or, Scenes from a Phone call, vol 1
M and the girls were in Alabama for a week visiting her mother (Grandmama), while I stayed home and worked on getting our studio insulated, a long-delayed step in a project that started before K was born. Ultimately I'll move my office out of the dining room and into the studio. But this is going to take some doing, especially in terms of explaining things to the girls.
L: You working on the studio Dada?
me: Yup, while you're in Alabama.
L: What ith we going to use it for?
me: My office. I'll move my office into it.
L: But Dada, what will we use the dining room for?
In any case, the separation meant that we had numerous phone "conversations," often early in the morning, my time. I was up early (5-ish) every day, heading to work on the 6.45a water taxi. Because I could. And because it meant that I could both get a good day's work in, and be home in time to work on the studio.
So one morning I got to talk w/ M and K, and I was struck by just how “growed up” K seems. She’s using the phone like a regular tool (L, in contrast, still uses it like a toy, nodding and/or shaking her head while I talk to her, rather than responding audibly).
She told me all about the things she'd been doing, swimming and diving "on the steps but not on the bottom step except Mommy threw the diving stick one time on the bottom step and I couldn't get it but then I did." Nice work! It was fun to actually be able to have a conversation with my eldest daughter, especially since this phase doesn't mean she's ready to push me away.
me (ending the conversation because my oatmeal is getting cold and my water taxi won't wait): I love you K. I miss you.
K: I love you too Daddy. I miss you.
me: I miss snuggling with you.
K: I miss snuggling with you too Daddy.
She even came back on after we’d said goodbye, to say “one more thing.”
K: Uh, Daddy?
me: Yeah K?
K: How is the studio going?
How indeed! Not as fast as you are apparently growing up!
It’s not hard for me to imagine her at 15 or 20, though if she’s as interested in me and what I’m doing at both those ages, I’ll be thrilled beyond speech. I have to steel myself for the reality that she and L are very likely to not really give a darn about their father for a period of 5 to 25 years, starting somewhere between 9 and 12, and lasting through somewhere between 15 and 39.