We sat down at my kitchen table for lunch, my dad and I, just like we have dozens of times since I bought this fixer-upper four years ago. This house has been a joint project for the two us: me, the owner and supplier of materials; and my dad, the one who does all the work.
On this particular day, Dad was cleaning the gutters, scraping out the sticks and leaves that had accumulated from spring storms that had blown through in waves. Though his handiwork fills my house—from the closet doors to the kitchen sink—that day was only his second workday since he had heart surgery back in February.
As we sat down to eat, we bowed our heads over steamy plates of squash frittata and creamed peas, hints of basil and dill mingling with gratitude and hope as words and tears spilled out of my dad.
“We’ve had quite a year,” I said, after the “amens” were whispered and the eyes wiped. Dad nodded.