I have been wanting to put down my thoughts about raising my beautiful daughter somewhere. I guess this is as good a place as any. I laid down my head last night, once again putting another day to bed. That meant one whole day was now gone as time sets its paces through our lives. I feel time now. I feel every second of it. I feel it passing because its finite nature has struck me. I will die soon. Of course, not immediately I hope. But I’ve lived 51 years and that means my time is limited from now on. I can feel things slowing down a little. I can feel just a little more tired one day and a little less ambitious. The most important thing of my life has been raising my daughter. I still can’t believe I actually gave birth to this person whom I’ve watched grow up for the last 18 years. I can’t believe it’s been that long and I can’t believe she is about to start her life as an adult in New York City, attending NYU’s Gaming Design Center. It’s all I can do not to pack my bags and move out there, too. I know that we can’t hover as parents. We have to be able to let them go. But it’s harder than I thought it would be. The day has arrived and all I want to do is slow down time. If I stay up until midnight will that slow down the days?
I remember the moment clearly. I remember when it hit me what a long road ahead I had. My daughter was a bundle. A small bundle I’d not let go of for the first two weeks after her birth. I couldn’t let her go because even then I was worried about what might happen to her. Close to me was the safest place for her. And I believe that still today. As a single parent, I was the protector of this kid. I knew one thing: I did not want to fuck it up. Of course, she ended up getting bitten by a dog and could have died. She fell in the swimming pool twice and could have died. Accidents happen. Even the most watchful parent can be caught unaware. Life is unpredictable. Its nature requires that it be. We just know two things. We are born and we die.
I remember it because I was staring at her car seat as I affixed it to the backseat. I thought what a hassle just that one act was and I remember thinking, this is your life for the next 18 years. It seemed like such a daunting, exhausting thing just staring at that car seat. And but for a few times when she woke up from her nap and interrupted yoga or a movie this kid has been a pure joy to raise. There has never been anything I wanted to do more than hanging out with her. She was kind and sweet and honest. She worked hard as a student and an artist. She’s not perfect – she inherited my slob gene. What I want you to know is this: it has never been harder than it was wonderful.
We are spending our summer so far like we always have. Two peas in a pod who would rather stay in and read or do computer or art projects than go out to parties or events. I have until August 28th where she will move into her dorm room in New York City. It is causing me some panic because I will be a whole continent away. I have to trust that she will be okay. And if she isn’t, that there are people there who will look out for her. I have to hope these things because I have no other choice.
In the end, people might ask me if I have any regrets because I never became a filmmaker or I never had that happy marriage or published a novel (not yet anyway). But I would say that nothing has ever mattered to me more than raising this kid and making sure she had a happy life. Just that, only that. I could die tomorrow and I would happy having done just that alone. I have thought about the meaning of life a lot, both as a young person and throughout my life. I know that there is no meaning to it, that humans aren’t particularly special despite our big brains, and that there is no fate and there is no God. There is only life and death and all of the things that happen in the seconds in between.