Variation on a Theme.

Not doing today’s prompt in the manner they hope.  I need a theme change, so much ugly was in my head this week, let’s talk about something child related, but much more positive!

Graduation is tonight for the Eighth Grade class for my new found neice(?).  Yes, look at the calendar again, but the school tries to do something special for these kids who will be taking that next step towards adulthood.  Leaving this building and once again being the low person on the totem pole.  So rather than lump them in with the kids heading off to their college/ work/ family considerations, we’re going to party like it 1986?

Susie spent some time showing me the outfits she was considering, a thoroughly horrifying experience for any adult male.  I was always joking as I passed a Hot Topic or Forever 21 that someday I was going on have to sit in an aisle and smile as my daughter picked something that the teenage Lary would have loved, but Dad was going to cringe about.  A silent prayer that baggy flannel came back?

After giving me my torture, she finally came out in a very appropriate ivory colored dress that hit just below the knee.  In many way she reminded me of her aunt, but different.  This new “relationship” we are forging is confusing in plenty of ways.  Her dad told me to treat her like family, talk to her like an adult, and most importantly remember that if I was going to be there for her to actually be there for her.

Normally I would have called me mom for some advice, but we have been taking a break from communicating unless there is something medical she needs to know.  The last two weeks have been odd in that respect, but necessary.  Being here is something I need to do for myself and not worry so much about every little aspect of other people’s worries.  So I’m a little flustered as to what to get her.

Later I’ll pick her grandmother’s brain for the right gift.  The idea of some old book sounds appealing, something more than a gift card or electronic device that just loses it’s value.  I’m looking forward to sitting in a chair and smiling with her family, no they’re my family as well.  The gawky kids teetering across the stage, parent’s holding their phones up to capture things.  Put them down!  You’re missing the point of this all.

I grew up with parents who made plenty of sacrifices so my brother and I could have everything they thought would make us better adults.  Trips to Europe, camps, cars when we turned the right age, every advantage possible.  They made it to every sporting event, even if they ran late due to work.  My mom is the one who taught me to throw a football, which also explains why I throw a football that way!  My dad would sit and try to pitch to me until his shoulder would get sore.  I am lucky, don’t tell them I said that…

Back to my Susie story…

She’s concerned with what I can eat, so she took my suggestion for places to eat.  The No-Name down on Fish Pier here in Boston.  When I was growing up it was a hole in the wall with picnic tables and the boat was tied up next to the building.  The only fresher seafood I would have had to have caught!  It’s a little more built up now, lost some of the charm.  But still a nice choice.  Her best friend and her family are joining us, table for 12.

We’re still discussing me returning to Massachusetts on a permanent basis, but I don’t want her childhood to be a repeat of the uglier part of mine.  I honestly don’t know what the cancer means.  We could get things under control or maybe not.  And while telling her about her aunt, those fun stories and some of the not so fun stories, I don’t want her to be my age and be able to tell her own variation on that theme.  I’d prefer sharing my darkest fear than have her know that kind of pain.

But tonight we party.  Or at least we celebrate the next step in life.  My suit is hanging in the closet, a little looser than I recall.   That ever present photo of my daughter I keep with me will tug a little, but that’s a different theme.  When Susie joins us after I’ll give her a hug, or whatever it is other people are doing.  Tell her how nice she looks and even though she might not need to hear it, how proud I am of her.  That’s a lesson my mother taught me.

There are lots of things I think could have been different about my childhood, but what’s the point.  If not for an extremely painful episode, I might not have this wonderful moment to look forward to this evening.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Childhood Revisited.”


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