I have complete confidence in you!

immigration When I made my nightly call to my parents, I interrupted them while they were watching a TV show about Jewish immigration in the early twentieth century. My father answered the phone.

“Go back to your show,” I said.

“It’s not important,” my father said.

“Are you feeling OK?” I asked.

“I feel good.”

“I’m happy to hear that. Is the show good?”

“Yes, but don’t worry. You’re not interrupting. Is everything alright?”

“Everything’s fine. Except I was crazy enough to get talked into taking a computer science class. I hope I don’t fail.”

In the thickest Yiddish accent possible, my father said, “I have complete confidence in you!”

We both recognized his comment as something a typical American father might say to his typical American daughter. What, now at age eighty-three, my father has learned to talk like a supportive therapist? We both laughed.

I chatted with my mother for a few minutes too. The day after tomorrow, she is giving a talk to junior high school students about her experiences during the war. My mother loves the rapport she builds up with the kids. “I was your age when I lost everything,” she tells them. In a voice of complete sympathy, she asks them, “How would you have handled something like that?”

The children often hug her when they leave the room. Later in the week, their teacher has them write thank you notes to my mother, and to my father, who can never bring himself to prepare remarks as my mother does. Some of the letters can break your heart. One twelve-year-old black boy wrote that he wished he could always take care of my mother.

Hob a gite nakht,” I tell my mother.

“Sleep well and stay warm!” she says.

Another day, another night. They are why I remember to pray at night. I cannot believe a wretch like me came from the best people God ever made.

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2 Comments »

  1. n8 said

    That’s great! I have tried to reach out more to my parents more. I guess becoming father does that to you. My parents never said it to me, but I always knew they felt it, thanks for reminding me.

  2. modestine said

    Hi n8. I figure the early part of your life is spent assuming your parents owe you something. Then you have the rest of your life to thank them for not leaving you on some church steps the way they probably should have!

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