We hadn’t seen our cousin and her husband for what seemed like ages. But some friends step right back into your life as steady as the metronome that guided my piano practice as a child. We didn’t miss a beat. Reconnecting with family is like that. Perhaps it’s the pendulum of memories.
Or perhaps reconnecting means sharing a “heart concern” with someone who cares. The highlight of our togetherness was a phone call of hope from their daughter, Kathy. Six months pregnant and remembering her three miscarriages, Kathy was elated with the all-is-well-ultra-sound-images of the tiny infant in her womb. It’s odd how happiness shared, doubles the joy. And on the flip side, how misfortune experienced alone, doubles the sadness. Kathy, caught in the separation of war, will give birth alone. Her marine husband, deployed to the Near East for the fifth time, is due home three months after the birth of their firstborn.
Like most military daddies, Kathy’s man is eager to stay connected. He already knows a father is critical to a daughter’s sense of self. He understands it is a father who holds up the first lens through which a little girl assesses her femininity.
But for now, this marine daddy wants somehow to bridge the miles. I suggested he wear a tee shirt (what’s closer to his heart?) and without laundering, send it to Kathy. And follow that with a Skype video call of him reading aloud a happy, rhythmic bedtime book (already on its way to him). Soon after birth, I picture the infant’s head resting on a crumpled tee shirt on Kathy’s shoulder, rocked to sleep by the rhythm of daddy reading to her from half-way across the world. The little girl will know the sounds and smells and love of her daddy Marine before the first moment he holds her. Sweet.