Ending Up At A Nursing Home
Ending Up At A Nursing Home5 mins 530 5 mins 530
Ryan nervously looked at his father as they walked up to the stairs into the school. Ryan had never had to stay away from his parents longer than a couple of hours. But today, he would have to stay in this big unfamiliar building for a whole 8 hours. He walked slower. His father continued to look ahead and didn’t slow his pace.
“You’re a big boy now Ryan. You have to go to school. It’s important.”
“Why can’t you come with me?”
“Sorry kiddo, but you have to learn to be independent and responsible. I won’t always be there.”
“Dad, can you come to my play tomorrow?”
“I’ll try Ryan. I have some meetings tomorrow but I’ll see if I can make it to your 5th-grade recital.”
“It’s actually a play Dad…”
“Hey Dad? I have a tournament to go to for robotics tomorrow. Do you want to come watch?”
“Do you have a ride?”
“Well yes, but I have worked really hard for this.”
“Isn’t this the group project you have been babbling about all the time?”
Ryan’s face flushed but a kernel of hope built up, maybe his Dad had been listening. “Yeah! And we have made this super awesome robot with lasers and caterpillar tracks!”
“So you have a ride? I can’t make it to a congregation of 8th graders. I have to fly out to meet a client. I can’t miss or reschedule again.”
“But I have been telling you to keep the date open for almost two months now Dad…”
“Dad? It’s Back-to-School night for all incoming freshmen today. Do you want to come and maybe get to know my teachers and friends?”
“Sorry kiddo. You should be more independent and talk to your teachers without having me by your side.”
“Dad, I will get to know them during the school year. The point is for you to know who they are.”
“Ryan, I’m sure high school seems very daunting but I’m not going to hold your hand all the way through it so why should I create that illusion so early on?” Ryan’s father turned back to his computer, coffee in hand.
“Yeah, because you’ve always held my hand and helped through my life earlier…”
“Dad, my graduation is next week. At least show up for this.”
His father lifted his head from where it was buried among paperwork and spreadsheets. “Sure kiddo. I’ll be there and I’ll see if your mom will pick up the phone so she can come too.”
“Yeah, Ryan. I’ll be there.”
It was graduation day. Ryan stood there decked out in a graduation gown and cap. He searched the crowd for his father. He walked in roughly 5 minutes before the doors closed. Ryan walked up to greet him and his father smiled and congratulated him. His mother walked in soon after with a baby stroller. She ran up to him and hugged him.
“My little baby is all grown up!”
“It’s too bad you weren’t there to see it, Mom.”
“Actually I was. You emailed all those events’ information to the account I share with your Dad. He was always too busy but I went. I am so proud of what a brilliant George Washington you were in your play. And that robot...absolutely fabulous. You even attached flashing lights!”
Ryan beamed. At least one of his parents was there for him. Always. Ryan then made his way to the stage. As he accepted his diploma, he cast his eyes towards where his parents were seated. His father was gone. He stood in a corner talking candidly on his phone. His mother’s eyes shone with pride, though, so it was all okay.
Today was the last day of college for Ryan. He was going to get his Doctoral Degree in Business Administration. His company had been doing fabulously and rivaled his father’s. But somehow, in the middle of all that hard work, he had been able to make time for his mother, his girlfriends, and his step-family. They got together on holidays and birthdays. Ryan had given up on his father. He occasionally sent him a card but not much more.
His mother gave him a bouquet. His stepfather grinned and handed him the keys to a house that he knew Ryan had been thinking about getting for a while. His girlfriend kissed him on the cheek and his step-siblings hugged his legs eagerly. Ryan felt like his life was complete. Then his mother called him aside.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get custody of you after the divorce. I know how Randy gets. He’s big on the whole independence thing. I’m pretty sure he just doesn’t know how to be emotionally close to someone. But, I did get a call from Angel’s Hospital yesterday. Apparently, he has had a heart attack and I was still listed as his emergency contact. You might want to go see him.”
“Don’t worry Mom, I will. I think I have decided what to do with him.”
Ryan wheeled his father’s wheelchair towards the old-age home he had found on some pamphlets at the hospital. The place had great medical care and a homely atmosphere. His father could live out the rest of his days in peace and would be taken care of.
“Ryan you can’t possibly leave me here.” His father turned a saddened face towards Ryan.
Ryan kept his eyes fixed on the door and said, “It’s a full circle Dad. I have no obligation to care when you never paid any kind of attention to me.”