Thursday, June 9, 2011
It's a cliché, but only because it's true: what parents want for their kids is happiness. By their definition, I should point out; not ours. (Assuming, of course, it's mostly legal.)
For the several years they've been together, we've thought our son and Lindsey were a great couple. Far be it from us ever to make any suggestions -- you know how it is with sons and parents' input. But suffice it to say that our love and admiration for her, and for them as a pair, had to have been obvious from the beginning.
When the phone rang at 11:30 pm -- an extremely rare event since my retirement (before which I considered the 11:30 calls manageably early) -- the caller i.d. indicating it was from our son, my thought was, oh man, what's happened? and not in a good way. I guess I should tell you what I just did, he said, not doing anything to lower my apprehension. I gave Lindsey a ring and she said yes.
Having contemplated it for a few years, staying out if it like a good dad, I was nevertheless unprepared. Bumbling some, I told him it was fabulous news, that it'd be no surprise to him that we both think Lindsey is wonderful, and that we love knowing they're together. I know, he said. At that point, Judy walked in, wondering who'd be calling this time of night, so I said, as sinisterly as possible, I think you better tell your mother what you just told me, handing her the phone with somber portent.
She was thrilled, delighted, I could almost see the wheels turning; and when Lindsey got on the phone, the tears flowed.
So what they say is true, even if it's another cliché: in the end, life is about loved ones, and family. The rest is noise; often very unpleasant noise. Within families, as in the world, continual happiness is not possible. But unlike in the world lately, in families it's possible to find meaning. Nor is there anything wrong with a little vicarious pleasure.
Our job now is to try to stay out of their plans: be helpful, offer whatever, let it happen their way. Unlikely to be pulled off perfectly, but what jobs ever are?