Dear Dad / by Susie Lubell

Stanley circa 1944 NY
Stanley Lee Lubell 1939-1992

I had another baby boy. His name is Idan and he's almost seven weeks old. He looks like me! Well, me and mom. That's what everyone says anyway. Sometimes I pull out the pictures I have of you as a little boy and I'm astounded by how much Shalev looks like you. It's your face on my son! We're trying to convince him to take ukulele lessons in the fall with your old ukulele. If there's You Tube where you are, you most certainly will not want to miss out on that.

But more about Idan. He is your typical infant. His intestines are bunched up too tight or something so he's crampy and grumpy for many of his waking hours. Which are few, thank god. He's starting to flirt with the idea of smiling but so far he mostly just stares at the world in complete panic. You can hardly blame him. The world is kind of a scary place, and scarier since you left. He does have the softest angora hair on his head though, so I've decided to keep him. Because he's soft. He's my new wubby. wink wink.

The other big news is that we're moving to Israel. I wonder if you'd be supportive if you were still alive. The truth is it's probably a moot point since my life would have likely taken an entirely different trajectory if you hadn't died. I hate to say this, but I'm probably better for it.  More resilient. More pragmatic. More resourceful. Which is not to say that a day doesn't goes by - really, not a single friggin day - that I don't wish you could know your grand kids (you have five now, not sure if you're keeping tabs) and your son-in-law and me for that matter and that we could all know you.  I'm sure you'd be nuts for these kids. Especially Aviv. She is a pisser. Hard headed. Spunky. Charming. Sweet. Kind. Generous. Devilish. With a head of thick, dark brown curls. She's phenomenal. And she could probably use some extra attention now that we have the baby. She's kind of a pain in the ass lately. Poor girl. Last year when we were in New York visiting your family, she started calling Uncle Peter Grandpa. It was sweet. But made me sad.

Yes, Israel. Packing it up and moving there in the winter. Who knows for how long but we're trying it out. Your mom is a little worried about it but she's not as dramatic as she used to be. She is ninety after all. And mom seems to be okay about it too, although I know she'd rather we stayed put. She lives for these kids as you can imagine.

What else...I had a career switch and I've been selling my artwork the last two years while I wing it as a reluctant stay at home mom. That's also not easy and sometimes I wish I'd become a doctor like you. Because at the end of the day it's pretty high paying shift work for a mom. But I lacked guidance in my twenties and sort of flitted about. Good years, to be sure. But somewhat aimless. Anyway, the art and the business surrounding the art keeps my mind from atrophying too much and allows me to run around dropping off and picking up my kids from a million different places. My big dream these days is to write a book - a collection of essays about navigating mid-life with spirit, creativity and a sense of humor. And a GPS.

That's about it Dad. Nineteen years goes by pretty fast, huh. You can rest knowing your baby girl is doing fine. The kids and I talk about you a lot and what it means to die and how everyone dies and how we miss people. All healthy discussions, thanks to you. Give my love to Pop too.

I love you.