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Keeping It Going

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Full blown conversations were never our thing.
Sometimes stringing more than a few sentences together was not happening,
especially not in the mornings.
Instead, at the kitchen table I surrounded myself with at least four cereal boxes 
while I ate the marshmallows out of my bowl of Lucky Charms.
There was a point when I was 14 or so, when even a “good morning” 
was somehow offensive, and somehow you understood.
You shortened “hi” or “good morning” to some sort of grunt, like hmmpphhhh and a head nod. I nodded back, sometimes with the hmmpppphhh back, but usually just the nod.
Some may have been offended by the seemingly rude lack of conversation replaced by not words, but noises, but you understood, and that’s just how we did.
You kept it going, though. The dialogue, that is.
Later in the afternoons and evenings were a better time for that,
and sporadic conversations were sprinkled over the hours and days. 
No fluff or anything. 
Dialogue about how to run faster or how to pitch a softball or the Anna and Elizabeth series I was working on or how do we know if God is real?  Or how could I not fight with my brother when he drove me nuts?
Sentences, not long ones, but some here and there, punctuated with commas or ellipses or question marks.
Sometimes when I was exasperated—just done—with whatever in life, 
you would pop your head in the door of my room and ask, “Can we talk?”
I knew it didn’t mean right that very moment, but sometime. I would sigh, and it may have seemed like from annoyance, but actually it was more from relief.
Yes. Yes, we could. Not necessarily then, but sometime later that day.
And we would, and I would talk, and then you would talk, and my clarity would return and things would begin to make more sense.
Somehow, you understood.

These days I try to keep it going with my own boys.
I think it’s going better with David than it is with Kevin, but I will keep trying.

Thanks for keeping it going, dad.


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