Friday, February 3 “i stay alive for her.”
Today begins a weekend and some soft time for home places — Detroit, my university, the neighborhood, my house, and neighbors. No packing for a while either. 😊 Looking for a Friday poem, I paged through one of Garrison Keillor’s anthologies (Good Poems: for hard times, as heard on The Writers’ Almanac) and found Gerald Locklin, a writer new to me. Maybe new to you too. He writes of a parent, like many people who work here and many readers on this list who live in other places, and writes of a young adult, like many students, here and in many places.
Aloud, with pauses; have a blest weekend.
john st sj
Today’s Post “No Longer A Teenager” — Gerald Locklin
my daughter, who turns twenty tomorrow,
has become truly independent.
she doesn’t need her father to help her
deal with the bureaucracies of schools,
hmo’s, insurance, the dmv.
she is quite capable of handling
landlords, bosses, and auto repair shops.
also boyfriends and roommates.
and her mother.
frankly it’s been a big relief.
the teenage years were often stressful.
sometimes, though, i feel a little useless.
but when she drove down from northern California
to visit us for a couple of days,
she came through the door with the
biggest, warmest hug in the world for me.
and when we all went out for lunch,
she said, affecting a little girl’s voice,
“i’m going to sit next to my daddy,”
and she did, and slid over close to me
so i could put my arm around her shoulder
until the food arrived.
i’ve been keeping busy since she’s been gone,
mainly with my teaching and writing,
a little travel connected with both,
but i realized now how long it had been
since i had felt deep emotion.
when she left i said, simply,
“i love you,”
and she replied, quietly,
“i love you too.”
you know it isn’t always easy for
a twenty-year-old to say that;
it isn’t always easy for a father.
literature and opera are full of
characters who die for love:
i stay alive for her.