By Don Lindsey
Throughout my life, there have been two consistent people who have always been by my side – my mother and father. I am very blessed in that regard. My dad had to grow up without his dad due to a tragic car accident when Pop was just nine months old, so the importance of growing up with a father has never been lost on me. I have known people that have also had to navigate life without a mother, so having such a wonderful woman as my mom and not ever having to experience life with her not with me is a blessing that I also do not take for granted.
When I think back on my 43 years and all of the things that they were there for, I also reflect on what they went through being my mother and father. I was born premature, not a shock if you know me, I like to be early for everything, but unfortunately that sense of showing up too soon brought with it some health troubles. I was born with a collapsed lung and spent the first three weeks of my life in an incubator. As a father myself now, I can’t begin to imagine what my parents went through during that time. I lose my ever-loving mind when one of my kids gets hurt or sick, so to see them in a situation where I didn’t know if I would ever bring them home would crush me. This, however, was only the start of what would be a lot of time in hospitals, doctor’s offices and any other medical buildings you can imagine. There was my three major ear surgeries, a double hernia, severed tendon in my hand when I broke every mother’s rule about playing ball in the house and a ton of other things that my lack of fear (or intelligence in some cases) brought to my door step. There is also the fact that when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 27, they were right there for me every step of the way.
Bad times thankfully, weren’t the only instances that they showed their support for me. Neither one of them missed any of my sporting events, school functions or significant celebrations or ceremonies. When I moved from Ohio to Apopka in 2012, they made the trip down to see me marry the love of my life. Then a couple of years later, they too moved to Port Orange which has been an awesome thing for not only myself but for my wife and children as well. They are 85 years young now, and I won’t go into the circumstances, but they have reached the point where they will be moving in with us in August. Both of them are in good health, and while I understand that as we age, our life expectancy shortens, I am so grateful to be in a position to where I finally get to help them.
Now don’t get me wrong. I will never be able to repay a fraction of the love and support that they’ve shown me, but to know that I will be a part of their everyday lives again and to have the chance to do anything helpful for them is a wonderful feeling of having things come full circle.
I’m reminded of a quote by the author/humorist Evan Esar who said, “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” My parents have epitomized that saying for me in their eight and a half decades on this earth and not just for being great parents. They have both worked in public service, while teaching me with their actions what it means to be a loving spouse, an involved parent, a friend, and also how to treat your parents with love and respect. All we are doing by moving them in with us is what they taught me when I was growing up. Love those around you, and always look out for your family. Everything has come full circle for me, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
As parents, we are always looking for those moments to teach valuable life lessons. As I sit here writing this, my next opportunity to have one of these moments with my children will be about paying attention to who helps them. To make sure that they live their lives with an awareness for helping the folks around them and for being able to recognize the “full circle” situations they experience so that they are prepared to enjoy them and make the most out of those precious times.
Don Lindsey is a follower of Christ, son, husband, father, and a survivor. Originally from Dayton Ohio, and resident of Apopka for six years, Don sees his life as a dedication to his wife, parents, children, community and most importantly to God.