I know you’ve heard all about the helicopter parent – a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child. I’ve never been that parent, but I’ve become a helicopter child!
If you’ve visited my blog in the last month, you’ve heard by now that my mom suddenly and unexpectedly passed away on May 7th – one month and seven days ago. It was the day before Mother’s Day and exactly one week before my daughter got married. Yeah, it’s been rough. I wrote an article about it for She Knows.
My dad was married to mom for 62 years and they were BFF’s. You rarely saw one without the other. To say he’s devastated would be an understatement. He’s completely lost. There is not a day goes by that I don’t call him at least once. That’s not including the daily calls from my brothers and my sister.
I live six hours away by car and my sister lives 23 hours away, so we are constantly asking him if he has eaten. What I wouldn’t give to live nearby so that I could cook for him and make sure he’s eating a balanced diet. He bakes, but my mom did most of the cooking and he says that he just doesn’t have an appetite and it’s foolish to cook for one.
The for one part feels strange even as I type it. I’ve never seen my dad as one. It was always mom and dad. Their phone number is programmed in my phone as mom and dad. I can’t bare the thought of ever changing it to just dad.
My sister, Melinda, and I have joked in the past about dad answering the phone when we’d call home and he’d say hello and talk a few seconds and then he always said, “I love you. I’ll let you talk to your mama.” He was never one to talk on the phone for very long.
Except now he does. Those long conversations I once had with my mom are now had with my dad. We talk about mom. We talk about how we wake up first thing in the morning and it feels like a nightmare and then we realize it’s all true. I tell him things will get better. He says, “I know.”
There hasn’t a day gone by that I don’t tear up as I’m hanging up the phone, but I try to be cheerful and strong for my dad. After our goodbyes and I love you’s, I weep. I weep for my mom. I miss her. I weep for my dad – alone in that house for the first time in 62 years. I weep for our family; we’ll never be the same.
My sister and I hovered and nudged until we convinced our dad to eat lunch most weekdays at the Sr. center in town. I don’t know who started that center, but God bless um! It’s been a lifesaver. Several of his friends and his brother-in-law are there every week day. Dad now goes just about every day. He says it’s not mom’s cooking, but it’s OK.
In between times, he works in his garden and mows the grass. It keeps him busy.
For now, my siblings and I are helicoptering like crazy. We will take good care of dad. Eventually things will get better and we’ll back off, but until then, I’m a helicopter child – something I never dreamed I’d be.
This won’t be the happiest Father’s Day we’ve ever celebrated, but we will definitely celebrate our wonderful dad.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. -Psalm 30:5
Are you a helicopter child?