Wednesday, June 04, 2008

All sweetness

When I was at the eye doctor with my Dad and his wife last week, she mentioned that his electric razor broke. "Let's see -- how long until your Dad's birthday. No, Father's day. Father's day is coming up...."

My goodness. If you want me to buy the man a new razor, just say so!

I took the hint and bought the razor yesterday at Target. Today, I dropped it off at the Group Home where he lives. When I walked in, there was no one to be found. I glanced down the hallway and saw the man my Dad shares a room with napping on his bed. I assumed my Dad was probably napping as well, although I don't know how because there are 2 other women living in this home who yell and call out all day long. It gives me a headache every time I'm there!

Finally, the nurse aid appeared. I told her I had brought a new razor for my Dad, but didn't want to disturb him. She said, "Oh no, come and see him, he's just lying down."

I confess I was trying to avoid a visit. When I crossed the threshold of his room, I saw recognition as his face lit up. "Hey! Hi there!" he called out, all sweetness.

I told him, "Move over and make room for my skinny butt," and then sitting on the side of the bed next to him. I asked how he was, noticed his eye was so much better and took an inventory of his face.

What's your name?

Tammy. I'm your daughter Tammy. Do you remember your sons' names?

No.

Brad, he's a preacher; Jeff, he's a math professor; Rick, he's ... um ... he's a computer consultant.

Yep, that's all of them.

I sat on the edge of his bed and stared into his eyes. My Father has really nice eyes and I have been told all my life that I have my father's eyes. They are all sweetness. He looked as if he was searching my face, trying so very hard to connect, trying to remember why seeing me made him feel so happy.

What's your name?

Tammy. It's Tammy, Dad.

How long are you going to stay?

Oh just a few minutes, Dad.

Oh, no, stay longer!

OK, Dad, I'll stay longer.

The remainder of our visit was much in the same vane. He asking over and over again, "What's your name?" and "How long are you going to stay?" Me trying to stare right back into those eyes of his, having trouble maintaining eye contact for too very long.

Are you going to go now?

Yeah, Dad, I am. But I'll come back and visit again.

Well, it sure has been nice having you here today.

All sweetness. I leaned in and gave him a big hug and kiss and whispered in his ear, "I love you, Dad."

I love you too!!

Not 30 minutes earlier, I had "preached" to the ladies in recovery about seeing the gift in front of them, assuring them it was there, right there, if they just looked hard enough.

I always leave my Dad feeling a bit lost and empty. I seem to tap into emotions when I'm around him that otherwise remain deep in the recesses of my mind and soul. After they surface, I don't know what to do with them. But I am thankful for days like today. Thankful for eyes and a smile that reveal all sweetness to a daughter who still needs to know that her daddy loves her.

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