I try to write a letter to my dad every ten days or so. In fact, checking my folder of letters, I see that I wrote every eleven days in December, actually, so it's time for another update. I have been holding off, waiting for the photos that Ben was going to send to Walgreen's, but they are ready to pick up now.
I sit down at my computer, adjust my font size to 14, and try to write a cheery, informative letter. I try to make it sound like I am sitting in Dad's room at Wesleyan Village, chatting with him. Frankly, when I am there I frequently wonder if I am boring him or if he is thinking what an idiot I am, so basically I wonder the same thing as I type these letters. But I persevere. I usually end up with about a page and a half of news about what Ben and I are doing, changes we are making to the house, how the kids are, and what the dogs are up to. Then I hand sign the letter and send it off.
I don't ever expect a reply, you understand. My dad used to be quite the letter writer, firing off hand-printed, single-spaced, many-paged missives to anyone who rubbed him the wrong way - and that was a lot of people. I found copies of many of these letters when I was cleaning out Dad's file cabinet before the house sold. They made me sad, though, and I threw them all away. He has been so angry for such a long time.
Dad sent me a couple of "letters" last year when I was working on getting him situated at Wesleyan Village. They were printed in pencil on torn sheets of paper, and generally were one-sentence requests or questions. He has never liked to use the telephone, you see, and only calls me under situations of duress. He hasn't called me since we moved to Maryland, and I don't believe he will. I think he thinks the phone call will be too expensive, although I tried to explain he would be calling my cell phone with the Ohio area code.
In spite of all this, I will sit here later today and write another letter. I will try to make it light-hearted and informative. I will try once again to connect with my dad. I don't know if I'm doing it for him or doing it for myself. I only know I need to do it.