A Toast Composed In My Head Around Mile 5
on a Morning Run in Late November 2015
(before any of you heard about Alexander Hamilton in rhyme)
By Douggie Fresh
Adelide was named Grace Adelide Christensen. But Sara never wanted her to be named Grace. When she was 4 we legally changed her name: Adelide Louisa Christensen. We called her Addie for the first 5 years and then in kindergarten she officially said she wanted to be called Adelide. She also goes by Adeline and Adelaide because people are slow to call us by our names if our names sound strange. You might already know where this is going. After dating lots of boys and even some who liked the mountains as much as Adelide, she hiked up to Cecret lake with a boy named Chase, who goes by Chico, who was almost called Wolfgang, so he answers to that too. Of course, some people call him Thor and others Wesley. All of these different names sound so much like destiny, two goons brought together by a mutual confusion about who they really are until they finally meet their match, someone who will hike at night, or who will hike in the rain, someone who understands intolerance . . . of gluten, but someone who has so much tolerance for high-octane activities. So now Adelide will finally leave us because that is what we want, right? Mr. Cosby, for all his flaws, said it well: I have 5 children and the reason I have 5 children is because I do not want 6. And the ones I have I want out of the house. So go Adelide, or is it Agnes? I am not sure. Take your stuff and leave if you must. I want you to, no wait come back. Please stay . . . No, no, no, you are a goer, go then. Run off with this Wolfgang fellow, whoever he is. This is the parenting paradox. The kids grow up and we sooo want them to leave for their own sake, and stay for ours, keep us company a while. Such an elegant conundrum right there on the second page of the Bible: A man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife and the two shall be one flesh. It’s okay.
I sent them that scripture by text message on Thanksgiving day (which was also her birthday) because I was missing them and I knew she was missing us, cause, of course. But they were with his family -- this is part of the deal, we have to share. So they replied: “We like the next verse better (I had to look it up): “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” Yes . . . I guess . . . it is time to leave if you feel comfortable enough to send that as your reply to your future father in law, to say nothing of uttering those precious words 7 months before your big day. Adelide and Chase, just remember that this paradox hurts us. Leave, go already, come back . . . . . soon. Often.
Your lives together will be full of paradox. This is my promise to you, my little chip off the old block if ever I had one. Remember what the Dred Pirate Roberts said to his beloved Buttercup: “Life is pain Highness, anyone telling you different is selling something.” How fitting to meet this pain with your Wesley. You cannot have Trevor Hall, so take him instead, a future physician with dreads. Tie the knot, with this man who fancies knots in his hair but is not a knot-head. Or maybe you will both have matted hair because you mutually agree to only wash it once a week. Life’s paradoxes will make you strong especially if having your children grow up and leave you in order to make it on their own is as bad as it gets. This is the hope chest I leave to you, make do with your faith and your grit, work together when the going gets thick. In the end this destiny that you both embrace will have little power to blow up in your face, your ace will be your family tree with deep roots and strong branches, for two people that are willing to take chances in life. But wait, Lidie Lou, that was another name I gave you when you were no more than two, before you go: Remember that one time when everyone went home from the lake cause it was cold . . . and you stayed? And that other time when you went full speed on your skis into the out of bounds rope which caught you by the neck and your head hit the ground so hard that you didn’t know where you were and I left you in the car and you got scared, but not scarred? Remember that other time when we layed on our backs in the middle of the yard and looked up at the summer stars? And then that time we hiked too far and you cried, but you kept on going like you do? Do you recall your silly dance to Michael Jackson down our street? Or that one time when you wore no shoes for a whole year? That time you didn’t make cheer, or dance company, or officer, but then you went to Sweden like your dad, remember that? And your mom and I cried for a year and then before we knew it you were here and you cried because what now? And where is Chase? And will I ever find his face? Adelide Louisa, tomorrow you will be Bob and Paula Paulson’s newest Paulson, but please don’t forget those meals we had together these last 20 months, sittin in the kitchen after work or on a Saturday morning, eating crepes or eggs that I made special for you, and talking together because those times are sacred and I will never not remember them. They are the glue. There may not be another time when we share a tent, or when I rescue you at Kimball junction real late, or when you crash into our bedroom at ten, two hours after we went to bed, to tell us all the stuff you did today and how you met this cutest boy on a hike and how you are so glad you went, but we will still be here waiting to hear, watching up close and from afar as you and Chico visit the moon and all the stars.
Adelide we changed your name from Grace, but Adelide means full of grace. And you are. And Chase means go. So go. Chase life and grow. Go slow. Push and pull each other up the mountain of life and the only thing you will regret is that you cannot do it twice. Meow!