Sunday, June 16, 2013

A Day All About Dads

I will start with the classic, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! 
(and then quickly digress…)

I am sitting here in my parents’ basement (a story for another day), tears streaming down my face, having started and restarted this post at least a dozen times. The reason it is so difficult to get the words out is because there are no words to describe how incredible our father really is.

It is no secret that our mom has been battling cancer for almost 5 years now- she is an amazingly strong woman, a fearless fighter and inspiration to all of us.

Our dad however, is the man in the shadows. Our dad has fought alongside our mom for every bit of these past 5 years- just about every test, every treatment, every appointment, everything- he has been there. I often joke about how LONG it takes my dad to make decisions; buying a new car is a 4-month process- read all write-ups, check the stats, test drive several models etc. He is often referred to as “Captain Security” because he is just a very careful, thorough, cautious guy (which is probably good because us girls aren’t so much…) So, I cannot imagine what it was like for him, almost a year ago, to pack up his wife, pack up his life, leave his house, his work and the rest of his family in hopes of better options in the U.S.- all in 36-hours.  

In the 5 years that our family has been coping with our mom’s illness, we have not been spared other life events (some happy, some sad) and without fail, dad has remained our rock. In moments when HE should have been the one to completely melt down from stress or emotional exhaustion, he remained the one that my sisters and I could lean on, talk to, cry with. His strength has not waivered even once.

Really, I could go on and on forever with tales of how wonderful our father is but instead, I will just share one last story that makes my heart melt every time I think of it. (Ok- a little bit of context & then the story.)

It was 3 years in to my mother’s illness, it was a lousy, cold March evening and mom was in the hospital. Our dad’s routine had been the following for weeks at this point- 530am wake up, at the hospital by 7, in the office for a few hours, noon back at the hospital, back to work, home for a quick bite to eat and then once again back at the hospital until my mom fell asleep. Repeat.

After a while, my sisters and I begged my father to take a night off so he could get a good sleep. We promised to visit with mom until she kicked us out to go to bed. He agreed.
The visit took place but on the way out, there was dad coming down the hall. Curious as to what was going on and knowing that he knew we were there, T asked “what are you doing here?” He responded, “Oh, I just forgot to pick something up when I was last here.” Concerned that he had lied to us (to protect us of course) we stood outside mom’s room to make sure everything was ok. In true mom form, she looked up, saw dad there and said “Oh for goodness sake, what are you doing here? You were supposed to take the night off, the girls just left.”
To which he responded, “I know, I just couldn’t go to sleep without giving you a kiss goodnight.”  

To this day I am not sure if Dad knows we heard that. In fact, I’ll probably get in trouble for writing about it. Regardless, it is one of my favorite moments when I think about my dad. Pure, simple, strong and loving.
Daddy- we don’t know where we would be in all of this without your strength, love and devotion to mom and the rest of our family. From coaching soccer, attending swim meets, softball games to school plays, days and nights on the Island, financial advice to thoughts on life, breakups, makeups, bike rides, homework, Peterborough, a wedding and your baby's baby, morning cartoons and late night chats... you have been there for it ALL. Although we cannot be there with you today, we hope you have a wonderfully amazing father’s day because that is exactly what you are, an amazingly wonderful dad (& now Grandpa!)

Love you more than words.