I am often not able or willing to say the things people want me to say, but I am finally able to tell the things I want to say that are true for me.
I’ve paid dearly for this; we are not a nation that values honesty or individuality. The yentas are all over me.
Thoreau’s idea of independent integrity and thought is in peril.
Somehow, we lost the spirit of our revolution and have evolved into a people demanding that we all say what others have decided we should say, and do what others tell us to do.
I knew from the start that I would never be one of those conventional Hallmark grandfathers whose lives evolved around their granddaughters and grandsons. I didn’t know how and it wasn’t me. And it wasn’t what I really wanted.
I wanted to live my own life, not somebody else’s, which was hard enough.
But I have to say the pandemic made it impossible to know my quite remarkable granddaughter as she was growing up. We haven’t seen one another for nearly three years, and re-connecting is proving challenging. If this was something Emma and I wanted to do, we might have figured out a way to do it.
I have to be honest about that. But we have never been closer or easier with one another.
Emma gave me the great gift of her photography; I was able to follow Robin’s evolution from a toddler into an independent, articulate human being with loving parents who used New York City well as a backdrop for raising their child. I saw her grow and blossom, just like my Begonias.
I didn’t get to see it for myself; I got to see it on my Iphone and computer. That was better than not seeing it all, and I am grateful for it.
I’ve missed a critical period in Robin’s growth and am getting older. I’m not sure this narrative will change or how that might happen.
I believe strongly in the idea of radical acceptance. I accept a good and lucky life, and its ups and downs, and I celebrate what I do have, not what I don’t have.
I have a lot and give thanks for it every day.
Robin has a remarkable childhood; she is adored by her parents, exposed to every cultural offering of a great city, goes to one of the most respected schools in the country, and is confident, talented, outgoing, and curious.
I don’t know if I could have offered her any gifts she doesn’t have; she does not strike me as needing much.
I send her books and toys all the time, and we talk on the phone once in a while. I am good at buying her the things she wants.
It turned out the way I thought it would; she turned out better than I could have imagined. And she has a great mother.
Her other grandparents are more conventional and connected; she is lucky to have that.
She will do very well for herself, and if I wasn’t really to be a part of it – we don’t take vacations together – I can still enjoy it and take pleasure from it. And I love those photographers Emma sends me, she is a brilliant photographer.