June 15, 2012

Happy Father's Day...the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly...

Happy Father's Day to my male parental unit.  Yes, posting a bit early.  But I've had Father's Day on the brain for awhile now.  Dad has taken up permanent residence in there recently.  Which I guess is fair since I've probably occupied his brain in varying degrees for the last 52 years.  My Pops, gosh I love him.  He is my first love.  He is the man I use as a measuring stick for every guy who has come in and out of my life.  He is my hero. Father's Day is a bit tough this year.  Pops has Alzheimer's.  I hope he remembers that I love him.  I hope I told him enough.  But I'm thinking it is never enough.

I visited Pops earlier this week.  It was a visit no different than what I have become accustom to.  Which is a disconcerting realization in itself.  I was happy for the nurses aide who came to sit down at our table when she noticed I was showing dad a family photograph from Thing #1's recent law school graduation.  Dad didn't know who any of us were in the photo, and appeared a bit stressed by the situation. Perhaps the aide saw that I was getting a bit teary eyed.  I'm just glad she plopped herself down for whatever reason.  One-sided conversations are extremely exhausting (I'm sure a bit of Karma from all those dad/daughter teen-aged talks).  She joked with dad a bit.  Those workers on the floor are angels disguised in scrubs. Then she said to me "I'll bet your dad was a GREAT father...I can tell by just seeing how he looks at you". He still is...no past tense needed. But her insight into my dad made me smile.

My dad was a police officer in Washington, D.C. and he was a District Justice in our home town.  He had MAJOR connections...for a small town.  Connections that absolutely KILLED my social life!!!!  I replied "Oh yeah, he was a GREAAAAAT dad, but he made it nearly impossible for me to get a date!!!".  That's what happens when the police department has your make and model car, plus license plate number on file...all courtesy of my Pops.  Add in the fact he was a downright imposing figure physically...all 6'4" of him.  In part, I think it was why I was so anxious to leave town as soon as I could, it's tough always being known as "The Judge's" girl.  I never wanted to let him down by doing something to embarrass him.   I rolled my eyes telling her the stories, then admitted "But...I am soooo much like him".   Up until a few years ago, that was the one accusation thrown at me that would totally flip my lid.  "You are just like your dad!!!!"  Yep, the good, the bad AND the ugly.  

"By the way, I paid him to take you"

The Good.  Gosh, the list is actually longer now than I remember it being when I was growing up.  I don't think I truly appreciated dad's humor until my wedding day.  As we started to walk down the aisle he looked at me and said "By the way, I paid him to take you."  WTF??!!??  But immediately followed by placing his hand upon mine and telling me that no matter WHAT happens, he would always be there for me.  And boy did I take him up on the offer a few times over the years.  A great combo of a dry sense of humor AND fierce sense of loyalty and protection that I'm proud to claim as my own too.  I would without remorse deploy the town police department to watch over my own Things, if I only had the clout.  I also inherited my Pop's love of ice cream, baseball, moral compass, sense of honor and family, and his over exuberance in spending for Christmas morning...but thank goodness NOT his thinning hair line.  Now THAT would just be downright embarrassing.

The Bad.  Oh yeah, Dad might be a God...but he's a God with some flaws too.  Funny, I have the same flaws...go figure.  Extreme Type A personality, perfectionist, with a middle name of "Because I said so".  It is usually when I exhibit THESE traits that the family can tick me off in a nano-second with the acute observation "You are JUST like your dad".  Irritates me to no end because these are the exact traits that made being Dad's daughter a real pain in the arse and which I swore I would NEVER be like.

"Walking a Fine Line"

And...the Ugly.  Aside from God's warped sense of humor by bestowing upon me, THE shoe maven of the family, dad's ugly, ugly, UGLY feet.  I have to admit that dad's Alzheimer's scares the bejeezus out of me.  I find myself testing my brain daily.  I start each day by reciting my Things names. If I can get those right...I'm good to go.  But seeing what ugliness this disease has brought upon this giant of a  man looms large in my own brain. Is my increasing forgetfulness and brain hiccups the beginning of the end?  Or is it just mush-brain as a result of being 52?  I have no freakin' idea.  At times, I feel I'm walking a fine line waiting for the shoe to drop on me. Albeit a fashionable shoe.  If it can happen to my hero, the sharpest man I know, believe me...it can happen to anyone.   Rational thought tells me it isn't good to let this color my world.  But rational thought sometimes goes out the window when you see what Alzheimer's can do to the strongest of men.  At my most vulnerable I wonder what chance do I have?  I'm just a total Daddy's Girl who really misses being able to talk to her dad.  But I know what he would tell me "Kath, there's enough in life to worry about that IS in your control, don't sweat the other stuff".

Dear Dad,

There isn't anything I can give you that comes wrapped up in a box.  
If I could, I would call the police department and tell them to protect you with all their resources, 
no matter how embarrassing that might be
 (from personal experience I can tell ya it could be awkward at times).  
And even tho I would have paid people to take YOU at certain times in my life, 
I can tell you now that no matter what happens I will always be there for you.  
I am proud to be "just like my dad". 
And because you can never say it enough, I love you Dad with all my heart. 
But I hope you already know that...because I said so!!!!!! 

Happy Father's Day Pops



  1. I'd like to be just at wow, but how could I stop there? Your Dad sounds amazing and I love this "tribute" to him with Father's Day this weekend. So true there is the good, bad, and ugly-but I think the later tend to ease and ease bringing the good to what stays with us.
    I get the "just like your father" thrown in with the "look like your mother" comments all the time. Trust me, that combo is better than the opposite. I currently work with my father which is a blessing and curse-and I feel like I STILL can't get away with anything here on the edge of 50. Being a police officer and judge-that's double trouble. Love what he said at your wedding, but more love the kind comment that came afterwards. One of my father's more ugly traits is he forgets the "sweet princess" comments and just does the supposed to be funny parts.
    Love your thoughts today and your selfies are a nice pairing. What no planking? Surely a judge's daughter can get away with planking while he's unable to nail you for it.
    Happy day my friend.

    1. I only "plank" in the gym...and I don't even like doing it THERE! :) Thank you for your thoughts.

  2. What a lovely post. Tearing up early in the morning. Missing my dad, and feeling your pain. Alzheimers is so hard on the family. What a lucky man to have a daughter like you. Try to enjoy your father's day with the father of your children.

  3. Kathy, what a sweet post. My grandmother has alzheimers and it was so hard on all of us. I had to remind myself that she still loved me in her heart. Fathers day has been on my brain too as my father chooses to not be in my life, so this one will be so hard on me as well. Hope your good memories are strong and great.

  4. Mornin' Kathy, what a beautiful post. Your Dad sounds like a great man. And look at the wonderful, caring, compassionate, talented daughter he produced to carry on. I have my Dad's nose........hummm, at least you can hide your feet! Try hiding a nose, that's pretty difficult to do. I worked with many Alzheimer's patients when I was in Nursing and they are a "special group of people." I bet deep down he knows who you are.

  5. Dear Kathy;
    I think you know how I feel about this post. You have said, so eloquently, what many of us feel about our Dad's and the impact they have on us as little girls, big girls and women. Nothing can replace our fathers, that is for certain.
    All those traits you love so much in your father? Be glad to know you have them in you!

  6. Love your wedding picture and what your Dad said to you right before you walked down the aisle. It sounds like something my Dad would have done too! It sounds like you were very well loved (and protected) when you were growing up, and that you still are even if your Dad might not remember why at times. I'm sure it's so frustrating for you both!

    I did hear once about how playing some of the person's music from there favorite era before visits sometimes helped them connect better with their loved ones. I'm not sure if this worked with people suffering from Alzheimer's but perhaps an iPod loaded with some great oldies wouldn't hurt. Anyway you probably heard of this too, but thought I'd mention it just in case. So glad that the aide was there for you, they truly are angels in disguise.

  7. What a sweet and honest post. Your dad sounds like a true hero and a true human. We all have flaws, but your relationship sounds like one filled with plenty od love and that's what matters most.

  8. Hard to make it thru this post, feeling really sad myself this weekend, but your post to your Dad, the love you have for him shines through the ugliness of Alzheimer's.

  9. I couldn't read this without tears rolling down my cheeks. I knew your dad and the man he was and know it must be unimaginable to watch this awful disease take over. This was written directly from your heart and so eloquently. I'm sure he knows how much you love him "because you said so" so many times before. What a lovely picture of you and your dad on your wedding day.

  10. You always make me laugh and now you make me cry. Such a lovely tribute to your father. As Nancy Reagan said, it is the long goodbye. God bless both of you.

  11. Oh my...I am so incredibly touched after reading your post. What a wonderful tribute to your amazing Dad...I feel so blessed that, at this point, both my parents are both healthy and strong. But like you, I pray each day for their continued health...Kathy, your beautiful words have moved me to tears and you and your Dad are both very lucky to have each other.

  12. Oh Kathy. We've never met but I can tell u are quite an exceptional daughter, wife and mom. This is an extraordinary piece of work. It touched me deeply.

  13. Beautifully written from your heart. I'm sure on some level your dad knows and feels your love. Your father, your hero, sounds like he was a wonderful dad, and a big part of why you turned out so well!

  14. Oh wow, what a wonderful testament to your dad, and a life well lived. It must be heartbreaking to see him struggle. My thoughts go out to you.

  15. Kathy this was such a sweet post. I smiled with tears all the way through. Then I bust out laughing about the ugly feet. I have to try really hard to girlify my "daddy's" feet. Once sandal season is over I take a break and just cover them up with socks. Anyway...love that you call him Pops ;-)

  16. Thank you for sharing about your dad. That's so true when you wrote about one sided conversations. Although my mother-in-law is mentally fair, the restrictions on her declining physical state means that conversations are very difficult. There's always that long running joke about why don't babies come with a parenting manual - in all seriousness I think there should be a manual about how incredibly difficult it is dealing with parents getting older and all the different hardships children face depending on the illness/ condition that the parent is going through. I'm sorry for what you and your dad are going through.

  17. Oh Kathy.. This is such a touching post. You have me all teared up. My father is Blind and has lost most of his hearing. But his mind is still sharp. He really can't hear me talk to him but I can sit for hours and listen to his stories about his life. That is still much easier than Alzheimer.. My heart goes out to you!


  18. I always love visiting here...always. This post, though, teared me up. I am also on this journey...this crazy crooked journey into the land of dementia. Yes, those one sided conversations drain you. The sitting in the demetia world and watching all those poor souls. God bless you both.

  19. Beautiful, just beautiful.
    I have a very dear aunt who is suffering from the same God awful disease. Hate.It!
    I, too, find myself questioning my "forgetfulness" - but I am also 51. I like to think it's just something that comes with age.
    Hang onto your dad - your memories & love on him while you still have him physically here. My dad died 4 years ago & I wish for one more hug, one ore belly laugh, one more of anything.
    Wonderful, wonderful tribute!

  20. Kathy this is such a lovely post in honor of your dad on this special day. Alzheimer's is such a difficult disease, probably harder on families that the people that it directly affects. Really enjoyed your thoughts here, and so glad that you have all those wonderful memories and have had the honor of having a great father. so many people miss out on that completely!