Superheroes are not supposed to get sick, or need help or be weak. But last week, my own superhero, my dad, had minor surgery. In classic Dad fashion, he scheduled the surgery on the first day of my mom’s “go to jail to show the women in there agape love” ministry she’s involved with. Which means the kids were going to have to be home health aides.
No problem, I have a job with flexible hours, and lots of vacation time, so I was there with Dad. My hero. So weak he needed help getting up from a seated position on the couch. Unable to pick up the pillow if it fell to the floor. And worst of all, unable to keep much down.
Again, maybe this is just me, but I am noticing with increasing frequency how the roles between parent and child are changing. Some, I just brush off. Like if I’m at dinner with the ‘rents, I know I’m getting the check. As my retired dad likes to point out, I’m the only one at the table still working. So, fine, I’ll get the check.
But as my dad was struggling to keep even water on his stomach post-surgery and I tried to be empathetic and kind even as I wanted to run from the room, I thought: I don’t like this. Now, I’d do it every day and twice on Sundays, but this is the man who cares for me, not vice versa.
He’s doing much better now – and I have a new empathy for caregivers everywhere – but I wish I could stop time, so we could enjoy just where we are now – everyone healthy, parent and child where the adult child can still pull the Daddy’s girl card and the dad can protest, but only mildly, before giving in to one of few people in the world who really does believe he’s a hero.