Saturday, June 18, 2011
Today my uncle in northern New Jersey -- my mother's brother, Ken's father -- had a family reunion at his house, with his kids and their kids and my sister and her husband and son. The occasion for this was that one of my cousins, who currently lives in Singapore, is back on this side of the pond with his family for a couple of weeks. Gary and I were invited, but couldn't be there, obviously.
I was sad. I missed everybody.
Tomorrow, of course, is Father's Day. Since neither Gary nor I have our fathers anymore, I've found the nonstop reminders of this occasion even more irritating than usual. When Dad was alive, Father's Day was often a bit of a challenge, since it was difficult to find cards that accurately reflected our relationship. I finally started writing my own notes in blank cards. Now that he's dead, the holiday just makes me wish I were still having trouble with cards. (Some people are never happy.)
Today I taught three Tolkien classes for the annual conference of a local foundation that offers services to gifted-and-talented kids. It was fun, but also very tiring. The last class I taught was to a group of over twenty extremely bright, energetic and distractible five-to-nine year olds: charming children individually, but more than a little daunting in a group, especially since elementary ed isn't my field. Let's just say that it wasn't one of my more stellar moments in the classroom.
The kids come from all over the country, and of course their parents are here with them (although parents don't attend classes), so I saw and overheard a lot of parent-child interactions. I was especially aware of the fathers. The ones I saw were loving and concerned and listened attentively as their children happily told them about gene-splicing or forensic science or whatever the topic of the most recent presentation had been. I hope those kids will one day look back on this weekend and treasure these conversations.