In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful
As I rounded in the hospital today (on Father’s Day…I know!), I reflected over what it meant for me to be a father for the last 15 years. All the lost sleep, all the money spent, all the heartache, all the lost time with my wife, all the times we could not go out for dinner by ourselves, or go on a nice trip, or all the hours spent worrying about their well-being.
I reflected over all the times our children made shopping difficult, or the rare vacation more challenging, or dinner outings more embarrassing. I reflected over all the times we had to leave early from a party which we were enjoying because our children were tired or cranky. I reflected over all the pain and torture our kids put us through for all the years I have been a father. It has been a lot.
I reflected over all the anguish I felt learning my late daughter was diagnosed with a horrific, crippling disorder. I reflected over all the difficult times we spent with her: all the times we had to carry her because she couldn’t’ walk; all the times we spent up awake with her when she was sick; all the times we worried that she would become sick again.
I reflected over the terrible dread I felt when we learned that she was diagnosed with lymphoma. I reflected over all the days we spent with her in the hospital; all the hours spent worrying about how she will tolerate the chemotherapy; all the hours we spent with her while she was undergoing procedures. I reflected over all the times we died seeing her suffer under the barbaric effects of the poisonous chemotherapy with which we allowed her to be infused.
I reflected over the crushing pain I felt when I realized that she was going to die. I reflected over those last few moments we had with her on this earth: how my wife and I held her burning body in our arms as the septic shock ravaged her poor, frail body; how the shock completely destroyed everything she had before; how my heart was completely destroyed as I watched they throw dirt over her beautiful, pink and white casket; how my eyes have hardly dried ever since the day she died, how the pain of her loss continues to reverberate in my heart and soul each and every day.
As I reflected over all these things, a natural question came to mind, one ever more relevant on this Father’s Day: would I do it again? If I had the chance, would I forget this whole “father thing” and never had a child?
Absolutely not. I would do it all over again.
Despite all the pain and suffering of the quirks of our children; despite all the pain and torture of having to watch a child die before my eyes, I would do it all over again. I would have my children all over again. I would hold them in my arms all over again. I would carry them sleeping soundly in my arms all over again. I would put them to bed all over again. I would assemble – and go crazy doing it – all those bikes, and chests, and desks, and toys, and doll houses all over again. I would miss countless hours of golfing to be with them all over again. I would force myself to get up at the crack of dawn to play some golf – before my kids are awake – all over again.
Don’t get me wrong, If I could have made it so that my daughter didn’t get cancer, I would do it. But, nevertheless, all those hours I spent with my late daughter in the hospital were precious to me. All those times we spent together in the hospital were some of the best times of my life. All the times I would get her a “concoction” of soda from the cafeteria were absolutely wonderful. I would not trade all those times we would spend together, as I gave her the subcutaneous IgG, for all the money and riches and fame in the world.
On the surface, it seems that being a father (or a parent in general) is a raw deal. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It has been a tremendous privilege and honor and blessing to be a father. The joy my children give me far, far, far outweighs any difficulty they may cause in my life. I am so very blessed, despite the fact that this day is a little painful for me, knowing that my eldest baby (who would have been 15 this year) is not with me.
Nope, I have no regrets whatsoever having my children. I would do it all over again.