Wednesday, June 18, 2014

When I Discover that I Am Loved

So here I sit, trying to find people who remember anything at all about my father. It’s been almost thirty years since he died and even longer since many of them saw him. To a one, they have been gracious, kind, and responsive.

Some comments and traits are universal – wry and dry sense of humor, ethical, big smile, very smart.

Others are more specific – a federal judge said that in all his years on the bench he’d never seen a better summation than one my father made in the US Attorney’s Office. That would have been about forty years ago. Of his brilliance, I have no doubt.

Another person said, “He had a sense of humor. Maybe it was a Catholic sense of humor. It certainly wasn’t a Jewish one. But, because of that, he was someone I could talk to.” I've clearly been away from New York far too long to understand what the difference between a Catholic and Jewish sense of humor is. If someone, years from now, remembers me as someone with a ready sense of humor and being someone they could talk to, I’ll have managed quite something in this life.

What I haven't heard are stories about what it was like to be his close friend. Almost everyone said that they knew him but were tangentially involved in his life. It’s hard for me to picture him as someone on the edges. 

Then again, that’s how I’ve lived my entire life. I have a very small circle of very close friends. I tend to be invited to many things where the host is the only person I know. 

I wonder if he was lonely. How could it be possible that someone with so much to give had so few people who claim to have been close to him?

Then it occurs to me – he was close to me. All those wonderful Saturdays wandering around New York City, suffering an assault with Barbie dolls that day on the beach, driving me in the car with him to pick up my sister, lighting a barbecue  grill, playing Chutes and Ladders with me when I had pneumonia, listening to me read The Billy Goat's Gruff - easy reader edition three hundred times when I was learning to read. He wasn't with his "friends." He was with me. By choice. I was loved.

He wrote me a letter once. I still have it.

Dear Kate,
This is a letter about my favorites.
My favorite color is blue.
My favorite food is steak.
My favorite car is Jaguar.
My favorite people are you, Mommy and Tracy.


Does anyone need to know any more than that about their parents? Probably not. But, it’s not only knowing him that I crave. I still miss him every day and know that there are probably only three or four other people on Earth who think of him at least once every single day. But the world has her own people to miss every day. 

So for today, I'll remember to tell Brian and Ellie they are my favorite people in the world. They are. With them, I am most myself and never lonely. We don't need thousands of adoring fans when we have  people who are our home.

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