Forgive the Neil Diamond reference as the Title of this post.
I'm essentially apologizing for being gone so long. On Tuesday we hosted a VIP in our office which meant that Monday was spent preparing for the visit. On Wednesday, I left for a business trip and returned late on Friday. I meant to write this weekend, but fatherhood and its joyful obligations intervened (as well they should).
So much is on my mind right now. For example: I have reached the stunning conclusion that blogging is difficult. It is especially difficult to do it everyday. And it is especially difficult to do when life/work is busy. I am in awe of those who find a way to write something everyday.
I'm also thinking about foreign policy a lot these days and plan to write on it more. Faithful readers of this web log (if any there are) may note a focus on domestic issues. It's really not so imbalanced in my mind. I think about foreign affairs all the time.
But mainly, I want to talk about my trip to San Diego last week, and, in particular, the wonderful and provocative dinner I had with two friends who, for purposes of this post, I will call Kevin and Dana.
A few months earlier, Kevin and Dana were kind enough to host me for dinner in their beautiful home in the Point Loma section of San Diego. Kevin works for one of our sister companies, and he and I work on a project together. I thought of him as a good colleague.
As a business traveler, my typical routine is go to a destination, eat well, but stay close to my hotel. I also tend to tuck in early or spend most of my free time in my hotel room working or watching ESPN.
Sometimes, wearing only my underwear, I'll get drunk on whiskey and punch the mirror in my room. Then I usually smear my blood on my face and cry myself to sleep. Thinking of the horrors, the horrors.
[closed circuit to my mother-in-law: that's a reference to the hit film Apocalypse Now -
the whole last preceding paragraph is a joke - well except this one time in Muncie.]
So, for me, a home cooked meal was a refreshing and a welcomed change of pace.
During that first dinner, I got to know Kevin as a friend, and also got to meet Dana, his amazing wife, who is an absolutely wonderful person - top 5 % worldwide.
On this visit, we went out to dinner right on the water (guh-or-geous - gorgeous). But first, we stopped at Kevin and Dana's house to pick up some non-work clothes for Dana to wear. We ended up forgetting the clothes.
Long story longer, Dana is an artist, and she had three wonderful paintings that she's completed since last I saw her (well four - the fourth piece was a painting of her grandmother that absolutely slayed me). I hope anonymity will allow me to say that the three paintings were a depiction of her miscarriage. They were amazing and honest and technically precise and I had a very emotional response to them. I'm still thinking about them, and they still inspire strong feelings - a testament (methinks) to the power of her expression.
But also, my reaction is so strong because Mrs. Duf and I have had our own sad history with miscarriages.
I was able to talk to Dana, the artist, about the work and get all the insights into what she intended to express and her process and (not quite as much but also) her story. I shared our/my story too, and it was a powerful and amazing night.
During that night, I think for the first time, I accepted that we probably won't have another child. Long ago I accepted it intellectually, but I accepted it emotionally in San Diego, at the edge of the water, listening to Dana tell her story and describe her artistic process...sharing tiny bits of my story and part of my artistic process too.
I leave it all open to the possibility of a miracle, but I guess I'm kind of hoping against it. The risk is too great for my wife - and it is great for me as well. The prudent course is for us to avoid even the possibility of a pregnancy. And if we do that, well...then we're not really open to a miracle, now are we? (Or perhaps we're open to a really, really grand miracle).
I realized that in San Diego.
But most of all, I realized (as I often do - I'm lucky in that way) that I'm so fortunate, so blessed, and so rich already. To seek more is to betray my present contentment and my current happiness. I realized that it would be great to have another child, but that...well, I'm completely okay that we probably won't. Now my daughter on the other hand...
[Closed circuit to bike town
...have fun at Fringe on Thursday...and good luck]