Two happenings over the past couple of days prompted this post:
The first was intended to be a routine doctor’s appointment for my 84 year old dad, Frank Burton Boling. It was a follow up for a sore that required special wound care because of dad’s diabetes and peripheral artery disease. As it turns out, the Doctor told us straight up that the arteries and veins in my dad’s right leg especially are not providing blood flow to his lower extremities. And, he followed up with statistics on rates of gang green setting in in these kinds of cases. Obviously, this was upsetting news to my dad, mom, and me, who were all in the room during the exam.
Then I got to thinking how our roles have changed over the last 15 years or so. My dad was the handsome, virile, super intelligent, quick of wit, quick to fix, and forever caregiver to his family from the age of 5! A role which I have now fully inherited as his most senior child.
Dad still is compassionate and empathetic to a flaw. He would give anyone the shirt off his back if he thought they needed it. He has his quick wit and ‘hanging in there’ yet positive attitude despite his failing legs, loss of vision in one eye and loss of hearing in one ear. He never complains about his limitations, and openly expresses his appreciation for all the help and companionship he receives. And, there’s never a day that passes that he’s not interested in playing a mean game of double deck pinochle, which we do about twice a week!
Baylor University released a study on “…Game Changers for Dad-Daughter Relationships,” on February 19, 2013.
As I read this article, I could tell that the close bonds that I have with my dad were not necessarily from “shared activities,” like sports, vacations, or working together as the article suggests. Rather, it was those pivotal times when our family had to pull together during a crisis–of which, there were several. And, I think me seeing my dad’s expressions when I could use my inner strength to take the lead to set an example or find a solution to fix the boo-boo’s were the strongest bonding moments that we shared.
Dad not having a mother in the home or a father who was capable of caring for his children when they were young left him with little knowledge or experience about how to relate to his children. He worked constantly to provide and expressed his love through his holiday gift-giving. And, despite my anger at my dad’s disappointment when I didn’t get all “A’s,” it gave me the inner strength to sometimes be an over-achiever, but also to not look at or for problems. Til this day, I always look at inconveniences as opportunities to excel.
A Time for Everything…
So when I reflect back on some sobering moments from this week and this season we’re in, I rely on my faith to get us through whatever lies ahead and I remember as it was written in the bible in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3 – “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”
If you or someone you know is in this season, too, please reflect on your parents and how they cared for you when you were unable to care for yourself: