Questionable Caretaker: Day 10-WTF

Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons
6 min readApr 30, 2021

How do you color the future when your Crayola box is filled with 64 shades of trauma?

I am terrified by the idea of normalcy. My fear is slippery because what is normal anymore?

I talked with my father on the phone yesterday about a funny mix-up that resulted in the landscaping company he and his neighbor both use laying down fresh sod in my parents’ yard instead of Mr. Retired down the street.

This year, on April 29th, I chatted with my dad about his “free grass.” Discussing the perfectly, perfect trappings of living in a gated community in Florida was so very normal that I wanted to scream.

Last year, on April 29th, I was deep in my 51st day of lockdown, alone in my apartment in Queens. It was also the day I received the call from my sister, Lisa, informing me that my father had fallen through the crawlspace above the garage in my parents’ old house to the concrete floor 13 feet below.

2020, the year of years, had only just begun.

I captured the first 10 days after my father was released from the rehabilitation center through a series of #questionablecaretaker Facebook updates, not knowing that I’d end up staying with my parents for hundreds of days while my father literally got back on his feet. Is collecting these posts into a “best of” list normal? Hell if I know, but here goes:

Dad: Cause of the insurance the doctor probably had to go with the cheapest ones.

me: The cheapest SCREWS?

Dad: No. X-Rays.

me: (under breath) You hope.

Dad: (raises eyebrow) Yeah…

#questionablecaretakerDay16

One of the many, many things I couldn’t have imagined a few months ago is how much time I spend cleaning chocolate pudding stains out of my father’s mask.

#questionablecaretakerDay35

dad: Did you want to watch that movie tonight?

me: What movie?

dad: That old movie you wanted to see before the new one came out … Phil and Ted’s Adventure

me: Sweet Jesus

#questionablecaretakerDay69

Whenever I set my dad…

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Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons

Writer, educator, and producer of No, YOU Tell It! (noyoutellit.com) Stalk my Insta adventures @KJ_Fitzsimmons @noyoutellit