Month: April 2015

An Advantage of Asking

The candy wrappers by the shed were the first clue. Our suspicions were confirmed later when we heard squeals and giggles and the bark of a dog. I caught a glimpse of them once. We have some little girls living behind us now and they cut through our yard to get to their friends’ houses.

I wish they would have asked us. It’s not that I feel violated. It’s not that I mind their trespassing. It’s more that I would like to meet them. And, also, I would like to assure them that they are welcome to walk through our yard. 

Maybe they aren’t concerned about trespassing. Kids are different from how we were so many years ago. But I can also imagine that their squeals and giggles would be even more joyful for them if they knew that we delight each time we hear them. That is an advantage of asking. 

Memoirs: Who Knows? Who Cares?

Unless he can find a collaborator, it seems likely that Dad’s days of writing math are done. “Why not write your memoirs?” I asked. “No one would be interested in that,” he replied. But then he launched in to telling me a story from his youth. I took notes.

I’m reading a delightful book called The Memoir Project. It talks about how the interesting stories in memoirs are inspired by simple things. Things like ice cream. Personal quirks like reading obits. First memories are good. What did you wear can be interesting.

I shared some of this with my friend Sherry. She didn’t need a book or an expert to tell her how to get that thread going. When her father was still alive, she sat at the table with him and turned on a recorder. She got him talking by asking simple questions like: “What did you have for breakfast when you were a child?” She made it into a book for family.

I don’t know if my 95 year-old father’s memoirs will find their way into a book. If they do, it is very unlikely to be a New York Times Best Seller. Who knows? I wouldn’t rule it out. But who cares? The process of collecting the memories is priceless. 

(All this said, I just got a call from a mathematician who has an idea for collaborating with my father. Funny how life works!) 

Anniversary Post: I May I Have Dominance Right Now?

Saturday. I was late leaving for dance. Nothing unusual there. As I packed up my lunch to take with me, Bob came in the kitchen. I said:”I’m scrambling to get out. May I have dominance in the kitchen right now?”

“Sure,” he replied. He made a point to stay out of my way as I completed my preparations.

It hasn’t always worked that way. Our balance in the kitchen is hard-won.

“May I have dominance now?” Lilith, Adam’s first wife, was banished from the garden for wanting dominance. She was replaced by Eve, a more submissive helpmate. Lilith has returned in balance with Eve in the garden of our kitchen. They dance well with Adam.

Once upon a time, when Bob (Adam) and I tried to do things in the kitchen at the same time, we would collide. He assumed dominance. I tried to stay out of his way, but often banished myself from the kitchen when he came in. Even if I was in the middle of a process, I found it easier to go do something else until he was done.

Tuesday. Bob fixed his breakfast while I replenished the spices. I said: “We dance in the kitchen these days instead of collide.”

“That’s because I gave up assuming my needs are more important than yours,” he replied.

Yes, that does help. My own re-balancing helps too. No one assumes dominance anymore. There is a give and a take.

Today is the anniversary of our marriage. I’m wearing the skirt I wore in our wedding. I’m wearing it inside-out. The colors are still beautiful but much softer than outside-out.

There is much to celebrate. I’ll dance to that!

 

Please comment by clicking on the title.