There is no describing that man who raised me. He truly defies description and it is beyond my reach to be able to accurately explain the man that he is. He’s extraordinary. He is as simple as he is complex. He is the most down to earth and really real human being I’ve ever known.
When I was a little girl – – I was his ” lil’ bit “.
When I was a teenager – He was my biggest cheerleader.
When I landed the job as the lead singer for “Kidd Sister” – a regional rock band – – Dad came to every single show – – stuffed his ears full of cotton and sat right in front. Didn’t matter if we were at an outdoor festival or a dark and smelly nightclub. There he was, every single time.
My front row Dad. Every show with my band. Every orchestra concert. Every theater performance. Dad and his quiet smile.
One, single red rose he’d bring on the opening night of each play. Today, he does the same for his granddaughter – my daughter. Keeping the tradition strong.
During the disaster of my divorce – he was there. No smiles. No roses. Only big arms to fall into and great advice to listen to, and rail against.
Fifteen years later, after the birth of my first child, thirteen after my second – – I look back on those years and it was my father there, the man in their life when the man who should have been there had other priorities. He was that man of hugs, smiles, encouragement, pride and love – – just as he’s always been for me.
He has given so much of himself in everything he’s done and everyone he has loved. I feel like I haven’t thanked him enough. I feel like I can’t tell him I love him too many times. I feel like I haven’t appreciated the smile on his face enough times in my lifetime.
I have lived in this small town my entire life. When a girl has a father who has given his whole life, heart and all of his love and put it toward the encouragement and growth of his daughter – – that daughter is there the very minute that he needs her, for better, or for worse. At least that’s the way it is for this daughter.
He won’t admit it now. He may never. He’s a strong man….a provider. He’s the one who helps. He’s the one who is strong. He is the one that is there when everybody needs him – – without fail.
Dad was diagnosed with cancer about a month ago. Luckily – it was caught early and the prognosis is extremely good. He has a rare type of skin lymphoma that is treatable with photopheresis and Interferon injections. He calls me for advice – – “my nurse”, he says. At first, he was uneasy with sharing the intimate details of his illness. Illness means weakness, you know – – and that is hard for him to admit to – – even slightly.
We’ve talked long about his cancer. I’ve tried to put his mind at ease – – at the same time, he tries to put my mind at ease. His treatments started two weeks ago. He puts on a smile and tells me that he’s not feeling any different – – but my eyes see things differently.
He tires easily. Sometimes he perspires, ever so slightly. Every once in awhile I see his step falter.
I’m feeling considerably doom and gloom, at the moment. I know his prognosis is good. I know that the type of cancer he has is not going to be what takes him from this world. I know, with treatment, it won’t be cured – however, odd are, it will remain at bay.
Odds. Chances. Percentages. Studies.
I love that man with my whole being. I hate that he is sick – – because he hates it. He can’t stand it…and it breaks my heart. With all my experience, knowledge and training….I’m at a loss here. How many times I’ve counseled families on the role changes that take place when children become the caregivers to their parents. How easy those words came out of my mouth when talking to perfect strangers about such things.
These days, I hug him a little bit harder. If only I could freeze time.