Thankful Thursday is where I stop and tell how thankful I am for one thing this week. I am thankful for so much in my life, but each week I will recognize one thing that just really stood out that week. I will also be linking up to the wonderful inspiration of my Thankful Thursday post.
This week is totally about my dad. I got to spend his 62nd birthday with him this year, when for years we thought he would never make it to. His brother passed away when he was 50 and his sister was 60 when she passed away, only 5 days short of turning 61. Over the years my dad has been through so many things that I sit and wonder HOW he is here. But he is and I know one day I will have to say good-bye, here's praying 2012 isn't that year.
It's not that I wasn't close to my mom growing up, it's just that we were SO much alike that we didn't really get along. My dad was my everything, my racecar buddy, my cartoon watcher, my sitting in a beanbag chair playing Atari friend. When I got older and we moved to Opelika, only a little over an hour away from Six Flags over Georgia, he was my roller coaster ridding buddy. My mom didn't do the roller coaster thing, so when my dad decided to always get season passes, she only got one, one year. Dad and I always renewed our season passes as long as we lived there, until I was fifteen and moved back Home to Muscle Shoals, where we currently live. I miss Opelika and the people, but Home is where I was born, which is Muscle Shoals. Dad took me to ride all the ride and walk the whole park week after week, with his bad knees and bad back. He would just put knee braces on both knees and off we would go.
He has Degenerative Disc Disease and Scoliosis, which can't be helped, but sometimes I wonder if I helped put him where he is now by insisting we ride the Dahlonega Mine Train over and over. It was the only ride that had a lower back on it and it was my favorite ride. As I got older I realized how much it hurt him and we had an agreement that we would only ride it once. He now uses a walker and if it's a long distance, a wheelchair. He underwent extensive surgery to bolt a titanium rod to his spine six years ago and that's when I almost lost him.
He went into a surgery that would have him in the hospital for "two and a half weeks" and in recovery for "a couple of months." My dad laid in that Birmingham Hospital for 70 days, went into surgery at least thirteen times, due to a spinal cord leak they couldn't find, had a stroke on the table during one of the surgeries, and got a staph infection. It was on day 71 that he was finally moved to rehab, not yet home. The next year that titanium rob would break in a fall he suffered and back to surgery at UAB he went. It went much smoother, but all my fears came back.
A year later, he is at the doctor for a routine check-up, stands up to leave and the new titanium rod breaks in two places. Back to surgery. In this surgery the doctor accidentally breaks his sacrum, sort of the tail bone. Now my dad can not sit up to apply pressure to his tail bone for about seven weeks, he is brought to rehab in Florence, not home, but only ten minutes away. After recovery things were going great. I finally got pregnant, after years of trying, and he was able to meet his grandson.
Right before his first Christmas with his grandson, he went into kidney failure and we were told, there was zero kidney function. My one prayer: please let him make it through Christmas, so my children son't associate his passing with Christmas. We got a Christmas Miracle, at that time I was blogging so you can read about that story HERE. Since then it has been little illnesses and little things, but he made it, all the way to 62 and his grandson is about to turn two.
So, yes, this Thursday I am Thankful I got to spend Monday, his birthday with my dad. HERE is how we spent his birthday. Now that I have cried my eyes out with all of this, I can't wait to plan next year's birthday with him! My daughter is a Pawpaw's girl and baby AJ loves his Pawpaw and seeing ym children with him and not only his face light up, but theirs as well, lights up my heart. I love when Alex runs full speed at him to give him a hug and my daddy can still pick him up, although I'm not sure how much longer that will last. I make new memories everyday that I'm with him, but they will never replace my childhood memories of the best daddy ever.