My “mini-me” — maybe?
Photo: Before my father’s 90th “dim sum luncheon” birthday in Berkeley — May 2013… Jamie, my husband Vin and me…
Around midnight, after her 12-hour production day, my daughter rolls in. I’m at my desk, working on …this blog… the
television blasting (football, I’m not listening) and out of nowhere, she asks (a) for my credit card for her hair appointment tomorrow;
and (b) for a calendar.
“You want a calendar?” I’m slightly breathless at the thought. What’s happened?
When she was little, about age 9, I took her to an educational expert who prescribed — a calendar. For homework, the expert
suggested. For tracking when a book report was due. For knowing when she was at one house or the other. She carted the huge
desk-size piece around, a true child of divorce, until it got curled on the edges and we finally gave up. It may have been too much, too soon. I blame
myself for trying too hard. Maybe that poisoned the well. Maybe my push for all things stationery disillusioned her. Whatever the trauma,
she’s never been an office supply junkie. I feel guilty. I can cruise Office Depot for hours. It’s my “happy place”.
She can’t get out of there fast enough. She snorts at my addiction.
But tonight for some reason, she wants a calendar.
“A real one?” I squeak. She nods.
“This is the happiest day of my life!” I smile as I race into my closet under the stairs, the one stuffed with paper + typewriter ribbons +
colorful shipping tape. I have to go fast, I don’t want to lose her interest. She’s wandering around my typewriter, looking at a letter I need to write to Doris, one of my friends in Rhode Island.
“What size?” I ask, knowing the more I get specific, she’s already withdrawing. I’m afraid of losing her.
“Your calendar doesn’t work? On the phone? You don’t like that?” I thought everyone under 25 used theirs.
Her fingers are all over a “list book” I have.
“I need paper,” she asserts. “I might even need two. Can I have this?”
I look. It’s not a calendar. It won’t help, no dates, just empty pages. She’s already tucked it into her overflowing purse.
“It was done by a RISD grad,” I tell her. “Julia Rothman, she does stuff with typewriter drawings.”
She likes it. She wants it, empty pages and all. But it’s not a calendar. I show her what might work.
My tattered Quo Vadis, with its years-old faded calendar in the front. “This is a good size,” I push, “8 l/2 x 11″ but I’ll have to order one.”
“How old is that thing?” she asks, fingering my tattered calendar. The paper is papyrus-thin, its addresses first typed years ago.
“It looks like it’s 50 years old,” she comments.
I have a flash of how my mother’s calendar looks, also paper thin and crumbling. My stomach drops, realizing Jamie feels seeing mine
how I feel seeing my mother’s.
“I just need something,” Jamie says again. She likes the calendar size.
“It’s big,” I say. I show her how she can hide other equal sized papers in it.
“That’s good,” she agrees. Wait. What is this? We agree. A warm & fuzzy moment for a Mom who doesn’t get many.
“I’ll find you the right thing,” I promise, eager to please, eager to keep this new love connection strong. “Tomorrow morning, At Office Depot.”
She walks out, my credit card and tip cash in hand. I’m flooded with joy.
I’m out of the green I was going to use tomorrow morning for the Farmer’s Market at Beverly Glen.
I’ve lost my concentration.
But I’m happy. Somewhere in there, my daughter may have a touch of me after all. Maybe I didn’t ruin her.
And isn’t that wonderful?