I have always been a daddy's girl. When I was born, first girl after two boys, my mom took over most of the work at my parents' boutique and my dad stayed home with me for the first two years of my life. He changed my diapers, he took me to the playground, read me bedtime stories and he taught me all of my favorite cursewords. When I was five years old, we moved from Holland to Belgium. After getting settled, my dad started going back to Holland regularly to set up his practice in Amsterdam. At first he was gone for two days a week, in the end he was gone 3 weeks, home one week. I was eight years old and I missed my daddy every single day.
He wasn't the easiest father to say the least, but we always kept that special connection: when my brothers rebelled, my dad put them in their place. When I had a big mouth (and let me tell you, that was basically my default mode), my dad could never stay angry with me for long. Our dentist even said we had the same type of teeth.
Four years ago, my parents split up and my dad had a severe stroke. He slipped in and out of consciousness for days, lost the ability to word his thoughts and his right side was paralyzed. It was touch and go for a while there, but his incredible strength kept him alive and allowed him to make an incredible recovery: a year later, the only things wrong with my dad were a loss of sensitivity in his right side (he'd take hot trays out of the oven with his right hand because he didn't feel pain anyway) and him not being as quick with words as before. Doctors couldn't believe how horrible his stroke had been.
This morning, I got a phonecall from his new fiancé to tell me he had suffered another stroke. She quickly calmed my nerves by assuring me it wasn't as bad as the last time, but his right side was paralyzed again and he could only mutter a "no" or "yes" to clearly formulated questions. I have spent most of my day at my father's side, deeply feeling the father-daughter loving bond we share.
Right now I am extremely tired from worrying all day, but I can't give up hope of him recovering as well as he did last time. Hang in there, daddy.
I'll never be too old to sit on my dad's lap.