There are some days you just dread as a parent.
Saturday looked like it was one of those days, full of a roller-coaster of emotions, probably bad.
The day would start, ordinarily enough, with letting the dogs out. Unfortunately, there’s been nothing ordinary about the dogs’ systems lately, as one developed a bad case of diarrhea. I fully expected to have to clean up a colossal mess first thing in the morning.
Then there would be a fifth-grade girls basketball game to coach. Frankly, I wasn’t sure my team could beat the opponent on the schedule.
After that, it was my responsibility to take that dog to the veterinarian’s office. Our golden retriever is nearly 13 years old now, and he doesn’t get around like he once did. He has cysts that have gone from manageable to frightening in the last month. Heading into the appointment, my wife and I stepped through some delicate conversations about what we’d do to maintain his quality of life, which really declined in recent years.
After that, I knew I had to pick one daughter up from an out-of-town birthday party to deliver her to, well, another out-of-town birthday party.
That second party, for our now 5-year-old foster daughter, could’ve been the most stressful part of the day. Birthday parties are always hard on parents, and we put extra pressure on ourselves. See, this young girl became obsessed with birthday videos a few months ago, and we finally put it together that maybe she hasn’t had a big birthday party with friends.
Knowing all this stress was on the way, I really wanted to hit the snooze when the alarm went off. Instead, I headed downstairs to let the dogs out. And, sure enough, the mess was even worse than usual. With plenty of paper towels and disinfecting cleaner, it was cleaned up adequately.
The basketball game was a pleasant surprise, as we pulled ahead early, fell behind and then battled back for a one-point win. There’s always something that could’ve gone better, and we’ll address that at practice on Tuesday, but a win is a win when you’re coaching 10- and 11-year-old girls.
The trip to the vet was really my anticipated low-light of the day. As we waited for some results to a test to come back, I petted our family pet as if this might be the last time I ever get to spend time with him. He’s been around almost as long as I have, as my wife and I got him for our oldest, who was nearly 5 when her mother and I married. You know, just in case getting a dad wasn’t exciting enough for her, we wanted to have a backup of a puppy.
I was thinking about all this when the doctor came into the room. It’s just a bacterial bug. A few days of medicine should cure him. The cysts need some attention, but I felt great relief when I texted my wife, “He will come home today.”
While driving my middle daughter from one party to another, she and I had some really fun conversations. She’s blossoming into such a unique, caring individual.
The birthday party had a similarly happy ending. The 5-year-old felt like queen for a day, with her friends from our church, her daycare and a close family member all running and playing with her at a local venue. I’ll never forget the smile on her face as she looked out at all her friends while blowing the candle out on her cake. Her dream day was complete.
There are some days you just love as a parent.