Does Father Really Know Best?
I stood on the lawn of my parent’s home and watched my grandmother drive that big red Cadillac towards me. She was legally blind so I made a point to move farther away from the curb. Couldn’t figure out why she was driving and then I remembered that grandpa was next door. I walked over and knocked on the door. I didn’t recognize the person who answered but I could see grandpa sitting in a recliner.
He heard me asking for him and walked to the door. I looked at him and said, “Zayde, vos macht esteh?” That is Yiddish for “Grandpa, how are you? He wouldn’t have said that I was speaking Yiddish. He would have said that I was speaking “Jewish.”
The strange thing about it was that we rarely spoke in Yiddish and when we did it was in fragments. We spoke English. Anyway, he took my hand and we walked outside and grandma was standing in the driveway. Grandpa practically ran over to her. I watched him take her hand and they got lost in their world. And then I remembered that grandma was dead.
She died two years ago.
I stared at the two of them and they turned and smiled at me. I woke up a short time later and remembered the grandpa died last August, a week before my sister’s wedding. It took a few minutes for it to sink in, but when it did I smiled again. I just wish that I could have seen them dance one more time.
All of the grandparents are gone and each generation has moved up a notch. It is the natural progression of things and I am good with it. But there are moments where I look in the mirror and search for wisdom in the eyes that look back at me.
There is hope and there is joy in those eyes. But there is concern, fatigue and some uncertainty too. That man wonders about the contradiction he feels each day. It is the unwavering confidence that everything will work out because he’ll find a way and the fear that maybe his faith in his abilities is misplaced. I don’t trust people who say they never second guess themselves.
But I think about things and I remember what life was like when my dark haired beauty entered the world. My tiny dancer arrived two days after dad’s triple bypass. Since then I have stormed the gates of heaven and forced my way in. Been thrown down into the pits of hell and fought my way out of there and now neither side wants me.
I am good with that. There is far too much to do here and l have more than enough energy left to continue wreaking havoc for a spell longer.
Sunday morning comes and we head out to the soccer fields. The dark haired beauty has another game today. The other team is filled with girls who play a very rough and aggressive style. My daughter gets knocked down twice and I can see that she is getting frustrated.
The whistle blows and the girls run to the sidelines to grab a sip of water. “Abba, they are not playing fair!” I shake my head at her. “Don’t worry about whether life is fair. You need to play harder now. Defend yourself. If that means knocking another girl over than knock her over. Use your shoulders to create space. I can’t help you here, this is your time to figure it out.”
I hate seeing her get knocked about, but I have faith in her. I kiss her head, whisper “I love you” and send her back on the field. What she doesn’t know is that if I was out there I would have already run through a couple of players. The intent/goal isn’t to hurt anyone but to establish boundaries. If you play ball with me you’ll learn very quickly what I will tolerate and what I won’t.
But I am not playing, she is. She has to figure this part out. It is good for her and it will help build her self confidence. Her brother tugs on my arm and tells me that I gave good advice.
Was my dream merely my subconscious telling me that I am thinking about my grandparents. It is plausible. My grandfather’s birthday is this week. The kids asked a few questions about him the other day. Maybe I was thinking about him for long enough that they just popped back up.
Or maybe not. Maybe they really did come to visit, although I have to wonder why they looked like they did close to the ends of their lives and why they weren’t a bit younger.
They could have taken twenty years off and I still would have recognized them. Hell if I know. Dream or not it was nice to see them. It is too bad they aren’t here to see their great grandchildren because they would be so proud.
I don’t know if father knows best but I do know that I try my best and I guess that is all we can do.