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Father’s Day

June 21, 2009

Kelly and I had a wonderful day yesterday. We crammed so much into one day I am astonished we pulled it off (almost) completely without stress, meltdowns or need for naps. The highlights for me were some time spent at Sanson Winery for their Summer Solstice event and a long leisurely walk with Kelly in the evening.

The invite for the winery event came from Vicky, a fellow local blogger, who READS MY BLOG!!  She had met Kelly before, but not me. It was so cool to have someone I’ve never met look at me as though they recognize me and then say, “I read your blog.” with a smile.   I got as big of a kick out it as went Kitty stopped us in a mall in Waterloo by yelling out “Kelly?” as we went past her. Anyway, it reminded me that I have not posted anything in quite some time. So here I am.

I am feeling much better and am back to my regular routines. I returned to work on Wednesday, which gave me the chance to work only a few days before the weekend break rolled around. Even though I was back, things were not quite back to normal because one of my department members was retiring on Friday. I spent a good part of my time arranging a retirement lunch on Friday. I can’t really talk much about circumstances surrounding this retirement, but I will say that it’s the resolution of events which began back in October/November of last year, and had been the cause of much stress. It’s definitely a very good thing for everyone involved.

We had a BBQ today for father’s day. My dad got to choose what he wanted for dinner and after some thought he settled on steak.  I may have mentioned before that my father has Parkinson’s. I think I may have mentioned as well that I love my dad very much. It’s been hard these last few years, as his disease has progressed, to watch him change. He needs more and more help with things, and I with my own situation, am unable to help him. It also limits the things we can do together. My dad was a worker. He was always building or fixing or planting or otherwise doing something outside and around the house, and I was always right there with him. He now finds himself unable to do any of those things he so used to enjoy.

One of the ways my dad and I bonded when I was younger is by going on long walks. I was never one to sit still. Ever. Before my surgeries, I had a three speed bike and was always gone riding. Later, after my surgeries, my dad would take me on walks around the neighbourhood. It wouldn’t matter what the weather was, even in frigid temperatures we would bundle up and my dad would push me around for hours in my manual chair. He knew I couldn’t stand sitting still, and we both liked spending time together. And we would talk. We would talk for hours about anything. I loved those walks. When I got my power wheelchair, I could go on my own. I was free! I didn’t need my dad anymore, he could do whatever he wanted and I could go on my own.  But I missed him, and after a little while, we started going on walks again, and more often than not, he would ride beside me on his bike.

For years now he hasn’t been able to ride his bike, and they took his drivers license away a few years ago. He can’t walk very far, so going on long walks is out of the question too.

But today, as I was about to leave to go to my favorite butcher shop to pick up the steak, I asked my dad if he’d like to come with me. He hesitated. I told him he could stay in the van if he wanted, just come along for the ride, He smiled and started looking for his shoes.

We went for a long ride. I drove in the wrong direction at first, to check out a different butcher shop which took us along the riverfront. I pointed out where Kelly lives, and he commented on the marina and what a great view it is. A little further he commented about the beach and some sailboats. Pretty soon we were talking about all kinds of things. I took him way across town to see the children’s centre that is being rebuilt (where I am on the board), and then we stopped at the butcher shop that I had originally planned on going to. All told we were gone well over an hour, and I really enjoyed my time spent with him.

It’s a roll reversal that I had not anticipated, but one that I welcome. He does not get out much at all anymore. It was clear by some of his comments that there are parts of this city he hasn’t seen in years. If someone doesn’t take him, he can’t go. How familiar that predicament is to me, and yet I  let such a great opportunity slip past me for such a long time. I’ve been longing for a simple fun way to spend time with my dad, and today, on father’s day, I think I found it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2009 11:18 pm

    Happy Father’s Day to your Dad. It sounds like he had a wonderful day.

  2. June 22, 2009 9:53 am

    what a beautiful post. my grandmother is 98 and I used to drive her around for hours just looking at the countryside. She knew everything about the area and I learned volumes of stuff about that part of the country. Where the fords used to be, how the water rose, who sneaked up the pasture to meet who, etc. Now she can’t see and she doesn’t like to ride. maybe i just need to find some other way to be present. Thanks.

  3. June 22, 2009 7:46 pm

    I too think this is a beautiful and poignant post about your close relationship with your father. This is such a gift, Sylvain, and you both are blessed to have it. I enjoyed reading about it! xo, O

  4. June 23, 2009 7:12 pm

    Good for you, Syl, for figuring this out.

    It’s a puzzle I have yet to master, as I have not found where to meet my dad. I know it is not halfway, as it never is when one is able-bodied (and, perhaps, better able in other ways), so as I seek to meet him where he is, I know I have to be willing to accept whatever state he is in there. It is harder for me than most tasks I have tackled where “be the larger person” is the charge.

    I have spoken to him twice in the last couple of weeks, and that’s a good start.

  5. Lynn permalink
    June 26, 2009 8:45 pm

    what a wonderful discovery…i hope you get many many more rides in while you still have your dad in your life. many of us it seems are in the position of caring for, or experiencing family members who are either aging or infirm in some way. I see it as an opportunity to be useful, helpful and loving. I also see it as a benchmark and the slot I will fit into next…maybe not tomorrow or next year, but i am on deck…it makes one think!

  6. July 9, 2009 10:43 pm

    A sweet post indeed. I wish I had a relationship like that with my father.

  7. July 12, 2009 3:39 pm

    what a lovely gift you’ve given your day. I’m glad you guys were able to spend quality time together and enjoy your day.

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