Since he’d retired, Graham had to walk on eggshells around Tanya. Every little thing seemed to set her off. Just what I need… Like I don’t have enough troubles already?
He grunted as he lifted himself off the couch. His wife Connie said, “Sit. I’ll go talk to her.”
“No, let me. That’s the third time this week she’s run away from me. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Graham slowly made his way upstairs. His condition slowed him down, All the way down to retirement… What good is fame and fortune if I’m too sick to enjoy it? Least I can afford to put in an elevator though…
And so much for family time… It’s like Tanya doesn’t even want to be near me. God, I know I was away a lot, probably too much, way too much, but I thought she’d warm up to me after the first week or so… Please, help me get through to her…
He knocked lightly on his four year old daughter’s door. He could hear her crying inside.
There was no answer, so he went in. She hates me already and she’s not even a teenager yet…?
He limped over to her bed and sat down beside her.
Tanya rolled over, away from her Dad.
Graham didn’t say anything; he just sat down beside her and enveloped her in his arms.
After a while she quieted down.
“It’s all my fault,” she wailed. She still wouldn’t look at him. “Do you still love me?”
“What’s your fault? And of course I still love you. I always have and I always will.”
“But it’s, it’s my fault that you’re… sick.”
Graham was dumbfounded. “It most certainly is not your fault. What on earth made you think that punkin’?”
“I wished, I wished for you to be home more. I even asked God. …And now you are home, but, but you’re sick all the time…” Tanya started crying again.
Graham finally understood. “Tanya, look at me. This is not your fault. It’s no one’s fault. My body just doesn’t work so good anymore. Sickness just happens sometimes. And in my case, although it’s not fun going to all those doctors and stuff, my condition isn’t deadly or anything. We’re lucky Tanya.”
His youngest daughter looked up at him with her big blue eyes. “We are?”
“Sure. My time with the band and out on the road made us lots of money. Mum and I are starting a foundation, to research my condition. Maybe someday there will be a cure. Wouldn’t that be nice?”
Tanya nodded her little head.
“And we’re going to help make it happen--at least I hope so.”
“I hope so, too. So… so it’s not my fault?” Her voice was barely a whisper.
“No punkin’, it’s not your fault. And you know what? I’m glad your wish came true.” Once he said it, he realized it really was true. “I’m not glad that I’m sick. And sometimes I miss the boys in the band. But I’m sure glad to be home more with your Mum and you kids. I missed you so much. I missed out on a lot while I was on the road, huh?”
Tanya nodded her head again.
“Well, I’m here now. And I plan to stick around for a long, long time.”
After a long cuddle Graham said, “So what do you say, do you want to read a book before supper?”
Tanya snuggled into his arms for a story. “Can you read this one, with all those funny voices you do?”
At least I’m good for somethin’. Graham stared off into space. He felt better than he had in months. He liked the feel of his little girl snuggling in his arms. Now this is good medicine--and with no adverse side effects. How many bedtime stories, plays, recitals… have I missed?
God, help me be there for my family, always. Help me not take them for granted. Help me be a better dad, and husband, and… whatever. I retired from the band. What’s my next step? My family, and the foundation, but is there something else I’m meant to do? My future is in Your hands. Show me the way...
“Oh, sorry punkin’; I was just talkin’ to God. You can always talk to God you know.” Graham started reading the story in a squeaky mouse-like voice, “Once upon a time…”
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