What Happened This Week

John wants to see the best in me. “Dad,” he says, “the only reason you can’t play that song [on the piano] is because you’re just seeing it now. You haven’t practiced it. Otherwise, you would play it a lot better than me.” Sure, John. I don’t want to dispel his ideal vision of my musical skill, but John has already surpassed me. He plays fast, and his finger jump up and down the keyboard doing chord progressions. His body rocks with the music. He figures out songs in his head: which keys are minor, how the time should go, all of it. I hope that I have pushed him off into a habit that will give him a lifetime of pleasure. Isn’t that the best that a parent can do? I remember when I was about that age that it was important for me to believe that my dad was a figure of excellence. I remember telling myself how great it was that he had attended Wharton. A key word is “attended.” Six years later, my mind had taken a different tack. “What do you want,” I said, “blind obedience?”

I was proud of Rosie today. We were at Rockwood PArk, which is a small piece of land that sits between two creeks in between two older Durham neighborhoods. They’ve made a figure eight walking path through the grounds, so it is a good place to ride bikes. Rosie brought her bike.  “My stupid bike,” she says. She doesn’t like it because I left the training wheels up higher than normal. I’m hoping to force her to use her balance. That means that the bike is wobbly, though. She doesn’t want to ride it. My first thought is that this is a way in which our children are so different. A friend of hers found a small 4-t size shirt in Rockwood Park.  “I want to take it home,” said her friend. “Noo!!!,” said Rosie. She couldn’t have been more serious about it.

This is a sad poem.

The new roof is still great. The sunflowers are showing some possibility. Another one of my tomato plants has died. The wax beans are showing some life.

No go for Felichea. Next up, Sharnetta.

I’m reading bedtime stories to Rosie tonight.  In the story, the New Zoo, the McGrew Zoo, is a zoo like none other. Even though this is her second Seuss, Rosie is not slipping off into sleep. “I am scared about school,” says Rosie. “It is not going to be the same. I am going to miss having lunch and playing with you [Susie] for three hours.” Rosie is going to George Watts Montessori Magnet in just two weeks. For the first four days, she’ll leave at nine and be home by noon. After that, though, she’s going to be gone until 3:15. This is the end of something, and the beginning of something new. I know that I am going to miss her. We’ve had lunch together for at least two or three days a week for five years. We can pack her some ham and cheese and fruit.I know what she is saying, though. I’m glad that she wanted to tell me about it. I hope she keeps choosing to tell me when she is scared by something.

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