Thursday, January 10, 2008

And what do you say, dear?

In another post, I will proselytize yer fannies off with my newfound obsession: sinus irrigation.

But this, just in:

7:34 a.m. Daughter has just slept 11 consecutive hours in her own room, in her own bed, with nary a peep. She arrives at my bedside, clutching her blankie, stuffed cheetah, and the practically-life-sized stuffed penguin her Auntie just sent.

"Look, Mama," she says, urgently.

"mmmfhhfff?" I say, astutely.

"Mama," she breathes, in an emphatic stage whisper, pointing at a spot on her ankle where a BandAid had been placed before bed the night before. "The Band-Aid Fairy Came," she says, in a tone of awe generally reserved for the Second Coming, the finding of two maraschino cherries in your sundae, or the announcement that human beings can now fly to Mars. "She took that BandAid off oh-so gently. Do you think," she asks, enthralled, "that she left me some MONEY?"

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Best served cold

My in-laws belong to a chi-chi local social club (okay, it's a yacht club, as I'm sure you know), which had always been a source of great embarrassment for my husband and me. That embarrassment was mutual, since our side of the family always shows up for the de rigeur holiday events with our Chinese daughter and me in my funky glasses, black, "I'm-an-intellectual-feminist" clothing, and unkempt hair (the F-i-L is of the breed of men who believes that women over 25 should aim for a certain generic look that involves sedate heels, pastels, short, frosted hairstyles, and large amounts of gold jewelry--what my husband and I termed "real estate-agent chic." I'm an eternal disappointment, although he has learned to handle it graciously).

The recent bulletin features a photo spread from the Holiday brunch. Dead center is a picture of two of his three granddaughters--one with blond hair and blue eyes, and my own black-haired beauty--caught in a snapshot alongside a gorgeous little biracial girl (African American and ?). (No, she doesn't belong to us, although I would have snatched her up in an instant, had her mama not been so watchful).

He sent me my own copy of the publication, with the page carefully marked. Y'know, I think he just might be catching on!


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Where I'm calling from

We lit your special candle.

After her bath, your daughter and I sang: "Happy Birthday, dear papa..."

We said, "Good night. We love you. We miss you."

She blew out the candle. You would be so proud of her, and so endlessly delighted by her.

It was much, much, much, much, much, much too little.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

(High) Fidelity

Happy Birthday, my love. Tomorrow you should be turning 38. Your daughter and I should be baking you a cake. Or maybe we'd sneak off to a movie. Or maybe you'd be at work, and our daughter would go to school, and it would be a totally ordinary day, except that you would be here, and that would make it extraordinary.

In some perverse tribute to you, I watched "High Fidelity"--or the parts I could see through my tears--tonight. I remember so clearly the night we saw it (early in your Jack Black phase; the man is certainly talented, even if he is insane, and what a musician). And there are things about its anti-romantic messages about romance, especially the part where the girl says, "I'm too tired not to be with you," or when John Cusack's character says "I never seem to get tired of you," that ring so very true, even if--or perhaps especially if--they are the kinds of things no one ever really says aloud. They reminded us of us when we first saw the movie, and they still do.

I heard an Iraqi war vet talking about life after losing his leg, and it struck me that without you, I am something like an amputee: I used to be whole, and to take that wholeness for granted, but losing you has left me permanently off balance, diminished. I can do all of the things I used to do, and people might never suspect, simply by looking, that there is anything "wrong" with me. Sometimes, I even forget my own incompleteness. But then I feel the absence again, and the space you've left behind aches just as badly as it ever did--or worse, in its renewal. I can learn to make do with what is left of me, and to almost forget what I was like before. But I am irrevocably changed. I don't laugh as much, without you. I don't write much, except when I have to. I feel dreary and dull most of the time, and I seldom get excited about things. I don't look forward to things like I used to. I guess that's what they mean by "the walking wounded"--I am, and I am.

I don't know what I will do tomorrow to mark the date. But it will be for you, and about you, and--dammit--not with you. I love you.

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