On Being a DAD

June 23rd, 2017 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

Father’s Day was never as big of a deal as Mother’s Day. It’s probably because dad’s role in the kid scenario is not as painful as mom’s role. I can honestly say though that being a dad can sometimes hurt like heck. It starts fast as each baby advances through their childhood ailments and other challenging experiences. As a young dad, I always wished their pain could have been transferred to me so they would have been spared, but that’s not the way it works.

When they were little, and I was alone with them at ages one and three, and both had fevers that were approaching the stratosphere, I fed them popsicles, bathed them in tepid water and prepared cold water enemas which, thank goodness, never had to be administered. That’s a memory I’ll never forget.

Then there was that time when my daughter caught her finger in the swing chain and broke the tip of it. The worst part of that experience, however, was when the nurse asked me how it was broken, and she asked me as if I had somehow tortured my baby girl deliberately.

Then there was the time I was in Lancaster and got the call that my son was hospitalized with pneumonia. I left immediately and arrived at 2 a.m.to sit with him throughout the night at his hospital bed. The resident had explained that the IV antibiotic could be painful, and as I sat beside his bed, I could hear a drip, drip, drip of the IV. Each drop made me wince. A few days later while sitting beside him at home, I heard that same sound and realized it was his SWATCH watch.

Of course, there was that day he was hit with a fastball and almost died from the dye from the CAT scan, and the time he accidentally shot the neighbor in the hand with his BB gun. Oh, wait, those were my pains. He didn’t feel anything.

There were those accident phone calls, too. My daughter’s college boyfriend’s car was T-boned on the passenger side and the hospital call went something like this, “Is this Mr. Jacobs? Your daughter’s been in an accident. Please come to the emergency room.” Or the time my son was hit by a truck and the neighbors were all in my driveway crying. Those were lifetime memories.

Much of today’s personal pain comes from their perceived individual or business challenges, from money challenges, health scares, and, of course, Lyme disease. It never stops until either we die or they do, and that’s the reality of being a dad. You can be there for them all the time, but not too much because being there too much can make them too dependent.

And now, all these years later, I get to do it all again with six my grandchildren. We’ve dealt with at least three or four broken arms, a broken leg, and a broken nose. We’ve had gymnastics accidents from the non-parallel bars and home accidents from falling off a yoga ball.

The hardest grandkid pain, though, has been from broken hearts caused by military deployments, from being bullied, broken promises from friends or loved ones, and misunderstood or unmanaged expectations from teachers and relatives that caused pure agony.

Before this scares any of you father’s to be, understand that I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. In fact, going through my life without my kids and grandkids would have been a journey not worth making because, when it comes down to it, there’s nothing better, nothing. Remember, roses have thorns, beaches have hurricanes, and bees have stingers. It’s all part of the deal, all part of this crazy thing we call life.

We’re all made of energy and matter and are both transient and eternal. Enjoy the journey.

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1 comment

  1. L. Pugh says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head and have included most everything possible. And with humor to make everything possible to digest. Thank you for that. And honesty and integrity.
    Your experiences make me and I am certain, countless others recall our childhood medical experiences with ease.
    It seems that somehow, our parents and caregivers back then were able to pay our medical ways through adolescence. I recall those Insurance Forms we carried home with our pile of books, before there were book satuals, to carry those heavy books home in. At the same time, many of us who live outside of the bus routes had to carry them a mile to and fro, in three feet of snow, uphill both ways. But we somehow did it. No phones to enjoy or carry. We even had a party-line, and unless it was an emergency, you didn’t dare inturrup. Boy, can you imagine the listening ears then? I have thought about that many times over the years, realizing now that every school age child expects and cell phone With internet, mind you.
    Oh, I could go on and on, however I’ll leave that up to you Mr. Jacobs. You do it so well, and I thank you for taking me back to year’s ago. When things really were much simpler.
    In a world full of technology that supposedly makes life much easier, I really have to wonder.
    L. Pugh

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