The Small Pieces of You
As the time has passed and my children have started to find deeper and more striking personalities of their own a very interesting thing seems to have happened.
They are also letting pieces of their family tree sort of branch out in those personalities.
I certainly have pieces in there. My middle daughter up there is a musician. She plays guitar and has a seeming inane sense for lyric that simultaneously makes me proud and jealous. I wish I could write words as easily as she does for my music. Her brother is a guitar player, has a shyness that equaled mine at that age, and seems to have a hard time coming out of his shell, much like his father.
But then . . . I noticed something more in the last few weeks.
Tonight, for example, was nothing in my personality coming out of my daughter.
Occasionally, and this is a rare occasion, I will have time where the boys are in bed and my daughter is upstairs and the lunches are made, kitchen clean, etc. I can actually sit . . . and watch a TV show. I had actually pulled something up on Netflix to watch. I was maybe 10 minutes in when my daughter came down the stairs.
“Yep. It’s really good! Can’t believe I haven’t watched this before!”
Now for most people that’s the end of the conversation. However, my daughter has her mother and her grandmother’s genes in there. As I watched James Spader go into a monologue that apparently had a very important bit of information in it my daughter started talking.
“So my friend Zoe . . . ” and it went on from there. (I did listen, I just don’t want to invade her privacy and give her full conversation) Seemingly she timed her own little monologue to end just as the television ended its seemingly important plot twist.
I scrubbed the little line back on the screen and watched my TV spin its beach ball of death counter-clockwise. All the while, in the painful silence, my daughter remained silent.
Spader began his rant again . . .
“Did you know my teacher Ashley…”
After another 5 minutes I realized I was right where I was five minutes ago. I scrubbed the Netflix show back again. Third time’s a charm.
“Lizzy…” began Spader
“I’m so worried I’m going to fail my history test.”
It’s here I shut off the television.
“Why’d you shut off the TV?”
“You want to talk.”
“Oh . . . no, I just don’t want to study.”
“So . . . you worry you’re going to fail, but not worried enough that you didn’t notice I’ve watched the same 5 minutes of television for the last half hour now.”
“Oh . . . is that why you were doing that?”
“No . . . I was doing that because I thought you wanted to talk.”
“Oh . . . no, I just can’t help that.”
“Yeah, I know. Your mother and grandmother couldn’t, either.”
Here I recounted to her nearly every night of my marriage. We would sit, I would try to have a conversation with my wife and she’d be thoroughly engrossed in some reality show. Real Housewives fascinated her for some reason. When she’d be exhausted she’d ask to go to bed. Right as I reached that twilight, the moment before REM sleep, I’d hear it.
“I’m so worried about work, Davey.” My wife knew I hated being called Davey, so she did it anyway . . . and more importantly, so I’d wake up.
“Your mother couldn’t stand the silence, it seems,” I told my daughter.
“Oh, that’s awful,” she exclaimed.
“Not awful, just was. I don’t know why. Your grandmother could never stop talking in the middle of TV or movies. Even at the theater. Drove your grandfather nuts.”
My daughter blushed a little.
We talked. Finally, she got out her worries about the test.
“Maybe you should go study some more.”
“Yeah . . . that’s a good idea.”
She hugged me, leaned on my shoulder and lie there for about five minutes.
“What’s the show about,” she asked me.
“I have absolutely no idea,” I told her.
“It looks cool,” she informed me. “Can you turn it back on? I want to watch it with you.”
“Okay,” I informed her.
I started the episode from the beginning again. James Spader walks out of the shadows, starts the monologue . . .
“So I was thinking about Homecoming, Dad . . . ”