Father’s Day

Lydia and Roger, 2010

One of the things I worried about when Lydia was born was whether I would be there when she grew up. After all, I was 51 when she was born, so I’ll be 70 when she’s 19.

What I had not seriously considered, beyond the normal concerns, is what if something happened to her. Her still mysterious illness in late February and much of March made me concerned because, as the doctors eliminated what it was NOT, I still did not know what it WAS.

It wasn’t until mid-May, though, that The Wife and I had a conversation with her about what she felt, I mean beyond the pain. She said that she figured that she’d eventually be OK because God had more plans for her.

This is interesting to me on a few levels. Certainly, we are raising her in the Christian tradition, but this specific narrative did not come from her mother or from me. I have been much more focused on the collective tradition of a Jesus for justice, and less on a God of healing, for while I have seen physical recoveries, I’ve also seen prayers answered in a way that was not what the people wanted.

Lydia and Roger, Niagara Falls, NY, 2011

This gets into the broader issues of parenting, teaching her stuff without saying, “Think like I think.” I work hard trying not to poison her with my… misgivings about United States’ oligarchies and residual racism and gun culture, while letting her know, when appropriate, that it’s out there. I’m not trying to raise a Mini-Me, but a thinking, separate person. And, increasingly, she is.

She loves the overt signs of patriotism, flag waving and the like, while I’m less comfortable with it. But I can help her with the lyrics of The Star-Spangeled Banner without sharing with her that fourth verse, which I know by heart and which REALLY makes me irritated.

I guess I’m doing OK as a dad.

Oh, and a variation on the usual: I wish my daughter had gotten a chance to know MY father. I have the sense that, had he been well enough, he would have visited often, as he had his other granddaughters.


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