Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Beginning {How do you do?}

Chatham, MA November 2011

This past week, I was faced with the task of sending my almost-estranged grandfather a letter via facebook. For as long as I can remember, this man has been nothing more to me than a check in the mail. The check has always been generous and the accompanying text, scrolled in a heavy black ink, was always brief and kind. Though I know he cares for me, his affections are withdrawn, like a man afraid of being close to someone for fear of being hurt, or of hurting them.

My grandfather's gift this year was especially generous, and giving him a simple "thank you!" note didn't seem adequate. My parents mentioned the best way to contact him is via facebook, which he uses daily to keep tabs on all of us in his family though he never contacts us directly through the site. As I started typing, I was struck by how bizarre it felt to write a letter to someone you don't know anything about but who loves you enormously. Because he does, he loves me. But I don't feel love for him. Instead, I feel a mild curiosity as well as a familial obligation. I also feel pity.

I started my letter with a belated (as is my style) wish of holiday cheer and then proceeded to express my gratitude for his incredible kindness. But that didn't seem like enough, so I told him a little about myself- introduced him to his adult granddaughter for the first time since childhood using my own words. I told him that I live in Boston and about what I do and what I want to do in the future. I told him about my passion for art and my resolution to get my hands dirty this year. I told him I am getting married to a man I love more than I ever thought I was capable of loving. I closed by telling him that I'd like to know him better. I hope I get a response.

Writing this post feels similar to writing to my grandfather. I don't know who you are, dear reader, but I would like to know you. I hope you would like to know me, too. If you continue reading, you will. From this point forward, I will do my best to post every day except Sunday, which is a day of rest, inspiration, and holiness.

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