Sunday afternoon, April 15, I was taking a nap. A nap on a rug.
Not a literal rug, but a figurative one. Honestly, I had no clue I still even had that rug.
Because when I left for college and then when I had a family of my own, I was sure that I left the comfort of that rug and moved onto my own.
But when the phone rang, waking me up from my Sunday afternoon nap and I heard the words “Ginia ... don’t want you to be alarmed ... your dad ... hospital ...” Click.
Somebody, somewhere pulled that rug out from under me and I immediately began to sink. Suffocating with new feelings and emotions.
Logically, I know and have known that my parents are mortal and will die someday. Unfortunately, I have lost several close family members and I know how that feels. That pain. That loss. But my parents are really never sick. Ever. My dad especially. I suppose over the years I have taken for granted the health we have been blessed with.
But when I drove up to my parents’ house surrounded by ambulance only moments after being yanked out of dreamland, it felt like waking up in a new world. A new reality. Surely this was a dream. A bad dream, but a dream at least. And that meant I would wake up and all would be normal.
Instead we drove to Springfield in the fog of this new world and waited to hear word that my dad, an invincible pillar of strength in my life, had suffered a stoke.
I was helpless.
Shock. Pain. Worry. Love. New reality.
At that moment I felt that my age didn’t match with how I felt inside. I didn’t feel like a grown-up. I remember thinking the statement one of my aunts had said when my grandma died, “It feels like the grown-ups should take over.”
It was gone in an instant and since that Sunday I know that I am without a doubt standing on my own. Despite the fact that my dad is alive and recuperating amazingly, my perspective has shifted. A new rug.
And that’s a good thing, I suppose.
Empowering and scary at the same time.
It was very strange to hold my first staff meeting that Monday morning after and look into the watery eyes of my other family, some who have been with The Record since before I was born.
I realized a rug had been pulled out from all of us.
In that fog of my new reality, we worked together and put out a newspaper.
My dad came home from the hospital and began to immediately improve and life seemed to be veering along a new path.
That same week, Jackson, my “baby” brother, left for Kansas City and came back a Marine Corps Poolee.
My dad began his recovery, a recovery where he is NOT supposed to go to work for a few weeks (he has been working at this job nearly every day since he was 17 — he is 57 now!).
Yes, the rug is gone, but its absence has given me a new-found appreciation for my parents, for my family and for those who support us. The suddenness was a nudge (more like a push) out of the nest in some weird, unexplainable way.
My emotions on this new rug have been very confusing and they don’t look any clearer on the horizon.
Because Jackson will graduate from high school on Sunday.
And this new normal will shift again.
And we will shift with it.
On our new rugs.