For those of you unfamiliar with Christianity or who haven’t dusted off your bibles for sometime, let me tell you a Lorified story.
There’s this dude named Job. He’s got it all. On social media, he’s the guy you’d be comparing your life to. On top of that, he loves God and has an unbreakable faith. This is not the kind of guy you find in the self-help section of the bookstore in the fetal position.
As usual, Satan stops in to create some chaos. He walks right up to God and starts talking smack.
“The only reason Job loves you is because you’ve spoiled him,” says Satan while adjusting his leotard suit.
God shakes his head, leans over to one of his archangels and whispers, “Why does he continue to ask me to prove him wrong?” He rights himself and tells Satan, “Come at me Bro.”
Satan is thrilled. He gets to mess with Job and prove that he knows mankind better than the creator of mankind. As he’s skipping out of the room God speaks again. “But you can’t take Job’s life.”
Satan’s undeterred by this rule because he believes if he creates enough chaos around Job he will crumble and denounce God.
From that moment on, things go to hell in a hand basket for Job. He is stripped of everything and pain comes at him from every angle.
Ever feel like Job? (Not sure why I asked. Of course you have. We all have.)
Recently I had my own Job-like moment.
In my version, I’m god. (Don’t get all upset! I can’t help the role in which I was cast.)
With authority, I have one rule. Don’t let anything happen to my mom.
I won’t go into all the reasons I set this rule. We don’t have time for all the mushy stuff of how my mom is the greatest mother on the planet. I’ll narrow my focus to how this pertains to this blog.
I’m the heavy artillery in caregiving for my dad.
My mom, she’s the spy in enemy territory.
She’s my eyes and ears. She’s the day-to-day nonsense, the reason dad can still live at home, and, to be honest, the reason he is still with us.
Six weeks ago, my phone rings. It’s my dad.
Historically my dad only calls me to remind me of a sporting event that is about to air (that I have no intentions of watching) or to find out if I just called him because he could swear he just heard the phone ring, but when he answered… no one was there.
As soon as I say hello, dad starts rambling. He’s so worked up he’s stuttering. My mom had fallen and the EMT’s were on their way.
Oh snap! The universe took a steaming dump on my rule!
When I showed up to the ER, it was clear the pending x-ray was for surgical purposes, not confirmation. Her affected leg was six-inches shorter and rotated so far her toes where dangerously close to pointing backwards.
Her hip was broken.
I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t tearful or worried.
I was lost.
I had no plan for this. In all the scenarios I’d mentally prepared for, this wasn’t on my radar. My mom IS my plan B. With my dad, my kids, my life in general. One broken hip was much bigger than an isolated injury. All of a sudden, I had no back-up plan.
I sat in the hospital that first night trying to figure out how to manage this. Six weeks of one parent in a facility injured and one parent home alone who, most days, needed to be in a facility.
This is the point in the story someone is thinking, “Ummmmm, Lori, this isn’t that big of a deal. Just have your dad stay with you while your mom recovers.”
Yes. Thank you.
The next morning, Big Jim took a hard pass on that idea. He’s a grown man. “I’ve been doing this awhile kid.”
Unless I had him pink slipped and deemed incompetent, I wasn’t going to get him to budge.
So I changed my tactic.
It went over like a cinderblock in a basketball game.
“Dad why don’t I bring over your meals for the day so you don’t have to use the stove?”
“Why would you do that?”
“Wellllllll, because you forget to turn off burners and you’ve burned yourself several times. And there’s the almost fire thing…”
“Your mom saw that on TV.”
“Call me when you want to shower and I’ll come over.”
He looks at me appalled.
(Sigh.) “Dad I’m not going to wash your penis or anything. I’ll just be in the house in case you fall… again.”
“You just stay home and take care of those kids.”
“How about if I get you a life alert? Would you wear it?”
Our first week was a little rough. I spent too much time driving back and forth from my dad’s house, to the hospital, and back to my house. I had forgotten one of the pivotal pieces of Job’s story. God wasn’t playing the odds, he was playing the facts.
God knew Job. He knew his heart.
And this girl knows how to hit an old man in the heart. If my dad loves anything more than being a pain in my butt, it’s his grandkids.
And I knew just the grandkid to throw at him.
My youngest daughter is a natural athlete. Has no fear. Hugs everyone. And, she has freckles.
She is the equivalent of a nuclear weapon when in a power struggle with Big Jim.
Is it wrong that I manipulated my dad with my daughter? Probably.
Am I setting a poor example by coaching my daughter on how to turn a phrase just right to get papa to cooperate? Sure.
Did it get it done? Absolutely.
The next few weeks went much smoother with my honorary sidekick helping to control the chaos. We had a few speed bumps, but by the end of my mom’s rehab stay (thankfully at the four week mark instead of the six week mark) dad was alive and well.
Just like Job’s story, God never left us. In so many ways, through countless people, he showed up and carried me. I was tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed, but I never lost that single thread of hope that was strong enough to keep me going.
And I get to take away what will be one of my favorite memories of my dad.
When a man who is on borrowed time, that has been under his wife’s jurisdiction for 58 years, gets to be a bachelor for four weeks…
Let me warn you, the AARP does not have a pamphlet to prepare you for this.