Friday letter to My Kids – 11/21/14
Dear J, J, L and L,
Remember the New Mexico camping misadventure? (Okay, I suppose little L wouldn’t remember since she was still in utero then, but you’ve heard the tale.) I’ve concluded that New Mexico, from what little I recall of it, makes Arizona deserts seem like lush tropical rainforests in comparison. Remember the windblown rock covered weird ramada reservoir campground we stayed at? Remember the scrambled egg in the dirt fiasco? Well guess what? I found a photo of those very eggs.
I’m only sorry there’s no video or audio to include. The dialogue and sound effects of cursing, tears, yelling and incessant forty-mile an hour winds would add so much to the scene. The lesson I learned? Don’t use lightweight backpacking equipment when the winds exceed most speed limits. Oh. And never, ever, no never, go camping in New Mexico.
That’s the only time I remember a camp breakfast going completely south. Normally, your Dad produced cuisine worthy of kings on that tiny burner. He always managed to keep all the food warm when cooking over a fire, too. He’s got some skill on the grill!
Another talent your Dad possesses, quite frankly, probably acted as the hook that pulled me in initially. The way he could spin me around on the dance floor, ultra-klutz that I am, left me feeling graceful and dizzy. I was giddy with the high he got me on swirling, swinging, and moving that night. (If guys knew the real way to a girl’s heart was on the dance floor, really dancing, they’d be lining up to take lessons. But they’re slow to learn this one important detail.)
Each of you girls have enjoyed Dad and Daughter dates, with that same thrill of being led around a dance floor, feeling every bit like a princess. Not too many Dad’s can do that, so count yourselves extra blessed for those experiences.
Of course there was that one time he wasn’t so graceful and debonair. I came home to a story about a failed grand j’ete over the couch. That horrid bruised toe left him limping for weeks afterwards. Luckily he laughs about it now.
To look at him you’d never guess at his wry sense of humor. He loves to laugh. That’s something he’s refined over the years. I think it’s one of the good ways I influenced him. I certainly gave him plenty to laugh about. And cry about. But then, the reverse proves true as well. We make interesting music together.
Your Dad’s piano playing, I hope, holds a sweet place in your heart. Beethoven’s Fur Elise always reminds me of him since it’s a song he played often over the years. And his version of Mason Williams’ Classical Gas still lights up the house with energy and fun. Just a couple of months ago two of my favorite little people danced up a storm while your Dad rocked the piano with some fun tunes.
His love of music drew me in when we first got to know each other. I’d never met anyone who preferred classical music to rock or pop. That placed him high on my list of classy guys. Imagine my surprise when I found out he liked The Moody Blues. Once I learned more about that group and their classical beginnings I understood his selection.
Your Dad mellowed in some big ways over the years. A little less perfectionistic, more flexible and way more fun. I like to think I influenced him in those good ways, but I’m afraid I wasn’t always good for him. The guy I met in college never cursed, that’s for sure. But then, the guy I met wouldn’t have gone camping or rock climbing either. So I suppose it balances out some.
We’re still a major work in progress, your Dad and I. And that’s okay. At least the work still happens. I mostly credit your Dad with the fact that we’ve stuck it out. You know that Jason Mraz song, “I Won’t Give Up”? Yup, that one. It caught me by surprise when I heard it. Why? Because it sounded like something the two of us might say to each other if we were poetic and musical. We’re an odd team sometimes, polar opposites I often think, but we keep plugging away together anyway.
He’s a good, honest, kind, generous man. I’m a lucky woman.
Here’s a little secret I’ll let you in on. Each of you started out light years ahead of us in your own marriages, which means I have high expectations of marital bliss for you and your sweethearts. I envy that in you. I know you’ll hold on tight and enjoy the ride when it’s good, just as I know that you’ll make the best of things when the road’s scary and hard.
I just wanted you to know this one thing for certain because you saw it in writing: I love your Dad.
Yup, dirty scrambled eggs and all, I love that guy.
This is a link to that Jason Mraz tune I mentioned. It’s not the studio release version, but a pre-release of the song done in the UK. Just him and a couple of backup singers and a box. Yes, a box.
Or, you can click on this one. But I think the video gives the song a different flavor and feel. So, close your eyes and listen. How about that?