Sentimental Musing On Fathers

It’s not Father’s Day.  I was just looking at my nephew’s Facebook page and the pictures of him with his little baby girl and realized that my family, as a rule,  makes great fathers, uncles and brothers.  Simply great men.

The mothers, sort of prickly as a group,  but the fathers,uncles and brothers, are  stellar.  I  have a hard time relating to bad father stories, or bad men in general stories.  My memories are filled with uncles who taught me geography, arithmetic, who made me giggle, who teased me, who cried and who loved.  Men who achieved great things and had great catastrophes.  When they were at their height, the maintained their humanity and compassion, when they reached their depth, they had  dignity and humor.

We have a range, from the stern father to the easy going playful father– same for uncles.  But, they always gain our  respect and adoration from a young age to old age.  There is a way that they all hold the babies.  It’s that hug I remember from my own father.  Loving and tender.  Yet, you know, that wherever you are, whatever you do, they will be there for you.  They will move the heavens for one of the children of the family.

When I was in college, I remember reading about certain tribes in Africa, where the maternal uncles doled out the discipline.  Well, in my family, they dole out the love and support to their nieces and nephews.  The common thread was teaching something to the younger ones, teaching them of a passion.  Then the child, grows up with that memory of the uncle who taught you how to draw, taught you about colonialism, taught you about language groups.

Back to my nephew, I watch as he engages in the family catastrophic thinking for his baby.  Imagining and anticipating any and all dangers to his child and protecting her.  Talking and giggling with her. But, I know, that he like the others, will never make her feel that she is “a weak little girl”.  That she is lesser than.  That she is an after thought.

I don’t think my family needed a study to tell us to talk to babies.  My grandmother had a saying:  ” give the gift of your words to your child”.    And that is what they all did.  They talked to us.  They passed on stories, knowledge, humor and wisdom.   Now, don’t mistake any of this with sainthood.  None were saints, they were human and somehow we knew it.   And we all still adore that group of men, so glad to see the next generation picking up the tradition.



Why Good Friends Matter

Audience has always been a complete conundrum for me.  I often wonder whether I need any audience at all.  Do I want an audience to expand the discussion, yes.  Do I want an audience to ratify that what I have accomplished is “good”, no.  Do I want an audience to establish myself as a player in the arena, not really.  Do I want an audience to share my frankly warm and fuzzy or anyway deeply felt feelings underneath what is visible – eg to closest of friends and family, indeed.  But I have no idea where that leads me.

Chica, my friend from graduate school, we called each other chica, don’t know how it started.  It’s thirty years later now and we are still friends.  We are very different, she is tall, I am short.  She is a Mayflower WASP American, I am an immigrant.  She is moderate politically, I am to the left side.  But, through graduate school and through the years after we kept our friendship.

This connection was not just the standard stuff of greeting cards and visits.  Actually, we went through long periods with no contact.  But, we stuck to challenging each other.  When we were thirsty for ideas, for a long conversation that meandered in and out of the movies, literature, politics, parenting, life, actually any and all ideas, no limits.  These were our touchstone moments.

In this one paragraph, she grasped what I was thinking about, my writing sometimes is not crystal clear, but she found it.  I have to say giving up the easy readership is not without trepidation but giving oneself time to noodle ideas and to re-think how to use the medium of blogging is sure what one should do from time to time.  I am of the immediate gratification school, it’s time to ponder.

The Fun Parent

The not so fun Greek mother

“Most of my friends, even guy friends, tell me they love their mother  more,” my daughter announced.

” What do you mean, in what way? ” I ask  puzzled and sort of pleased.

“Well, they worry more about their mothers, they would be sadder if their mother died, ” she explained.

My son nodding in agreement between bites of short ribs.

” But, we all know Dads are way more fun ! ” she continued with further nodding from my son.

I keep thinking of this conversation, we have lots of conversations that make me think.

They will weep when I die, but in life, they would rather play with Dad.

Now, I will enter Greek mother wallowing, all I want are visits, but will settle for weeping.