The other night, in the early AM I woke up to the sound of my husband sniffing the air. He was milling around upstairs, sniffing and sniffing. He opened the attic as I watched from my warm, cozy bed, sniffed up there and then closed it again. I knew right then I didn't want to know what was amiss but I also realized I was awake and had to ask.
He told me he smelled a fire, but couldn't find anything ON fire. We felt the walls. We felt the side attic. It was stronger here vs. there. But it was strongest OUTSIDE. We went outside and looked around. Before I awoke he had checked the sides of the house and looked up, nothing. There wasn't really SMOKE outside but maybe it could've been said to be foggy. It was also 5 am, a time when Atlanta CAN be foggy so that wasn't necessarily indicative of anything.
Back inside we looked out back toward the forest, nothing. There was the definitive smell of burning wood, quite strong. If you've ever smelled a house burning, wood burning is only part of the smell. Because of paints and chemicals it's an insanely BAD smell when a house is burning. This smell reminded me of the time I woke up in Kentucky wondering what was all this smoke outside, and it turned out that the forest, 100 miles away was burning. It smelled like an amazing fire in your fireplace.
At this point we were baffled, what do you do? We don't see a fire. Nothing in our house seems to be burning. There's no smoke outside.
Right about then we wondered when the adults were going to arrive with the answers.
I think that's the rub. While it's great being able to stay up till 4 am and eat whatever you want, the downside is that being an actual adult means that both of those things have consequences way worse than getting grounded. I WISH THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANYTHING WERE GETTING GROUNDED.
Being the adult means my little brother and I have to have real conversations about my dad, the what if's that I at least had hoped we had a few more conversations. His heart is better. But he's confused in ways that are troubling. I know everyone ends up taking care of their parents in one way or another, and that's the circle and I am totally embracing it but I also want to scream because I wasn't ready and I'm sure he wasn't either.
The other thing that happens when you suddenly realize you can never leave the adults table again is that you start to realize who is there with you, and for me it's nice to have my brother there. He and my SIL are faced with the day to day of the work where my dad's recovering is concerned and I know I feel better knowing that while we might not have experience on this path, being on it with the people you trust is better than being there alone.
So the natural order of things is in place, my husband and I made the decision that we know nothing is on fire, but someone has a fire in their fireplace nearby and so I go to bed (but he stays up just in case). My brother or SIL and I talk daily or at least text, discussing our dad's progress and how things are going and what are the next steps. We ask questions, lots of questions.
We're the adults, nobody is going can ground us. And that's too damn bad.