For a little over a year now I have been on an alternate work week schedule, which allows me to work 9 hour days and take every other Friday off. My dad is retired, and somewhere along the way, we decided to start spending my Fridays off together. Today was my day off, and dad and I were talking about what a blessing his early retirement has been for our family. I've had so many special times with him when everyone else was working. I got pregnant with Elise the exact month he retired, and I can honestly say that I don't know how I would have made it without him. When I was on bed rest during my pregnancy, dad came over and sat with me every single day. He brought me lunch and sometimes dinner too. He kept me company and helped me stay calm. I can't even remember how many Astros games we watched together - me laying on my left side on the couch and dad in the recliner.
Then Elise was born, and I was on my own with my tiny baby. Oh my - I was so clueless! My maternity leave was an intensely lonely time for me. I had a lot of health problems and since Elise was a preemie, I could not take her out for a long time. I was basically housebound, and if it weren't for dad coming by every single afternoon to sit with me and hold Elise so I could take a shower, I think I might have gone insane. He was my only contact with the outside world for days at a time. Mom stopped by a lot as well, but she was working full time and couldn't stay for more than just an hour or so in the evening. For the first 4 months, Elise wouldn't sleep unless she was being held. To give me a break, dad used to sit with her and let her sleep on his chest - every single day. Those times we had together during my maternity leave will be cherished forever.
Dad was sitting with me the day I hemorrhaged and drove me to the hospital - he was very literally my lifesaver. I will never forget crawling to the car on my hands and knees to go to the ER. Thank God for his ability to drive us there safely under the circumstances!
Life with Elise has gotten a lot easier since those early days, but he still helps us all the time - I can't even count how many times he's delivered forgotten dance shoes to the school, picked up Elise when Jamie and I were running late, met repair men at our house, etc. He is truly a wonderful grandpa and father.
I love & treasure my Fridays with dad. We always have lunch together, and inevitably he ends up chauffeuring me around to run all my errands that have piled up throughout the week. We've had a lot of great conversations while driving from place to place and eating lunch. Of all the people in my life I am most like my dad, so he really "gets" me. If anything is ever bothering me, we always talk it out on our Fridays. I'm also amazed at how much we can get accomplished! Just today we did the following:
- Stood in a crazy long line to get my passport. The idea of having to live with my less than stellar passport photo for the next 10 years is causing me a bit of anguish, but I suppose I will survive.
- Went shopping for some spring/summer clothes for Elise (and found a few cute things for my Jamaica trip in the process). It felt kind of silly since it was raining and 40-something degrees today, but it's already been in the 80s and I know the warm weather will return very soon. Of course nothing from last summer fits. We also hit Stride Rite for Elise's summer shoes.
- Stopped in the bookstore, and picked up a few books. I just randomly grabbed one called Love Walked In. It's a NY Times Bestseller, and it looks like a nice, light, romantic read. Then I went ahead and picked up Kushiel's Dart. Last but not least, I finally got around to buying Parenting With Love & Logic, which is a parenting book I've been meaning to read for quite some time now. Amanda recommended this one to me, and I think our parenting styles are similar enough that if she likes it, I will too! I love reading books about relationships and parenting. Speaking of which, I read an AWESOME book called His Needs Her Needs recently. It was very eye opening, and I think every married couple should read it! After I read it, I really understood why Jamie and I are such a good pair - we share a lot of the same basic needs. Fascinating stuff! I wish I had read it many years ago.
- Had some great, hot soup at Panera Bread
Thank you, Dad...for EVERYTHING.