LOL = Lots Of Love.

“Goodnight, Papa,” I text. “Miss you!" 

My dad replies, "LOL!”

Umm, okay. I guess my missing makes him laugh? The next night it happens again.

“Love you!” I express, hopeful and devoted. 

“Sleep tight, mamita,” he says. Phew, all is well. Until I hear a second buzz on my phone. “LOL!" 

What is going on here? Because when I send him a joke - a real, bonafide joke, like the one about the guy who prayed for a parking spot - I get no LOLs.

That’s when it hits me. My father doesn’t know what LOL means. I can feel my lastima fast-approaching, my tears speeding onto the highway behind my eyes, blinkers on, getting ready to exit. 

I call my sister to try and make sense of it, and she tells me. She doesn’t prepare me. She doesn’t ask me to put on a lastima-shield. She just blurts it out: "Dad thinks LOL means ‘lots of love’!” I try putting up a police blockade on my internal freeway so I can keep it together. How could the man not know it means 'laugh out loud’? Does he read or watch anything? How am I to swallow this proof that he is older now, that he is slower now?

I just want the world to adjust to his speed so I can see him as strong and vibrant and quick, forever. Ya know what, I prefer his version better anyway. I blow my nose and let those road-raging tears fall. LOL, Papa. LOL.

p.s. He’s the smartest guy I know. He’s hip, he’s sharp, he’s literary…Lots Of Literary.