Monday, July 07, 2008

A long weekend

The days and weeks have been slipping by this summer. I often find myself staring dumbfounded at my open day planner wondering where the time has gone. What happened to the lazy summer days of my childhood? What happened to weekends in the woods and sticky watermelon soaked fingers and chins? With questions like these at the forefront of my mind I can’t help but recognize that my childhood is truly over. I can only do my best to try and recapture that particular kind of magic as an adult.

We’ve been thinking a lot about our childhoods and our families from our tiny perch in Brooklyn. When you live in a large city, you can often feel so small. Cramming your life into 600 square feet of thin plaster walls and scarred wooden floors that have been lived on by countless hundreds of others before you can make you feel terribly insignificant and terribly small. And though in these days I feel so terribly small and so terribly alone in a city that eats the sweet and kind for breakfast; a simple phone call can focus your entire world so quickly.

“Dad’s had a heart attack”. It’s the kind of statement that you hear from other people or on television; not from your soon to be husband as you stand in front of the Mr. Coffee maker on Saturday morning, willing the machine to deliver you its delicious brown liquid of wakefulness. But Chris had said it and looked at me with those eyes – those eyes that seemed to say, holy shit – we were just there, we just visited. He was fine. What do I do? I have to be the grown up, I’m the oldest son and we’re trapped here in this city so far away and we can’t do anything, what do we do?

All of those things, all of those fears, all of those pleas in one shift of the eye and then they were gone, replaced by the take charge guy who could hold it together. And then I failed Christopher terribly, betrayed by my selfish tears that boiled over with the screaming thoughts that this can’t be happening again. You can’t be losing another father – not again. You were so close to having a father figure in your life again. Can fate be so cruel as to snatch him out of your grasp? In the last eight years you’d given your heart over to Chris’ father. You’d walked along the quiet, tree lined sidewalk in that tiny Carolina town and slipped your hand into his as he told you who lived in which house and talked with pride about his sons. You wanted years filled with him and his guidance and knowledge – you’d let yourself give into it. There’s something so solid about fathers – they always seem to know what to do. They always seem so willing to catch you and advise you before you fall. I love that feeling and I’ve missed that feeling so completely and in the center of my kitchen on a Saturday morning, I felt robbed. And I missed my own Dad so much that my heart felt absolutely empty.

The phone rang again and again throughout the day. The helicopter ride to Charlotte, the surgery, the waiting, but finally there was the phone call that said he was stable, serious but stable and you praised God that he’d granted the reprieve and you questioned why he hadn’t granted it before, but you were so willing to forgive the Him for giving in this time.

So we closed ourselves away in the tiny bedroom in the huge city of Brooklyn and we folded the wedding invitations in silent defiance of any other outcome than that of girl dancing at her wedding with a second chance father – turns out, it's going to be a second chance for both of us.

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