Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Katie's Pick

I will admit I have been a bad reader lately.

I blame life.

Anyway, I have been reading like crazy this week, and I have a whole list of notes next to me about posts that I love that I could put here this week.

But I narrowed it down to On the Beating of His Heart by Pauline at Aspiring Mama because I personally connected to it in a way that made me smile.


When I was a kid, I used to think he had swallowed a clock.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

With every beat, the sound signaled the opening and closing of his valves. I imagined it was probably what Captain Hook sounded like, if you stood close enough to him in a dream.

My father’s heart.

Right away I am in love with this post.  I love the childlike idea that her dad is like a cartoon a dream.

As a child, he had suffered from rheumatic fever, leaving him with no choice but to check in for heart valve replacement surgery at the age of 23. While his broken heart was being fixed in one hospital, my mother was in another giving birth to my third sister.

The funny thing is, I remember life before Sonya was born. I was only four when she entered the world. But there is a distinct before and after in my young memory. A time when it was just me and Veronica. But I can’t remember my father without the scar on his chest that ran from his collar bone to his belly button.

Again, this shows the childlike understanding of things.  The Before and After of a sibling--because that affects the writer's life.  However in her mind her dad ALWAYS had the scar, the tick tock, because that surgery didn't directly impact her like the birth of a sister.
I’ve searched and searched my memory. Dissecting each one piece by piece. My grandmother’s smile. Crying with arms outstretched because I couldn’t move my feet in the shoes connected by the bar made to straighten out my turned in gait. The sweet smell of canela tea being made.


In all of them, I can see my father. And when I see him, I see the tip of the scar poking out of the top of his V-neck shirts. And what I can’t see, I can hear.

I am a little confused about the paragraph about searching out her memory, because I can't picture where she is or what she is trying to find.  The first time she saw her dad after the surgery?  Just a BEFORE time?  

I love the image of the shoes with the bar though, because my brothers both had those.

And I adore the line, "And what I can't see, I can hear."  It is a great reminder that our memory isn't just made up of snapshots in our mind.  We experienced things fully. 

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

My husband says he used to think my father just had a really loud watch. (this made me giggle out loud!) It wasn’t until later that he learned of my father’s surgery and the resulting sound effects. It wasn’t something you picked up on unless you knew it was there, really. But my sisters and I did. And that’s how we saved ourselves from getting yelled at while giggling in bed together after we were meant to be asleep. No matter how hard he tried to sneak up on us; even if he managed to avoid the one squeaky floorboard right outside of our bedroom; even with the television blaring in the background…we heard him.

This is where I got tears.  This reminds me of my own dad.  My dad has a habit of shuffling his feet and releasing air through his lips so that they vibrate, so when I was in my room, I could hear him shuffle down the hall going "pffft pffft pffft" and I knew he was going to come in and say goodnight.  He wasn't very good at sneaking either.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

And we stifled our giggles and feigned sleep, just long enough for him to ease back out and close the door behind him.

I love the joy in these memories.  The giggles and the love.  The soft spot for that ticking sound.

I told Pauline in the comments that this post read like a gift wrapped in a bow of love to her dad, and then I found she lost her dad three years ago.  

That is when I couldn't let this post go.

Thank you, Pauline, for writing such a lovely piece this week, and for sharing your dad with us.

No comments: