Monday, January 27, 2014

Keeping Your Eye on the Prize (Dad goes to Florida)

My father became a snowbird about 14 or 15 years ago.  This is someone that follows the flight of the birds and spends the winters in Florida.  Dad’s routine was to fly down in October and return north in May.  Each year, my brother’s and I would plan our vacations so that we could visit our father and enjoy the warmer weather.  This year was different, as he suffered a stroke this past July and needed to relearn the functions you and I take for granted, such as putting on our clothes and walking.  During the summer, we did not know how fast, or slow, he would recover and if he would be able to go to Florida this year.  Sometime in September, he made the decision that he will be back in Florida in January / February.  We all wondered if this was possible, but supported his commitment and helped him begin to focus on his goal.

My Dad used to tell us of going to Coney Island during his childhood, enjoying the beach and, of course, going on the rides.  Then he would tell my brothers and me about the brass ring.  When we were younger, we thought that was the name of a ride.  Our father would correct us and tell us that when you went on the Merry-Go-Round, there was an arm that stuck out that had a brass ring in it.  If you could reach out and grab the brass ring, you were entitled to a free ride.  The ring was just out of reach, so it was not easy to grab, but with concentration and focus, you could get the brass ring.

This story came into my mind Thursday night as we sat with my Dad for dinner at a great restaurant called “Pasta and…” in Margate, Florida.  Yes, Dad had finally made it to Florida!  I flew down with him and Alice on Wednesday, to help him getting on / off the plane and making sure that he had what he needed to stay in Florida.  The dinner was to celebrate the successful trip and the huge personal gains made to be able to make the trip.  What had seemed like an impossible task for all of us had become a reality.  Often, we set goals, and then do not follow up.  Sometimes, we have goals, but do not fully commit to them and fall short of our target.  It is always easier to give up and come up with reasons for not going forward.  We are all proud of Dad in reaching the goal that he set.  Dad had kept his eye on the prize, his focus on the brass ring, stretched himself and achieved his goal!