Friday, March 5, 2010

take not the little things for granted

Dr. Mac moved to a retirement home yesterday. It's just across town but a million miles removed from the daily routine we've enjoyed for sixteen years. Oh, it's time and probably for the best. I get that. He's very frail and doesn't get around like he used to. He's going to appreciate the safety and security and, above all, the social aspect of his new home. We're left to appreciate all he's meant to us.

Dr. Mac tended things: camelias, azaleas, irises, tomatoes, birds, broken bicycles, broken spirits. He tended us. He was a well-loved medical doctor who, when retired, made free housecalls next door to diagnose ear infections, pink eye and chicken pox. I don't think I've ever left the house, even with the most seasoned of babysitters on hand, that I haven't called out, "Dr. Mac's next door if you need anything!" Truth is, I am the one who always needed something.

The way the two houses are configured, there are only about 25 feet between our respective kitchen windows. I've padded over in my robe and slippers to do laundry when our machine was broken, baked in Dr. Mac's oven when ours was overflowing, shared the clothesline, borrowed sugar, dish soap and, countless times, the 1983 Toyota when my car's been in the shop. During our high volume diaper years, I even borrowed space in his garbage can. For the first time in sixteen years, there wasn't a light on over Dr. Mac's kitchen sink last night. Nothing quite prepares you, although I've been bracing my heart for this day for quite some time. Sixteen years, if anyone's counting.

1 comment:

lit prof said...

This says it all. What a treasure those sixteen years were. I always felt a little bit better knowing that Dr. Mac was next door to you and the children. The three babies were two years old, a few months old, and one not even thought of yet when you moved in next door. He saw you through it all...right up through the two year old leaving for Sewanee 16 years later. And the two month old a high school junior. And, the "not even thought up one" a middle grader. I guess you could say Dr. Mac stayed on next door until his job was done. And what a job he did. And what a joy he is. This mother and grandmother sends her thank you, to Dr. Mac. You made all of our lives more serene.