Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Letter to 2011

Editor's Note:  I am not usually a serious person.  I'm usually that jerk in the back of the theater who laughs out loud as Jack sinks to his death during Titanic, and I generally refuse to see any Oscar-nominated film because it's sure to be long, dramatic, and boring for someone who never sheds a tear.  The following is a post I had composed at the end of January after my family and I had dealt with somewhat of a family crisis.  I didn't post it then, because I'm generally opposed to serious posts, but I decided that that is stupid.  

So here's my one and only serious post of this blog.  I do apologize for its long length, but I had a lot to say at the time, I guess.  Regularly scheduled programming will resume shortly, I promise.  

Dear 2011,

I've never really been the type for New Year's resolutions, nor have I really had many feelings about one year ending and the other beginning.  New Year's was just another day to start off yet another year of nothing new.  However, with 2010 ranking up there as one of the most tumultuous years of highs and lows, I have to admit I was somewhat looking forward to your arrival.  The last year saw me getting laid off from my job, going on two awesome vacations, living up the unemployed life with borderline alcoholism, and a quick decline to Netflix Instant Queue and pajamas.  With your arrival finally pending, I was really looking forward to the opportunity to make a positive life change that would rank you #1 in awesomeness for years of my life.

Then, New Year's Eve happened.  That's the day when my dad, who has struggled with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia for the last twelve years, got sick.  And when my dad gets sick, he REALLY gets sick.  Something as small as a cold could kill him if he isn't taken care of properly, and since he lives at the VA Medical Center, that's exactly what could happen.  I have never, EVER dealt with such unprofessional medical personnel in my life.  The bedside manner displayed by the VA doctors and nurses makes me feel sorry for the veterans who do not have loving families like my father has.  My guess is they do not last very long.  Thankfully, he now seems to have recovered to the point where we no longer fear the worst.  He is laughing, making jokes, and flirting with the nurses again, and I can finally breathe a small sigh of relief.

Experiences like these really make you think twice about your perspective on life.  I used to think I had a pretty raw deal with all the family issues I have dealt with since the age of sixteen, and I can't believe now how selfish that was.  The one who got the raw deal was my father, who is dependent on everyone around him to keep him safe, healthy, and strong.  He can't walk around as easily anymore, and he has difficulty communicating and understanding things that happen around him everyday.  In spite of this, though, my father is one of the sweetest, funniest, and most charming guys you will ever meet.  He always notices when my mom and I have a new piece of jewelry on, when we get a new purse, or get a haircut, and he is always ready with a smile and a compliment.  I don't know that I have ever heard him complain about anything in his life, but one could hardly blame him if he did.

 I remember my dad teaching me how to drive in a green Dodge Neon, and how he had to restrain himself from grabbing the wheel every moment out of fear for our lives.  Even when I was in college, he would say "For God's sake, be careful with the car!" before I left the house.  He taught me to be kind of others, to study hard, and that Democratic was the way to vote!  He told me stories about the Vietnam War, and how important it is to treat others respectfully, no matter how different they are from us.

I thought that I had learned everything I could from my father when I was a kid, but the truth is, I had totally missed the point.  In the face of a debilitating disease that won't be cured in his lifetime, my father has taught me the importance of family and perseverance, optimism and love, and most importantly, the power of a good joke.  Even when you can't understand what he's saying, my father has the most infectious smile you will ever see, and it has shown me how clueless I have been about what really matters for the better part of 28 years.

Pretty sure I was either bawling, or about to start bawling when this photo was taken.

So here's the deal, 2011.  I'm willing to consider the month of January just a really horrible joke on your part, so we can both move on and live our lives the way they were meant to be lived.  You came through for me at the end of January when I had that rockin' birthday party (complete with Yours Truly rocking out on stage to "Livin' on a Prayer"... New career?  I think so!), and things have been looking up since.  So I'll stop bad-mouthing you to everyone I know if you'll just stop playing jokes on me, ALRIGHT?!  After all, the new year is supposed to be a new beginning for everyone.  Let's just say that the new year began in February, and we'll all be even.



P.S. If you REALLY feel like making all this up to me, you could throw in a new job, a really awesome date, and/or a free vacation to some tropical island getaway...  Or perhaps a winning lottery ticket?  Come on, you totally owe me.


Meri said...

Is it just a coincidence that today is lunar/ Chinese new year? Maybe you're just on a different calendar :)

In all seriousness, though, I'm really happy that your dad is doing a bit better. Family is incredibly important to me too, and I can't imagine how hard it must be to feel like a family member's life is so fragile.

I've been thinking about you, and hope we find a good chance to hang out soon :)
love ya dear!

theTsaritsa said...

Your dad sounds like a wonderful person, and the picture of you all together is so sweet. I hope he's feeling better, and I hope 2011 is less sucky for you. It's never good to start off a new year on a bad note, but I think things will improve :)

Sara said...

I'm so sorry 2011 started off this awful for you. Your dad sounds like an amazing person, and I do love that picture. :) Hey, at least 2010 brought you to all of us in the blogging world, right?!

Roxanne and Lorraine said...

Being a humor blogger and having or wanting to put together a serious post is always sort of scary and intimidating. But I'm glad you wrote this. Your father does seem like an incredible man, and OOOOH LOOK AT LITTLE BI. SO CUTE.

Okay, sorry. Done now.