The caller ID shows Dad's cell phone number. Ever since last summer, I pick up the phone when he calls because I'm never sure what he'll have to say. Thoughts move through my head: Is Mom okay? Has he fallen again? What does he need?
"Hey! Are you going to be headed up here with the kids anytime soon?"
No Hello? No How are you? I move toward the calendar and check the schedule. We have a vacation planned and then the girls have orchestra camp. The only time we'd consider being at their place is sometime over the 4th of July, when we're already scheduled to be in the state of Michigan.
"Uh...the kids might not be with us if we come see you. They're going camping with T. But we could possibly meet you for dinner or something in July."
"Okay! Well, when you come up, can you bring more of those Triple Ginger Snaps with you? I've eaten all the ones you gave me."
I wonder sometimes if Dad even knows how his conversations unfold. If he could step back and replay the dialogue, would he see how the interaction could be construed? If I were an easily offended person, I'd think that the only reason he wants to see me is for the ginger snaps. And that might actually be true.
But after last summer's shenanigans, I don't care. I'll buy two boxes of the cookies and bring them with me, meet the parents for dinner, and give him his cookies. After that, if he wants any more--or actually wants to see me or the kids--he can come to us.
And maybe someday, when Dad is sitting in my living room, I'll just come out and ask him what he meant. No better solution than to attack the problem head-on.