Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I am so glad you are alive! When you came out of surgery yesterday, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, impossible hospital gown and wheelchair notwithstanding, I could hardly believe it.

When I woke up this morning, I was appalled at how we had all treated you; admonishing you to follow the doctor's orders, change your lifestyle...only about a hundred percent or so, and telling you, straight from the doctor's lips, how very, very bad your heart had been.

Where do we get off? What right does anyone have to tell another person how to live? Then I realized; it all comes from you.

When you become a father, and you stay involved in your children's lives and are a big part of their hearts, you no longer only belong to yourself. Your life is not all the way your own, they belong to you and you to them. The same is true of your wife of 48 years, who would really rather have you around for awhile yet. Your life is intertwined with that of mom, your kids, your grandkids and, as I sit here, your granddog has not left my side, he never sits with me, so him too. It is too precious to us to simply let it be.

I know you are probably very grateful to have lived another day, that you beat the odds, and you feel so much better. You can have another donut, or piece of cherry pie or tell us one more time to drive safe on the way home. 

But this is how I see it: I have a vision of you as white-haired, (see? in many, many years!) dapper, gentleman who still sits through all of the grandkids' dance recitals, plays, kung-fu meets and graduations, who teaches them how to beat the pants off their opponent in checkers, like you used to when I was little. I see you, as ever, fussing over us all, and making sure our tires are safe, and the kids are doing well in school. You take your dog out for a walk; (he looks just like Tuxy,) and come home to a cup of tea, that you decided you would learn to love. Then you text your sons the latest dirty joke and Skype your grandkids to make sure they're OK, and go to lunch with your buddies on Friday. You and mom drive down for a visit and head to the park for a picnic with my kids, or to the lake with Sam, effortlessly, with fresh air pouring into your lungs and blood flowing freely through healthy veins, because you want it enough. We certainly do. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Hamilton (it DOES deserve its own post title)

Valentine, 15, wanted just one thing with all her heart, for her birthday and for Christmas for the next 36 years, to see..."Hamilton" in Chicago. Her birthday is in November. The build-up has been long, the hype unbearable, the wait almost eternal, but really, I almost think she was right. Guess who was obliged to accompany her daughter to the performance? Yes, it was I! Ouiiii!

Valentine, pre-show
I dutifully listened to the soundtrack, even though rap is not my thing. I mean, I had happened to have read the book last summer for my lit group, with no idea there was any connection to a new show. There is always some new show, right? What's a musical compared to history?

Then I started listening to the soundtrack, and all the tracks, and trying to keep up with the lyrics.  Then I learned how to download music onto my phone (don't laugh, this was a big thing in my life), and, like the rest of the English-speaking world and beyond, I was hooked.

 Both of us, before the show; almost too excited to eat.

We had a spring break with the children, or the Three-who-still-go-anywhere-with-us, for a couple of days.

 The Field Museum of Natural Science
 Same museum, 3 hours later.
 Our pal, Sue
We did the usual; walk by the lake, try new food, visit Sue (this is how they refer to the Field Museum), and freeze our noses off half the time. Chicago in March; love it! good was "Hamilton"? It was THAT good; all I expected and so much more. There was so much going on; in beautiful dancing and scenes all over the stage, more in nuance and intonation given by individual actors, more humor and depth, more beautiful voices raised in song, that I would need to see it every night until the end of the Chicago run to take it all in, and still, l might not be satisfied. 

Detail of totem pole statue thing (I forget what the sign said, but it is definitely a reproduction of something from South America, or Central America much for my homeschooling expertise.) I really like it. So there.