I had everything prepared for a big speaking engagement. Business cards, a beautiful presentation, handouts… I was psyched and prepped to wow and inspire some business ladies. I was going to rock the talk on branding. And then, at 11pm or so the night before, when I was already laying out my clothes for the event, I hear some kind of muffled chaos going down in the hallway. I’m about to reprimand my parents (who I was visiting) to keep their squabbling to a minimum at midnight and just go to bed already, when my mom bursts in to my room to announce that my dad is having a heart attack.

I was so shocked, but instantly some kind of higher training kicked in – my mom called 911, I made her get my dad aspirin, I grabbed his health card and his shoes etc., keeping everyone calm. At the time it didn’t seem so dramatic. My cheeks were burning and my eyes hot as I stumbled around their house looking for things I knew they’d need at the hospital. And then the paramedics arrived, and my dad, suddenly looking small and tired, was whisked away to the nearby emergency centre. My mom’s parting words were ‘If you want to lock up and put the alarm on, you’ll have to close all the windows first.’ That seemed logical. After a while, the adrenaline felt more like an ebb and flow of fatigue instead of a jolting wattage, and I felt that I could finally close up shop and try to sleep for an hour or so before my little girl woke up. I closed all the windows and went to arm the alarm. ‘Number 4 still open’ it flickered at me. Hmm. I walked around the house for an hour in a daze, looking for the stupid window, feeling utterly alone, wishing my husband would check his messages and call me back. I finally gave up and went to bed without having solved the mystery of ‘Number 4’. I kept thinking ‘how weird that my dad has a heart attack, but I’ve spent more time trying to find the open window then it took for the ambulance to get here and take him away.’

The next few days went by with surreal speed. I just waited and waited for news, staring at my computer screen, feeling more mortal than ever. Thankfully the news was all good. My dad recovered with 2 stents and evaded worse fates from a 90% blockage in his right artery. Sheesh. It made me think so much. I felt like a little girl, and yet so loaded with responsibility – my child’s life depended on me. I decided nothing could ever happen to me, or my husband. In my early thirties, I still depend on my father for so much. Even if it’s not material support, his wisdom and general approach to things has helped me so many times, I don’t know what I’d do if anything every happened to him, and yet it’s an eventuality. I can’t think about that everyday or I’ll go mad. Sometimes you just have to know your weaknesses as a human and plunge into everyday without fear. I guess that’s most days.

I was starting to get a rhythm going with work – coming up to my parents’ place, having them watch little Vee in between feedings while I type away or do a call – but it looks like I have to rethink things again. My dad is so excited to see his granddaughter but I am just too worried right now that babysitting will cause too much stress for him, at least for the next few weeks. My mom should be looking after my dad. And I don’t mind wearing Vee or having her sit in my lap while I try and get things emailed. Meetings are a different story, but I guess I’ll find that solution too.

Right now I’m just enjoying the fact that my dad’s home, and that I still get to feel like Daddy’s Little Girl.