I heard a male voice coming from my daughter’s bedroom and almost didn’t think twice about it.
You can blame that upon technology because it could be Netflix, Snapchat or something else on her phone.
For a moment I started to walk and then I heard echoes of stories from my past and those dear to me.
Heard someone tell me about her mother walking in on her and a boyfriend, remembered another friend telling me about being caught by an aunt and my own moment of interruption.
So I stopped outside her bedroom and listened to her laugh at something this boy had said and for a half second I wondered whether I would play mohel or MMA fighter.
“Wait, I think my dad is standing outside my door.”
I’ll give my girl credit for being aware of her surroundings but I won’t tell her I breathed a sigh of relief when I discovered she was Facetiming with him.
I don’t mind waiting a while before I have to worry about her learning what it means to date.
Oh, I See That You’re Busy
We haven’t yet had the conversation about boys not being allowed in her bedroom. Haven’t had to get real deep about the boy/girl thing yet.
Her mom has had multiple conversations about some of this stuff and I have made a point to let her know she can speak with me too.
But when you’re a month away from turning 14 you don’t want to speak with your dad about some stuff, especially about certain girl things that I won’t ever experience first hand.
“Dad, stop flexing. It is embarrassing.”
I don’t know why she is embarrassed because I am the one that was surprised. I had no idea that she had wandered into the master bath.
She is right, I was flexing, but not for her or anyone else.
It was a moment of taking stock and trying to figure out if the time at the gym is having the kind of impact I want.
“Don’t you know this is how old men get most of the ladies, by flexing in the mirror and telling bad jokes.”
She shakes her head and tells me my bad jokes would never impress a real woman.
“Several real women might disagree with you.”
Another head shake and an eye roll.
“Dad, don’t pretend your corny stuff worked.”
“I don’t have to pretend.”
“Ooh, that is gross.”
I shrug my shoulders at her and ask her to step out so I can change into clothes.
Later on she’ll ask if I ever thought about marrying anyone else and whether I dumped them or they dumped me.
We won’t have a ton of time to talk so she’ll tell me to give her a summary and I’ll say I have a past.
“What does that mean?”
“It means I have tasted life and that there have been points at which I could taken a different turn.”
It intrigues her enough to ask a few more questions but we really don’t have time so I promise to talk about it whenever.
In the interim I say life is about collecting experiences and that there is no rush to get involved with anyone.
“You can’t stop us from growing up.”
I smile and tell her I am not doing any such thing. I am just sharing some of my experience with her.
Bourdain Is No More
I have been thinking about Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade.
I have mixed emotions about it because I wrestle with whether I should try to fly home to spend another Father’s Day with my dad.
We don’t know how long the race is so I can’t say if this could be the last or if there might be more so part of me is angry they decided to check themselves out of life when they were physically healthy.
But I know about depression and how it can be devastating to people so I know that my anger isn’t entirely fair.
I know they were in significant pain so it is too simplistic to scream and yell at them. The demons won.
Their demons that is and I recognize that their families are paying a stiff price too so I can be angry but I can be compassionate about it.
I can feel badly that life got to be so hard they couldn’t see anything else, especially when I have worked so damn hard to try and show others that the sun still shines.
Compassion is in shorter supply than I would like.
I listen to people say ripping apart families at the border isn’t horrible because people should know better than to come here illegally.
I listen to people justify terrible actions and wonder if somewhere Lady Liberty has begun to weep.
The New Colossus should be something we can shout with honor and poise knowing so many of us were once immigrants and not all came via the legal means that people push as being more noble.
Now I wonder if the accent should be on the silent lips and if we should replace the Statue of Liberty’s face with a skull.
Secure borders are important but there are ways to manage things that don’t require giving up our humanity or pretending that what we do is noble.
We’re going to pay a price for this, some of these families will remember us with anger and hate. We ought to focus on winning hearts and minds instead of this horrible practice.
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Don McLean sings Til Tomorrow and my mind wanders through past and present with an eye towards the future.
I have my thoughts and ideas about what will come and hope things turn out better than I fear they might.
When my children are older I want to tell them I did my part to push back against the tide. Some of you aren’t wrapping yourself in the flag to prove how patriotic you are.
You are doing it because you want to built a wall between the bad stuff the government is doing and your vision.
It’s a cowardly way to live.