10-22-2008 04:15 PM
Oh, the passages telling about Emily's tearful clinging trip to the airport touched my heart. And Amy's cheerful "Look - there's the Washington Monument! Oh - I can see some of the planes now!". As parents, we have all delivered that fake cheerfulness to our kids at some point to cover up the heartbreak we are experiencing watching our kid unhappy. Does that make sense?
I found the passage where Amy is talking about the nicknames grandparents are asked to be called to be absolutely hilarious. "Emily's grandparents had asked their grandchildren to call them Ta Ta and Num Num. Would my poor little girl have to refer to her daddy's girlfriend as "Kiki" or "Bun-Bun"? Could I refer to her at "Nitwit" and get away with it?" Kind of doubt it Amy, but it would be worth a try....
10-22-2008 06:31 PM
Yeah the nitwit one was pretty good lol. I had a nickname growing up, a term of endearment but by the time I reached junior high and high school, the word meant something totally different! By 16, I finally told my family I would no longer answer to it, not matter what they did to me for not answering to it. My mother asked why. I told her what the word refered to then and that I couldn't take all the jokes anymore and that no one was to call me that around my friends either. She was cracking up. I said I am serious. To this day, I have never acknowledged it again and even my best friends do not know it. They keep threatening that if they can be one of the first to see me after one of my way too many surgeries, that they will ask me what it is while I am still have in the ozone but nobody has yet hehe.
Vivico became a nickname for me at a huge Southwestern Bell office, started by the head secretary, in an office of over 100 people. She would yell out VIVICO! When I came in in the morning and yeah that made me feel good cause she always said it with a smile. Then the rest of the office started joining in and I felt like I was walking onto the stage of Cheers LOL, so thats where this nickname came from for here, because it made me feel good and laugh, unlike the childhood one.
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
10-22-2008 07:38 PM
When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber. Churchill
10-24-2008 02:35 PM
I don't know about anyone else, but this chapter really made me sad for all the single parents who have to let go of their child for that first, away from home, visitation. It seems that Ms. Dickinson was doing everything she could to make her daughter want to visit her father, but he really was a stranger not a father.
The visit to Joan's house and the acknowledgement from Ms. Dickinson's mother that she was afraid her daughters would want to stay with their father, set against the ride home from the airport was very telling. As Nasdir pointed out, some times you have to pretend that it's easy to let go.
10-24-2008 03:26 PM
This chapter opened my eyes. I still to this day forget that my mother needs to be needed. I'm an adult and I tend to shield my parents from any of my lifes unpleasantness. Recently I had kept something from my mother until I found out it wasn't anythin serious (Dr appointment) - well she was so upset.
The author captured the feelings very well.
10-24-2008 05:11 PM
10-25-2008 01:18 PM
I really thought this chapter was well laid out, especially the parallel between Amy's visit to her father's new family with her daughter's visit to her father. I thought Amy's description of her own visit to her father's home, and meeting his new wife, fills in the gap of how her daughter might have felt visiting her own father's family -- being out of place and feel like a stranger.
Similarly, I thought the description of Amy's own experience with her father in the car ride, nicely paralleled her daughter's ride to the airport to go visit her father's family.
10-25-2008 04:02 PM
10-25-2008 07:12 PM
The airport story with Emily reminds me of a bit of advice I encountered very early in parenting and perhaps before that for human relationships in general -- think hard about the significance of "good-bye." It does mean that you may never see each other again, so make the parting such that it honors that possibility.
Many a time as I headed out for work, I remember pausing at the doorstep to comfort the toddler who was our son. I sometimes had to turn him over to his caretaker still crying, but I always tried to make the leave taking such that minimal guilt would be the residue if the day brought the unexpected.
I feel as if this is what Amy did with and for her daughter, who was no longer crying by the time they spoke on the phone.
10-27-2008 06:09 PM
10-28-2008 12:06 PM
Please post your comments and questions about Chapter 3 in this thread.
Loved the descriptions of the apartment building and it's residents. I'm familiar with those types and even without any detailed description I had a very vivid picture in my head...less was more.
Emily sounds like a wonderful child and since her father never was around much before the separation, it is understandable that he isn't greatly missed now living on the other side of the planet.
Good story about Thanksgiving with Papa in New York - understand it's necessary and a learning experience for both Amy and Emily but painful - even to the cabbie and the reader.
Interesting flashback about their visit to her father's new house when they were kids - how awful - makes me wonder why he wanted them to visit - to show them that he had moved on to 'better' things? Yuk. I understand why her mother let them go and it wasn't much of a risk after all...and neither would Emily's trip to NY for Thanksgiving.
10-28-2008 12:08 PM
We have become a society that feels the need to judge our neighbors - quite harshly in some cases. And we also seem to love it when someone falls - Britiney Spears as an example...the public ate that crap up.
Yes, this bothers me quite a bit. I would have not been as nice and polite as Amy was...it is none of anyone's business...
10-28-2008 01:48 PM
10-28-2008 02:33 PM
You know, the thing is tho, I don't think it's so much that we have become a nation of nosey people who think we have the right to ask anything, or that we should be so bothered when we are asked. I think it is much more that, we have become a nation of families of divorce, and thats kinda sad. But because divorce is so very common here and families are being redefined all the time, good or bad, not judging here, just saying there are many kinds of families now, the question is just a common one. It's so common that it's almost an ice breaker, when adults are looking for something to talk about and both have children right there doing something together.
With little kids, when they are playing at the play grounds and ask, where is your dad, if they have never seen him, this is nothing judgemental, this is the honest curiosity of a child. Or if they come to your house a lot and only see a mom (or a dad) and wonder about the other parent, its not being nosey for them to ask, its just kids trying to understand the dynamics of what they see. Kids are less judgemental, on both sides of the question, and more honest than adults.
We may judge those who are divorced, or we may judge those who ask, where is her daddy, but for the most part, its just people gathering information to understand your situation. I don't think we should judge a person if we ask them, but I also don't think we should be bothered or judge those who ask. We all know there is a mother and father for every little kid walking the earth lol, it does take two afterall, and with all the varieties of families or family situations, like daddy being off to war, its a common question that I don't see as offensive. If they ask further questions, like does he come around, how often does he see her, do you get child support, etc, well thats up to you and your comfort level to tell them what you want. It may be a new friend who you feel really close to and want to share everything with and have someone to talk to, so you may be glad they asked. After all the absence of a parent in the family is something that after awhile, if not discussed, becomes something you feel like you have to carefully tiptoe around because you don't know whats up and now you don't know if you can ask. If it's someone who doesn't even know you, be it another mother at the play or someone sitting by you watching the children play and they ask too much beyond where is her daddy or what does your hubby do, (any of those common questions to establish a conversation based on something that you won't say something hurtful without knowing it), once you say he is out of the picture, we are divorced, he is dead, he is off to war, whatever it is, if they ask more and you don't want to talk more to them about it, don't take offense, or automatically feel you are being judged because then you are judging them. Just say, well I would rather not talk about that and then ask them something to change the subject. Most people will stop there and understand they are asking more than is appropriate at that moment. If they don't or then become judgemental, that is then their problem not yours. But don't be upset when someone just asks. After all, like I said, there may be more reasons the dad isn't there than divorce, so how can this be a judgemental question right off? It's not.
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
10-28-2008 05:01 PM
What a thoughtful response, Vivico!
I very much agree that one can sometimes be too hasty to take offense. On the other hand, some days, a question may strike us differently than other days, so I do think it is always appropriate to create some answer, funny or even sometimes curt and snippy, that redirects the conversation. Or once in awhile even to just stand there clearly dumb founded at what one has heard. Honest feelings can usually be worked through, so long as both sides are willing to stay open and at least a bit vulnerable.
I certainly don't think societies in our age are more judgmental than many if not most have been in the past. Yet, it is easy for judgment to occur or to be perceived to have been intended.
Also, it is still easy to say wrong things and to regret seconds later. Assuming good will until conclusively demonstrated otherwise usually protects both one's self and the other person and probably is more likely to create the environments and relationships among which most of us prefer to live.
10-28-2008 05:19 PM
Ahhh Amy really brought back some memories. It is terrible to say goodbye to your children when the ex-mate has arrived -- to relinquish them with someone who really isn't the parent -- I don't think I would have gotten in the cab. But I really think the cabbie had some sound advice -- Hearing about her own childhood and visiting Joan and her dad, HILARIOUS! The nicknames were to die for.
Back to Chapter 4 --
11-05-2008 11:02 AM
11-05-2008 09:30 PM
11-06-2008 03:05 AM
I read this chapter with a touch of sadness. It seemed that bringing her daughter to see her ex brought back so many memories of visits with her estranged father from her childhood. Although there were many humerous parts, I still felt Amy's memories of her parents' divorce and aftermath were so sad. When she and her sisters visited her dad and new wife, it made my heart break for them. The description of Amy worrying where the light switch was in the room in case the house went on fire and they had to flee was heartbreaking.
That part broke my heart but I thought both parents tried to do their best for Emily. They knew how bad it could be for the children of divorce and they put their differences aside to prevent that. I could feel Amy's pain when she had to say goodbye. The cab ride to the airport, with no shoes, no bra and having to put on a brave face, must have been the longest trip ever. The ride provided a little comic relief but also some good advice from the driver. And he also gave some important emotional support despite being a stranger.