(Continued from June 4, 2011) …… During the next 7 months, with the dad returning to full health, all of the family’s activities returned to normal, including bike riding, rollerblading, exploring in the backyard, vacation, and, well, Katrina and her dad were as happy as could be (the mom, too!) that all was back to normal!
Then ….. one Saturday morning about 7 months after the dad started to heal, the dad woke up and realized that he was devastatingly beat tired. No symptoms or sickness, just a day on which the dad knew that he would need to sleep a lot more to catch up from the previous weeks of activity. Not a big deal to the dad. At about 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning, he told his wife that, even though he had been awake for only a few minutes, he would be going back to bed to sleep for a few more hours.
Katrina, upon noticing that her dad was still sleeping and suspecting that he was getting sick again, entered his dad’s room to wake him up and ask him to go for a bike ride. The dad told her that he was beat tired; he would need to sleep for a while longer; and that they could go for a bike ride later. 8-year-old Katrina, quite concerned for her dad, said O.K. and left the room.
At around noon, Katrina came back in and told her dad that he needed to get up, as the day was getting away from him and she knew that the dad wanted to go bike riding and that his favorite college football team would be on TV soon (Katrina knew that the dad would never miss a game of his favorite college football team!).
The dad again told Katrina that he was tired and would need to sleep more. Katrina asked him if he were sick and the dad told her that he was fine, but he needed to sleep more.
Katrina, becoming almost deathly afraid that her dad was about to sink back into poor health and maybe even die (remember, these are the thoughts of an 8-year-old), went to her room to pray and cry. She later told the mom that dad was sick and that he needed to get to a doctor. The mom tried to assure her that the dad was fine and that he just needed to sleep.
Katrina persisted so, at about 2:00 p.m., the mom and Katrina went to the bedroom to check on the dad. As they awoke the dad to check on his condition, the dad insisted that he was beat tired; he was not sick; and that he would get up soon.
The mom was convinced that the dad was fine and she told Katrina that all was well. However, Katrina was not convinced and she even suspected that the parents were trying to keep the bad news from her.
At about 4:00 p.m., Katrina, knowing that the dad should have had two doses of his medicine by now, asked the mom if the dad had taken his medicine. The mom said probably not, as he had been sleeping all day. The mom assured Katrina that the dad would take his medicine when he awoke.
Katrina, not one to wait around on the health of her dad and fully remembering what his condition was like before the medicine, immediately went to the kitchen, poured a glass of water, got two of her dad’s pills, and headed for the bedroom.
Katrina woke her dad and told him that he had to get up right away to take his medicine. The dad said that he was fine and that he would take his medicine when he awoke. Katrina said that he had to take it now, per the directions on the bottle.
The dad, instantly recognizing for the first time that Katrina was concerned that her dad was getting sick again, took the medicine with Katrina watching.
The dad told me that he saw a visible sense of relief within Katrina, as she believed that all was now well with the ingesting of the medicine. Within an hour or so, the dad, who usually did not sleep that much, arose from his nearly 14 hours of sleep to eat, get dressed, and go outside for, … you guessed it…. a bike ride with Katrina!
And there you have it, the love of a daughter for her dad to the point that she worried; prayed; kept on the dad to get up; and then finally insisted that he take his medicine might have provided the greatest gift of all from a daughter. She was only 8-years-old, but she took the bull by the horns to make sure that her dad would be around for a whole bunch of years by having him take his medicine!
By the end of telling this story, the dad was somewhat overcome by tears and his wife and I comforted him. He had been alive and had done just fine for about 30 years or so without Katrina. The fact that a little girl who had been created 8 years earlier had such a deep love for him as her dad was almost too much for the dad to take as he retold the story.
At some point, the mom and dad headed for the car. They asked me to tell Katrina to head for the car after she was done packing up from the concert.
About 10 minutes later, Katrina came to find me to ask if I knew the whereabouts of her parents. I told her that they were in the car waiting for her. Suddenly showing concern, Katrina asked if everything was O.K. with her parents. Resisting from telling her that she just might win the award for daughter-of-the-year, I simply told her that, “Yes, Katrina, everything is fine. In fact, everything is terrific!”
With a gigantic smile and a somewhat sense of relief from Katrina, she headed for the car to join her favorite parents!
So, how about you? As we prepare the descent to Father’s Day, tell me about the favorite moments when you realized that your kids were special!
Paul W. Reeves