“Live, love, laugh and be happy. I’m just a kid again doin’ what I did again, singing that song. When the red, red robin comes bobobobing along…” That was my father’s favorite song. So it struck me as deep, meaningful or probably just a coincidence when my brother, Joel, called early Saturday morning (Tucson time) to serenade me with his annual singing birthday telegram. Then he added the “Wake up…” line.
Well, yeah, it was 9 a.m., and I believe bro gets up at 5:10 a.m. every day. We’re in the thick of Tucson summer now, meaning it’s really too hot to do much outdoors after 8 a.m. Still, I enjoy sleeping in, and it was my birthday. Turning 65, I figured it was time to do whatever I wanted.
Someone I barely know sent a Facebook link to the Beatles “Happy Birthday” song yesterday. I Loved it. I felt jolly.
But I was still curious about any underlying explanation for Joel singing that song. He and my father didn’t interact much, although our dad, Sidney Edward Wilensky, was a sweet man. Depressed and unmotivated too, kind of like my ex. Fathers and sons. Mothers and daughters. A never-ending mystery.
I’ve learned over the years — exponentially during the last 10 — that the best way to interact with anyone, whether in those most fraught intimate family relationships or not, is to speak in calm tones.
Fortunately, Dan is an expert at being direct without raising his voice. He can say anything to me without me getting all defensive. What a gift I so cherish at my advancing age. I try to emanate that calm tone to my grown children.
We’re going to be together in Southwest Harbor for a week in July. “It’ll be like summer camp,” Brook said yesterday. For me, it’ll be a return to a previous life, when Brook and Ethan were in high school and we shared one bathroom in the morning. But we’ve all evolved since then. I enjoy every moment looking at their beautiful faces; any difficult past moments recede.
“When I find myself in times of trouble mother mary [faith in myself learning to let go of control] comes to me, speaking words of wisdom: ‘Let It Be.'”