I'm not sure I remember any natural disasters that happened then, or any particular blip in the stock market, but I can say without question that the world hasn't been quite the same since November 2010, because that's when my dad retired.
Ah big deal, you say. He's a baby boomer - those guys are dropping out of the work world like dozy August flies.
But my dad, every day of his working life, changed someone's life for the better. Every single day.
My dad was - is - a pediatrician. For forty years he prodded small baby bellies, palpated big kid sprained ankles, took countless histories from overwrought and sleepless new parents, and gently broke bad news to families. He worked in hospitals, as the single pediatrician in a town way out in the country, as a family practitioner in a busy Maryland suburb.
He was that amazing doctor who chatted with siblings in the examining room, took the time to find out family stories, who had boundless patience with the parent who had endless questions. He encouraged moms to listen to their gut instincts, and he thoroughly enjoyed dads who wanted to be part of the parenting journey.
Most of all, he loved - loves - children: all sizes, all ages, all stages. When he left his practice, the parents in our part of the world lost one of those doctors who would value your family to his core, and do everything in his power to make your child well.
When he retired, I think I couldn't quite believe it. He'd made the decision 6 months earlier, and none of it came as a surprise. So I missed my chance to tell you this story back in November, because I was still getting used to the idea.
But I realized I don't share much about my dad here, in these stories I tell. I'll often see him three times a week, and yet I don't often include tales of this person who has been such a huge part of my life, and so incredibly formative in my growth as a parent.
|My sweet mom & dad. Aren't they cute?|
In the midst of CT scans and blood tests and a spinal tap (all for The Boy, not me), my dad has been my ally, my advisor, and my motivator to go out and advocate for my child. To make sure that I had the information I needed, and had the confidence to fight to say you will figure out what's wrong with my kid. Who has called every single morning to check on his little patient. Who has remained calm even though I knew with certainty he was as wild with worry as I was.
I can tell you many stories about a childhood filled with adventure, with endless activity, with sledding and hiking and canoeing and football and ... all of it. I can tell you about a dad who was wrapped around his only girl's finger on a pretty consistent basis (barring that tricky 13-17 era. Oh, and the time I crashed his truck.) I can tell you all about how he taught me how to change the horn (in self-same truck), check the oil (only one time I forgot. in a big style black-clouds-of-smoke on the PA Turnpike way), and to throw a baseball the right way.
The stories about what a loving grandfather he is? A whole 'nother book's worth of words.
But today I wanted to celebrate my dad not for the man he has been in my life, but for the man he has been in other's lives. Because this week I lived with that man, and I was so blessed. Am blessed.