Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ryann's Dad

I thought I'd switch things up this week and talk about something other than myself.  So I decided to write about my other favorite subject (actually, my most favorite subject):  my daughter.

My daughter knows that I have MS, but I'm not really sure she knows what that means.  I don't think it really matters to her.  I'm just her Dad. 

She knows that I get tired really easily, that I need to sleep a lot, that I can't go for walks around the neighborhood on beautiful summer nights.  She knows that when we go to the playground down the street, I need to drive us there because there's no way my legs will get me there and back. 

She's used to seeing me give myself shots in my leg or stomach three times a week.  She's used to watching me lose my balance and be clumsy and fall into things.  That's just me.  I'm just her Dad.  I was diagnosed a month after she was born and she's never known any different. 

And the beautiful thing is - she doesn't care.  In her eyes, I'm just her Dad.  Simple as that. 

But the thing is, I care.  My seven years of fatherhood have been clouded with MS.  I can't take nature walks with her, dawdling through places like Grounds for Sculpture (have you been there?  It's an awesome place) for hours on end.  We don't belong to the community pool.  I can't play tag in the yard or go on bike rides or just run around and be crazy. 

Everyone says you need a lot of energy to keep up with kids - and that's true.  But it's also true that MS sucks the energy right out of you, sometimes leaving just crumbs behind.  Crumbs aren't enough when you're a parent.

Till I decided to take charge of my recovery,  I suppose I just accepted that my daughter would grow up with a Dad who had limitations.  And I suppose I just hoped that it would be a very long time before she realized that while other kids have Dads who can do lots of cool stuff, she is stuck with an MS Dad.   That sucks.

I've said that this diet is giving me my life back, but it's doing so much more.  Because I've taken charge of my recovery, because I am recovering, I not only get my life back:  I get to be Ryann's Dad. 

For the first time in her life, we can make plans to go to the zoo this summer - and this time we will walk around the entire place until she's ready to go home.  I will take her to art museums, to country fairs, on long bike rides, we'll play ball, we'll play tag, we'll rake leaves in the fall.  We'll hike in the mountains of California, just like her Mom and I did long ago. 

I'll stand and cheer when she walks across the stage and gets her diploma.  And someday - after she's been to college and established a career for herself and I've met the guy and decided he's good enough for her - someday I will walk her down the aisle.

Life is good.

For you alone, you are the everything...


  1. Oh Joe,
    I have been waiting for your blog all day today.

    NOW, What can I say.


  2. Very touching, Joe. She's a lucky girl to have such a great Dad.

  3. You're a brave dad. She's lucky to have you. Thinking about you.

  4. Here comes the waterworks - What a beautiful post. You have always been a great father to Ryann. I'm so thrilled to hear you're feeling better.

  5. To say the least, this is an inspiring post. Well done, Joe. Walk the walk, indeed… ;)