It’s always interesting to share family “news” with family members, especially when it’s not news like “Kyle just graduated from Harvard” or “Megan’s artwork is being auctioned at Sotheby’s” or “Jessica just got the lead in Evita.” My news is typically more subtle, but Kyle is happy and an absolute joy to be around, Megan is maturing rapidly and finding peace with the path of her life, and Jessica is coming around to understanding she’s still got tremendous potential to fulfill. It’s all pretty positive from a particular point of view.
Last week the news I shared was with my Dad, a man with his head stuck in the norms of a half century ago. He reminds me of “Beulah” in a scene from “Field of Dreams.” When Kevin Costner’s wife, played wonderfully by Amy Madigan, suggests to Beulah that “if she had just experienced the sixties.” Beulah indignantly fired back, “I *experienced* the sixties,” to which Annie calmly replied, “No, I think you had two fifties and moved right into the seventies.” That’s Dad. He sees black and white and right and wrong with no shades of gray. He ended the call shortly after I shared my news, only saying, “I don’t know how you do it. My heart breaks for you.”
The strange thing is, I gave him no reason to think I was at all distressed. I described the positives, but I guess all he heard was the white noise of 50’s shame. It’s ironic that decade is looked upon generally with such nostalgic fondness, but it was largely cold, dark and repressive. Its society would have shunned all of my children for different reasons. I’m glad I caught only 14 months of it.