bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Happy Birthday, Dad!

My dad is 70 today.  That doesn’t even seem possible.  He doesn’t act 70.  (Just like I don’t act 42!)

I have been told by many that I am like my dad. 

We are both a little jumpy, to put it mildly.  I remember my mom asking my brother and me to go wake Dad up from a nap and tell him it was time for supper.  Oh, man.  That was like taking your life into your own hands.  We’d argue about who would do it.  I remember walking into his room very quietly and then whispering, “Dad?”  He usually didn’t move.  A little louder, “Dad?”  “WHAT?  WHAT?  OH!”  He jumped as high as I did.  Every single time.  He and I really hate to hear people put away dishes in the kitchen.  As he puts it, “It sounds like they are dropping the dishes from the ceiling!”  I agree.

We are both pretty emotional.  As in soft-hearted.  I like that trait, honestly.  I don’t like to feel sorry for someone (like a homeless woman on the side of the road), but when I do, I feel human.  Like I have a heart.  Dad passed that one along to me. 

He saved my life once.  My family was swimming in a pool when we were camping.  My brother, who could not swim, was floating on a beachball and had drifted into the deep end of the pool.  My dad asked me to go and get him.  No problem, so far.  When I reached my brother, however, he let go of the ball and jumped on my back.  I sank to the bottom of the pool like a lead weight.  I used my feet to push off the bottom and get some air, but then I would sink back down.  I just couldn’t handle the weight of my brother.  (Who, by the way, thought I was playing and giving him the ride of his life.)  I did this several times, and then the last time I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.  I’m just going to have to quit and drown.”  Then I heard a splash and my dad was there, pulling me out of the water to safety.  I have no idea where my brother was, all I knew was that Dad had saved my life.  He sat with me on the side of the pool while I sobbed.  Then he told me to get back in.  I looked at him like he was crazy.  He told me that if I didn’t get back in I might never get back in since I would be afraid of drowning again.  I trusted him and got back in (he got in with me too, of course), and I’ve been swimming ever since.

My dad loves breakfast.  Oh yes.  Another wonderful trait passed on to me.  The love of coffee and a good breakfast.  My day is not complete without breakfast and I could eat it three times a day.  Give my dad some eggs over-easy, bacon or sausage, toast, and coffee and you have a happy man.  I try to always have a pot of coffee ready for him when he comes over.  He’ll always say, “Good coffee, Shell.”  I doubt that it is always good, but he says it anyway.

My dad has hugged me a lot through the years.  I always love those hugs.  He has had many shirts get tear-stained, thanks to me.  A time I remember vividly, was when I went off to college.  Prior to leaving, I COULD NOT WAIT to leave St. Louis and get out on my own.  My family was cramping my style, I guess.  But, when it came time to actually leave, I was beside myself.  I ran to my dad and hugged him and cried.  I said, “I don’t want to go.  I don’t want to do this.”  Rather than stand there stiffly and tell me to get in the car, he hugged me and said soothing words to me.  Then he shoved me into the car.  No, not really.  But, I knew he cared.  That was huge.

As I’ve mentioned before, my dad has really been there for me during this whole bipolar incident.  (Everyone has.)  Just last week, he met me for lunch when I was having a really tough time.  He was my rock that day.

I love that we can talk about anything and everything.  We both think the other one is very funny.  He has a great sense of humor that he doesn’t always let everyone see.  But, I love it.

My husband is my best friend.  My mom is my best “girl” friend.  But, I’m a Daddy’s girl and always will be.


Comments on: "Happy Birthday, Dad!" (4)

  1. I’m in tears as I read this…you are so blessed to have him. Hug him tight for me.

  2. Makes us all think about how we’ll be with our kids in 20 or 30 years, eh? What blessings you are to one another.

  3. What’s the story behind your nickname ‘Shell’? It could be Hawkeye. *
    You should think of publishing your writings!
    Like I told Tom, the day comes when we don’t think of our illness challenge every day. After 36 yrs. of it; I even see God’s grown me a lot through it. It’s His choice for my best. I wouldn’t have chosen it, but I’m not God!
    My Mom used to jump every single time you tried to wake her too!!

    Partially rubberized dishes,pots & pans!

    Sorry, but it’s impossible for me to comment in only one line. Beth*

  4. MarlaLAM said:

    I’m so glad I got to say Hi to your Dad & Mom Sunday!! Your parents look so young!!!

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