It is so hard to see our parents age. . .but I guess it is better than the alternative. My Dad is alive and kicking in Naples, Florida in an Elderly Care Facility with my Mom. He is in the independent care wing and is doing as well as can be expected of an 85-year-old guy with Parkinson’s Disease and Macular Degeneration. He has settled in better than expected since separated from his wife of 57 years who is suffering from Alzheimer’s/Dementia and is in the other wing under 24/hr. nursing care.
He plays poker, goes out to Happy Hour for wings and beer, plays Wii golf, and memory games so I know he’s okay. I speak to him on the phone, but he keeps it brief, unless he initiates it and he really has anything to “report” as he calls it! I visit as often as I can.
But I want to pay homage here in my blog to the Dad that took care of me when I was young and did so many things for me, and was an all-around Great Dad!
Daddy would always kill spiders for me, ever since I was a little girl . . . I can remember being really young, sitting under a picnic table where there was a daddy long-legged spider on me and I screamed bloody murder and my Dad came to save me. That became a theme in my life. . . from then on, as long as I can remember, whenever I saw a spider or other icky bug, and I’m talking even at 3 am in my bedroom on my wall, I could get Daddy and he would kill it for me. That’s a Dad.
I always felt safe, because of my Dad. Whenever there was a noise in the house, I would wake him up, he would investigate and take care of it. I kinda’ miss that feeling of safety that you can never get back, when there was a big man taking care of little you, who you thought knew it ALL, who could do NO wrong, who would do anything for you, slay any dragon. Unfortunately you do have to grow up and go out on your own, realize that we’re all responsible for ourselves and no one is as omniscient as you thought your Dad was!
My Dad taught me how to drive in our little suburban neighborhood, even when I insisted trying to stop the car with my all my muscles pushing the brake to the floor instantaneously, giving us both what felt like whiplash time after time. Nuance was not my strong suit. He was there, getting a little annoyed, but dealing with it as he taught me to get it right.
He and I had a lot of “fun” arguing through the teen years. I was a quasi-liberal back then like all know-it-all teens who have not been out in the real world yet, but want to save IT! We would have screaming matches the likes of all the Pols on Capital Hill! He would always tell me he loved me afterwards, he might not like me, but he always loved me. Wise words to live by. I however always harbored a serious grudge! It would take me quite a while to calm down after slamming the door of my room that he paid for, but my Mom would come to talk to me and soothe me, she was the peace maker, we were the yellers.
He was the type of Dad who took me out to a stream with a stop watch and a cork and helped me figure out how fast the water was traveling for that darn science project that had to be done for High School.
He went to Maine once with a friend for a guys weekend and brought me a stuffed crab toy home to tease me because I was so not a morning person! Daddy noticed that I was always so crabby first thing in the morning when he was blasting “If I Was A Rich Man” from Fiddler On The Roof on the stereo. And he wondered why . . .
When they had company, he would always introduce me as his “little girl”, or “his baby” and talk about how cute and/or pretty I was. He always made me feel special!
My parents were casual/social drinkers, so the first time I came home drunk (underage), my father was in the bathroom as I barfed into the toilet laughing at me. Helping me into bed afterwards, as I asked why there were four shelves he had recently installed, he jokingly retorted, that there were only two and I’d know that tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, when I had plenty of time to see them as I’d be grounded for 2 weeks. I wasn’t mad, and neither was he, we just knew what he did was right and what I did was wrong.
I remember my father’s 50th birthday party, where a plumber friend made him a piece of wall art out of pipes showing the number 50 and I’m so ashamed . . . as I get closer to that birthday myself, I turn a terrible shade of red when I think how old I thought my Dad was then, I realize how young it actually is now. We may feel old at times, but we’re still young at heart!
He has always been a very demonstrative person, hugging and kissing freely. He and my mother brought me, my brothers and sister up with love and morals. He tried his hardest to give us the nicest life he could and was there for us kids always.
I feel so badly that time has taken its toll, that he’s so far away from me, so fragile. That now I have to act like the parent at times, I had to help “suggest” they move into the facility. But I will always be there for him as he was there for me!
Oh Daddy, how I love YOU!!!
(C) Written by Evelyn Garone 6/2011
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