I am. Although I don't always honor the relationship like I want to. Its easy to be so caught up in the small men around here, I neglect the big boys, even when I don't mean to. Eventually the phone rings and both a gruff but aged voice that still hasn't grown accustomed to talking on the phone will blast through my cell phone "Well what happened to you?" "Hi Dad. I'm here, how are you?"
I always quickly rummage through my head for the last contact I've had with him knowing its been too long. I'm juggling the days and coming up short on the ones marked "Dad." If I am being honest, the last time we truly did something for my dad, was the day we took him out of town to a cousin's graduation, so that he could be see his brother and the rest of his family. Of course we came away with a big lesson compliments of Dad, which I blogged about here. Its funny how we think we are doing something for someone else, only to realize how much we are truly doing for ourselves in the process.
Like his birthday party. My dad turns 80 next week. With one successful surprise party thrown for my mom, I knew it was the perfect occasion to do something for dad. With the kids in school, I got to work. Taking full advantage of the beautifully sunny early evenings, I snuck dad outside, yanked off his oxygen for a minute and snapped a few photos. I did very little to edit the photo, and turned it over to Rick. His graphic designer made an invitation for us. Dad and I started getting together, gathering addresses, compiling lists and making plans.
But there are plenty of other things going on too. Rick is leaving for a week and half. I am still preparing to start doing daycare for two little girls. I have all kinds of back to school meetings to attend. I feel a bit stretched. Excited for so much newness, but stretched nonetheless.
Still, I noticed a spark in dad's eye. He worked long and hard on his list. He really thought through who he wanted to invite. As I sat addressing the invitations, a story was offered by dad, for each name. I can't help but think, if you receive one of these invites, you should know my father holds you in high esteem.
We capped off our writing campaign with lunch. I met him at his favorite lunch spot. He was breathless with excitement. He labored to just walk across the parking lot and I steadied him with an arm. I clearly saw what I had been missing. I couldn't help but think his excitement has masked his weariness, and the inability for even the oxygen to help him breathe freely.
Proof of my thinking came yesterday. Mom called to say Dad had a rough couple of days. He had chills, and an inability to catch his breath. I spoke with him and firmly suggested he allow mom to take him to the ER. He didn't refuse.
He is resting comfortably in the hospital now. I have to admit, if I hadn't been spending so much time with him, I may have missed the signs. If we had delayed much longer, we may have jeopardized his party. But if we're lucky, we'll get him well again. He has already informed his doctors he only has a few days he can stay. You see there's this party, and he doesn't want to miss it!
Once again I am reminded of just how much I am a Daddy's girl. How about you?