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The other night I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.

This, for me, a chronically exhausted mom of a 2.5 year old who STILL doesn’t sleep through the night, was a big deal.

I realized I was feeling scared. Anxious. About some things very very little and some very very big.

The next day my dad came to town.

(When all of the wonderful things with MATCHED were happening this fall, we found out that my dad had cancer. That’s not my story to tell; suffice it to say that he underwent surgery and has a good prognosis and I adore him.)

My dad walked in to visit (he lives three hours away) and he looked, more than he had in months, like his old self. “What do you want to do?” he asked. “I’ll watch the kids!”

I said maybe I could run on the treadmill (since our air outside is toxic, another thing that could keep me up at night) while he played with the kids. I plugged in the iPhone to the treadmill and he and the kids played in the basement room while I ran. I pounded along and they drove cars across my dad’s arms. I was hot and sweaty and felt embarrassed that my dad could see how slow I was compared to high school. But then he kept calling out to me. “This is fun!” “I love this song!” (Or, when the kids followed him around the room: “I feel like a rock star.”)

I punched up the treadmill and ran faster because my dad was watching and cheering.

I remembered again how he has the best laugh in the world and how everything is funnier with him there.

Last night I climbed into bed and could feel the worries waiting to come again. They started in. But then I heard my dad puttering around downstairs, making all of the sounds I remembered from my childhood: getting a glass of water, closing cupboard doors, etc.

And I fell asleep.

+ comments (21)
  • ShariArnold
    January 18, 2011

    Beautiful post. Thanks for that.

  • Kulsuma
    January 18, 2011

    That’s so lovely<3

  • Lindsay
    January 18, 2011

    This made me a little teary and I’m not really sure why.

  • Angella
    January 18, 2011

    Thanks for this post! It was absolutely lovely, and it made me cry a little. Purely sweet, just like you (and your dad)!

  • Shari
    January 18, 2011

    I feel safe and happy just reading about your dad. Thanks! I needed that today.

  • Ruth
    January 18, 2011

    Beautiful. I don’t know what it is about fathers that make them so comforting. Thank heaven for them.

  • SusanA
    January 18, 2011

    I love this post.

  • Katelyn
    January 18, 2011

    A beautiful reminder of what truly matters in life. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • Julie Dixon
    January 18, 2011

    Now matter how old we get, our parents are there to comfort us and that is a blessing.

  • Aaron
    January 18, 2011

    It is a great reminder to never forget those small and subtle things in people that make them so great. After a long day and putting the kids to bed, it always makes me laugh to hear my kids pitter patter down the hallway to congregate and giggle about whatever it is they are trying to do “quietly”. Thanks for the post.

  • Emily
    January 18, 2011

    Sometimes as moms, we just need to let someone take care of us once and a while.

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it.

  • leslie
    January 18, 2011

    awesome post ally!! xo

  • leslie
    January 18, 2011

    ps…just saw that you’ll be in CO in feb!! yay! if you have a spare minute i’d looooove to catch a bite with you. 🙂

  • L.T. Elliot
    January 18, 2011

    I never feel so safe as when my father is around. So glad you’ve had this time with him, that he’s looking good, that you’re getting sleep.

  • Remilda Graystone
    January 18, 2011

    This was a really nice post. I’ve had many days and nights like these.

  • Ali Johnson
    January 18, 2011

    I shed a few tears today thinking about my own dad. I miss him dearly these days. I wonder what he would think about my life, my kids. . .I wish he was here to cheer me on. What a wonderful gift you have. May he cheer you on for many years to come!

  • Kelly Allan
    January 19, 2011

    Really great post…thanks! I also have a three year old that wouldn’t sleep through the night. He just recently commited to his own bed and I couldn’t be more thrilled. But now my five year old has nightmares…always about spiders. He screams every night. Funny…my two year old has always slept like a log.

    My mother in law says it gets better when they’re all about ten…here’s hoping!

    Sleep well.

  • Sara B. Larson
    January 19, 2011

    I’m sorry you were having trouble sleeping, anxiety is no fun. And I’m so glad your dad is doing so well–that’s wonderful. I’m also very happy he could come up and see you and help you get some rest. What a lovely post.

  • becky
    January 20, 2011

    Its such a tough thing, watching your Dad’s health deteriorate while you still have fix lunches, do laundry, and get through a day. When they bounce back and you get those individual perfect moments . . . it just takes your breath away.

    Took my Dad out to lunch last week and watched as he visited and gossiped with the other guys at the cafe’ after being in remission for almost 1 year!

  • Jacob Corry
    January 20, 2011

    I love this post. I don’t think we ever get too old to experience the comfort that Dads can bring.

    That’s probably why my dad used to take my grandpa up to the cabin on the back of a three wheeler when grandpa was 80 and why I hope to do the same in 20 years.

  • Erica
    November 9, 2011

    I know exactly what you mean. Really loved reading that 🙂

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