He tries to see it as just ...life...responsibility. The kind of responsibility you were warned about when all you could think about was life void of imposed curfews. Only you found that once you achieved this level of maturity, your own folly came at the end of a long list of tending to the needs of others.
He tends to two families. One he chose and the other he was born into. One in the depths of age and one in its prime. It isn't easy. Is it really even possible? That question doesn't really matter, doesn't need to even be asked, because it is his responsibility. There are no other choices. He can only hope that his absence at one dinner table to is appreciated at the other.
You can find him cleaning and preparing breakfast for one family, then cleaning milk from a spilled cereal bowl for the other family. Putting wool socks on old tired feet, then settling an argument between mother and daughter over what is appropriate attire for school. He reads short stories by Ferrell Sams under fluorescent lights, then calls out spelling words on a Thursday night . He helps one stand and walk on wobbly legs, and then teaches another how to swing a bat.
His siblings muse about how sad it is to see their father this way, but he doesn't have the luxury to take time and reminisce.
So I try not to complain when I pick up the water towel off the bathroom floor each morning; a new phenomenon that has only presented itself in the last few months. I try not to huff when he interrupts my thoughts and chores with his own. I try not to do a roll call from my own to-do list when he complains that I need to pick up his work clothes from the cleaners. I ignore it when he leaves his supper dishes on the table, something he expects his children not to do.
Because someone needs to care for him too.
Lord, please help me to fill his cup, so that he can in turn give more of himself to others.