Monday, May 7, 2007

Courage and Joy

I'm getting quanta with the family: short, concentrated, bursts of time that heighten the experience to an entirely different plane -- the emotion slams into me like an 18-wheeler. Fortunately, since I'm a man of steel, I'm still standing after each burst ... like the following:


I was working away in the office, perhaps on taxes (as after the 1040 forms were due, the Commonwealth forms took their toll), listening to some trance music in the background. The children, always wishing to be near me when I am present, were playing in the adjacent playroom.

After some time, Elena knocked discreetly on the office door and requested: "Papa, would you not play that music any more?"

"Oh, okay," I responded, switching off the music.

... now, I don't know about your father, but my father was an imposing figure, and, I think that somehow, fathers are imposing ... I know I'm frightening to my children at times (Elena Marie hid herself in her mother's lap after she stressed a creaky door, where upon I demanded: "What are you doing to that door, Elena? You are going to make it sira [broken]"). So, I couldn't image myself, at any age in childhood, asking my father to do something differently. For a little 5-year-old girl to make this essay, and do so with, not ease, but with a sense of calmness -- this is an impressive display of courage in my book.

... and Joy

After playtime downstairs, it was time to trot back up for lunch. Elena Marie dismissed herself and off she trotted. But for Isabel, it was different: she paused at the stairs and looked at askance at them and me. It isn't as if she was not able to ascend the stairs, but, for her, sometimes things are better faced with a companion than by oneself. So, taking her hand in mine, we ascended the stairs together, and I could feel the warmth of her satisfied glow almost as a physical presence. For Isabel, joy doesn't necessarily come in the great things, like learning how to skip, but in the everyday things: like holding Papa's hand going up the stairs.

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