Yesterday, on our way out to grab a bit of lunch at the Highway 80 Café, Lowndes’ finest dining establishment, Sherod reached out from the truck and grabbed the mail in our mailbox. There was an envelope that at first looked like junk mail to me, and then, something made me look more carefully. It was addressed both to my dad and me. I opened it and my heart about stopped beating. My dad’s Green Card. He is now good and truly a permanent resident of this country and within 5 years could apply for citizenship.
It came months sooner than we’d been led to believe by the attorney we worked with and did not involve the interview with Immigration he’d said would happen in August or September and which I had been dreading. When Sherod and I were married and had to have our interview to determine the authenticity of our marriage so I could get my resident visa, I started weeping as soon as I stepped into that INS office in Atlanta and had a hard time stopping. The powerlessness even privileged people like I experience in those offices can be pretty brutal. At any rate, my father and I will not be interviewed, that card is in his hands and all the anxiety of waiting, and making decisions ‘as if’ but not really knowing, is over.
I headed down the road at 6 this morning, on my way to IKEA in Atlanta. This is a real act of love for one who despises the drive, especially since I had to go through Spaghetti Junction in downtown Atlanta. I’ve learned the trick: I close my eyes tight and step on the gas. Works like a dream every time!
I had the list of things my dad needed me to buy for him to finish furnishing his little house. I got those and a few more things. Back a few hours later, I helped him assemble everything but the desk I bought for him. Then I came back to the house and found one of my mother’s most favorite tablecloths, a gift she gave me many years ago. I also gathered set of small crystal pieces that graced the coffee table in my parents’ beautiful house in Panama. I added those to a small pair of candle holders I got for Dad at Ikea and brought it all over to give to him, to help him be able to wake up in the morning and have pieces that help him find himself again, hopefully allow him to realize that along with the loss, there are also unbreakable strands, threads, more precious than gold, that will help him knit a meaningful new life for himself here.
I needed to be able to be so busy this weekend. Not only is it Mother’s Day, a hard one for me more often than not, but we found out on Thursday that despite our best hopes, our girl Maria is not able to come celebrate her 20th birthday with us next week. I miss my daughter. And I am dwelling on the gratitude for for the birthdays we have gotten to be together, for a husband who has been infinitely patient with my dad (and has figured out a lot about me by watching how my dad operates). I am filled with great gladness seeing my dad’s happy face. Resilience. That’s my word for the year and what I intend to keep practicing till I get it right…