Eric is four. Relentless. “Come on Dad. It’s time to go swimming.” Pulling on my hand. “Come on Dad. Dad, come on!”
The marble floor in the bathroom is cool and smooth on our bare feet. I watch him struggle tugging on his suit. His little white bottom contrasting against his milk chocolate tan lines. He lets out a whimper in frustration as he can’t pull on his swim shirt.
We step outside.
We had lived in Miami for four years. The sweltering summer heat was still a shock. Swallowing up oxygen. Mixing with the heavy pool chlorine…filling nostrils and lungs.
10am. 91F. And there is still August to go.
The image has been
a counterweight to darkness.
Every Father’s nightmare.
I call it up. The image.
To block. To deflect.
Her sinewy silhouette shimmering against the moonlight.
Waves lapping her toes on the shore line.
Her eyes closed.
Wind gently rustling her hair.
A need to believe.
A longing to feel.
Her at Peace.
That she is safe.
She’s coming home.
“Parental love, I think, is infinite…Not infinitely good, or infinitely ennobling, or infinitely beautiful. Just infinite…”
~ Adam Gopnik
ZIMMERN: …The other day I saw on Eater that someone was saying that they thought you were the next Julia Child.
BOURDAIN: It’s flattering but wrong‑headed. I mean, Julia Child changed the f***ing world. I am not a particle of dust compared to her. I am flattered to even be mentioned in postironic jest in the same paragraph. But to be actually compared? No. Absolutely not. She was such an important figure, a pioneer out there …
BOURDAIN: And I don’t care if my mom approves. … Look, if I’ve learned anything—I wrote Kitchen Confidential because I didn’t think anyone would read it. That was a liberating moment. You know, writing every morning before I went to work with absolute certainty that no one other than a few cooks would read it was a truly liberating place to write a book. That was a lesson I learned in the bone, meaning the instinct to think about what do they want—What do they expect? What do my biggest fans want me to do next? How will they receive it? Who’s watching? Who’s reading?—this is a lethal, lethal instinct. I have to not think that. We all want to be loved, but I’m not going to even ask what people want, because that will … [Read more...]
I’m in the car off to work.
I’m scanning my playlist to find a match to my mood. I’m challenged. Nothing seems to fit. Nothing that is, except the weather.
Mind pans back ten years. A sunny day in Miami. A lazy Sunday afternoon. She loves car rides. The sun roof is open. Andrea Bocelli is crooning on the cd player. We’re crossing the Rickenbacker Causeway. The City center is on our left. Biscayne Bay’s shimmering aquamarine blues are on the right. A warm tropical breeze is gushing through the windows. I look over and her eyes are closed and her hair is blowing in the wind. A portrait of youthful bliss. An indelible image that can be pulled up at will. [Read more...]
Rachel: Hi Daddy!
Dad: Hi Honey. What’s up?
Rachel: Daddy, I scored an 88 on a brutal Managerial Accounting Test!
Dad: Wow, that’s amazing Rachel. Well done! I’m proud of you.
Rachel: OK Daddy. Just wanted to let you know. Gotta run.
45 second phone conversation with daughter on car ride home from work. Priceless.
Image Credit: Thank you abirdeyeview
He looked taller. He looked like he had filled out. It had been less than 60 days. An illusion.
We couldn’t make it to Family Weekend in September. I could sense disappointment. His roommates’ parents showed. They graciously invited him to dinner.
It was a short 4-day week at school this weekend. A trip home before Thanksgiving wasn’t in the budget. Many of his new mates on the floor had planned to head home as they lived within a few hours drive. He didn’t want to make the call. He didn’t have to say it. And he didn’t. He wanted (needed) to come home, even if it was a brief weekend stay. And he could catch up with his sister who was home on break.
Dad and Son engaged in their customary near-monosyllabic dialogue. [Read more...]
and piping hot tomato soup…
Source: Thank you madamescherzo
Tall black boots. Long hair hanging free down her back. Carrying a black duffle. Walking with a quiet confidence. She’s pivoted following the summer internship in Manhattan. A bridge she’s crossed. A new found self awareness…I can play. I can hold my own. Her grades have popped up, even raising her own eyebrows.
Zeke’s nose recognizes someone familiar in the dark. Then it hits him. Rachel! His entire body writhing with wiggles…he smothers her with kisses. [Read more...]
Each morning. For 18 years. It would be early and dark out. I’d silently prepare for work. I’d shower. I’d shave. I’d dress. I’d grab my briefcase. I’d tip-toe past their rooms. Their doors would be closed. No need to peer in. They’re safe. And in a deep sleep under their comforters.
Today. I silently prepare for work. I shower. I shave. I dress. I grab my briefcase. I walk down the hall. My heavy footfalls ricochet off the hard wood floors and echo in their rooms. It’s early.
And it’s still dark out.
- He’s Gone.
- The Last Supper.
- If there is a God, he was here today…
- Rescue me…
- Reflections (Morn of Eric’s Graduation Day)
- Break away for 1 hour for one of life’s delights…
The countdown started on Monday. My first day back from vacation. Rachel is off to school. And three days from an empty nest with Eric packing up for his freshman year. (The short week felt like repeated bouts of getting up quickly from reading on the bed. Disorientation. Stabilization. Disorientation. Stabilization. Grab an arm rail pal. Get a grip. You can’t slow down the clock.)
The Chariot was packed and ready to depart for the 11-hour journey. (No, the King doesn’t pack. The scope of his competency is narrow and deep…and some would argue not that deep. Best for him to stay well out of the way of logistics.)
It was impossible to see out of the side windows. Every square inch of trunk and 1/2 of the back seat was stuffed to the roof top. Changing lanes was a roll of the dice. Normal humans would invest in a car-top carrier, rent a van, or borrow something larger…not this Cat. The $500 expense on top of the college tuition was the tipping point. So, we jammed it all in and off we went.
The King was sitting in a cubby hole behind the driver’s seat. (Oh, what delicious irony. My first memory of Eric was driving him home from the hospital a few days after his birth. I was driving at far less than the speed limit and slipping glances back to see that he was okay.)
I was running the rough math in my head. They have been subjected to over 100,000 “course corrections” during their lifetimes.
Wash your hands. Tie your laces. Look people in the eye. Use a firm handshake. Wipe your face. Keep your voice down. Sit up. Comb your hair. Brush your teeth. Pick up your things. Put on clean clothes. Don’t yell. Get along with your Brother. Get along with your Sister. Say please. Say thank you. Say you are sorry. ENOUGH TV. Read. Get to sleep. Go to the bathroom before we leave the house. Enough candy. Do your homework. Plus 1000 others. And, certainly not all of them delivered with finesse or a light touch. When you are molding a sculpture, some rough chops are necessary. And per the King’s rules, as long as the game is played within the fences and by the house rules, all is good.
By Mimi @ Waiting For The Karma Truck
I’m a sky-gazer. It makes for some very dramatic tumbles and some slapstick recoveries to a standing position (degree of difficulty depends upon the severity of my clumsiness – but some could qualify as Olympic-level gymnastic floor routines). This need to look up and out is not folly, it’s my dad. I’ve been aiming my perspective upwards for nine years.
There’s so much written about father/daughter relationships that I hesitate to even tiptoe around this topic. I fret that my words will sound cliched and not really offer much to a potentially tired topic. But, there was nothing tired or trite about the man – and the insistent tapping of rain on the skylights in my kitchen suggests to me that he feels quite confident that there is more to say. [Read more...]
ME: 6am. I cranked up my morning reading and scanned to find Kristin’s new post Play the Tape Through. Play the Tape Through. Play the tape through. Repeating the mantra in my head like a stylus stuck in a groove of a RCA gramophone. Shrieking again and again.
KRISTIN: “When you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences… -Dr. Phil.” It sounds so simple, but most people, myself included, have acted without stopping to play the tape through at one time or another- if not over and over again. Picture having a video tape of all your thoughts and actions and the consequences of those thoughts and actions. It is my guess that a whole lot of people would think twice if they could view the tape before ever acting in the first place.
ME: Roll the tape back. Way back. The play ends. Referees are on high alert…scanning the ice looking for trouble. Who’s the player who retaliates after the whistle blows? Who’s the one taking the extra shot? Who loses control? Satisfaction for 3 seconds. Then off to the penalty box. Some things never change.
It started about a week ago. Rachel asked me to take her into the city. She was nervous. She doesn’t know her way around. She needed to get her paperwork completed and her picture taken for her summer job. She asked me again, 2 days later. And then again. (Why does she keep asking me, when I’ve told her that I would do it? She doesn’t think Dad will show. That’s it. All those other times. One excuse or another usually all tied to work. Couldn’t make it. Something has come up. I’m busy. Mom will take you.)
Thursday night. She asked again. I glare at her. She backs up.
Friday morning. You can see she didn’t get much sleep. She’s nervous. She’s dressed. OMG. My girl is wearing a suit. Nicely dressed. Professional. My eyes well up. I have to turn away.
We’re waiting for the train. It’s early.
Heidi Bjork is an artist painting watercolor art of passion, love and romance in black and white. Heidi is originally from Kópavogur, Iceland and is now based in Staffordshire, UK. Heidi’s first children’s book will be published in Iceland in autumn 2012. Heidi was kind enough to permit me to share her work with you. Check out Heidi’s site at heidibjork.com. I love her work…
- Africa in Black & White
- Give me a hand…
- 2 Minutes of Eye an Ear Candy (Ansel Adams)
- Sunday morning…
- I watch. I can’t break my stare. And, calm settles in…
Eric (son) and I concluded our college visits last week. The May 1 final decision date was banging on the back door. He has 2 excellent choices. One close to home. One a plane ride away. Son like Father is not long on words…and Son has been close to the vest on the final call. I roll out of bed in the wee hours of the morning today. Look at the clock…3:50am. Flip open my smart phone. Email from Eric. A rare occurrence. I sit down. I rub the sleep out of my eyes. I take a deep breath. And I read.
“So after giving it some thought I have my mind set on W. Here’s my reasoning:
- W is more expensive but W’s school rank is higher than B.
- W is more appealing in terms of the small class sizes.
- I feel that it would be easier to stand out when applying to med/grad school in a smaller school with a reputation for exceptional academics.
- I found the living and food situation at W to be a lot better. Air conditioned dorms. And I’m GUARANTEED to be on campus. Which is a short walk to class.
- The major drawback to W is the distance from home but I feel the educational experience is superior. I will just deal with the travel and deal with being further away from home.
- I felt a greater sense of community at W, and I warmed very much to the southern hospitality. So this is my rationale. I’ve been getting pretty excited at the prospect of going to W the past few days, so I think my mind is made up.
So, it’s done. Mr. Independent has pulled the trigger without so much as a 10-minute discussion with Mom & Dad.