When your child is sick enough to warrant a stay in the hospital, that becomes your entire world — only, it doesn't. Someone still has to go to work to pay the bills. Someone still has to look after your other family members. And someone has to figure out a schedule that means your sick kid won't be sleeping alone every night.
This year for Father's Day, Toronto's SickKids Hospital is paying homage to the dads who are doing it all, with scarcely a break to let themselves cry under the weight of all their concern.
Called "Nightshift," the ad only shows a father and his child together for about 12 seconds, but that's exactly the point. When your child is sick, they're on your mind every moment of every day, whether or not you're given the time to acknowledge it.
Take a look at the video above, and read more about the story behind it below.
The video follows Frank, a dad of twin girls Naya and Milayna, who were born March 9, 2016. Baby Naya was diagnosed with a heart condition that required surgery, as well as other health issues that meant she stayed at Sick Kids for 14 months.
“Slowly, we’re starting to see her antics. She likes to speak with her eyebrows,” Frank told the Toronto Star in December.
During that time, Frank kept running his HVAC business, working on construction sites near (but not close to) Toronto. He would come to the hospital every day after work to relieve his wife Stephanie, and most of all, to spend time with his baby girl, only leaving late at night.
"[Dad] is supposed to be the protector, the warrior who goes into battle unafraid. But when his child gets sick, in some ways he feels he’s already lost the battle."
"[It's] so hard for dads whose children suffer with serious illnesses," wrote pharmacist Courtney Schmidt on KevinMD's site in 2014. "He is supposed to be the protector, the warrior who goes into battle unafraid. But when his child gets sick, in some ways he feels he’s already lost the battle. He couldn’t protect his child from harm. He couldn’t prevent the pain. He doesn’t know how to fix it or make it better. And he is afraid."
It's a poignant reminder that even for parents who appear to be keeping it all together, they're just a minute away from feeling like it's all fallen apart.
And it's one Frank undoubtedly remembers well — now that his daughter Naya is comfortably at home with him, his wife and her sister.