Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day: It's Complicated

To my son Tommy,

Who are you beholden to on Father's Day? The answer seems so simple, your father, right? I guess from a five year old point of view, it is that simple. It is just like the picture above, just you and your dad, hanging out and being silly, with some serious cheesy smiles. From my point view however, it is a bit more complicated.

First, many in our family are postponing Father's Day, and it is no wonder. We are all pretty drained both physically and emotionally from the loss of Nansy, and what strength we can muster is probably better spent just being with each other rather than in some major Father's Day event. But even if we had all the energy in the world, it is still complicated.

Being a father and a son, I am beholden both to my dad and to you. So when your mother asked if we were considering any plans for today, I answered, "I just want to make sure I am available to and for my dad. We can just spend the day doing a whole bunch of nothing together and waiting in case my dad needs me." We had plans that were superseded by current events. You see, along with your great grandmother Nansy passing, your Grandmom Roro is in the hospital. That whole explanation of everything going on with her medically is best answered with a vague "It's complicated". But last night she was admitted to GBMC intermediate care unit. So my dad is doing his best to deal with that. And I need to be there in case he needs anything at all.

Also, like me, my dad (your Grandpa Leo) is beholden to his father (my grandpa and your Great Grandpa Leo. All with the same name which just adds that extra complication and confusion in explaining everything) Your Great Grandpa Leo is still in the nursing/rehab center, and, according to the current plan, will be in there for another thirty days. They want to get him to the point where one person can transfer him from bed, to wheelchair, to car, to wheelchair, to bed...before we take him home.

Among the normal stresses of life, that is a tremendous extra amount of strife for your Grandpa Leo to deal with. His time is no longer his, as he willingly sacrifices it for his loved ones. Yet he somehow still manages to laugh and smile through every moment that he no longer has for himself. And he also tries to shield his son (me) from these stresses saying stuff like, "Yeah I am okay...just enjoy the day" My father is still giving life lessons on how to be a good son, a good husband, and a good dad...all at once. Frankly, I consider the man one of the most amazing men in the world, and I don't believe that is totally and solely based on my own bias.

So you can see that with four generations of Downey men, Father's Day would be complicated without any of the additional complications. Then we throw in a father like your Poppop who your mom is beholden to, and who loves everyone of his son-in-laws as if they were his own, and who I proudly call dad as well. So when you say something like "It's complicated" just remember we don't say this to give up or defeat, but to acknowledge that life gets difficult and we got to keep trying the best we can. Happy Father's Day.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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