I tell myself I’m happy the kids have carved paths. I’ve accepted, for the most part, their abrupt relocations. Intellectually I get it: the love and wings thing. Emotionally even, I believe it. Usually.

Woke up and stared in her ocean eyes.

“Happy Father’s Day”, she sang.
“I’ll get bagels,” said I.

I was rounding third on what for me was an emotional weekend. Internal stuff perhaps, but Saturday I’d found myself staring at laptop and singing with YouTube in song reminiscent of each my kids, my parents, and my brother. (Sometimes you just need to cleanse).

Stacy called as I drove from Bialy’s. Not yet ten (Cleveland time), risking a stop by the Beachwood Gestapo, I picked up.

“There’s a stack of cards,” she exclaimed. “Will mail them tomorrow.”
“Fax them,” I urged.

We talked, Bones said Hi, and (the subject escapes me) but at some point I used salty language.

“You’re on speakerphone!” shried Rooney. “Lucy can hear you!”
“Hi Luce—it’s your Happy Pappy!”

Then The Little One, sans segue, brought it home:

“You know why I love you, Dad?”
“No.” (Opting for silence, I passed on the obvious essay question).
Through hushed tones, then —she’s always dramatic— with words meant for me, she spoke to our pasts. In specifics.

Words that come from the heart go to the heart. They trump greeting cards. Always.

Discourse ending, I broke the plane of the driveway. I’d returned home to Carrie…and Leesa…and a spinach omelette…and the PD’s Art Section laid out at my plate. But for kids out-of-town, ‘twas as good as it gets.

Well—not quite.

I would potsckey around, nap a bit, and play on line. There’d be errands to run, email to read, and— nice surprise: niece Liz gave me a ShoutOut on Facebook.

A few hours passed. We were in the back lot at Cedar-Center, just past Whole Foods when “Thunder Road” burst through the radio. The acoustical version, only an act of God would get me to turn if off.

Then it came!

“Grandpa Bruce!” came the voice through the phone.

Thrice it would happen, within minutes. The bekor, for some reason, thinks it’s funny to just call and hang up. (Not that I wonder where it comes from. Michael recalls a time he and I had spoken on skype. I thought we’d hung up, but was wrong. Michael hadn’t, and still saw me. Over and over he kept calling, silently watching on video as I kept grabbing the phone in frustration).

When the games were done Sunday, we spoke—all of us. Max for a bit, Meredith, and Michael. “I love you, Dad,” said the latter, in words from the heart. As good as it gets…

My head hit the pillow Sunday with a sense of renewal. There’s no litmus test, of course, to a child’s love. Still, it always feels good when they reach out and touch.

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