Essays, Poetry, Observations, Etc.

Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

Flying Solo

In change, life, parenting, reflections, time on February 26, 2013 at 9:05 am

Sometimes you have to step back and watch your child take wing and fly for themselves.

My daughter recently went through high school shopping. She wants to go to the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, one of the top schools of its kind in the country. (Beyonce went there, and more than a few actors whose names you’d recognize.)  I suggested it. She wasn’t that enthusiastic about it… at first.  We went to the open house, saw the show, and, lo, she came to embrace the idea.  She made it her own.

She submitted a writing portfolio in her primary interest and field of art, writing.  All I told her was write about something she was familiar with, something she knew from experience. She let me read it. (She didn’t have to. If she had said, no, I would have been curious, but respected that.)

She also presented herself for a vocal audition.  She has a clean, clear, high soprano voice.  Tentative and untrained, but there is something there.  That’s her Plan B for getting in.

The poetry and short stories were dark, detailed, expressive, and impressive.  I did not review or comment on the content.  I made a few editing suggestions, some she ignored, and then she submitted it.  (I did wonder, only in passing, if I should refer her to a psychologist, though! lol)

She qualified academically, she passed the first auditions in both writing and vocal, and just finished with her final callback auditions. She feels good about the process.

I suggested the school, but she embraced the idea. When she went to visit, I delivered her, then stepped back while she interviewed them, unlike many whose parents seemed to be doing all the talking.

If (and when, we hope) she gets in, it will be on her own merit. She’ll never have any reason to doubt that it was her own ability that got her there. And that’s how it should be.

Sometimes you have to step back and watch your child take wing and fly for themselves.

Someone recently commented that my daughter was remarkably mature.  She is smart, bright, and witty, but mature?  She has all the problems, issues, fears, and hormones of being a teenaged woman.  She is, I hope, headed in the right direction to maturity, but that is a few years down the road.

I was a stay at home dad for the first few years. I didn’t talk baby talk to her. I just talked to her. When we went to the park, for a walk or to play, as soon as she could move on her own two feet, I got rid of the stroller. (Yes, I carried her when she got tired.)  I let her be kid. I have encouraged her to read at every step of the way and to her make up her own mind every step of the way… well, mostly.  Sometimes I do say, no.  I am a parent, not an enabling friend.

I let her take risks.  When she falls, I console her, but I let her take the risks.  (I still hover, but at a discrete distance.)

But she is a child, a teenager.  I have to let her have her childhood, bearing in mind that she will be an adult faster than most parents are ever willing to admit. I have to encourage, I have to raise an independent, confident person.

One day I will be very old and she may be looking after me.  I want her to look at me then with the same love and tenderness and encouragement with which I look at and treat her now, to hold me dear as I hold her dear now.


Philosophy, faith, and truth… from a certain point of view

In life, memories, philosophy, reflections on February 22, 2013 at 12:08 am

One day, when I was a lad in junior high, my father took me along on a run to the post office.

Shortly after we set out, he glanced back at me in the rear view mirror as I sat in the back seat staring out the window at the pretty co-eds jogging around the university.  (The latter has nothing to do with the story, but admiring the lovely “older” college women was a major preoccupation at that age! lol)

So, my father asked, rather matter of factly, what was the population of the world. I paused, and replied, “around 3 1/2 billion.”  I asked why he’d asked, if only because he would have known the answer himself.

We came up to a stop light and he turned and told me something that I have remembered to this day and incorporated into my world view, lo these many decades..

“There are 3 1/2 billion people in world and there are probably 3 1/2 billion religions in the world,” he said.

I looked at him, puzzled, but even then with a glimmer of understanding.

He told me that everyone, each individual, has their own view and/or understanding of what they believe to be true.  Even people two people that appear to believe exactly the same thing will have some minor, or even major, point of disagreement about the faith or philosophy they hew to.

I nodded, wondering where he was going with this.

He pulled into a parking space in front of the P.O., shut the car off and, looking me square in the eye, told me this: Everybody has the right to what they be The Truth. .  Listen, be polite, and accept what they say as true… for them.  Discuss and argue when the time and emotions are right. Never tell a person they are wrongheaded or an idiot. Just respect that they have a different viewpoint and move on.  And the most important thing I want you to remember is this,  always stay true to what you believe. Be true to yourself.  Hold fast to your beliefs.  Learn from the world around, adapt what you believe as needs must, and trust yourself.  You’ll live a happier and maybe longer life because of it.

His council I took.  And my own council I keep.  And I am happier for it.

To this day I am fascinated by other’s beliefs.  I have read many and disparate books of faith and philosophy.  From each I have learned something… and yet I have remained happy with my own belief structure, tweaking it as I age and learn.

Mary and Peter, A Tale of Love Renewed

In life, love, memories, reflections on February 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm

My father’s favorite first cousin was married  to decent man, a lawyer and, later, state judge, by trade.  They raised a good family and had a good life.  But they drifted apart. The kids had all left for college and/or moved out.  He bought a sports car and gradually became more involved in philanthropic activities.  She started writing.  And they drifted farther apart.

Two active people that shared the same house, but saw little of each other.  He’d stay late at the courthouse or a function.  She’d be out networking and flogging her cookbook.  He took her for granted and would forget they were going out. She would have things that came up and had to postpone planned events. They argued increasingly over inconsequential things. He started sleeping in the guest bedroom and, after a suitable separation, divorced.

A year passed.  He calls her up and asks her out, dinner and the opera.  She agrees, but warns him that if he forgets, he doesn’t get a second chance.  The date goes well.  A two weeks later, they do it again, same terms.  He sends flowers. She’s pleased, to a certain extent.  Third time, they end up at her place, the house she inherited from her mother.  They share a bed. Things go well.

Next morning she laid down the law.  He may ask her out, take her to the theater, symphony, et al.  She has no problem with him sleeping over… for a weekend or vacation period at most.  If he promises to call, or makes a date, or a promises something and fails to follow through, that’s it, story over.

They never moved in with the other, yet shared each other’s beds and homes.  They loved each other yet chose to live apart by a strict set of rules she enforced.

I had many an occasion to dine and visit with them. It was obvious they were deeply in love.

She told me once that they had found that keeping a bit of distance and treating each “date” like they were trying to impress and please each other, never taking the other for granted for fear of losing the other, gave their relationship and love new life.

And so they continued till she passed from this life.

A couple more in love I have rarely met.

And that is today’s tale of love.