These old bones ain’t what they used to be.
My father came into the house. He decided that he was going to fix the roof himself after Harvey left Houston broken, trying to pick up the pieces again and patch things back together best as we could.
You could hear his deep breathing from a hards day of work. I offered to help next time as he laughed at the image of my frail 100 lb frame, trying to carry wood up a ladder. He knew my heart was in the right place, but the only thing I was allowed to carry up the ladder was a bottle of water.
He sat down and said I need you to rub my feet. It brought flashbacks of my childhood, taking his shoes off and trying to place healing hands on tired feet.
My mother sat across from us, holding my son as he stared, not quite sure what was going on. I said to him, this is supposed to be your job, but until you’re old enough, I have the honor.
And with every moment I placed my hands over my father’s aching feet, I realized that he needed more.
I held his hands in mines. They used to seem so much grander when I was a little girl. Now, I can see how they’ve aged. Cracking and peeling. Callused in most places. These hands have seen many years of hard work so that mines wouldn’t.
With every movement, I could hear his bones creek and crack. The grimace on his face matching the pain that I can only imagine that’s going through his body. I held his hands in mine, rubbing until he couldn’t take no more from the pain and the pressure of my hands on his.
I moved to his arms and his back until he said no more, trying to ease just a little pain from my father’s aching bones that have accumulated over the years.
And while he sleeps not so soundly tonight, I am awake, thinking about the sounds of his bones under the weight of my fingers.
Thinking that tomorrow, he will get back up there, with no complaint, because he knows that he is taking care of his family. Like he has done every single day of my life.
And even though there is nothing I can do to ever repay this man, tomorrow I’ll be right there up the ladder with his bottle of water, and waiting for when he is done, to have the honor of placing his tired feet in my lap once again.