Perfect Timing?

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is my favorite movie. One of the scenes I find fascinating is when Daisy (Cate Blanchett) gets hit by the car. Benjamin (Brad Pitt) describes how all of the events leading up to the accident were timed perfectly, if one little thing had not occurred or occurred a minute earlier or later-the accident never would have happened.

My father and I are finally getting to know each other after forty years. The only closeness we shared while I was growing up was age. He was only a boy of eighteen suddenly burdened with tremendous responsibility when I arrived. It wasn’t until I moved out at eighteen and he saw the movie Father of the Bride, that he realized there was something missing between us. And to be fair, I am a woman with many walls, I never made it easy for him to get close. I have no ill feelings of the past. In fact I have nothing but great respect for my father. He gave up much of his freedom in order to work hard and provide for his family. He’s still working hard. Now that we are getting to know each other, we are seeing that although we share similar genes, we do not always share similar ideologies.

I have memories of my father sitting on the couch, guitar in hand singing Jim Croce songs. But this man who attended Woodstock has changed over the years and when we get together I feel as though his two worlds collide. I represent his hippie days believing in a world with peace and harmony. He proudly shows me his guns, talks about the NRA and must mention Bill O Reilly’s name at least once during our time together.

Yesterday, he handed me a chain email that he had printed in order to get my take on the illegal aliens’ debate. The conversation started with me saying, “C-mon we know very well that life isn’t fair.”(I had my own daughter’s accident in mind.) It continued with my father expressing his frustration with people being rewarded for bad choices. He used the example of someone cutting him off in traffic, running a yellow light and then making the next green light, while he was still stuck at the first red light. I asked him how he would feel if this same person then got into a wreck with oncoming traffic, while my dad was sitting safe far behind at the red light. My point was there are at least two ways to see a situation. We have a tendency to label circumstances as good or bad and react accordingly. I saw a glimmer of a smile cross his face. He had accepted my challenge and was most likely preparing his counter argument when the doorbell rang and put an end to our debate.

Several hours later, we said our goodbyes and my father walked us out to our car. Just before the kids climbed in, he gave them each one last hug. Twenty minutes later I was grabbing onto my door handle and telling my husband to slow down. A black car pulled out into oncoming traffic and was headed straight for the car that was directly two cars in front of us. I watched as the black car bounced backwards, spun 180 degrees and smoke filled the air. We pulled off the road, I ran to the black car, Eric to the other and fortunately everyone was relatively okay. There were a few minor injuries. We waited with them until help arrived.

Just two cars in front of us-my father gave each of my two children a hug before we left. I can’t help but think of my favorite movie and wonder if that would have been us had my father not taken the time to hug his grandchildren.

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The Picture Book Review

Reviews of Children's Board Books, Picture Books, Activity Books, and Graphic Novels

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