3pm, the place is so packed with friends and acquaintances that a line forms, everyone waiting to see Dad, say goodbye and wish him well. Nearly 100 people show up during the course of the afternoon. By 6pm, Dad is exhausted, but happy to have visited with so many friends, and a little sad at the thought of leaving everyone in just a few days.
As it turns out, there isn’t much left over other than cupcakes, which we take out to the lobby for the residents of the building to enjoy.
A few friends have stayed to clean up, and by 6:30, we’re done with that chore. We’re still nibbling on the the remaining fruit on the edible arrangement and some wonderful bits of cheese and crackers. Once everyone is gone, Dad goes to watch TV for a while and Nina and I begin the task of packing up things to take to New York for his new apartment. It’s a small space, so we choose carefully, asking him as we find things for a yay or nay. I’ll be going home in the morning to get moving boxes and bubble wrap i’ve stored in my basement, but when I come back, we will continue packing things to be shipped.
My time with Dad is almost up. I go in to take off his glasses, turn off the TV and kiss him softly on the cheek for the last time. This time next week, he’ll be living in New York.
I wouldn’t have missed these five days for anything.