My parents split up when I was a junior in high school and my mother and twin sister moved to downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado and I stayed living with my Dad and young brother, Matthew, on the Air Force Academy.
I used to be quite sickly as a young girl…at least it seemed that way to me. I’m sure my parents got tired of it but I never really thought about it at the time. I wasn’t sick often, but when I got sick it lasted several days. I obviously started being old enough to take care of myself by the time I was a junior in high school. So, with me, Dad and Matthew living at our house on base that we called the “Whitehouse” (because it was the first house anybody saw when they drove on base and it was big and white) if I got sick I was on my own. I mean, isn’t it Mom’s who always take care of you when you’re sick!!
I don’t remember what time of year it was – but once again – I came down with a bad case of the flu or something of that nature. I mean man, I was pretty sick but then again, what was new? I had to stay home from school and, of course, take care of myself. My Dad was getting ready for work that first morning I was sick and I was settling in on the couch to watch TV, read or sleep or whatever I felt like doing at the time. My Dad had just seen Matthew off on the bus to school and he came over to me and said that he was really busy that day and had a very important meeting with someone that was coming in from Washington D.C. at 11:30. He said he was going to have to go to lunch with him too. Dad told me he wouldn’t be able to come over and check on me (Dad worked VERY close to the house) until later in the afternoon. I told him it wasn’t a problem, as I coughed up a storm. I was used to my Dad being busy all of the time. My Dad felt my forehead and said “I think you have fever.” I knew I did – and so Dad gave me some aspirin and off he went to work. Such a handsome father I have as I thought in my daze of illness! In his blue Air Force uniform and all.
After Dad left for work I became sicker and sicker. It was just me, the dog and the cat. I think even Devon, my dalmatian dog, started getting worried. If Devon could have used a phone – I’m sure he would have called someone. By 11:00am, wow, I knew I was dying or at least I thought I was dying and frankly at the time I wanted to die I was so sick. Ugh – it was no fun. I went in and out of sleep hoping that if I woke up one time – it all would be gone.
I woke up with a slow start – looked at my watch and saw it was 12:15. Still alive. I then felt a movement at the end of the couch where my feet were. It was not my dog. It was my DAD! He looked at me with a worried look but a smile (that great Don Reaves smile) and said “Carolina – how is my Caroline in the moon?” I said “Dad – why are you here – why aren’t you with that important guy from Washington DC?” My Dad looked at me and said, “I told him that I wouldn’t be able to talk with him today, and I wouldn’t be able to go to lunch either, because my daughter Caroline is very sick and I’ve been thinking about her all morning. I need to go be with her.” I stared at him. “So, that’s why I’m here!” “I’m here the rest of the day to take care of you.”
Dad – I love and miss you so much. Thank you.