Skip to main content

CJ's Daddy

At the beginning of chapter 3 of Four Seasons for Charlotte, I wrote:

"If someone had walked up to me on the day that Roger and I meet and said, 'This is the man you are going to marry,' I would  have questioned that person's sanity."

Readers who haven't known Roger and I for the decade and a half (plus!) that we have been together have remarked amusingly on this comment.  In fact, they have demanded photographic proof of the "hip graduate student majoring in Jazz Studies with long hair, a dangly earring, and wild clothes."  

Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you photographic evidence:

Exhibit A:The college ID, circa mid 90s.  Yes, Roger had hair.  

Exhibit B: The fashion choices.  This was during a trip to Key West in 1995.  Note the stylish weightlifting pants and funky hat. Also note that Roger was not a weightlifter. I think he felt a deep fashion bond with the car we found along Duval Street.  

 This was our first trip to Disney World together.  Please note he is still wearing the hat from the previous photo but traded the funky pants for a funky poncho.  I believe there is also a fanny pack on his body although it's hidden by the poncho.  Yes.  A fanny pack.  He's posing with Tigger, his alter ego. 

Also note: I haven't changed a bit since the mid 90's.  

All kidding aside, somehow I knew back then, despite our differences, that Roger and I were made for each other.  Our personalities created balance in the universe.  Have you seen that article from Salon floating around over the last few weeks about Order Muppets and Chaos Muppets?  I don't need to tell you who is who in this relationship.  I'm Bunsen Honeydew to his Beaker.  I'm the Sam the Eagle to his Fozzie Bear.  

Roger, on his first day as CJ's Daddy
This balance has helped our relationship in so many ways; however, perhaps the area where it most impacted us was in our role as parents.  We had been married for almost 8 years before Charlotte arrived so we were an "old married couple" by many people's standards.  Almost instantly, we assumed our respective roles in the triad that became our little family.  I might have been the one who brought order, but Roger brought a special kind of peace to our family.  He was always calm with Charlotte.  He was always patient with her.  He was always there to marvel at every little amazing thing that she did.  When she made a mistake or needed redirection (we will admit, it happened once or twice), he altered her path like a Zen master.  She hardly even knew she was in trouble...but she knew how to fix it for the next time.  

Roger and Charlotte were their own little mutual admiration society.  He adored his daughter and she adored her daddy.  It was Roger who took Charlotte to that doctor's appointment on January 20, 2009 and calmed her in the CT scanner.  It was Roger who calmly and eloquently shared the butterfly analogy that changed our perspective on her imminent death.  It was Roger who carried her body to the funeral home car only hours after she had taken her last breath.  

He is and always will be CJ's Daddy. He is amazing.  

Popular posts from this blog

The Edge of Seventeen

It's that time of year when the blog musings center on my grief journey. Every year, it seems like we are busy with end-of-the-year school activities and the start of summer, planning vacations, and then (kablam)'s almost July 9.  Grief is funny. Grief is weird. I remember very early after Charlotte died, I watched the movie Rabbit Hole.  There's an amazingly poignant scene where Nicole Kidman's character is talking with another woman who lost a child over 10 years before (played by Dianne Wiest). She talks about grief being like a brick in your pocket. It never goes away. Sometimes you can even forget it's there. But it comes back and makes its presence known from time to time. And (she says) "it's what you have of them."    I probably did not fully realize then what a powerful and true analogy that is. As time goes on, our grief changes. Yet, it is always there on the edge of things. It sits in that pocket and sometimes makes itself known.  This

The Stages of Grief: COVID Edition

It's 2020. It's almost Christmas. We're still in the middle of a pandemic. In fact, we are experiencing what appears to be an incredible surge that is exerting tremendous pressure on our healthcare and social service system. The headlines are clear: we're not done with this madness and December 31, 2020 will not magically be the "end of it".  Earlier in the year, our family thought about whether we might be able to travel at this time. We thought that maybe the curve would be flat enough that we could take a few days away from home during the Christmas holidays. We realized that the pandemic would still be happening, but with the right protections and with prolific mask usage, we could get a much-needed change of scenery. During what is now (clearly) a delusional thought process, we booked a stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee for the week of December 19th. Spoiler alert: we canceled the trip almost two weeks ago.  Canceling this trip was not a tragedy. In fact, I

Bittersweet Sixteen

I think about Charlotte every single day. However, this time of year, I'm flooded with all kinds of memories as we commemorate the anniversary of her birth. This year feels like a bit of a milestone. Sixteen.  If cancer had not taken her life back in 2010, I have a feeling I would be planning a massive birthday celebration this year. 16 always feels like a landmark year in someone's life.  I have been thinking a great deal about the last birthday party we had for Charlotte in 2009. We didn't know it at the time, but we were halfway through her treatment journey. We had been through three major brain surgeries and a few rounds of inpatient chemotherapy. Treatments were not going well. In fact, right after her birthday, we would make the trip to Houston, Texas where we would settle in for about 10 weeks of proton beam radiation treatments and a new customized chemotherapy protocol. This was the unspoken "last chance option" to beat that aggressive brain tumor into