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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Just Look at Them and Sigh

“Stop telling people to picture me with a beard,” she says to me as we leave the bank.
“I’m sorry,” I say. I give her my sheepish smile. She doesn’t look at me. She’s annoyed.
The guy at the bank knew her father, remembers what he looked like. When I mention the beard he nods emphatically – he recognizes the resemblance without my graphic reminder. Deep, dark-chocolate eyes under a broad forehead; arms that can reach anywhere; a stride the rest of us have to jog to keep up with.
There are other traits. I joke about her being tight fisted (other mothers cluck and correct me: she is prudent). I feel undeserved pride in her studiousness. I acknowledge as mine her being thoughtful and quiet; a woman of few words, but he was even more introspective, reticent and frugal of utterance.
My athletic ability. His posture. My sarcasm (okay, this may well be learned rather than inherited). His unexpected fragility.
I marvel at many of these (and cringe at the one), but what most astonishes me as I gaze upon my daughter, watching for her father, is their grace. Not in the long-legged, short-trunked loping gait she now uses, an exact replica of the way her father used to cross the very same stretch of empty pavement. Not in the take-no-prisoners stance she adopts when the meal is over and the dishes are perched in the sink, waiting for her to slowly, thoroughly, dispense with them. She shares with him a way of softening her face, loosening her body language and mellowing her voice when another person, friend or foe, stranger or family, allows her a glimpse of their pain. The strange, almost mystical dignity that I thought corresponded only to him, and so had lost, is finding its way back into the world, on the shoulders of his daughter. My daughter. Our daughter.
“I’m really tired of it,” she says two blocks later.
“Okay.”
I shrug, keep walking. She takes my hand.




24 comments:

  1. Oh Kymm!

    "The strange, almost mystical dignity that I thought corresponded only to him, and so had lost, is finding its way back into the world, on the shoulders of his daughter. My daughter. Our daughter."

    I can't imagine this kind of loss-and yet I can't imagine a better way to have someone who is gone be near again. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful piece!

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    1. Yes, it is quite nice to be reminded of all those things I miss. Even have them back in a way.
      Thank you so much, Valerie for your enthusiasm!

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  2. I believe we all leaves ;pieces of "us" in the next generation-thus we get glimpses of parents,aunts,uncles,grandparents in the children-be it in the bearing,the stance,the attitude,nature or physical or emotional bearing:-)That said,must admit this just blew me away Kymm-such a different take on the prompt:-)So glad to be back after 3 months-hope everything is fine with you,tc xx

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    1. Yes, genetics, even learned family behavior, is a funny thing.
      Having this kid who doesn't really remember her dad act so much like him sometimes is freaky. Sweet, but freaky.
      So glad to see you back here Atreyee!! Thanks for your kind words.

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  3. What an excellent, lovely take on the prompt! All those little details create a very real, tenderly loved, person.

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    1. Thank you kindly, Jean! That's a lovely thing to say.

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  4. Wow, very beautiful and moving...I can't single out any one detail, or phrase. Every word of it is worth remembering.

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    1. Thank you, Steph! I'm glad you were moved : )

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  5. My mother has been saying the same thing to people since I was about 4. Drives me crazy. I hate it. Lol.
    aliciaaudrey.com/blog

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    1. Just remember you'll be able to drive some kid crazy, too. lol
      Thanks for reading, Alicia!

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  6. This is a great contemplation on a daughter. I like it.

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    1. Thank you so much, Draug! My guess is she'd be annoyed. lol

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  7. Beautiful story. I can imagine the annoyance the daughter felt, and can relate to the mother's contemplation of the father who still lives on in their daughter.

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    1. Thank you Janna! Glad you can relate to it.

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  8. Oh! A nice tale of continuance and legacy.

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  9. Oh I did like this. My first instinct is to be sorry for the loss but it makes me happy somehow. Both to be reminded that my children will probably carry me on and that I carry my parents.

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    1. So glad you liked it, ASoS! Sad and happy... sounds about right.

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  10. Kymm, this is beautiful and sad and wistful! True that we parents look for our traits in our children, often our children attribute their own idiosyncrasies to a specific parent. You've poignantly added the extra dimension of the absence of a parent. Very lovely writing!

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    1. Thank you so much, Joanne. You are very kind.
      It is truly mindblowing sometimes to see things in her that I'd "forgotten" about him.

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  11. Kymm, this is so poignant and lovely. Creating life from love is a beautiful, magical thing--all the more so when you begin to recognize yourself and your significant other in your children. I love the idea of us living on in our children.

    My mother used to say something similar because I resemble my father. Now that he's gone, she still tells me how much I remind her of him. I think that makes us both feel good.

    Another wonderful piece! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Ivy!
      I´m glad you have that to hang on to from your father.
      I'm hoping as she grows, the resemblance will make her feel closer to him.

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  12. excellent dialogue...one of my favorites this week

    well done

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    1. Thank you so much, Lance! Appreciate it.

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