I was thinking about what the visit would look like--how we'd essentially have mornings free but the afternoons and evenings would be devoted to the visit. More of the afternoon than would be necessary if my dad were more efficient. This made me think about how little my mother would appreciate the effort that my dad puts into trying to make her feel human. Would she appreciate the fruit he cuts up for her? In fairness, she'd have an overall appreciation for that being who my father is, but she'd be frustrated that he's putting so much effort into something with little practical impact. I wouldn't disagree with her, except that I guess it makes him happy.
This disconnect and tension has played out since my mother has been noticeably sick and especially since she's been institutionalized: dad doesn't think I care enough, and I resent that he doesn't think I care just because I'm uninterested in symbolic gestures. When my father at one point said that if I were sick, my mother would do anything for me, reminded me of how my mother would often pointlessly fuss over me when I was sick when I'd have preferred to be left alone). This wasn't just for illness; she'd generally approach a problem with theatrics.