In the class that I teach, I talk about the way that culture shock can creep upon you. But memories do the same thing. In class, I use myself as an example. I tell them that my mind plays tricks on me.
It's a terrible thing to lose your parents. It should be outlawed. But even though I swore neither of my parents would ever leave me, my father went ahead and died anyway, just over five years ago. I think of him at the oddest moments. He pops into my head like he's walked into the room, like he's still here.
Two weeks ago, on the beach, I was playing with V., and I understood again that I communicate with my youngest daughter by horsing around with her. I express my love for her by goofing off, and trying to make her laff. I know that's a father thing, but I still think it's funny. Funny-strange. Funny-interesting.
I'm quite good at it. Matter of fact, I can make almost anybody laugh if I try. It's how I (tried) to keep bullies at bay when I was eight years old. Cracking people up is a survival skill, and I've honed it.
But my father was not a funny guy. He could tell a humorous anecdote, or a bad joke, but that's not really the same thing, is it?
My mom enjoys a good yuck, but she's no clown either.
So how did I get this way?
I guess one can't blame one's parents for eveything.
Plus, I guess I might try communicating with V. in other, more conventional ways. Like hugs. Operation Huggy Bear.