Thursday, September 24, 2009
Grandson Dante calls from church
It was during a break and he was outside. He was surprisingly chatty and we talked for a long time, covering all the subjects we usually talk about thoroughly. I have to laugh at how he talks about church. I say so you are going to church on Sunday and Wednesday? He says, "Yes, that's all I can stand." Then he would say, "Oh, somebody talking in tongues takes hold of me and I say git away from me!" I said does your mom talk in tongues. He says oh a little bit. But all this was said in a tone of affection for Dante really loves his mom. You don't get named Angelina without taking on some of the aspects of angel, and his mom looks after her siblings as well as her children. She is the oldest and because her mom got into drugs and still dips into them now and then, she became the little mother. Her mom is the tragedy of the family. Dante said she is still lost to the family for the time being.
It is impossible for my son Dan, his father, to be anything but irreverent about church, so his mom and dad sometimes have running arguments. His mom highly objects to Dan teaching Dante to be irreverent about her church. I said, Angelina, Dante has been a skeptic since he was born, just like Dan, and a big tease. You have to accept his nature. Dante was in fact making me laugh when he could barely talk. He fell in love with swear words for their shock value, so he swore like a little sailor which his dad was at the time, when he could barely talk. His mom could not blame that on his dad because he was sailing the seven seas three years straight.
Dan has learned to soft pedal his irreverence around Angelina, and he better or he will hear from her! Last night Dante was making me laugh with his teasing irreverent remarks. This is his dad all over, however Dante also has some of his Mom's sensitive nature which is why he is able to love and appreciate his mom and dad both, which sometimes takes a stretch.
I will never forget taking him out in his stroller when he was about 3, when I was staying with his mom in San Diego after his dad shipped out to sea for a tour. Little Dante caught sight of a church across the street and remarked, "My Dad said burn the church! My mom said that's not nice!" I told Dan when I saw him shame on him for teaching his son such stuff, you have to be more careful with your joking, but I could see Dante struggling to get the differences straight between his mom and dad's thinking.
Now he kids around with his dad and has a great time, but he also goes to church with his mom and keeps his more irreverent teasing remarks to himself if they upset her.
In the meantime I always worried about what could happen to such a kid, but he and his dad have become friends after a long struggle. He has taught my son Dan patience. Dante said to me once that on a scale of difficult dads from 1 to 10, his dad was a 13. Once he even said, "When I get old enough, I might even kill him." Another time I talked about him being out of control and his dad the only one who could rein him in. Dante said in front of his dad, "Yes, he has made my life a living hell!" I did say, well, most kids could not say such stuff to a mean dad, so the fact you can discuss yours right in front of him is a hopeful sign. I felt forced to tell his dad more than once I thought he was too mean and he was losing his temper with Dante.
I can hardly wait to take a photo now of Dante in his new ROTC haircut. He said he loves ROTC, and I said, well, no wonder, you have been playing war games on video practically your whole life. He says he likes his high school better, and he sounds happier. For the moment he is not getting in any trouble with his irreverence in his classes, which tends to happen when he gets bored. He was joking about girlfriends saying he had three who all said, "Pick me, pick me!" What a kid!
Dante and his dad in recent photo
In the last photo, Dante's young grandma, Cookie, is on the left of him, and his beautiful mom, Angelina, is on the right.
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