Lydster: two decades

cleaning the wound

This is the second part of the daughter at two decades extravaganza. 

One of the mild life frustrations I’ve had is that my daughter didn’t get to know my birth family nearly as well as she related to my wife’s family. My father died in 2000 before she was born. While she did meet my mother a few times, most recently in 2009, she didn’t get to know her well. She had seen her cousin Rebecca on the TV show Wipeout but never in person until my mother’s funeral in 2011.  In part, that’s why she and I went to Carnegie Hall in 2022 to see my sister Leslie sing, before which we experienced an … interesting… taxi ride.

But it’s nice that she has seen my wife’s family regularly. Though my wife’s brother John died in 2002, my daughter has gotten to know her grandparents before her grandpa Richard Powell died in 2020. I think my daughter “supported” John McCain in 2008 for President because he vaguely looked like Richard. Her grandmother now lives in Albany County.

She knows her mother’s other two brothers, their wives, and their three daughters. One family, with twin girls, lives in Catskill, about an hour away, though one of the daughters is now in NYC. The other family lived in Massachusetts, but now in southeastern Pennsylvania, a fair distance but a lot closer than Charlotte, NC, and San Diego, CA. She’s attended several Olin family reunions.


She became more confident in many areas. It used to be that when we went to a restaurant, she wanted one of her parents to tell the server that she had a peanut and tree nut allergy. Then, about five years ago, she insisted on doing it herself. 

During COVID, she would spend hours in her room. It was difficult to ascertain whether this was a function of the pandemic, the phase of being a teenager, or both. This eventually passed.

Early on, I wondered how to introduce issues of national and world events to her. As it turned out when she was about nine, I’d be watching the TV news in the living room; she was paying attention while in the dining room.

Her parents talk with her a LOT about whatever she asks, including issues of race. It’s impossible to protect one’s child from bigotry. When there were vigils after George Floyd’s murder in 2020, she organized a regular event in our neighborhood for about two months; as it was her gig, I only went once or twice.

Column A or Column B

There is a loose demarcation of what she will ask which parent. Her mother tends to get questions about cooking, cleaning, and first aid. Indeed, when one of her friends was mildly injured at college, she used tips her mother taught her to clean the wound.

I tend to get the music, movies, and politics questions. Also, because I am a librarian, she asks me college-related questions about finding citations, attribution, and the like. Both of us might field questions, such as relationship issues and money, though I tend to be more available as a retiree.

In her first year in college, she’d call or text now and then. This year, she phones more often. She called just to talk recently, and we were on the phone for an hour and a half.

We tell her we love her, and she reciprocates, which is very nice. 

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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