Kid Center

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Dear J-

Sometimes I think in a morbid mode and wonder what would happen to the kids if we disappeared tomorrow. The whole point of this trip to San Jose was to see my brother, back in the States after just short of two years in Taiwan, and we’ve had a good couple of days now to see he’s essentially the same devoted dad, happy to escape the regular grind of life but clearly missing them, having taken every opportunity possible to hold Calcifer and take the burden off of us. I think we’re set between my brother and theVet’s sister, and that makes us incredibly lucky. After today when figgy has been just about as trying as possible (between the extra sadness of hunger, the lack of sleep, and the lack of a same-age playmate to boss around [can’t wait for another visit from Baby J]) and they haven’t been scared off (I think) I think we’re doing all right.

Case in point: we ate two lunches today. The first one was at the Happy Hollow Zoo to revive her flagging spirits (she passed up a chance to ride on the carousel, and she never misses a chance to ride on the carousel — she will even badger us (as she did later that afternoon) to ride on the quarter-driven three-animal carousels in malls and grocery stores) and the second turned into a dessert buffet for her. After I went off to get her some watermelon and returned with a plate full of the most expensive buffet food I could find (nigiri sushi: total net cost to the restarant maybe $5) she plowed through that and her aunt, my brother’s wife, took pity on me and accompanied her to get a plate of coordinated pink jello and cakes.

The longer you spend immersed in your own family it seems like you know too much and too little all at once: the smallest things set you off without warning and the escalation proceeds unabated, unchecked. It’s not the current situation that’s driving you mad, it’s the thousand other things that have piled up over hours and days and all of a sudden it’s not about the situation, it’s the history spilling out. Sometimes the shared experiences keep you from really understanding each other. It takes time and distance to appreciate what you’ve always had.

Mike

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