You always seem to understand my frustration. Not one time did you holler at me or ridicule me for my clumsiness when you took me out to play football. It never appeared to bother you that I had the worst coordination in the world. When I did not make the play, you never stopped encouraging me. I loved it when you would toss me up in the air and say,”You are my champion.” Even when I violated your space, you would laugh and call me your SPACE INVADER. You would go get the tape measure and you would show me where I should stand to keep from violating other people’s personal space.
When it was time to clean my room, you always gave me a heads up on where I should start first. I loved the saying, “We will build one skill at a TIME.” It was funny how I was sitting in the middle of the floor and you walked into the room and sat beside me. I looked at you and you looked at me and we both started laughing. Dad, I was so glad you didn’t get angry because 2 hours had passed and the room was totaled. You told me I just needed a jumpstart like a battery. The sticky notes helped so much. You only listed 5 items for me to do. Once I had learned those tasks, you would slowly add a new task. I figured I was making progress. I was so excited to see another task added on. It seemed like it took forever but Dad, you waited for me to get it.
I remember when we went to our favorite eating place and you leaned over and told me I had my shirt on backward. The look on your face was priceless when I told you they make shirts that look like they are inside out. I bought the shirt for a strategy so people would think I was keeping up with the trend. Concept formation is hard for me and this was one way of my dealing with putting my clothes on backward. Whenever we would go shopping, we would buy shirts with the decals on the front so I would know if my shirt was on right. The wristband you had made at the jeweler was a good way for helping me determine my right from my left. I love the engraving on it… “This is my right-hand man.”
Dad, you made me feel like I was Paula Dean’s son in the kitchen. You took the initiative to buy me all those gadgets from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I had an apple slicer, Nicer Dicer, Instant Chopper, and One Step Can Opener… any contraption that would keep me from severing my fingers or accidentally slicing my wrist. You would tease me and say, “Son we don’t want people to think you tried to commit SIDEWAYS in the kitchen.” I thought it was hilarious when I almost cut my finger off and you looked over at the pot of spaghetti and then looked at me said, “Want to go to dinner because I’m eating no fingers today.”
We had candles of every scent, fountains, and I couldn’t walk through the house without my feet landing on a different type of rug or carpet. Every time my feet hit the carpet or rug it brought so much ease to my body. At night my room looked like a church cathedral or it felt like a spa with the fountains. I loved the swivel chairs in my room. I had such a hard TIME getting to sleep. When you would bring me the hot chamomile tea it wouldn’t be long before it was lights out for the night.
I love the MAD-O-Meter you placed on my door. Before I would escalate you would walk me over to the MAD-O-Meter and have me point to the color. We would discuss if I wasn’t too angry what happened to cause the problem or the chain of events that led up to my trip to ANGER LAND. If I was too ANGRY, you would bring me the apple cinnamon tea, and say it was BREW TIME. I would sit and BREW because I took everything literally. It really did help me to calm down.
Wow! Dad, you had so many strategies and coping skills for me. I hope I can accommodate you like you accommodated me. We both were unprepared for this. I am so afraid for you. The doctors have talked to me several TIMES about your stroke. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together is so hard for me. Too bad Mom is not here to help me get through this. I didn’t realize that she has been dead for 7 years. Here I am in this place looking through this glass window. You look so helpless and weak. Can you hear me, DAD? I know I am not NURSE BETTY but I will try my best. We can do this DAD. I can’t lose you too.
You even trained people through the years if anything were to happen to you I would have another GRAND GUARDIAN in place. I don’t want another Grand Guardian. I need you, DAD. No matter how long it takes I will be sitting here WAITING BY THE WINDOW for your recovery. Mom is watching over us today. I will ask her and GOD to go in their conference chambers and work something out for me and you to spend a little more TIME together. I LOVE YOU DAD. You have been a good father to me.
Dedicated: This is dedicated to all the FATHERS who have broken the cycle from being the absentee DAD and have shown true dedication to their children no matter what the circumstances are. To all my NLDERS the strategies and coping skills mentioned in this letter can be very beneficial. Turn on your QUIET STORM MUSIC and RELAX WITH YOUR WARM FUZZY BLANKET and PLAY IT TO THE TUNE OF GUY__LET’S CHILL. IN RECOGNITION OF NLD SYNDROME NOW.