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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Lydster, Part 52: Bachelor Father

Bachelor Father was a television show in the late 1950s starring John Forsythe ("Dynasty", the voice of Charlie on "Charlie’s Angels") as a single man who ended up raising his niece (Kelly Corcoran) with the assistance of his houseboy, Peter (Sammee Tong). I used to watch it, though I'm fairly sure it it wasn't very good.

That’s the source of the title of this piece, but it has nothing to do with MY actual existence. When Carol went away to college late last month, it meant that I would take Lydia to daycare and have friends of mine pick her up and take her to their home from where I would pick her up and take her to our home. It, at least for a time, broke her of the habit of trying to decide on which was the preferred parent at any given time; she was stuck with me. On July 3, I got out of work early to pick her up, but the bus was extremely late, and I nearly had my nervous breakdown.

On July 4, Lydia and I took the bus to Oneonta to visit the grandparents. The bus stopped in a village called Cobleskill, where we unintentionally had the opportunity to watch the Fourth of July parade for about 45 minutes. After the parade ended and we followed the trailing police car through town, the citizenry waved at those of us in the bus as though we were part of the procession. Naturally we waved back. I stayed with Lydia over that weekend but left on Sunday by myself. Lydia did not want me to go, and was weepy as her grandfather drove off with me en route to the bus station.

The next day, I called her at about 8:30 p.m. and read her bedtime stories. This seemed to be working until I finished reading when she started negotiating her desire to have "someone from Albany" stay with her. She sounded so forlorn that I felt like hopping the next bus and picking her up. What I discovered subsequently, though, was if I called her earlier in the evening when she wasn’t so tired, she became less needy and coped with me hanging up after our conversation much better. That Friday, I called her around 7, which was fine, but then she called ME around 8:30, asking for stories. I complied, and she was OK because she knew i was coming soon.

I went back to Oneonta the next day, went with her and her grandparents to the family reunion in Binghamton, and then on Monday, Grandma and Grandpa drove Lydia and me back to Albany so we could have a reunion with my wife/Lydia’s mom, and go out to dinner.

I did miss Lydia when she was away, but I’m really happy that she found a way to have a good time going to the playground every morning and going swimming most afternoons, and then telling me about it at the end of each day. Now I'm done with those long-distance talks between her stuffed creatures that made the trip and those that didn't. The goodbyes alone rivaled the Waltons'.


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