Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Simple Thing...

Bubble Beards

It's how I want them to look at me that sticks in my head more than I want them see me.  I found myself talking to a girl this week that flipped my head and heart right back onto that one true thing...I want to be something impressive, something that makes you shake your head and smile.  I want to be something so worth your time and effort and energy and affection.  It starts with these two daughters of mine, but it radiates out from there, like a stone thrown in still water.  It matters so much that I manage to make some kind of life that stands up for these girls.

I found myself in a strange office at a school this week telling this young girl about an exercise I once did in which you had to ask a dozen people in your life to pen a letter talking about what you meant to them, or who you were, or telling a story that defined you...anything of that sort, as if you were dead and though it were prepared for a wake or funeral...the letter was sealed and couldn't be opened until some distant point in your life...a moment when you needed those words, perhaps...or maybe once you'd actually up and gotten gone.  It struck me how important that might be for my daughters...they'll have their version of their own father, but no other.  They won't hear the perspectives of the young girl that I was helping, or that friend that I cherished...they might never hear the version of me that you have. We like to think that our lives are of value, and that we're making some kind of difference, but more often than not all of those moments slip into the ether and disappear into memories.  If we're lucky the people that we someday leave behind know something more than just their own memories of us. In telling this young woman this story, it struck me how desperately I want my own daughters to have some version of me that they might not know, or wouldn't have the opportunity to understand.  It struck me that so much of what defines me are my connections to other people and yet those connections are more often than not ephemeral. They are too often quiet and fleeting, and might never trickle down to the people that I love the most.

So here is your task, if you'll be so kind as to humor me.  I need your help in shaping how these girls see their father.  I don't want to wait until it's too late.  I don't want them not knowing who the people are that their Dad may have meant the most to.  I want to try tackling that exercise again.  Think of it as a Christmas them.

If you could...

Write it all down...everything.  Seal it.  Send it. I'll stuff all of that kindness in a safe place for these girls to someday pour over.  I'll do the same for you if you ask.  It's a simple thing.


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