I knew graduation was supposed to be a life event for my daughter—the graduate—but I hadn’t reckoned on it being a life event for me: me—the woman old enough to have a daughter graduating from college; my home—the default place to be; my picture of the world—oh it still might appear on the agenda occasionally [...]
Today I mostly take care of my memories of Dad and Mom. I find the bit of understanding—the fond memory and the noble act—and I embrace it in the tale told. It can be a quiet, private thing. Sometimes I’ve made it a public thing, splashing it across my website and my stages. Is this what the commandment means? Remember, rediscover and perpetuate?
When my parents were still here for me, I asked and avoided, I listened and ignored. When I became a parent, all that programming poured from my firmware and wanted control. Would I live the legacy or change it? Would I be blind? conscious? fearful? or defiant? I retraced those steps right down to the words and deeds that had made me shudder a few short decades before–”because I said so” or “you just have to do it, you don’t have to like it.”
To think I must send my child away so she can live the life every father dreams of for his child–I am defeated. A Father should be able to give his family all the things they need. Not to be wealthy but to be a family together. Now, just when we should be talking about boys and school, we send her off to a strange place.
I listen to the life leave you and I’m told there’s not much time. I must write your story. I may tell your story. The elusive gifts of urgency and permission. Your story never had time for doubt: can I do it? will it be right? enough? You dove in and made things happen. That’s [...]
“That passive nice-little-old-lady who sits around the dining room all spaced out—that’s someone I never met before. That difficult woman you call me about—that’s the last shred of my Mother.”
From an early age, I gave my daughter expert coaching in ice-cream cone management. I knew iced cream would be an important part of her future, so I approached this as a valuable skill to be handed down and practiced. You circle the cone, working the meeting of cone and ice cream…
I keep thinking I’m done with harvesting my family. But we’re never done, are we? I keep finding more and more of myself every time I muse on these matters. I comfort as friends struggle with their aging parents, trying to help while respecting the worlds they have created for themselves. I watch these ballets [...]