Not long ago my wife and I opened up a box of things we had collected during our daughter’s childhood, to show her now that she is 17. A time capsule, kind of.
The evening was a bit anticlimactic, I think because we have so thoroughly told and retold stories from her young childhood that not many of these relics came as revelations.
What she was amazed at were some love poems I wrote to Cristie when we were in college, and a little pill bottle I’d sent her, filled with a golf tee, a leaf, a sunflower seed, a match—and labeled, “Small Things, for You.”
Scout’s wonder at this tenderness reminded me of the time I was going through my dad’s things after he died and found a note he had left on my mother’s desk when they were having a torrid office love affair in the late 1960s. It read, “‘lo, Miss.” I burst into tears at the unexpected reminder that I come from a union of true love!
Scout listened to the audio version of my new book, and again said that many of its ideas were familiar to her. One of the few things she commented on was the Acknowledgments, where I write:
We are college sweethearts, which doesn’t mean that we have lived a storybook marriage. It means that I do not have any idea what it would be like to be an adult without her by my side. (Lucky for me, she doesn’t either.) Take each other for granted? Yes, we sure do—and love and truth and loyalty, too. If you can assume those things your whole life, it makes a lot else possible—writing a book being only one. Thank you, Honey.
“You gave a lot of credit to Mom, Dad.”
I smiled and nodded.
And so did she.