Sunday, June 17, 2012

When my father met Patrick for the first time

Bringing home a boyfriend to meet your father is always a big deal.  The first time Patrick met my father was Father’s Day 2004.  At the time, it never even crossed my mind that I would be married to Patrick within the next 16 months.  That day he was just a boyfriend, and not the first boyfriend I had introduced to my father but he was definitely the last.

This was their first Father's Day, taken right before Patrick had to head back home while we stayed in PA
That Father’s Day, we decided to go to the gun club and shoot pistols.  My dad was a decorated marksman and sharpshooter, a lifelong member of the NRA, and had tried out for the Olympics for shooting.  Did you know shooting is an Olympic sport?  I belonged to that gun club for the first 18 years of my life and was taught about gun safety from a very young age.  Patrick also grew up with a father who was a gun enthusiast.  I thought it would be perfect for them to meet over a shared interest.

My father was a very big man, about 6’6” with a good sized belly for most of his life.  He always had a beard except for that one time when he shaved his head and beard when I was in my 20’s and he looked really weird.  He could come off as intimidating but was really just a big teddy bear.  He was also armed which could have scared off any boyfriend but not Patrick.  Patrick hadn’t shot in a while so he was more nervous about that.  We set off for the club and shot some paper targets. Then Patrick and my dad got to talking about trap shooting.  We went back to my parent’s house and traded the pistols for rifles.

We both love to wear the baby.
If you do not know what trap shooting is, a clay disk is thrown into the air and you have to shot the moving target.  Think the Nintendo duck hunting game, duck hunt.  At the gun club, they have a metal box which houses a mechanical arm which will launch the disk into the air.  Dad went to take the lid off the box and the arm went off taking a big chunk of his finger with it.  I started screaming and freaking out, there was blood all over my dad’s nice button down dress shirt.  My dad told me to calm down and call 911.  I called them while scanning the surrounding grass for finger chunks.  My commotion drew the attention of a father with his young son who were at the nearby archery range.  They asked if there was anything they could do to help maybe get my dad something to drink.  Then they asked me if I needed something to drink.  

After my dad was injured he never cried and the strongest words he uttered were that it really “smarts”.  In no time the ambulance was there and they were checking out my dad’s finger.  I remember them asking my dad which hospital he wanted to go to and I was thinking that we did not call a taxi, we called an ambulance so take him to the nearest hospital for crying out loud.  I may have said something to that effect but it was 8 years ago so my memory is a bit blurry.

My dad told me to calm down and take the guns home.  My dad had priorities and his rifles sitting in his Lumina were not one of them.  So I drove that ridiculous minivan to my parent’s house crying most of the way with Patrick freaked out beside me.  I get home and put the guns away and the house phone was ringing and ringing.  I answered the phone, not sure why as I no longer lived there, but there was no answer.  I was full of attitude and screaming hello when a voice announced himself as so and so of the police.  They would not be taking my dad to a local hospital.  They would be air lifting him to the emergency room at the University of Pennsylvania.  He told us where we could meet the helicopter.

We got into Patrick’s car and set off for a golf course which used to have a pool where I spent some time in middle school.  They had since filled in the pool to make room for more golfing.  When we pulled up, there were police everywhere and they were trying to stop us from getting too close.  I jumped out of the car and started running for the helicopter yelling that my father was inside.  We were too late and watched as the helicopter took off.

The hospital was about a half hour away so we hit the highway and made great time.  When we arrived they said my father had not yet arrived.  I knew we made great time but how could we have out run a fucking helicopter.  Oh yes, I was so mad and freaking out and trying to get my mom on the phone.  My mother was a forced to be reckoned with and I really wanted to sic her on this stupid receptionist.  I remember there was a fish tank in the waiting room, my dad loved fish.  There also were a few gunshot wounds coming in and the place seemed jumping for Father’s Day.  

My mom and my aunt arrived and seeing them was a relief.  My mom being a nurse and having worked in the ER for years knew who to talk to and what questions to ask.  He had a heart attack and pace maker installed years before as well as being diabetic and suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.  As he was on blood thinners, I was concerned about him losing too much blood.  She got to see him before I did and he was fine, cool as a cucumber.  The entire finger had not been severed but a large chunk was missing.  He would have to stay the night and might need future operations to attach nerves or ligaments.

My dad was a grin and bear guy and never got any other operations on his hand.  It did bother him for the remaining years of his life especially compounded with his arthritis.  I felt so horrible that my dad had to spend Father’s Day in the hospital and that Patrick met him under such insane circumstances.  I remember Patrick called his dad while we were waiting at the hospital.  Such craziness and it would not be the last crazy experiences we would have on an occasion which should have been much happier.  Part of me would not have been surprised if Patrick had slowly backed away from me with a it was really nice to meet you but I got to go wash my hair (which he has none).  

Family Fun Time!
As insane as it was it really exemplified how strong my father was and how supportive Patrick was and is to this day.  Patrick is my rock and without him I would not have made it through a flooded wedding location, the death of my mother or my health issues and eventual diagnosis of MS.  Without Patrick I would not have gotten my son, Orion.  But it was Orion who really got me through the death of my father.  Having Orion to hug, kiss, and cuddle was such a comfort after my father’ death but he also gave me strength.  I had to be strong for Orion and could not fall apart because that 6 week old baby needed me.  I also knew how much my father wanted this grandchild and how happy he had been to see him and hold him.

I hope Orion has 1/10 of my father’s strength.  I also hope he has the patience, compassion, love of reading, thirst for knowledge, sense of humor, and the culinary adventurousness that both my father and Patrick share.  Now that my father is gone, his best dad in the world crown gets passed to Patrick.  I think it fits his head rather well.  I am a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful husband who is truly a partner in raising our son.  I love seeing Orion get excited when his dad comes home from work.  Or seeing him sit on his father’s lap and read a book or watch TV together.  I look forward to seeing Patrick teach Orion to ride a bike and do all the many things they will do together.

Happy Father’s Day!

This was on our 6th wedding anniversary.


No comments:

Post a Comment