I made a book for my Dad for Father’s Day. It contains over a hundred photos of Dad with my Mom, with his children, with his grandchildren, and with his great-grandchildren. Each photo is labeled with the names of the people pictured with Dad and a statement about how he is related to them.
Like so many people in his age category who have been isolated and cut off from family during the pandemic, my ninety-one-year-old father has found it harder and harder to keep his connections to all the people in his family organized in his mind.
He is used to seeing us in person on a very regular basis and now for months and months, we have only been able to talk to him on the phone. Dad is not very computer savvy so using a screen to connect with him hasn’t been a possibility.
When I noticed Dad struggling to recall all his family connections , I decided to design a book for him. I found multiple photos of him with individuals and small groups of his immediate family members and then arranged them in different categories and in different ways, to make it easy for him to see where everyone fits into the family.
I sent Dad’s book to the printing company more than a month ago but when it arrived just ten days later it had gotten damp in the shipping box somehow. The spine was buckled and the colors on the photos had run. I was so disheartened. My Father’s Day gift was ruined.
I used all my best writing skills in an impassioned e-mail to the photo book company to explain how my Dad REALLY needed this book and it had arrived in such bad shape I couldn’t give it to him.
They were very apologetic and printed and shipped another book by expedited mail immediately. It arrived yesterday and I was very happy.
Rules have changed at Dad’s assisted living facility so we can see him now for outdoor physically distanced half-hour visits. That means we will be able to be with him on Father’s Day and I can give him his book.
When I told Dad it was Father’s Day on Sunday and we wanted to celebrate with him he asked if he should be getting gifts ready for his children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I told him that Father’s Day was a day to celebrate him and so he would be the one getting gifts not the other way around.
I am glad my gift for him arrived on time and am hoping it will help maintain a strong connection with the family members Dad cares for and who care for him.