I picked up the New York Times today on the way home from Los Angeles, and the Science Section was devoted to the subject of the ever changing definition and composition of the modern American family.
How apropos, as I was leaving my loved ones who live in Burbank; my mom, my sister, her husband and their four children.
Our visits have always been full of bumps and glides, although this one was on the glide side.
When I go to L.A., the taffy pull of grief is constant. My dad died in 2011, and its strength ebbs and flows. During the descent and ascent into and out of Burbank Airport, the tears always flow.
My dad used to pick me up and deliver me there. My sister has taken that mantle, and I feel the beginnings of coming to terms with her car at the curb instead of my father’s, his broad self waiting steadily for me with a New York Times under his arm. I could always see him above all the others, he was so tall.
He passed that on to me, my love of the New York Times. It never fails to cheer me to read it, and I think on what he’d be calling me to quote. Sometimes we’d read it together, he gave me a subscription for several years. I don’t even mind, so much, inky fingers.
Monday my sister and I did the crossword; we laughed like crazy, imitating our dad and what he might say if we knew an answer to a particular clue, or more funny, what he’d say if we didn’t, or if a block of the puzzle became so blackened with failed answers that it was illegible. He’d always smugly congratulate us if we finished the Monday puzzle; “Of course you finished it darling, it’s Monday.”
So this visit was sans dad. He would have liked the use of that word.