ReVisited Fatherhood

Today was an interesting day. But I have to say that everyday since my diagnosis that I’ve spoken with my father has been interesting. I don’t know if I would call me and my father’s relationship estranged, wouldn’t be quite accurate. I know my father. We have memories together. I don’t necessarily want to be distant from him or him with me, he just never really got the idea of fatherhood. When I say the idea of fatherhood I mean that you normally do everything in your power to be with your kids, not do everything that keeps you away from your kids. This is not good parenting. This is where my dad and I butt heads! LOL! I guess you could say we have a difference of opinion when it comes down to proper parenting! HA! Nevertheless I could never deny my father. I’m lighter, shorter, mustache-less version of this bean pole with a very large brain.

When I was diagnosed with colitis four years ago two things happened. My mother went into research mode and my father told me he didn’t want me to die and sent me hugs through the phone. Lord have mercy! I think it’s safe to say my father became an emotional basket case and drove me out of my mind with ideas, questions, crying and more for two weeks. Then I didn’t hear from him for months! And for the past four years it’s been like that consistently. Those three weeks I was in some sort of labor with the baby, my father was calling me every single day. The baby arrived…couldn’t get a hold of my dad! Hahaha! Some of you reading this may think it sounds crazy or that it’s an emotional rollercoaster, but I find it quite funny. My mother can handle just about anything thrown in her face, my father…not so much!

During my last hospital visit, my father did the usual. Made grand announcements about how he was handling this and that, but had yet to speak with me or my mother! And then when I did hear from him, he bombarded me with questions and statements while I was under a heavy dose of painkillers! Huh? What?! You’re gonna what?! Ugh, dad! OKAY! LOL! Yea. Well, it had become something that was understood, here he was again trying to handle it but completely buckling into a rambling pile of goo! However one day all that changed when something happened to me that my father could actually relate to and understand.

A few weeks after my Ileostomy surgery I had an accident with my bag. It literally burned the very last straw of patience I had that week. I sat and cried for a long time. Mostly out of fear and frustration and just feeling utterly alone. My dad calls out of the blue. I ignore his call. He texts. He asks me how it’s going. In a sarcastic tone I tell him exactly how my day is going. He doesn’t reply for a long time. It was like he waited until I gathered my composure. And actually while I’m laughing about it hours later, my father texts me. “Hey baby, you know…Shit Happens! Literally!” I almost died from laughter. I called him immediately and before I could say anything my father described what happened to me verbatim. I asked how in the world would he know that. He told me that it happened a few times to my grandfather while he had his. Years ago, when I was in elementary school my grandfather had a home invasion where he was shot point-blank with a shot gun. We never really understood how my grandfather lived for almost 20 years after that, but he did. And for a short period of time, he had an Ileostomy bag. And my father was helping him change it. So my dad starts giving me tips on how to care for it and how to prevent certain accidents. It was the most real, revealing and raw moment my father and I ever shared. He wasn’t running from my problem, he was facing it dead on and showing me how to handle it.

So today I spoke with my dad. He asked how I was feeling. Then he says, “You’re just as normal as the next girl. You’re just a little more beautiful.” Sometimes the right things will come from the wrong people. And when I say wrong people, I mean the right people you forgot you had in your corner. Thanks, Dad! Thanks for knowing just how normal I am and just how un-normal I feel. Thanks for being a dad today.