Posted by: HAT | January 24, 2011

Suddenly My Eyes Were Full of Tears

a form of involvement

Hi, Gang!

LOTS of new learning lately. It’s astounding how much a person can learn about herself, the human body, institutional dynamics, human beings in general and specific, communication, and cooperation when she has some major surgery. So while I haven’t been able to participate in work to the usual or fullest extent since having the long-awaited total hip replacement on Monday, I have been doing a lot of “finding things out” and “figuring things out” and “learning things.”

Maybe I will make a list of all these new bits and pieces of knowledge. Or not. But there is one that I have thought about a lot already, even though it is the one least related to the hip replacement . . . at least, not directly related. Indirectly, I feel the hip replacement is completely related, since it created the motivation to go ahead and chat online. Chatting online is something I normally shun, but this particular time, with nothing else to do between pt & ot sessions but lie in bed and suffer from the conversation deprivation that goes with that, it actually seemed inviting.

So we were chatting online, about cell phones, and texting, and plans, and that set of things. My friend said something like “I just really don’t need a fancy phone with a keyboard and all that, I just need some basic functionality” and I said something like “that’s exactly how I feel, too, really — except that I have this 12-year-old that I really want to communicate with, so . . .” So I got a phone with a keyboard, I learned how to use it, I learned some abbreviations, I do it, I text.

And suddenly my eyes were full of tears.

Because I instantly realized something. How much I love my daughter. And that under the circumstances, learning to text, and texting, was a specific, concrete measurement of that. I didn’t think of it that way at all as it was happening, of course. In fact, if anyone had suggested that there were some way to measure love, in that way — in a way that suggested that love could be “reduced” to a measurement — I would have gotten pretty argumentative. But it was suddenly clear that, of course, love can be measured in that other way that has something to do with demonstration, or performance. Some things just scream “I love you” — if a scream can be nonverbal. And this was one of those things. It was as if I had caught myself in the act of loving my daughter, precisely as much as I actually do, in a way I could recognize for what it is. In a way I could measure.

The only reason I learned how to text from my old phone was because Nod (Number One Daughter) would text me, all the time, from her iPod with some kind of free texting app she had tracked down. At the time, that was all she had to work with. The only reason I learned that it mattered to her, that it made it possible for her to communicate a little more, was because I read her texts, because I wanted to know what she wanted now, what she needed this time, what was going on with her. So then I automatically thought of getting the phone with the keyboard when I had to get a new one, because I was thinking I wanted it to be a little easier to answer those texts from Nod; and I easily began to think she probably needed a phone now, too, (even though we’d all agreed earlier that she’d get a phone when she was a little older) because I was seeing how she worked with this medium, and how integral a part of her world it was. I would never have gotten involved in this mode of communication at all if it weren’t for Nod.

Suddenly my eyes were full of tears because suddenly I recognized the difference between my friend and me, the difference between the perfectly possible me just like her and the current me who had gone this different route, the difference between “would just never have bothered with it” and “am into it,” was the measure of how important it is to me to be part of Nod’s world. And how important it is to me to be part of Nod’s world springs from nothing but the desire to be in the world that has Nod in it. The only word I know for that motive is “love.”

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