Archive for parenting

Detritus

Posted in Elizabeth Westmark, Junk 1: Fall 2010 with tags , , , , , , , on November 14, 2010 by Editors

by Elizabeth Westmark 

 

Dear Max,

I’ve reached that stage of life where my sins of omission far outweigh my sins of commission.

The old preacher who befriended you in that tiny town where you were living led us to the small frame house by the railroad tracks.

The dilapidated wooden swing on the porch whispered of better times. We slowly followed the reverend to the front door. He jiggled the key and twisted the loose knob, pushing on the humidity-swollen door until it opened.

Collectively taking a deep breath, we stepped over the threshold.

Oh, dear God, so this is how you were living.

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What Kind of Father Am I?

Posted in Junk 1: Fall 2010, Tim Elhajj with tags , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by Editors

by Tim Elhajj

Twenty-some years ago, I took my son to a Pennsylvania amusement park named for a chocolate bar and discovered I had a lot to learn about being a father. He was a chipper boy of about three-and-a-half. It was a bright summer’s day and we were having a good time. He insisted we ride a wild roller coaster that included a loop-the-loop. It seemed like a bad idea to me, but he was relentless: He tugged at my pant leg, screwed up his little sun-baked face and whined. I would have stood a better chance of denying him, had I felt a little more secure in my ability to father him. Or, perhaps, if I had a better sense of the kind of father I wanted to be. As it was, I had neither. Shortly after he was born, his mother had taken him and left me, and my father was dead and gone, leaving me with only the vague notion that I ought to be able to do a better job than he had done with me. It seemed simple enough. But I only had the boy for the afternoon. And more than anything else, I wanted to make him happy.

“You want to ride the SooperDooperLooper?” I asked.

He literally leapt into the air and bounced in a ring around me. His blond crew cut shone, his blue eyes glittered with anticipation.

Part of the SooperDooperLooper’s popularity is its low height requirement. Even so, I had to grab Timmy by his armpit and nudge him half an inch skyward to meet the bar. I nodded to the timid teenager collecting tickets and said, “He’s good.”

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