His Three-Year-Old Daughter Had To Go Through A Life-Saving Surgery.
Failure. Is it ever an option? To be a good person… to be a proud parent… to be someone who overcomes difficult times… In a normal life, failure is NOT – nor should ever BE – an option.
One of Rick’s brightest spots in life was spending time with his little girl. At 3 years old, she was just such a cutie, and her smile and happiness made him smile and be happy. And with her at his side, he could not have been much happier.
But along came one of life’s cruel periods, when his little girl had to have brain surgery. It was definitely a dark period for him. But time passed, and once his baby healed some and regained her strength, he could take her away from the hospital and start doing daddy and daughter things once again.
So once she was next to him in the car again, he found his happy place… hanging out with his baby. Then all of a sudden, she blurted out, “Daddy, can I get a treat?” How could any father deny that, especially after what his little girl had just been through? Rick said to her: “Ok, honey, but just ONE.” Her eyes beamed with happiness, and full anticipation of whatever treat that was coming her way.
Soon after, Rick was pulling into the big parking lot at the mall. You would think with as big as that parking lot IS, there would at least be a couple of open spots he could squeeze his car into. Finally, he managed to find one, and it was a little ways off from the entrance. The little girl grabbed her daddy’s hand as they headed for the mall. A few feet way from those big heavy doors, she broke away from her daddy and tried with all her might to open one of them up… and she succeeded… with just a little help from Rick.
Once inside, Rick asked his baby girl what she wanted for her treat. Without hesitation she responded, “An ice cream comb from the ice cream store.” It was never a cone to her… always a comb, like that plastic thing you run through your hair. Well, no matter how she pronounced it, he knew what she was talking about and he knew that could certainly be arranged.
But whoa… what was this coming up ahead of them? It was a huge fountain in the middle of the mall with water shooting high into the air. Her eyes grew wide as silver dollars and she pleaded with her daddy to go visit the fountain. When they got there, she asked him if she could make a wish, jumping up and down with pure joy.
Rick decided he was going to play the cool but deliberate parent, so he told her, “Sure honey, but that will be YOUR TREAT, you know?” His voice was filled with firmness. Well, as much as it could be with his baby girl. She agreed it would be her one and only treat. So Rick felt through his pocket and pulled out a dime. By his own admission, he’s such a big spender. He gave his baby girl the dime and she closed her eyes and scrunched up her face to make a wish. At that exact time, Rick was counting his blessings that his little girl was there with him. Then she flung that dime into the fountain waters. They then continued on their stroll through the mall.
After a minute, Rick looked down at her and asked, “So are you gonna tell daddy what you wished for?” She looked up at him, smiled and said, “I wished for an ice cream comb.” Rick burst out laughing, and several shoppers stopped in their tracks wondering what was so funny.
He had no idea at the time but his little girl would soon be undergoing many more surgeries; she would suffer many seizures and have to go to special schools. She also had to take several medications to get from one day to the next. Her right side was partially paralyzed and she never learned how to ride a bike.
That special time Rick had with his baby girl in the mall was almost 15 years ago. She’s 17 now, can’t use her right hand and walks with a noticeable limp. She was teased a lot in school, and she suffered physically and academically.
But now, with her eyes set on college, she volunteers weekly at a local hospital, on the children’s floor. She baby-sits children five days a week. On her own this year, she stood outside in line for four hours on a cold Canadian January afternoon and enrolled herself, with her own babysitting money, into two courses she felt she would need for college.
She has limitations, yes, but both she and her dad know that she will always prevail. Failure, she knows, is not an option. And with every achievement she makes, every victory lap she can run, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if she gave herself a treat. Maybe even… an ice cream comb.
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