“What do you want for Christmas?” asked Dad.
“I want you to go to the doctor and get a physical.”
“What? No really, what do you want Mom and me to buy you for Christmas?”
“Dad, for the first time I can support myself. There’s nothing I need you to buy for me. My dream is to someday get married and have kids. I don’t know when that will happen. And I want you to be there. I want you to take care of your health. I want you around for a long, long time. For Christmas, I want you to get a physical and I want you to take care of yourself.”
My brother and sister joined me with the same Christmas gift request. Dad wasn’t very happy with this request at first but by April he did go get a physical. It wasn’t a surprise to learn he had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And he learned he had prostate cancer. Prostate cancer was what killed his dad.
Fast forward post cancer treatment and I asked, “Dad, what do you want for Christmas?”
“I want a week of your vacation. We’re taking a family vacation!”
After persuading my brother, sister and me to spend a week of our two week allotted vacation together as a family, we had a fantastic trip to Ireland. It was one of the last family gathering of just the 5 of us as we quickly grew in the years that followed.
Here we are more than 15 years later. Dad, now more commonly known as Papa, enjoys his ROMEO lunches (that is retired old men eating out), volunteering in his hometown and enjoying time with his 8 adorable grandchildren. Many more family members to buy Christmas gifts for this year!