Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pappa visits us on Daniel’s birthday: Sometimes fights are good for something

Fighting with my baby is painful, particularly on my baby's birthday

My oldest son and I are in a fight. Somehow we are communicating the arguments of our respective significant others. Daniel is speaking for his fiancée and I am communicating for my husband. At one point, I had to stop the argument to ‘fact check’ so that I could offer up the appropriate retort. In that long moment when I was searching my brain for suitably fitting words of reply I realized that the words weren’t absent because of any impending Alzheimer’s disease. The words weren’t there because I didn’t have a memory of what we were fighting about. For a lack of anything better to say, I told him I’d have his father call him directly. The situation becomes simultaneously more complicated and clearer with the knock knock of my mother at the door. She begs me to “please, please, please agree to go to Daniel’s birthday dinner with him. “

This strikes me as absurd. Why wouldn’t I want to go to our number one son’s birthday dinner? How did a fight about canceling Kellan’s visit to our house at the last minute become so complicated?

In an obviously rare moment of reflection I figure out that it is because our fight over Kellan overshadowed the second part of the weekend soiree, which was to have dinner with Daniel and family when we brought Kellan back or they picked him up. Daniel was feeling like we only cared about seeing his son and not him. All at once I felt awful. No one could replace Daniel, not even the child that he fathered.

How do you explain that there is always enough love for everyone, and that love is not reproducible. Unlike a dojong (a Korean name stamp) it is never the same twice.

We had a foreshadowing of this altercation the weekend before, when we were focusing on a grandson-visit and our grown-son felt left out. I hate it when I’m obtuse and stubborn.

I call Rich and leave a message. Then because I am shook up I go to sleep.

Rich comes home and immediately apologizes via iPhone. Daniel does the same via his iPhone. They say they’ll “start over” and talk after the NFL draft is over. They are fine in 5 minutes. It has taken me a full day of arguing and fretting to come to this point of what is non-closure for me (I guess I need an iPhone), but relief.

We wait for Daniel’s phone call.

In the meantime, all phones large and small in our house are freaking out. We get multiple calls on our land-line from the pharmacy telling Rich that his prescriptions are ready to be picked up. This is a new experience, the same recording over and over, one right after the other. China Taste, our local restaurant calls James twice on his cell phone to tell him that his food is ready to be picked up (he didn’t order any). Rich’s cell phone, clearly sitting on the counter in the basket calls me on my cell phone. I answer to silence. And now my freaking E-mail doesn't work.

I am aggravated at technology and perplexed at the multiple glitches that can occur at the same time in totally different communication systems, until it dawns on me. It’s my father: Daniel’s Pappa, who died almost 3 years ago. He is upset that we are fighting on the day before his Prunie’s birthday. I walk over to mom’s house and tell her that Pappa is here. She cries and says, “I’ll bet that’s it.” I call Daniel and tell him what is going on. He believes me. Dan calls and makes reservations at the Japanese restaurant for tomorrow and promises me he’ll let Pappa know that he’s okay. I have no doubt that my dad will be there tomorrow with us, eating Japanese food and celebrating. Just like I have no doubt that he’s here with us now.

The phone calls stop. My E-mail works.


  1. I love the photo.

  2. Thanks Rachelle. That was one my husband took. That bluebird made a nest in the bush right outside our door (is that smart?). So now we're totally worried about her and her babies.

    I hope they make it.

    They ARE LOUD.


  3. That's a great photo, and a wise and thought-provoking post. Sometimes it takes a day plus a technology break-down, but the messages always get through. We just have to be listening for them....


  4. Thanks Susan, you're always so encouraging.

    I've recommended your book to numerous others. It sounds like it's been quite a success and you quite a hit, although I worry about your pace!

    We'll be out West this summer, WA and OR but no CO. Next time.

  5. I arrived here via Susan Tweit. I am saving you in I will return. :-D

    The pic. (birds) is wonderful!

    Lindy - in the Sonoran Desert of AZ

  6. Oh the Sonoran Desert! That sounds so wonderful! We're in the swamps of Louisiana.



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