Family, Reflectionary, Weblogs

Starting Over

Green with envy that everyone in the world seems to have a blog, I finally remembered that I had started one, too, a little over a year ago. It lasted for all of three days.

I think this particular format seemed undramatic: no place to list the books I’m reading or the music I’m listening to, for instance. But I suppose I can just write that in…

The book of the moment is Thornton Wilder’s “The Bridge of San Luis Rey.” (More on that when I finish reading it.) The CD that still gets a lot of air time both in the office and in the car is the soundtrack to “Cold Mountain.” I love hearing the Sacred Harp singing, but am also particularly fond of “Scarlet Tide.”

The text on my mind this week is Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32, the story of the Prodigal Son. Last summer my non-believing husband came to church to portray Goliath in a dramatic telling of the story of David and Goliath, and he said he would come back some time if the part was as good. I invited him to play the father this week, and told him that the father represents God, so really he would be playing God. That sold him. Fathers and sons are fascinating to me. My dad was such a huge person in my life, and I see my kids having a very different relationship to theirs. My Dad was something of a god in our household. He could set things right; he was to be tiptoed around when tired; he was the ultimate authority. Part of that was how my mother set us all up to live together; I don’t think he was into having the power that way. But he grew accustomed to it and eventually comfortable, too.

As we were working on the financial aid forms for the #1 Son, I discovered that for the purposes of FAFSA, his stepdad becomes his dad. We’ve all talked about how odd that seems, how unrelated it is to our own feelings, or maybe not unrelated but just describing our family so incorrectly. Pure Luck is more a friend to #1 Son and seldom enhabits the role of superior with him. They operate as peers. It’s different with #2 Son and the Little Princess. They relate to him as an adult and an authority figure, a trustworthy big person who helps them with homework and drives them to jazz band rehearsals or dance class when Mom can’t do it. But he’s not exactly daddy with them. He’s daddy with the dogs, Molly and, especially, Sam. They plow their tail-wagged bodies into him the way an excited toddler runs to daddy at the end of the day. They run with him and keep their eyes on him (again, especially Sam). They look to him for everything. Pure Luck grew up without his dad, for the most part, and this dad thing is totally new and peculiar. He didn’t expect to be good with the kids. But when I see the Little Princess run to kiss him good-night, I think how well they are all doing, how well we are all doing, at making a new family.