Absence makes the heart grow fonder
I miss Phillip. I think I will write a story about him.
Or maybe I will just tell you that when our parents got together - without us, for brunch, I KNOW! - we only heard a very general account of what was said about us, but one thing was: Phillip's mom never DREAMED he would have three children. I wanted to say, "Yeah, Phillip never dreamed that either. That was all me!" But I kept my mouth shut and she went on and said, "But I knew he would be a good dad because he was so good with his CAT."
OMG. So Phillip had this cat named Mindy and do you know how much I've heard about MINDY? I mean, for someone who is not particularly fond of cats, I have been RATHER TOLERANT of all the Mindy Nostalgia. I actually haven't heard much about Mindy in the last few years - maybe because he does have the three children now? But yes, Mindy was a much loved cat, doted upon by an awkward Chinese-American boy with a saxaphone scholarship.
Phillip has one sibling, a brother who is eight years older. So he's both The Youngest and The Only. (Whereas I am the Oldest and was only an Only for 15 months.) Anyway, his brother, apparently, was a Real Go Getter and did well in school and went right on to grad school and went right on to The Big Corporation and Phillip was... well, let's let his mother describe it again: "I just hoped he would get into COMMUNITY college!"
And it's true, when I met Phillip he wasn't the most studious of students. Not that he was a slacker or not smart enough or anything like that, he just wasn't INTO it. Not like a lot of the other Asian American students I knew, who were acing O Chem and nine hundred-level Calculus. I don't ever remember Phillip stressing about school - except for his Chinese class, where he stressed about being Chinese but not KNOWING Chinese, and how he didn't practice enough to be a REALLY good saxaphone player, but oh well! Phillip was (and still is, in many ways) the most laid back person I knew (know).
So 34-year-old Phillip with the corporate job and the business travel and the masters degree CAN be a bit mystifying, yet happily so for those of us who depend on him for Target funds.
What I remember about Phillip is that he was (and is) easy to be around. There were a lot of politics in the Non-Denominational College Fellowship at that time, and Phillip didn't play them. He had no agenda. He liked everyone. Everyone liked him. He was just happy to be around whoever was there. He appreciated everything. He had a knack for making other people feel special and listened to. He liked potato chips, music, people hanging out in his dorm room, gadgets, and me, even though it took him forever to realize it. Loser.
Back when I was a Raving Feminist and he was Not Particularly Ambitious, I was anxious about the whole getting married and suddenly being chained to someone else's dreams and picture of the future. And when I not-very-kindly expressed that worry he just looked at me innocently and said, "If you wanted to go somewhere I'd just follow YOU."
What's ridiculous about that worry is that neither of us had dreams we could halfway ARTICULATE, let alone insist the other follow along.
In Phillip I see how to listen, how to hear, how to understand both sides. He is calm, empathetic, reasonable, thoughtful, measured. I envy his ability to let things go, to be easy on himself, to not take things personally. He is incredibly, irritatingly patient.
Then there was the time when we were living in the townhouse and I was in the shower upstairs and he was downstairs taking care of Baby Jack and he ran upstairs, ducked his head into the bathroom, and asked me if we had waffles in the freezer. And I said, "Did you look in the freezer?" And he said, "...no?"
I didn't feel like we were kids then, but MAN we were KIDS and now he's flying to the East Coast every other week and I am fixing three un-nutritious meals a day for our three children. I had no idea. I mean, I was totally smitten, I thought of no one else, I hated it when he wasn't around, I hoped we'd get married eventually, but I really had no earthly idea.