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I love you, too! Boo-hoo-hoo!!!

June 6, 2012

On Monday night MacGyver stayed in my lap for an hour – a shocking contrast to his typical routine of gnawing my wrists and attacking my ankles. Savoring his sweet mood, I remained on the couch and watched two instant episodes of The Wonder Years on Netflix. I remember the first episode from childhood. Kevin goes on a joint field trip with the junior high school where his girlfriend Winnie transferred. As the students load their respective buses to depart the museum, Kevin discovers that Winnie has met someone – and she boards the bus with her new boyfriend’s palm against her back. In the next episode Kevin’s denial prompts him to make a fool of himself and say hurtful things to Winnie he doesn’t mean. Near the end Kevin seeks comfort from his father Jack, who typically exudes an air of cynicism, fatigue and misery. However, Jack understands the magnitude of Kevin’s sadness, softens up and offers Kevin a genuine hug.

Naturally, I cried, really letting it out when MacGyver spotted a squirrel through the glass door, leaped off my lap and hustled toward it.

Daddy always has mocked my hypersensitivity, typically helping me see the ridiculousness in the impetus for my tears. I particularly recall phoning Daddy from the parking lot behind my college dorm, sobbing, shaking my head and flinging saltwater across the dashboard.

“D-d-d-DADDY,” I stuttered when he picked up, carpet mill machinery roaring in the background. “Hnnnhhh!” I wailed.

“Hernnnhhh, what is it sweetie?” he mirrored my moaning.

“I just w-w-wanted…to tell you I L-L-LOVE YOU.”

“Hernnnhhh, I love you, too! Boo-hoo-hoo!!!” he fake bawled.

“It’s not funny, Daddy!”

“I know, her-her-her-hernnnhhh!”

“I’m being serious!”

“I’m bein’ serious, TOO!”

I eventually giggled and had a better day.

On occasion Daddy has replaced sarcastic torment with sincerity, probably when the saga at hand plucked his own heartstrings – my first break-up, an unfair work performance review, dealing with a bully boss. I never knew the depth of the comfort of Daddy’s embrace until I threw myself on him at my grandfather’s funeral visitation. My skanky cousins huddled in front of me, and strangers from Granddaddy’s days as a high school principal dotted the pews. Mother remained surrounded by the many people who knew and loved her father, and Timber was studying abroad in England. (The family made an executive decision not to tell her about Granddaddy until she returned.)

I felt lonely.

Daddy paced near the casket, pausing in front of a poster board of photographs of Granddaddy as a baby, a World War II officer, a newlywed. I raced toward Daddy and buried my face in his chest, smearing mascara onto his suit coat’s front pocket. At first he laughed but then gripped me harder as I hanged on him like an orangutan.

Last week I stumbled through a rough patch after trying to read Still Alice, a novel that portrays a former Harvard professor’s dementia progression. For the sake of my (and Ryan’s) mental sanity, I put it back on the bookshelf. Red-faced and snot-nosed, I called Daddy to make sure he knows I love him since one day he might not recognize me.

“Please!” I pleaded to him. “Tell me you know I love you.”

“Of course!” Daddy answered. “And I love you, your mother and your sister more than anything in this world.”

Daddy didn’t mimic me or exaggerate my already hyperbolic tone. That time he knew I was serious.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mona permalink
    June 15, 2012 4:26 pm

    This post is so powerful and subtle at the same time. Thanks for sharing Bobbin.

  2. June 15, 2012 4:33 pm

    Thank you for reading it, Mona. Hang time soon!

  3. Timber permalink
    June 16, 2012 12:15 pm

    The Wonder Years. Even though there is humor incorporated into the episodes, the series always makes me a little melancholy. I wish I could have seen the pictures at Granddaddy’s funeral. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Anyway, I’m glad Daddy didn’t mock you when you called. I guess I’ll have to compensate since he has eased off.

  4. June 16, 2012 1:26 pm

    Exactly! I cry at least once during most of the episodes – particularly when the slow-motion montages blur across screen. Those parts didn’t touch me as a child. And thank you for compensating for Daddy’s lessened mockery. I really appreciate it…

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