After my parents' divorce was final my dad had visitation rights-2 weeks at Christmas and 2 weeks every summer. So, every Christmas, and every summer my mom would put me on a plane and I'd fly from Denver to Michigan to see him. At Christmas time there was too much going on for dad and I to have any time alone. It seemed like there was too much going on in the summer as well, but he did manage to squeeze a little time out for the 2 of us during those summer visits.
At some point during my 2 week stay dad would say, "Come on, Jude, let's go for a boat ride."
We'd climb into his row boat and he'd row around the lake for a little while. Then he'd stop rowing and look at me. "How are you?" he'd ask.
"Is there anything you need or want to talk to me about?"
He'd looked slightly relieved and we'd row home.
Well, way back in 2002 we had a family reunion at my dad's house and guess what? Early in the afternoon he strolls up to me and says, "Come on Jude, let's go for a boat ride." I was 41 years old and really didn't think I needed a boat ride in order to talk to him. But, apparently he did.
We climbed into the boat and he rowed around and then out to the middle of the lake. He stopped, looked down, sighed, then said sadly,
"I have floaters."
It took me so off guard I nearly spluttered. Well that isn't what I was expecting....
"I'm sorry dad....."
"That's ok. I just wanted to tell you...."
and we rowed home. It was such a sweet, vulnerable thing for him to do and it meant so much to me that he took the time to tell me. Of course, I can think of hundreds of things I would've rather heard, but I knew what he wasn't telling me. I love you. I trust you. I need you....
At least that's how I took it. :-)