Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church
March 27, 2009
Throw a Kiss and Say Goodbye
She was born and they wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to me.
As the doctor attended to my wife, they told me to hold our first born daughter and just sit on the floor of the operating room.
No chair. No nurses hovering around. No special baby bed. Nothing. Just me and my daughter in my arms.
This was Berkeley and we were “bonding.” Of course.
As delighted as I was to greet my daughter, I would have preferred to “bond” while seated on a reasonable chair, not the tile floor of the operating room. My daughter did not seem to mind though. She was quiet throughout.
A few years later she had a best friend who was about her age. Her friend was right on the cusp of either entering kindergarten this year or next year, it was up to her parents. At the last minute, unbeknownst to our daughter, her friend was enrolled in school. On that first morning as the bus waited outside our home for the neighborhood kids to get on…our daughter, sitting in our living room noticed her friend sitting in a seat on the bus…ON THE SCHOOL BUS!
Our daughter was mature enough for school; she wanted to go. She just was not old enough. Her friend was now going and she was not. She was not amused.
Ten years later she had the opportunity to live in Japan. She was in high school. The foreign exchange program was a good one and she was determined to go. The break with family and friends was pretty quick at the end of the summer. Though she had just turned 16, she was ready for a year away and off she went.
The flight to Tokyo is a pretty long one. The flight reached Tokyo and she had to change planes to reach her ultimate destination in that country. She arrived at about 4 am Ohio time. In the middle of the night we received her phone call to say she was in Japan… and no one was there to greet her.
She sounded more jet-lagged than distraught. I had been sleeping and was pleased to get her call. But, there she was in the middle of the huge airport in Tokyo without the language and other support. We talked a bit about flight over the Pacific and her connecting flight to come. She continued to be a bit disoriented and unsure of what to do next. Suddenly she spotted somewhere in the airport, some other Americans, whom she did not know, but whom were with the same exchange programs. She recognized their jackets.
Our daughter excitedly told us of the other people there and with barely a “good-bye” she quickly hung up in order to catch the others. They were her life-line for the moment. I went back into a sound sleep.
One time not long ago, we were in the car and there was jazz on the radio, she said it reminded her of when she was a young teen. We used to go out to my seminary in Berkeley for a couple weeks every summer. We would rent a car (radio on) and drive all over the Bay Area when I was not in class. She told me that whenever she heard jazz she pictured us driving through the night in Berkeley and San Francisco with the Bay always near by.
It never occurred to me that such a simple thing as that would form such a strong memory in her.
Snippets of a daughter’s life. And at this stage of my life, I wonder if I could have imparted more wisdom or spent more time shaping her life. Yet I realize that she shaped my life profoundly.
She got my relatives’ and some of my genes. She got an interest in books, newspapers, music, coffee, travel, music, and perhaps jazz, from me. She got her mother’s jaw line and lots of other good traits from her. God only knows where she got her interest in the banking profession.
I wish the same for her as an adult; that she is able to hand over wonderful and powerful memories to her children. As for me, I will hand her over this weekend when she is married.
Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing