Why everything should stop for special moments with my son

Thanks to pingpong, we had a time to connect without hemophilia in the way

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by Joe MacDonald |

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My family has rented an Airbnb for a week in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We decided to take a few days for ourselves before turning our attention to the reason for our trip: Through Friday, my wife and I, both pastors, are participating in the yearly meeting of the New Mexico Conference of the United Methodist Church. For me, this gathering is different from those in years past because I’m serving as chair of the event’s Worship Committee.

Gathering clergy and directing them are like herding the proverbial bunch of cats. I felt the anxiety running through my mind and body as the opening worship service approached. A litany of “what ifs?” clouded my brain as my committee prepared for any malfunctions that might occur. I sat at my desk and planned everything to the last detail, hoping nothing would happen at the last minute.

As my mind raced to strike out any issues that may occur, my youngest son, Caeleb, came up to me and asked me to play a game of pingpong. My first reaction was to tell him that I was busy and that we could play later. I’m glad I caught myself before saying that, though, because he needed me to take time out of my schedule to connect with him.

“You’re on,” I replied. “Good luck trying to beat me.”

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We started playing, and I showed my boy, a rising high school senior, no mercy. I didn’t tell him that I owned a pingpong table growing up. As a kid, I developed a fierce reputation as the champion of my block. My skills proved unmatched among the 2600 block of Monticello Drive in Houston. As much as he tried — bless his unknowing soul — he couldn’t defeat me. Dads rule!

What I remember most about our time together was not the game (even though I did win by a substantial margin). The most important thing was the laughter as we talked and enjoyed each other’s company. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful green eyes of my fierce competitor exude happiness as he tried to return each volley. I thought to myself, “This moment is sacred. It takes me away from the mundane.”

I remembered what a good friend said to me at a time when Caeleb’s hemophilia prevented him from simply standing up to challenge my athletic prowess. He said, “Joe, your family may go through tough times, but remember to take advantage of small moments of joy when you can.”

I silently gave thanks for his nugget of wisdom as I felt a calm come over me, just by sharing a brief time to connect with my son. My work stress no longer arrested my mind because the most important thing happened that day: I invested in Caeleb.

When complications arise from my son’s bleeding disorder, I often lose my connection with him because of my worries and priorities. It’s not wrong to immediately address a horrible internal bleed that seems to never stop. Priority should always surround the care and treatment of those we love. My problem comes when I focus on a medical concern and forget entirely my boy’s emotional needs. I need to connect with him, even during a horrible experience related to hemophilia.

Afterward, I returned to work, grateful for the respite from the grind of managing the many parts I had to juggle to provide meaningful worship services for the conference participants. While I was thinking through another issue, Caeleb interrupted me.

“Hey, Dad,” he said. “Are you up for another game in a little while?”

I assured him that he could attempt to defeat me, but I cautioned him that he had little chance of beating the master of the 2600 block of Monticello Drive. He looked with a devilish grin and said, “You’re on!”

With his words, my heart soared with joy.

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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