You want the big one?
This is a picture of a picture taken when I was a young child. That's me on the right, under my dad's big bicep - I'm the cute one in the halter top:)
Apparently the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree and after finding this picture I realized that I was truly blessed with some great genetics. Thanks Dad.
As you all know my dad has Alzheimer's and this past Sunday was our day to travel to Fort Wayne and cook dinner for my parents. Jim and I have come to look forward to these days and try to always make sure that my parents are fed not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well before we journey back home to finish our weekend.
My father has forgotten many things. And I have to be VERY honest with you after this past weekend that I may be one of them. He never once called me by name or even his favorite pet name for me "baby girl!" But that's ok because I am learning that there are new traditions and new ways that he will always be the greatest man in my life. Whether he knows it or not, because I know it and I look forward to it every time I see him.
You see from the picture above that my father has always been a strong and handsome man. He never needed anyone's help in anything and many times worked several jobs so my mom could stay home and take care of all of us. He didn't work out, he didn't have to - he was a baker and lifted bags of flour and sugar and carried things back and forth and put them in and out of ovens. He was always moving if he wasn't baking in the bakery he was cleaning the bakery and I have many fond memories of helping him out on Saturday's.
So when I asked him if he needed the walker to walk the 5 house stretch yesterday from his house to my sister's he naturally said no. I never walked so slow in my life - and when we got to my sister's she said "Dad, where's your walker?" to which he replied "no one told me I needed it!" Oh boy, I've messed up already.
So, then we're standing at the end of the driveway and for you and I it would be no big deal to walk up, but I saw him contemplating how in the world he was going to walk up the driveway. I went to hold his hand and he slapped it away and said "I don't need no help!" to which I replied "daddy, I'm your daughter and just want to hold your hand!" "Oh," he said and grabbed my hand and walked up the drive! I was catching on.
You see my father may not have vivid memories in his head that he can clearly replay back to you and I but he does have one thing that I imagine he will hold on to till the very end - and that's his dignity. Deep inside of this man who's brain is leaving him little by little each day there sits a big old ball of dignity that no-one will ever take away. He knows he is a strong and brave and handsome hardworking father and husband.
On to new traditions......
So when it's time to leave mom and dad until we see them again we are a family full of I love you's and hugs and kisses. In fact Jim said he has never heard a family tell each other so many times I love you as ours does. And he was a little intimidated by all of the hugs we give out so freely. UNTIL he got the big one.
My big strong dad, who now has shrunk shorter than Brooke insists on giving the tightest hug you will ever get when you leave his house. He looks you in the eye and says "Do you want the big one?" and you have to say YES! And watch out when you do because this man can hug with all his might. And no matter what after you get your hug he says "See, I've still got it!!" and you have to agree ....after all you just got the big one.