I haven't written about my dad's recovery from a stroke since March.
I'm happy to report that he is doing very well. Aside from the fact that he has lost of ton of weight (amazing what giving up fast food can do!), he reports that he doesn't need to use his cane when he walks around his house. His left arm still isn't "waking up" but he is finding ways to manage his life without the complete use of that limb. He goes to the gym for personal training a couple of times a week and due to a communication error a few weeks ago, managed to walk all the way home from the gym by himself-that's 1.4 miles people!
He still isn't driving, although I know he hopes he can someday. It has been just over 8 months since his stroke which isn't very long in the scheme of things. He is in good health which is the most important thing right now.
The biggest moment of the past few months was his decision to retire. His plan was to retire in the next year anyways but being unable to drive he realized that this is just the right time. My dad is a teacher and has been for 29 years. He taught at-risk youth who were placed in community day schools due to their inability to function properly in traditional schools for a variety of reasons. He ended his teaching career back where he started, at juvenile hall.
My dad was a great teacher. People joke that they become a teacher for 3 reasons: June, July and August. But not many people decide to teach the at-risk population of youth. It takes a special person to do that job. I'm sure not every student loved my dad but sometimes he would see students out and about in the community and they always called out his name and wanted to say hello.
I hate to toot my own horn but I think I am pretty good at my job. My favorite part of my daily work is working with youth, building relationships and watching that relationship turn into something positive for the students I come in contact with. Just like I have his calf muscle structure, I believe that my ability to work so well with youth comes from my dad's genes.
Not only am I proud of my dad's spirit during his recovery, I'm proud of the work he has done over the past 30 years to help educate troubled kids. Being a teacher can be a thankless job and when you are working with the at-risk population, it can be nearly 100% thankless but my dad loved teaching-it is what he was meant to do. He passed on his love of education to me and for that, I am so grateful.
My dad's retirement might not look like he thought it would but in time, through hard work and determination, I think he will be right where he pictured himself during his golden years-on a beach in Hawaii or Spain!