My Dad’s Bucket List: A Presidents Day Special

Do you have a bucket list? I have some things that I would love to do someday. As I get older, I am realizing the importance of having adventures with my family. Recently, I had the privilege of helping my dad check an item off of his bucket list! The story of how that came about starts a little further back.

Last year, I went on a girl’s trip for my Nanas’ brother’s birthday party in California. The timing was perfect because I needed to be in LA to visit manufacturers anyways. It was a special time because I was there with my mom, Nana, and my aunt. 

One day, as we were driving in Southern California, we noticed a sign that mentioned we were close to the Ronald Reagan Museum. Half of us wanted to go, and the other half were only obliging. A museum of a deceased president doesn’t exactly sound like a party to me! 

As we drove on to the property, I was amazed by the spectacular views. My mom mentioned that she hated to do this without my dad because this had been an item on his bucket list for some time. My heart sank. My dad had been battling cancer, and the entire time we were at the museum I kept thinking about how much I knew my dad would enjoy this experience. While walking around the museum that day, I prayed many times that I would have the opportunity to be in this place again with my dad. 

The events that occurred during the next few months were harrowing…

A short two months after returning home from that trip to California, my dad’s cancer recurred. He was admitted to the hospital in March 2019 to undergo a stem cell transplant. There were some complications after his transplant, and he nearly died. I flew in and out of Cleveland about eight times within a six week period. My dad was in the ICU, and for about three days, his life hung in the balance. I prayed harder than I have ever prayed in my entire life that my dad would be okay. One thing that I told him was that he needed to get better so we could go to the Ronald Reagan Museum. That seems like such a silly thing to even care about, but I knew that it was something we simply had to do when he was well. And if nothing else, it was something for us to look forward to and to hope for. 

Thankfully, God spared his life. He is now in remission for the second time. (Thank you, Jesus!) 

In September of 2019, I was able to take my parents along on a work trip with me to Los Angeles. And guess what? We went to the Ronald Reagan Museum.

As I walked through the very rooms of the museum where just months earlier I had prayed that I would get to bring my dad, not knowing what lay ahead for our family, I was reminded that the God I serve is strong and mighty. He knew what I didn’t know. And now, looking back, I am so thankful that I didn’t know. I would have been so worried and scared. But God – He knew, and He had the grace and power to give us in our time of need.

He spared my dad’s life. I know that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, and that includes me and my family. I am now in a place where I don’t take my days with my family for granted. Each moment is a gift from our Creator. I don’t know why, but He saw it fit to allow me to bring my dad to the Ronald Reagan museum. I will hold on to the memories of that trip for my entire lifetime. We laughed together; my dad has a great sense of humor! We learned more about the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. And most of all, we spent time thanking and praising God together, as we walked together through that museum.

This week, we have the blessing to be on a trip to Mexico with my parents. We are enjoying our winter break in a warm climate, and having the best time!

Friends, remember that each day is a gift. Remember that we have a God we can personally pray to. And remember that our God, the Creator over everything, cares for the desires of your heart, no matter how big or how small.

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