Lori and I have been together so long – 20 years(!) – that we’ve pretty much merged into one person.
We laugh alike, we walk alike, at times we even talk alike…
Where we differ is in our reading habits. Lori likes her business non-fiction; I like my angsty novels. But whenever The Sun arrives, it’s Lord of the Flies all up in here! The magazine is a nice blend of personal narrative fiction, poetry, and interviews – all without ads! My favorite section is Readers Write where readers, just like you and me, submit a short piece about a given topic, e.g. Forgiveness, Home, Dreams, Absence, etc.
The March issue had this gem under “Promises”:
I promise to hold off washing
dishes and help you draw Darth Vader.
I promise to let go of petty arguments
about who does more laundry and love
your mother fully. I promise to take my
rage to the forest and not pass it on to you.
I promise to floss my teeth every damn
night to be a good role model. I promise
to share with you the mysteries of the
ferns, lichens, and liverworts that inhabit
the woods where I work, but I promise
not to shove that appreciation down your
throat. In fact, I promise to love you just
as much if you become a bond trader or a
computer geek. I promise not to let your
younger sister’s health problems gobble
up all my attention. I promise not to forget
I promise to let you watch some pointless
cartoons mixed in with the educational
PBS programming. I promise to
keep making up those stories about Alaskan
fishermen that you love, even though
the plots are all pretty much the same:
You and some of your pals get hired on
as greenhorns to catch crabs. One of your
enemies falls off a neighboring boat and
is freezing to death. At the very last moment
you and your buddies save him, and
you all become friends. The crab harvest
is great, and you make loads of money, so
you can buy all those Lego sets that we
can’t afford in real life.
I promise to sneak in a few chocolate
treats if you finish those weird-looking
buckwheat muffins and cucumber
smoothies Mommy serves up. There will
be times when I’ll fail you, but I promise
I’ll work at making amends. Most of all I
promise not to forget that moment I first
held you and knew that my previously
aimless life would always have meaning.
Morro Bay, California
Such is the beauty of promise – it’s something that you have, and something that you give.
Such is the promise of parenting – it’s something you keep in someone you hold.