This Father’s Day Reminded Me of a Valuable Lesson

This Father’s Day Reminded Me of a Valuable Lesson
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Father’s Day was always a good time for my family when I was growing up.

My brother and I were raised by a single mother, but my maternal grandfather and uncle were role models. We come from a large family, so we always had my grandfather’s brothers and other male figures present throughout our lives.

Every year, we would gather at my mother’s house until she passed away, and after that, at her youngest sister’s house. The best highlights were always when older family members reminisced about the “old days” or shared family stories.

As the years went by, we lost the older members of the family, and after having a family of my own, the large gatherings became a harder commitment for me. I opted to stay close to home, where I can dictate the way I’d like to enjoy “my day.”

This year was a little different. I initially wanted to plan something nice, but after discussing things over with my wife and kids, I decided I didn’t want to do anything special.

In 2018, I had just been released from the hospital on the Thursday before Father’s Day. Subsequently, two days later, I was readmitted due to a setback caused by my pulmonary sarcoidosis and my most recent spontaneous pneumothorax. This was a hard thing to deal with because my birthday is four days after Father’s Day.

Getting down on myself 

This year, I started thinking about that time in my life two years ago. I find it interesting how something that happened two years ago can still affect my current thinking, not to mention my emotions.

My wife kept asking what I wanted to do for Father’s Day. I wanted to cook something special, and my son loves to cook, so sometimes we cook together, which is really cool. But I couldn’t decide on a menu, and the more my wife asked, the more frustrated I became.

My thinking was that if you want to do something special for someone you’ve known for years, then you know what they like and what makes them happy. Maybe I was taking the situation more personally than normal, but sarcoidosis has a way of making one feel inadequate and defensive.

The feelings of frustration finally made me decide that I wouldn’t celebrate this year.

Each year, I usually like to treat myself to something special. I find that a lot easier than waiting for someone to do it for me. Oftentimes, when someone else does it, it feels like an afterthought. So, I decided I would treat myself for my birthday, God willing. The stress of sarcoidosis will have you feeling all sorts of things that contribute to problems rather than resolving them.

Don’t fall into the mental traps

The one thing that I really wanted for Father’s Day was an ice cream cake. I actually got one the year I was hospitalized on my birthday, but I told my family to go ahead and eat it since I didn’t know how long I would be there. They did, and thanked me for the treat!

This year, my wife told me to order one, but my thinking was, “Why can’t you order it for me?” Needless to say, it didn’t happen.

The morning of Father’s Day, I was the first one up. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good. I started my day thinking, “I’m going to enjoy this day if no one else does.” I got my usual cup of tea and turned on some jazz when my son came downstairs. He gave me a box and said, “Happy Father’s Day from all of us.”

I thanked him and opened it, and it was a sous vide machine. I couldn’t believe it! I love to cook, and this was on my list of kitchen toys I wanted. It doesn’t happen often, but I was at a complete loss for words. My expression was priceless for my son.

Later, my wife came and wished me a happy Father’s Day and told me we would get some steaks and other goodies so that I could enjoy my day.

Father’s Day gifts. (Photo by Charlton Harris)

With sarcoidosis, we’re reminded daily to remain vigilant about anomalies and suspicions. Though this is true, we must remain vigilant about our thoughts, too. We need to remember that we are in control.

It turned out to be a great day. I had my first sous vide steak (which was very good), I had a few gin and tonics, and my family did the hard work so that I could enjoy the day.

When I studied Shotokan karate, our sensei always said, “If you size up your opponent, you’ll lose.” I had sized up this situation and almost lost. Sometimes you have to relax the thinking mind and enjoy the adventure.

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Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.

Charlton is an independent multimedia/video producer and video editor located in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area. He was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis in 2004 at the age of 40. He has worked over 30 years in advertising and educational media. When he’s not creating, he’s in the kitchen cooking. Charlton is known as a skilled pit-master, homebrewer and jazz aficionado. He hopes his column on sarcoidosis will help inspire readers to live life the best they can, and not shed any tears for this illness.
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Charlton is an independent multimedia/video producer and video editor located in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area. He was diagnosed with pulmonary sarcoidosis in 2004 at the age of 40. He has worked over 30 years in advertising and educational media. When he’s not creating, he’s in the kitchen cooking. Charlton is known as a skilled pit-master, homebrewer and jazz aficionado. He hopes his column on sarcoidosis will help inspire readers to live life the best they can, and not shed any tears for this illness.
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