My parents are still very happily married, but only because they are best friends. They have lived a part before, but not by choice.
When I was three years old, my mom took a job with the State of Alabama and it was a job about five hours away. She relocated, while my dad and I stayed behind to get things where he could find a job there and so that she wouldn't have to deal with a new place and finding daycare and all that came with it. Within a few months, my dad and I joined my mom in Opelika, where he became Chief Chemist at Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Company. It wasn't without hard work that he got this job. When I was fifteen, my dad became disabled and my grandparents, his parents, had heart attacks within a few months of each other, my dad and I returned to Muscle Shoals, where I was born.
My mom stayed behind until she could transfer within her job. Eventually she got transferred to the Muscle Shoals office. She has now been with the State for 29 years. My dad on the other hand, isn't able to work, let's face it, he isn't able to do much. Six years ago, he went to Birmingham for back surgery, a surgery that would only take a few hours and he would be home in about two and a half weeks. Well, things didn't go as planned and I almost didn't have a dad come home at all. 70 days later, fourteen surgeries later, a spinal fluid leak, a staph infection, and a stroke on the operating table later, my dad finally left Birmingham, only to go to a rehab facility for therapy.
Wouldn't you know, the titanium rod that was placed in his back would break the next year and we would be faced with surgery again. Then the year after that the NEW titanium rod would break in two different places. Then two Christmases ago, he went into total kidney failure, but with prayer came out of that too. He is now in a wheelchair and on oxygen, but he's here, he here for me and my children.
Growing up, he was always the hardest worker, putting in sixteen hour shifts and still taking my to Six Flags all the time. We went to Six Flags so much that for about five straight years we had season passes. We would go to KFC and get chicken the night before and then put it in a cooler. Then park at the back gate and get our hands stamped around lunch time and take our cooler to the little pond and have a picnic and feed the turtles our leftovers. I have SO many memories with my dad. When I was really young, we would go to yard sales and buy cars and racetracks and set them up all over the living room, we had miles of tracks.
When I got older and my friends would come over they always said how great my dad was. I talked to him about everything. He knew who was "dating" who at my school, and who liked who and who was cheating on who. I never really got into any trouble until I stopped talking to my dad. I don't mean we actually stopped talking, I mean I wasn't sharing with him anymore. But as an adult, I find myself telling him everything all over again. He even taught me to cook.
They say a man should marry a woman like their mom and a woman should marry a man like their dad. I guess that's why my relationships never worked out in my past. I thought no one would come close to my dad in my eyes. Then, I met my husband. He is no replacement for my dad, but he is what my dad has been to me, to our children. He is hardworking, kind, and so loving to our children. I was always sort of jealous of what my mom and dad have, and now I have something very close to it. I married my best friend and better yet, we used my parent's 33rd wedding anniversary as our wedding date.
Their aren't words to describe what ALL my dad is to me, but I just hope he knows.
|My dad in 1951, almost a year old and I see some of him in my son|
|my mom and dad in 1972, at the wedding of their friends, Judy and Mac McMeans|
|My Dad in 1985, I was about 4|
|me and my dad, Santa Claus, this past father's day|