Saturday, July 4, 2009


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.


Ed Ward said...

Two thoughts:

You may have become this way in an attempt to get attention while trying to make your parents feel as good as you did. The important thing is you felt good. Keep it up.

And you won't communicate with anyone by pretending to be someone you're not. It may take adults a while to snap to this, but kids? Fageddaboudit!

pat said...

Thanks, Ed. Actually, Operation Huggy Bear is producing results. It's not NOT me to hug V., I just tend to bust out the witticisms, and forget about, you know, simple demonstrations of affection. Though I am big on holding hands. V. even holds mine back sometime......

Kat said...

Thank you for pushing your own envelope! (I think that's one of the gifts parenting gives us, if we can dare ourselves to accept it...) The kiddos need it all: the jokes and the hugs and the heartfelt words. Especially, maybe, girls from their dads. By stretching yourself you are saving them from a few jerkface boyfriends in the future... not that you want to think about that now, probably.

pat said...

Thanks for the sweet words, Kat. But my daughters will never have boyfriends.