Saturday, January 13, 2007

I'm Glad You're Not a Boy

I try to remember to tell you I love you all the time, but perhaps not enough. Though I think you know it.
What I really want you to know is: I'm glad you're not a boy.

I'm glad you weren't a boy. I'm glad you're the wonderful girl and woman that you are. Not that my gladness should necessarily be the deciding factor in your life. But rather than wish for something that wasn't Im just glad you are who you turned out to be.

This isn't really the kind of thing we sit and muse over is it. You know there are those moments when you feel an obligation to come up with something deep, perhaps a little mysterious, filled with the kind of gravity which gives those in attendance pause. The last time I can recall a moment with such clarity was sitting at the Odeon cafe, a wonderful little Bohemian place on a picture perfect lake in Zurich. It was the summer of 1968, and as I sat sipping a Dubonnet & soda, a taste I'd acquired in New York the previous year, I felt that I needed to match the previous clientele who included Lenin and Mussolini, with great ideas. Of course 40 years later I'm aware that neither of the aforementioned cafe habituee's really had ideas that in and of themselves were worth emulating. Far from it. But there must have been something in the atmosphere of the place which caused movers to turn into shakers. There must have been at least a few artists, sculptors, even photographers whose work would be worth a look. Those are the folks I'd rather tilt towards. But, as I'm reminded I always do, I digress.

Today our wonderful construction and fix-anything friend dropped by to sort out some pesky wires in the kitchen, where the sign of overhead lights flickering is to be considered an imperative indication of something in need of repair. He ran through a couple of things which needed a fix, and did it rather quickly. But because today is Saturday, and his wife was occupied, he brought his five year old boy with him. Jonathan is a total bundle of five year old energy. Nothing escaped his eye nor his nimble fingers. I'd forgotten what it's like to be in the company of someone who challenges everything in sight. Is that really a gum machine? (no it's a 1/2" miniature replica of one on a candy dish); why doesn't the TV work ?because we have to turn the power off in the kitchen to repair the faulty light switch.

The solitary piece of Chocolate coin left over from Hannukah was flipped at least 25 times ("... I choose heads, you choose tails... I WIN!").. before he decided that eating it would be more fun than beating me at coin flips (that required a wet paper towel to get the choco fingers cleaned before he did finger paint on the counters with them.) Why doesn't the little airplane fly? (the batteries need to be charged.) And then of course we discover that there is a tonic for all the inquisitiveness, which takes just enough of the edge off. Nickelodeon of course. Sponge Bob wasn't on, but it didn't need to be. Some other crummy mind-numbing show with cartoon figures beating on each other brought Jonathan to that calm which you are always aware of NOT having when the house isn't "child proofed." As Jordan grew, our house has gradually slid away from child proofing over the last 15 years, to a point where you don't realize your vulnerabilites until a Jonathan, smiling all the time and certainly not acting with any malice, presents his forth-right five year old questions, most of which are formed after he has picked something up. He's a sweet kid. But he is a boy.

I know my life would have been different if you had been a boy. There would have been "boy" moments which we never got round to (go-karts, model airplanes, blowing something up with a chemistry set), but all I have to do is walk through the kitchen and see the step down to the family room next to it (the "new room"), and be reminded that for years, you would make mommy and I come in, sit on the couch, and watch you perform on the "stage" of the kitchen, slightly elevated as it was. A song, a poem, a skit. That was the child whose growth I was privledged to be a part of. That's the girl who I love every day. And while it sometimes takes an hour of a Jonathan to remind me of what I might have missed, there is nothing which makes me happier than seeing you sleep (as you are, on the couch now), hear you singing in the shower - like no one I have ever known sing in a shower. I sit on the 2nd step of the stairs, just listening to those tunes come flooding out of your bathroom. That voice makes me fly. I'm glad more than you know that you are who you are.

I'm glad you're not a boy.

We're just sayin.... David


Walt said...

What a Dad! That's Dad with a capital D. And I know who is glad you're her Dad!

Walter Briggs said...

Let's make that 'D' a bit larger..I'll buy the materials..

Anonymous said...

My name's not Walter, but I have a brother named Walter, so can I comment?

This is a beautiful essay. I'm showing it to my daughters. I'll tell them I feel the same way, just haven't said it so eloquently.

Iris&David said...

kathy, please do not be intimidated by the presence of so many walters.. we love them, we cheer them on, we appreciate them, but they know that from time to time, alas!, someone other than a walter will show up , and the welcome mat is always Out!

Anonymous said...

In this family of man, lies a world of Walters..great and small..but standing tall when it counts ..Thanks,Iris and David..that means much!

Arlo Muttrie said...

When adopting, Westerners choose girls 4 to 1 over boys. Does anyone see a problem here, or am I out here by myself?