He was there for the day of her birth and then, her later “rebirth” after a successful kidney transplant.
He was there on the day I was born and he was there, once more, on the day I like to refer to as my rebirth.
How lucky am I?
I used to take this for granted, as if all men would be there for both, but I know now, as I’ve grown, that not all children are even lucky enough to get the first, let alone the second.
There I was, waking up into a new world, one I never could have imagined, when the first time I couldn’t possibly recall or comprehend the feelings of security and protection that my own father always would be there to give.
The first I was only a tiny baby, unaware of the sort of luxury I was being born into.
This time I was newly a teenager. I awoke from surgery in one hospital, my father across the street at another Toronto hospital, us both coming out of our drowsy, anesthetized states, after the transplant that was giving me my quality of life back, giving me a future full of hope, when so much fear and uncertainty had proceeded it.
Of course, what father wouldn’t do whatever necessary for their sick child?
I didn’t know anything else. I didn’t realize what I had in him, what he was doing for his little girl.
It’s an entirely unselfish act, organ donation. Most people would hesitate, but my father didn’t, not even for a second. Both their youngest children needed a kidney. It was only a matter of proper and appropriate tissue matching, but both my parents were a match for both me and my little brother. My father wanted to go first, pending further blood work and testing.
Either way, he would help his child. He would be there for me, doing whatever he could to end my suffering, as a good parent should.
Surgery was nothing, compared to saving his child’s life. It was never a question, other than, perhaps, how soon could the operation be scheduled?
Now, every June 5th, every approaching Father’s Day, I become thoughtful and introspective, as the date approaches and I think back to that thirteen-year-old girl I once was.
I read about parental abandonment, neglect, ambivalence. I try to think what I could possibly ever do to repay my father, as they really don’t make a Father’s Day card for the sort of history and connection we’ve got going on.
Of course, he did what a father is supposed to do, what any father would, but I know life isn’t always that way. I wish all children, everywhere, could have the kind of father I have. The world would most assuredly be a better and richer place if they did.
Thus, nineteen years since that unforgettable day of my kidney transplant, I honor him and his gift to me. I am always on the lookout for ways to mark the occasion, so I never forget what he did, and I am on a mission to make sure the rest of the world knows it too, that there are good fathers around, where headlines so often show the opposite to be the case.
So, thank you to my father, an unselfish male in a world so quick to showcase anything but. Of course, most fathers will never need to give one of their kidneys to prove their character, their devotion as a parent, but let my father stand as an example of what fatherhood truly can look like.
Photo: Emma Freeman/Flickr
And thank you for sharing this!