October 06, 2005

No title today, just some random thoughts

I have vacillated recently between blogging, bursting to write, and all dried up with no inspiration. A feeling like maybe I've said everything I've had to say and maybe I should consider taking a break from the writing. I think that maybe I'm just a teensy bit unhappy at the moment and maybe that means that I don't write when I'm actually unhappy. Really unhappy. That makes some sense, I suppose. When I was a child, and even now, when I was hurt, I tended to withdraw into myself, not wanting to be touched, just wanting to be left alone. The only company I could abide as a child was my dog. He was a 165 pound Great Dane. I used to curl up with him and cry out my sadness, cuddle away my disappointments. I miss him. We don't have a dog anymore. Instead, I have a blog. Less feeding and I don't have to walk it in the middle of the night, but less tactile comfort here too. So, there are tradeoffs.

I am not inclined to complain. Much. Funny aside, by the way. My fingers are not used to typing the word complain. Instead, they want to type the word complaint, which is more normal for these lawyer fingers to type. Aside over. The reason I am not inclined to complain is because of something William Buckley wrote about his mother. I read it last night on the train and it sort of smacked me in the face. His mother had just seen her eldest son buried and was in the midst of what Buckley describes as "convulsive grief". And he writes:

He had been visiting her every day, often taking her to a local restaurant for lunch, and her grief was, by her standards, convulsive; but she did not break her rule -- she never broke it -- which was never ever to complain; because, she explained, she could never repay God the favors He had done her, no matter what tribulations she might be made to suffer.

I was impressed by this because, inter alia, it contained two semi-colons. Also, it made me take stock and count my blessings a bit. Not a bad exercise when things seem a bit bleak. Bleak may be too strong a word. Maybe when you feel a little discouraged by the twists and turns your fortune seems to be following.

The book I took that quote from was "Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography". Good stuff. Some essays better than others but he writes quite beautifully.

Rosh Hashana at my parents' house was not a great success. My grandfather came from the nursing home in his wheel chair. We carried it up the steps to the door and included him in the gathering as best as he would permit. He is so greatly diminished that if I stopped to let myself think about it, it would break my heart. He's always been my role model and seeing him like this is difficult, for him and for me. Today is his birthday. I called to wish him a happy birthday and it was not a good call. He knew who I was but was not well. We did not have a long chat, just exchanged a couple of sentences, some good wishes, some hopes on my side and some admitted unhappiness on his. I had to push a bit to get him to tell me how he was feeling.

Today, I hope to go home to a harmonious house. A place where my children have been well behaved and not given our new nanny a fit. The Girl Child has been exhibiting adjustment issues. The new nanny, a sweet girl, feeling the culture shock ("boy, people out here sure are direct when they talk"), feeling homesick, trying to deal with body image and self confidence problems (none of which she should have; she's lovely), was told by the Girl Child yesterday that the was "fat and ugly". My wife and I were kind of impressed, quietly, that the Girl Child figured out how to put her finger so unerringly on the new nanny's ouchy spoot. The Girl Child also told my wife that she wouldn't listen to her because she was stupid.

None of this did I take well and we had a long discussion, mandatory apologies, and a no-story bed time. The Girl Child, I should note, did not take a nap and that always makes everything waaaay worse. I was really very angry about this and some other transgressions she committed and she knew it.

That said, and I have to say I respect her for it, even in the face of my very real anger, she stood up for herself and her perceived rights. I love her so much for that.

We got upstairs and I told her to get in the bathroom and brush her teeth. She told me that she didn't want to talk to me, that I made her sad, and that I had to say I was sorry first. I told her that if she was sad, it was a sadness of her own making, brought about entirely by her own bad behavior and that, as her father, I was required to correct it when necessary. She clearly disagreed and held me responsible for her sadness. But she shifted to another tack just the same and said that I had to say I was sorry anyway because I didn't say please when I told her to go brush her teeth. I agreed with her, apologized, and sent her off to brush.

I was so proud of her, at 4.75 year old, for standing up to me, for demanding a little respect, and for standing her ground. I have always tried to walk that very fine line between bending my little savage to the civilized comportment needed to live in my house and not breaking her will. Still working on the little savage part but clearly the will is still all there.

I think that may be enough for now. Besides, I have to take a friend to lunch for his birthday.

Pax tibi.

Posted by Random Penseur at October 6, 2005 12:22 PM | TrackBack

Where do I start? There's so much here that has touched me.

Thank you.

Posted by: Christina at October 6, 2005 10:20 PM

Your legal arguments must be the proverbial steel fist in the velvet glove.

If I ever get sued or find myself having to explain the chloroform, I'm caling you.

Posted by: Rob at October 6, 2005 11:36 PM

I think the GC is not the 4-something you claim but rather that she is 13. Good luck!

Posted by: GrammarQueen at October 7, 2005 10:33 AM

There are so many emotions in your post, I don't know where to begin.

So, I don't think I will. I just offer my friendship, across the miles and my solid belief that this too, shall pass and you will be all the better for it.


Posted by: Margi at October 7, 2005 04:34 PM

How 'bout a big, fat Friday afternoon hug!!! Maybe that will bring your some comfort and acknowledgement for the great human being and Dad that you are....

Posted by: Azalea at October 7, 2005 06:22 PM

Well! I see I must have not refreshed my browser since the 4th because I come to check on you today and see THREE blogs that I didn't see earlier!

My condolences on your grandfather; I know it's hard. My grandfather went down slowly too. I don't know which is worse; the sudden way I lost my grandmother or the way my grandfather passed.

My grandmother was fit and full of health, had all her wits, just a dynamic individula, then died suddenly but peacefully in her sleep one night of heart failure. I was immensely shocked and it took quite some time for me to recover.

My grandfather went slowly over the next year to join her and it was like having little heartbreaks every time I saw him. Getting more and more frail. But at least I was more prepared with him when it happened.

My best to you and your family.

As for the GC...*grins*...what can I say, except Good Luck. She's a spirited thing and I'm glad you're handling her so well. I love the GC and BC stories. They remind me so much of my Lucy and Ray.

Posted by: Amber at October 8, 2005 12:22 PM

Sigh! I. just. relate. to. it. all!

Hope you are doing okay and the family is well. You're in my thoughts and prayers!

Posted by: michele at October 18, 2005 05:57 PM
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