The Time Spent Together Is What Matters

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by Joe MacDonald |

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Last week, my 16-year-old son, Caeleb, had a physical therapy session at 1 p.m. Unfortunately, the business of the day prevented us from visiting a museum. I felt disappointed that I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain regarding our plans for regular Friday “museum days” during the summer months. I felt I’d let my son down, but he needed to attend his appointment. Caeleb, who has hemophilia type A, continues to suffer from pain from previous internal bleeding episodes in his right arm, ankle, and knee.

I turned to my son and apologized for not maintaining our tradition. Caeleb looked at me and said, “Dad, I still had a good time. We got to spend the day together.” I looked at him and smiled, feeling like the luckiest dad in the world. He wanted to spend time with me. While it’s nice to visit museums, our time together proved most important to him. I had no idea that the time we spend together in the car far outweighs the awesome things we find on our adventures.

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I felt overwhelmed with a sense of joy and gratitude. I realized that if we stayed together, simply remaining in each other’s presence, everything would feel right with the world. Fun outings are great, but nothing replaces the times we spend talking and learning about what holds sacred spaces in our lives. While incredible trips and madcap adventures prove exciting, a simple acknowledgment of one another’s presence seems to take up such a sacred space, a time set apart. The location is not as important as the conversations we share.

Our talk in the car made me think back to the days when Caeleb spent more nights in the hospital than he slept in his bed at home. I thought of the many nights he lay in his hospital bed, screaming in pain and feeling like an internal bleeding episode would never end. Yet throughout the many health struggles, my son found relief with a simple bedside visit or conversations from doing big Lego projects. Together, we formed a bond that helped sustain us through the most challenging circumstances.

As Caeleb and I continued down the road after physical therapy, I thought about our relationship and felt glad that what he wanted was time with his father. No museum treasures could top the lesson I learned that day. My boy wanted my attention, and nothing else mattered. And I also wanted to share time with him.

As I reflect on our exciting day without a museum, I think of an old lesson I learned: When I offer my complete attention to my loved ones, I show them that they matter. What they have to say is important and worth discussing. I instill confidence in them by offering my most significant asset, my time. Hopefully, Caeleb will understand that nothing is more important than the relationship we share.

I pray that these life lessons may serve as an anchor in life. Knowing that there is someone in his corner may help Caeleb face any obstacle. I hope we continue to share our Fridays through the rest of the summer. If we happen to go to a museum, so be it.


Note: Hemophilia News Today 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 another 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 Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

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