Dearest Rachel –
The girls communicate with each other at the weirdest times, it would seem. It probably shouldn’t surprise me when I see emails back-and-forth at around one in the morning, considering Erin’s graveyard shift schedule, but the fact that Ellen responds at roughly the same time comes as a surprise. Still, if that’s how and when they wanna communicate, that’s certainly their right. They shouldn’t necessarily expect me to respond in real time, though.
Although, I actually responded to their thread in a more timely fashion than I might otherwise, thanks to a sleep schedule thrown off by the dog yet again (although I probably shouldn’t be throwing the dog under the bus here – I fall asleep at 10:30 and wake up when I wake up), which it to say, within an hour of their last few messages, around two in the morning. You see, while they are free to contact each other independent of me (although for whatever reason, they just…don’t), they included me in the conversation specifically to determine whether we were all getting together this coming Friday. And of course, I don’t have anything on my schedule, so I was more than happy to see them over. It’s been far too many weeks as it is.
I did contact Ellen separately to thank her once again for keeping an eye on the house – and specifically on Chompers – over the past weekend, and that I owed her yet another night out. She responded as she does, rather modestly, insisting that most of the heavy lifting was done by Daniel, particularly since she had to work on Thursday and Friday, not to mention her volunteer work at the animal shelter on Saturday.
It seems that once again, I need to give credit where credit is due. I know that even over the weekend, I had to acknowledge that I am not the leader that I ought to be. To be fair, I have no desire to be a leader in the first place, but in my role as a father, I am one – or am supposed to be one – whether I want to or not.
But while I can – and do – go up to him, relay the words that Ellen said about how he took most of the responsibility over the past weekend, and thank him for taking care of the house and the dog, it all sounds like just words coming out of my mouth. I feel like I should be doing something more to express my appreciation to him.
The thing is, I think the two of us speak very different love languages, and I can’t translate my appreciation into his, because I don’t even know what his is. Personally, as you may have noticed with my offer to Ellen, what I would do is to take somebody out to a nice meal. I don’t know that Daniel really gets anything out of that. And in any case, it’s not as if I can take him out, given his defiance of certain health and safety protocols of the moment. Now, he insists that it’s all theater – and I actually kind of agree with him to a certain extent – but there are all these rules and regulations (if not laws) to abide by in order to function in public society at the moment. Of course, he also insists that the situation will change soon as The Truth is revealed, but I counter with the fact that for now, nothing has happened. Just the other day, California has proven itself to be little more than one very large Chinatown (as in “Forget it, Jake…”), complete with talk that the winner – who, you need to understand, has been the subject of a grassroots recall for the past few months – is suddenly considered to be presidential timber, should the old man now occupying the position not make it safely to 2024. If the Lord is supposed to be changing everything by the end of the year, this was a perfect opportunity that He completely botched. And since I’m not about to claim God screwed up, I’m going to say His alleged prophets did – which renders them not prophets, now, doesn’t it?
So you see, any attempt at expressing gratitude ends up devolving into an argument. All of which is literally the last thing I want to have happen here. At the same time, I hate having to watch what I say around Daniel, since this is his be-all-and-end-all subject of conversation.
At least these days, he’s gotten back to one of his old obsessions as well, that of the Castlevania video game series. It seems he’s found a site or two online that allows him to play emulations of the various games, and he has been doing so regularly. I’m grateful for the fact that it blunts the impact of all the other media he’s consuming – not to mention that some of it is robust enough that, once he’s on the site, he’s apparently been able to keep playing when we suffered an internet outage a couple days ago. So he certainly manages to keep himself occupied and content in his little domain in the family room.
I just wish I could do something special for him to show him how pleased I am with the quiet work he does around the house while I’m gone – even if it’s nothing more than ensuring the place doesn’t collapse around him and Chompers’ messes are cleaned up in a timely manner. It’s still so much better than nothing, and the fact that he does it – rather than Ellen – and without prompting from either her or me is worthy of praise.
I should probably study the lore of the series a bit more, so that I could listen to him talk about it with a little better understanding – and less appearing confused (and ultimately bored) by the subject. The rabbit hole is fairly deep with this series, and maybe diving down it might help me connect with him better. I just need to find some way to study it that is engaging for the both of us (unfortunately, MatPat’s never done a theory on the series, and Daniel tends to be resistant to watching new channels – although I’ve introduced him to a few that I’ve pre-screeened to confirm he might find them interesting); this way, we could connect on a subject that’s dear to him, and I might actually learn something about the subject in the process while bonding with him. It’s the least I could do for him.
As always, honey, wish me luck. I’m pretty sure both of us are gonna need it.