The Parkinson’s Disease makes some typical Dad things difficult, but he does them any way. He never says, “I can’t.”
He loves to cook, and he is a slow cooker.
His ability to show his love is slow too. He can’t help it.
Can any of us help who we are or what we get? I try to remember this when my husband falls asleep when I’m talking to him or walks away in the middle of a conversation. He leaves a mess worse than Linus in his wake. He refuses to leave his computer chums for real-life friends.
I try to remember who Chris used to be. I try to remember the quick flick of his wrist on the tennis court, the persistent phone calls to place our kids into pre-school, the lover of literature, the smooth dancer at the Broadway show’s after-party. He is still all of these things, but they are slower to show themselves.
I lean on and love other dads too. They might not even know how much I need them — my kids’ uncles, grandpa, friends. I lean on these father figures so my kids get the attention, love, support they need.
Fathering (and parenting) takes a village. Sometimes I feel I should do it all alone. Or I feel that that there is only this one person or one way to be a family. Or I feel I shouldn’t reveal our/my weaknesses.
But we are stronger in our broken places (I think that’s a book title). The shoulder bone Hayden broke when playing baseball is stronger at the point of its break, which happened to be the growth plate.
When we lean on one another, we are stronger. We reinforce the growth plate.
By remembering why we love someone and getting over the frustration of that challenge (if possible), there is an ease and a deep gratitude. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always anti-depressants.
I’d like to write more about this but I have to go and make a Father’s Day breakfast. I have to call my own father and say, Thank you!