Head on His Shoulders

posted 28 Feb 2003, 3PM | 2 Comments

Last Friday night I made a list of things that needed to be done over the weekend... and I'm very nearly finished with it. I still need to "begin redesign of southers marsh site" and "read two more chapters of casino moscow". I actually added "play chess with josh by the fire" to the list later on... so it really doesn't count, not being a part of the original list. So. Still, that kind of thinking didn't prevent me from adding a bunch of little things like "take shower" and "pick sweaters off floor" to the list, for productivity's sake. So I'll have to roll those items onto a new list, or else scribble new listings around the unfinished items.

I did manage to finish one of the most important listed tasks: while sipping my breakfast tea yesterday, I wrote a letter to my father. I scrawled quickly with a bic pen, onto page after page from a plain drugstore writing tablet. It has a red cover, the kind dad always kept in the top right drawer of the large wooden desk in his bedroom. It occurred to me several pages in, as my hand grew sore, that I'm not sure I've ever written my father in my life. I send him email from time to time, and include homemade cards with his Father's Day gifts. Back in sixth grade, I may have sent him a postcard from Cub Scout camp. That's it.

I've accepted that here's never enough time to communicate with everyone... it seems to come with being easily distracted, being surrounded by friends, becoming a responsible adult. But as I sipped and scribbled about relationships and money problems, grocery shopping and my brother's trip to Europe, I had trouble wrapping my mind around the absurdity of the idea that I've written hundreds and hundreds of pages of text in my life--essays, letters, stories, articles, emails and blog posts--and only a few pages of it all has been directed at my parents.

I glanced at the clock and penned more quickly, trying my best to fill the letter with love. I shook out my aching hand. In my mind I kept picturing a photograph I'd seen once, in one of my mother's albums, of my father hiking through the woods. He was smiling, wearing the same plaid light jacket that now hangs in my closet. And riding on his back, in a navy blue aluminum and canvas apparatus, was a smaller version of me, laughing.

There are 2 Comments


1 Mar 03 at 09:58PM Adam said:

So true... I don't think we ever give those we love enough of our time. Thank God we have memories to cherish.


2 Mar 03 at 09:55PM katia said:

I think I might communicate more with my parents if only they would stop calling me so often and would just email me once in a while. Somehow I imagine the content of the communication would be more jam packed with real information if they would just let me type it at my leisure, instead of forcing me to perform at their whim on some subject I'm not that interested in to begin with. Maybe this is just me still acclimating to living in the same city as they do, after so many years of not. We children can be so insensitive to our parents in an every day kind of way, even when we are very sensitive to the rest of the world.

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