Someone must have been praying for me lately and I thank those of you who have from the bottom of my heart. For starters, I’ve noticed that God has blessed me with a lot more patience in the past day or so. That’s patience with myself primarily. Cutting back on painkillers when you’re actually still in pain is a dicey thing. But, fortunately, I seem to have been managing it correctly. But it’s also patience with my children. Let’s face it, what I’ve been through has been tough on me but probably just as tough on them. Imagine being four or six years old and seeing Daddy in a hospital bed with tubes and wires, unable to move, then seeing him come home and spend six weeks unable to be the father he was before. For the record, I WAS an awesome dad. I was Mr. Fun! I loved picking them up, playing with them, just enjoying the gift they are to me. And being unable to be that man to them has taken its toll on all of us. But today I just felt better. I actually had a bit more pain than I’ve been experiencing so it’s quite odd to say that I “felt better”.
Baby Girl was a complete wreck this afternoon. Threw a tantrum to end all tantrums. But, somehow God gave my wife and me the grace to calm her down. Mrs. H. went out grocery shopping while I stayed and let Baby Girl play on her scooter in the driveway. Being able to actually give her the one-on-one attention of a doting father on his precious baby daughter without clutching a damn walker or a cane… I stood there, without my brace on and I didn’t even notice a scintilla of pain. I was a little sore after a while but I was OK. She took her bath and we laughed playing some silly bath time game we made up. Then her brother came home (he was with Granny) and I decided to try something new. Since I was feeling so good, we should take a walk around the block — kids on their scooters and me on foot, no brace. I laid down the ground rules. “You’ve got to listen to Daddy. Only go as far as I tell you and then stop and wait for me.” Then I came up with our motto for the evening. “No races, no chases, kids!” I didn’t want them to start fighting each other and wreck the good time we were having. I would order “OK, go to the next driveway and then stop.” They did not race each other. “Sonny Boy! Nice work, good speed, now let’s work on your stopping skills because you went a tad over the line. Baby Girl, excellent! Not as fast as your brother but his legs are longer. Plus, you stopped perfectly!” We made it around the whole block. No one fought. I was encouraging. We were laughing. I was my old self again! We had so much fun we did it again even though the sun had just gone down. And if you’re paying attention, Baby Girl was already in her nightgown and slippers.
I had to keep this going. I was reveling in the old me and I needed to do more while I had the momentum. “Come on, kids, let’s have story time with Daddy before bed.” To my surprise they complied almost like they had been waiting months for this. The only thing that was different is that my son read one of the books to us tonight. He’s growing up so fast. As I was getting ready to turn off the light and turn on the “moon in my room” nightlight, Baby Girl shoved a Little Golden Book into my hands and said “One more, please, Daddy? It’s Snow White!” OK, honey, one more… As I started speed reading my way through this Disney-fied classic, I began to notice something. This story is weird. Has anyone ever considered the wisdom in sharing a story with your tiny children wherein the main character cavorts with a group of midgets in the woods because her stepmom is a bitch? OK, the whole evil stepmom/queen thing is a tried and true fairy tale idiom. But “they loved her so much they couldn’t bear to part with her so they laid her in a class coffin?” Really? We’re sticking with this? The thing that really bothers me is the whole prince who shows up out of nowhere and decides that he absolutely must kiss this rotting corpse. Maybe he was going through a dry spell and hadn’t had a date in a while. Still, I don’t think locking lips with a dead lady would be my first thought. And this little “Golden” book ends with that simple note. He kissed the dead chick and she came back to life and they “lived happily ever after”.
I’m so confused. I guess I had never thought about it much until tonight when I was reading it again. But then again, I never thought much about so many things like how much I love being a dad and how much I’ve been missing doing dad things with my kids and how much my kids have missed out on because of my condition. But I also hadn’t thought about how glorious it would be to get it back if only for a night. Oh, I can tell you’re praying for me because each day brings new surprises and things are getting better.
But there’s still no guarantee that I’ll be able to write a post with a title that doesn’t pertain to just one paragraph at the end anytime soon. Blame that one on the pills.