© 2008 denise

What Daughter Means

[ This week, I've invited a few individuals to post on The Gui Girl while I try to get a handle on my new career and life.  Today's post was contributed by the author of Non-Stick Fat, and remains an intranational man of mystery.  So mysterious, in fact, that I still don't actually know his real name.  Also, he uses words like "sublimation" and "entropy" and "solipsism".  Included artwork is property of Non-Stick Fat. ]

Some days, I wish I could write unfettered, where I could truly speak my mind.  There’s something cleansing in writing what you think deep down inside, but then there’s something restraining about writing anything less.  Do I write to express the thoughts I have, or the thoughts I’m supposed to have?  If it’s the latter, perhaps I shouldn’t be writing this.

I write to my daughter because I want her to have the opportunity to know me, for what it’s worth, as I was when she was through every stage of her life.  I want her to know herself through every stage of her life in greater detail, in greater clarity than I or any generation who came before ever could.  I don’t always explore what that means, or think about what that means.  My own generation was among the first to have true full color photos of our youth that hadn’t faded fully beyond recognition, into orange and sepia tones that drown the colors that once were.  I can only imagine what it would be like to have digital perfection then, and digital permanence of these early life records.

Then again, digital permanence is all or nothing.  Somewhere out there is a dejected parent trying to recover the faded and indecipherable magnetism of an outdated floppy lost one stormy night.  Too much light, too much moisture, a coffee spill, a house fire, a cosmic anomaly, an EMP…. no memory unremembered is safe, we can only do our best to preserve and relish the attempt.

Nothing can ever capture the joy I feel in the moments I hold her and see her smile.  No words, no images, nothing can ever explain it.  Some day in her teens I fully expect her to deride me for the foolishness of sharing this in her presence.

To be honest, I almost look forward to that little hurt, but not as much as I will the smile it will give me when life turns around on her and her daughter returns the favor.  It’s a little glimmer for an old pair of eyes to look forward to.  That’s the real joy, no matter how well or poorly recorded in media.  It is the memory and the trans-generational experience of it that makes these little things worthwhile.

So let’s go back to where I started.  What is the value in speaking my mind?  Who do I want to be to the daughter I have 30 years from now?

I wish I could tell you.

That’s all I know right now.  I want to have been right.  I want to have been valuable.  I want to have made all the right sacrifices and not buried her in the wrong ones.  I want to have made her proud.  I want not to have been labeled. I want her to love and experience life.

Most of all, if I didn’t make the right choices, I’ll ask one selfish favor.  I’ll ask her to forgive me.  I promise in advance I will have forgiven her. Everyone else, I’m afraid, will have to take their chances. That’s just what ‘daughter’ means.

Fires are terribly hard to put out

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