Tag Archives: Love

Kind Words

15 Jul

I have never really trusted kind words. Fearing false emotion and cheap platitudes, I shrugged them off as politely as possible and moved on, never giving them their due.

I was wrong.

Not to avoid cheap emotion, please… God save us from Oprah’s couch. But I was wrong not to listen. Not to hear. Not to recognize the truth that is almost always there.

The responses to my first post, Gifts from My Daughter, have been an amazing lesson in the power of a kind word at a difficult time. Such words, I have learned, do not lose, but rather gain with repetition the power to comfort, attaining a warm glow, the softness of a favorite blanket, the smell of woodsmoke. I cannot hear them enough.

Surprisingly many of these words have come from old friends, people I really didn’t expect to hear much from again. And yet here they are, sharing their own lives and stories as if the time and distance that separates us does not exist.

Why did I ever let such amazing friends drift away?.

The answer, I know, is mostly geography. When you pick up and move every decade or so, you cut a lot of ties. Hell, in my youth I thought this was healthy, something everyone should do. As if uprooting all the trees in a forest every ten years and moving them all around could somehow be good land management.

Idiocy.

I should never have let it happen. These people are too valuable. I should have brought them with me. Forcibly if necessary. And we should all now live within blocks of each other, having coffee in the morning, beers at night, and barbecues on the weekend. Our children and grandchildren should all be the best of friends and have the run of each others houses. We should be there for each other all the time, sharing the seasons of our lives.

Idiocy as well, I suppose. But, understandable idiocy, which is usually the best I can plead.

So, I throw myself upon the mercy of my friends. And be they in Perrysburg, Chicago, New York, or Steamboat Springs, I have no doubt they will catch me. Most likely with a kind word at a difficult time. Which I will value above gold.

 

 

Gifts from my Daughter

9 Jul

Where to begin. That’s always the question, isn’t it? Every blessed day. Where to begin.

Hopefully this will be an exercise in finding my voice. An exercise in truth, hopefully. Although already I can feel the siren song of various personas calling. The terse, hardbitten realist, the wounded romantic, the hyped up Hunter Thompsonesque truth teller. Bullshit, all. Me. Just me.

I used to tell people I was an actor. That really doesn’t seem to work anymore. Not because I haven’t worked on anything for a while (although I haven’t), but because it’s not enough. People are not their jobs. Their lives are richer than that.

Four weeks ago my wife Amy gave birth to our second child, a beautiful little girl named Hallie Jake. She has my blue eyes, her mothers dark hair, her brother’s temper and an extra chromosome that has changed all our lives in ways I have barely begun to comprehend. As a result, it’s not easy to think very far into the future. I keep bumping into dreams that I fear will never come true. So it’s a day at a time. And in that time things are good. Their is a great deal of love in our little family, and beauty, and strength (especially in Amy, who amazes and inspires me every day).

And Hallie brings gifts.

In the days immediately following her birth, when my mind would not stop trying to somehow fix things, I couldn’t shake the image of myself standing between two sets of trap doors – one above and another both below and within me. Through the door above me came light, and I knew that through that door was my future, my infinitely simple future had Hallie been born normal. The other door, which had dropped open in the operating room the second the neo-natalist said “I’m going to do some chromosome tests,” and then avoided both my questions and my eyes, opened into a deep vast well of emotion that even now I have a hard time controlling. For the first three days I was a raw nerve walking the streets, and my mere gaze would back people down. I was also as clear, honest, empathetic and as deeply human as I have ever been. There’s power in that. And as the door above me closed and faded, there was also peace. These are the gifts my daughter has given me.

And this is where I begin.