“It’s a little girl,” my friend Rick said, his voice shaking with excitement. “Everybody’s fine!” A little later he said, “You know what the best part of this is? I didn’t hear about it. I was there for it!” It was an especially poignant thing to say, because the new mother–his daughter–was just starting grade school when Rick and his wife divorced, and she and their little girl moved to the East Coast from the West Coast.
“I read to her,” he told me not long after we met. “I read to her every Tuesday night at seven. I give her Mom a lot of credit for that. Every Tuesday night at seven o’clock, I’d call her and I’d read books to her over the phone for an hour so she wouldn’t forget the sound of my voice. I worked it out with my boss, and I’d come in an hour early on Tuesday.”
“What did that do to your phone bill?”
“Are you kidding?” he said. “It’s the best money I’ve ever spent. The Summer she got married, I walked down the aisle with her, and then I went and sat next to her mother. And we were both crying!”
It made me wonder about some of the kids in the thousands of families that divorce each year in Minnesota who spend years waiting for the sound of a parent’s voice, or a card, or a hug. And I remember what Rick said when I asked him why he did it.
“I wanted her to know who she was, where she came from. I didn’t want her to wonder who she is. I never put a price on that!”
Apparently, it worked.
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