There are many things that are hard about being an adult. One of the hardest is seeing parents ill. I saw this first hand this week. My dad is sick and in the hospital. It hurts to see the man who you still think of as being young in a hospital bed. He looks so fragile lying there. I know lots of people say this about their dads, but my dad is really the best dad ever.
My dad is a retired pediatric oncologist and relates to children in a way I have never seen other doctors. He worked a lot when we were growing up, but made as much time as possible for us kids. When we were young, he used to hold us upside down and let us walk on the ceiling. It was great fun for everyone but Mom, who wasn’t thrilled to have tiny footprints on her ceiling. This same man hung many a swing in the trees in our backyard. He played with us at the beach and taught us about hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs. He pulled out sand spurs and stitched up hurt chins and heads.
I have so many fun memories of my dad. Like the time we had a tornado warning. Mom was at work and Daddy discovered we had no batteries for the flashlights. So we piled into the station wagon and headed to Bi-Lo. We bought a cake, ice cream, and cookies. I think we forgot batteries. To this day, we laugh about “tornado supplies”. Then there was the time that Daddy, my sister Julie, and I wanted to make a red velvet cake. We tried to follow the directions. It ended up being pink and not quite as much like velvet. Daddy crowned it our pink felt cake because it had the texture of felt more than velvet.
He always came up with crazy ways to wrap gifts for Mom. One year, we packed a ring box in the middle of a huge box and filled it with newspaper. Mom kept pulling newspaper out of the box. She almost missed the ring box. The best was for their 25th wedding anniversary. Daddy kept telling her that it was the aluminum anniversary. He actually bought her a new wedding set, which we put in a cheap aluminum pot with a silver bow on top. Her smile faded when Daddy handed her the pot, but she was pleasantly surprised to find a ring box inside the pot. She actually kept the pot!
Life was so much fun growing up. I remember the year he decided that Mom was no longer allowed to pick out Christmas trees, because she always chose the Charlie Brown one. Then there was the time he decided to cut a white pine from our yard to use as our tree. It got heavier and heavier as he was dragging it into the house. Turns out, out dog Beau was handing on to the end with his teeth and was getting dragged along behind the tree. He harassed our Corgi D.C. with a white ceramic dog someone gave him in the 70s. Always making us laugh.
He is an even better grandad. My kids think he hung the moon. We had a bat get in our house a few years ago, so he came over, found it, and got it out of the house. It unfortunately met its demise as a result of his bat capturing skills. Eli now calls him The Supreme Bat Killer of the Universe. He and Eli love to look at the solar system and moons on the computer. He and Caleb love to watch car races and Barrett-Jackson auctions on TV.
That is how I prefer to see my dad, as the fun dad, the best dad in the world. The fragile looking man in the hospital bed is not how I want to think of my dad because to me, he hung the moon.