Monday, July 18, 2005

Ideas In The Middle Of The Night

Another late posting, written on that same trip to Germany:

Ideas are floating through my head tonight when I should be sleeping. I finished reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and started Nice Big American Baby, and I think the forced juncture of Jonathan Safran Foer and Judy Budnitz has produced strange progeny in my head.
The story about the cell phone virus, which began as a dream. I remembered a dream. Something that rarely happens.
The story about the friend who leaves his wife, remains friends with the husband of the couple they were closest to, moves in temporarily, gets closer and closer to the husband.The letter to my daughter, which has expanded into chapter after chapter about my strong feelings of love for her as she has grown up.
I want her to know that I am proud of her, that I understand that the difficulties we have gone through in her adolescence are just that -- the struggles of an adult to emerge from all of the cacaphonous experiences of childhood. I need for her to know that I have watched her with wonder from the day I first met her in the hospital. I need for her to know that I have some understanding of the difficult time she must have resolving things -- why her birth mother gave her up to adoption, why her two white parents chose to adopt a bi-racial child, why we have so much trouble understanding the impulses that seem perfectly logical to the adolescent mind.
I need to get to sleep. I need to write.I want my child to understand most of all that I am proud of her, that I see in her kindness and goodness that are far more important than the Algebra grade I may seem to be obsessed with. That I really, truly enjoy spending Saturday's riding around Laguna Beach with her, taking tours of homes for sale that we can't afford to buy, dreaming about that perfect life of leisure on the beach.
I need to sleep. I need to write.I want to write about the evening in Seaside, Florida, a few days before Christmas, when I watched her roll over for the first time. I don't remember whether that first roll was front-to-back or back-to-front, but I know that one direction followed the other within a day or two and I had a child who was strong and mobile and clever.
I want her to know about the first Christmas, when we took her to dinner at a hotel in Mobile, Alabama, and old people who were eating at the buffet came over to admire her. This baby in the middle of the table made them happy, and their happiness elated me.
I remember the Sunday morning when she first sat up, on the floor of our house in Gainesville, Florida.And the day she told me that Bogart, our dog, "loves me in the whole wide world" (I used to tell her every day that I loved her more than anything in the whole wide world. Why is it that these kinds of words come so easily when your child is small, but are hard to fit into the day when you spend it arguing with a teenager over television and homework and cleaning up your room?)
I want her to know that I admire her insistence on fairness, whether it applies to her friends or to political issues. It's her standard of judgment and it's the right one.