My father often went off to see his daughter, my half-sister. My brother tried to see his son from a previous marriage every few years or so (coast to coast).
Now I found myself in the same situation: seeing my little girl whom I took back from the hospital 19 years ago. I am sure she is just as excited as I am.
We won’t miss a beat. Those DNA resemblance.
But the social setting is going to be different. It’s going to be a third place, neither home nor work place.
So I chose Ben and Jerry. At least, that’s where I used to take her. Small vanilla, in the cup.
I won’t feel awkward. I will feel like I am in touch with my old self.
We anchor ourselves in people and places, even as time moved on. In hard times, we got demoted to the lowest level of Maslow hierarchy of need: survival.
I know I live on through my daughters. They love life, and laugh with friends. Both of them show my outlook on life i.e. no matter what happens, don’t let the world rob you of your smile.
Face tomorrow with optimism and not self-sabotage.
Appreciate the past for what it is, but not letting legacy dictate the terms.
Never get yourself into a box (eventually, one might have to, but still with the option of having one’s ash scattered into the seven seas).
I don’t know what I will say to her today. Most of my lessons, she already learned. I cannot help her prevent heart-break or headache. Time and Tylenol will do.
I can only be there, surviving on my term and timetable. And I know, like her, I need a father who will mark the passage of time, by his unique reaction to stimuli. Some fathers reacted worse than others. Most try their best to live up to this parental role.
I am proud to say I have tried my best. I hope I have earned my stripes.
The rest, I leave to chance. After all, I was on my own at her age, facing extreme uncertainties and ill-fated future . I made it OK. And I know, I know, hers won’t be the same. It certainly is going to be better.
So, my meeting will punctuate not with a goodbye or good luck, but with congratulations for her sure and certain victories. I see them even before she comes to realize it. That’s what father is for (to mark historical context).
I bet my life that she will do me proud.
P.S. As of this edit, I see the younger one over Fourth of July. Same DNA. Same tempo.
She likes corn and peaches. We went to Water Park. Got sun burned but a warming heart.
Time will destroy yet heal at the same time. My mistakes, your lessons. I took her to visit my old house, old school and old neighborhood. I was at that age, at that tumultuous time. Presidents were assassinated, upheaval everywhere.
I was growing up real fast. Got a good dose of cold reality in my face and the future seemed less certain with each day.
How can you explain the Vietnam War to a ten-year-old? The past can only be understood from the future. At the present time, even with Presidential archives and declassified materials (on top of leaked Pentagon Papers), scholars still debate and dialogue.
Oh well. All eyes and ears are on the Egyptian scene and streets. The urge to splurge has moved somewhere else.
As long as ammunition is spent, and human lives wasted. Such is the affair of our world, our post Cold-War world.