Doorlag Family // Fathers Day Contest Winner!

Remember the Father’s Day contest I ran last year? Well, from finishing up weddings and moving to Texas, life got really busy and I’m now just getting to posting it.

Before I get into Brooke’s letter about her dad, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed working with this family. We shot their session around Christmas. It wasn’t snowing but I’m pretty sure it was the coldest I had been all year. It was windy and freezing and I made these poor people take their coats off. They had such good spirits and joyful faces even though all of us were shivering like crazy! Needless to say, we got the session done as quickly as we could so we didn’t freeze anyone to death.

I picked Brooke’s story because It really hit home for me. I certainly have not been as sick as her mom has been and not nearly for as long, but I just remember how well Ryan took care of me the past few years. His sensitive and sacrificial heart has always been one of my favorite things about him. I know illness puts a lot of strain on a marriage and I just really respect her dad for being such a strong man through some really difficult times. Strong, Godly men are some of the greatest people on the planet.

Brooke’s Story of her Dad:

Growing up, I was always attached to my mom’s hip. Anything that she did, I wanted to do. If anything went wrong, “I want my mommy” was always out of my mouth.

However, when I was in third grade, my mom got Lyme Disease, which changed my whole life. She was always in bed and it got to the point that we no longer thought she would live. At this point, I did not see her much because if she passed, she didn’t want me to remember her as sick and weak.

My dad, who previous to this time, had lived a fairly “American” lifestyle. My mom had stayed at home, while my dad went to work. He came home to a clean home (most of the time) with dinner on the table.  He always loved us, but he definitely had the role of Dad. When my mom got sick, he had to take on the role of both Mom and Dad.

It was during this time, that my dad became my hero. He was 41 at this point and I am pretty sure his only cooking skills were eggs. Now he was the one who still went to work everyday, but also had to clean the house, make dinner, take care of my mom, as well as his strong willed 10 year old (me), who now threw temper tantrums left and right, a 14 year old boy, who became an angry individual, and a 17 year old boy, who started to leave the church.

I didn’t know how to handle my emotions at this point. I was terribly behaved and threw temper tantrums all of the time. However, every night, I would break down and cry, snuggling with my mom’s nightgown, while my dad stroked my head until I finally fell asleep.  He would then get up and spend hours trying to research new medications and cures for Lyme Disease, as both of my brothers had now been diagnosed with it too. He did the best he could with us children. Every week, he would take me to Perkins on Gull Road and we would eat bread bowl salads and spend quarter after quarter trying to win a stuffed animal out of the machine in the lobby.

Our first Thanksgiving with my mom in bed, my dad bought processed turkey, instant mashed potatoes and canned corn. At Christmas, my dad (with the help of my high-tech brother) hooked up a video camera going from my mom’s bedroom to the living room so she could she us open gifts. We still couldn’t see her much, as she had a low immune system and if she got sick, she would end up back in the hospital.  Every Saturday morning, he made us bacon, eggs, and French toast, which was pretty much bread dipped in eggs and fried.

My dad is the most caring individual I have ever met. He took on the role of Mom, Dad, and caregiver of our family. He was the anchor in our lives, when we all felt like we were drowning. He put on a strong front and consistently told us to put God number one in our lives, as God is the ultimate physician. He was the researcher, who joined several Lyme forums finding what new vitamins and treatments had helped others in the past. He still went to all of our school functions and my brother’s tennis games, always putting his family above anyone else. My dad is and will always be my hero. He has a heart for the Lord and his family more than anyone else I have ever met. Fifteen years later, my mom and brothers are still very sick with Lyme Disease.  None of us have ever given up and still believe they will be healed and healthy. Although we have all moved out of the house at this point, we all still receive phone calls on a daily basis asking us how we are and if there is anything he can do for us. I am proud to him my dad.

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