March 5, 2000

It Must be Sunday, There's no Traffic

Daddy seemed to be in a better mood today. He's about the same physically but he clearly was lapping up the attention he got from my family (the kids came along too) and his wife's three daughters. At first he needed some reassurance because he thought the daughters had come to take her to the 'States while he was sick, and that would not do. Once we disabused him of that notion, he relaxed.

I've only just lately realized what kind of marriage he has. After 16 years they still hold hands. He must have her beside him even though she's maddeningly forgetful and that must be hard to take on a constant basis. She must have him with her even though he's grumpy, demanding, and doesn't pick up after himself. Yesterday she said to me, "I'm nothing without your father." While I respect and admire her devotion, I don't believe anybody is "nothing" without anybody else, and thinking so demeans ones own existance. On a practical level, she is over 70 and he is over 80, and chances are one of them will be left without the other.

Am I leading up to saying they shouldn't love each other so much because of that? No, I'm stopping that train of thought right here. My own neuroses are showing through.

Stepmom also said that because they each had previous good marriages and lost their spouses, it makes this marriage all the more precious to them. That answers my previous question of how they can fit together so well the second time around, I guess, though I still find it amazing.

I also know how lucky we got with the rest of that family. I hear stories about warring stepchildren that have gone so far as to sue each other, accusing each other of stealing from the stepparent. My father himself spent part of his childhood with a stepmother and two stepsisters, and the relationship was uneasy at the best of times. These people are looking out for each other's welfare. They may quarrel and disagree but nothing is taken as a personal affront. My father even teases them mercilessly and they tell him in so many words that they love him. It's enormously touching.

Yet another thing I'm coming to realize.. having blood relatives and people who knew me as a child isn't the only way to have a family.

Linque Du Jour: My Diary   by Doug

-- Part of the "Guy Journal" Series

This one is special indeed. Some journals give you a glimpse of another place, another lifestyle, another philosophy.. this one gives you a glimpse of how it is to have over seventy years of experience living.

In the latest entry, Doug describes himself as "just a human trying to live life as I should and not being successful all the time." Recently he wrote, "it's my diary, my opinions, my philosophy - - - - for me in a voyage of self discovery through the mists and shoals of a world that doesn't understand itself. say good night gracie."

It's not all philosophy.. there are memorable accounts of summer days decades past; musings on (for example) the internet, sports, city planning, birthday parties, and photo albums. While it might be discouraging to think I won't have all the answers by the time I'm Doug's age (hah!) it more than makes up for it to know that advancing age doesn't preclude embracing new ways of communicating and continuing self-exploration.

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