A Time For GrievingTuesday, May 18, 2010
Tomorrow I will listen to Roddy Doyle tell Eleanor Wachtel on CBC Radio 2 something like this (it is the already fading memory of a quote to come). It will enable me to write tomorrow what will appear here today.
“Without going too much into the privacy of my family I must say that my children are now big enough that I can no longer call them children. They cannot be picked up and I cannot hug them unless they want to be hugged. When they fall they don’t come crying to me or to their mother. It is a time for grieving.”
When our daughters were 9 and 6 and then when they were a bit older (in times when children could travel alone in airplanes) we would send them to Mexico for a few weeks in the summer to spend time with their friends and our friends, the Zamora family. We did not opt for cheap airline tickets. We sent them direct by Japan Airlines. The Japanese stewardesses (they were called that then) were extra kind and took good care of them.
Phone calls from Mexico or to Mexico were mostly of the “Can you hear me?” kind. So we knew little of their adventures in Mexico. The most exciting moment would come when, with lots of anticipation we waited for them to arrive at the airport. Ale and Hilary, both sun tanned, and with Hilary having her blond hair bleached by that hot Mexican sun, would run to greet us, perhaps holding a Mexican hat or one of those cute (but useless) Mexican puppets, whose strings would already by tied beyond the Gordian.
Driving home, it was all fun as they told us of their stay in a perfectly correct and precise Mexican Spanish. When I see my daughters now, I can still see some of that sweet young innocence and I can re-live those days of missing them, counting the days until their return, and then that exciting drive to the airport to pick them up.
Yesterday Monday Rebecca arrived from her exchange trip to Quebec City. Phones have improved and the day before she talked at length to Rosemary (via Skype). It seemed that her Quebec family went to bed by 9:30 in the evening and Rebecca never managed to un-jetlag herself. She spent lonely evenings in an almost foreign place missing her family, and by extension her grandparents.
While she will never quite know this as she is much too young to understand, I missed her lots. A granddaughter has to be a surrogate daughter. Rebecca is close enough to our house that I can drop in or call her up or we hear from Hilary every day who tells us what Rebecca and Lauren are up to. We find out what they did in school and if they have tests to study for. Rosemary is usually concerned and worries about them passing their tests.
So I asked Rosemary today, “Are we going to visit Rebecca and see how she is?”
My intensely logical Canadian wife answered, “We are going to go with Rebecca tomorrow to see The Buddy Holly Story at the Arts Club Theatre. We do not need to see her today.”
It seems to me that Canadians must, every once in a while, use less logic and trust their emotions and impulses. A visit to Rebecca’s today would have been very close to a trip to the Airport to pick up our daughters. Some fond moments return if you allow them to. The time for grieving will soon come.