The Last Days Of My Daughter Being 8

photo-4These are my last few days of having an 8-year-old daughter and I will miss her. Missing people is usually reserved for those who have moved away or died, but I tend also to miss the past manifestations of the people I love. I miss my baby girl. I miss the toddler. I especially miss the spunky 5-year-old (5-year-old kids are maybe the best kids of all time), and I will miss my 8-year-old too. But she hasn’t gone anywhere, you might argue. She’ll still be her when she’s 9. It’s the same person. But no it isn’t. None of us are ever the same. Not now. Or now. Not even now.

Though I am by no means a Buddhist, Buddhism has always made the most sense to me in terms of articulating reality as it appears (to me), even if I have it all wrong, which is probable. From what I understand of it, nothing abides from moment to moment. Not trees or rocks or people. Nothing. So the person who began reading this sentence is not the same person who just finished reading this sentence. And when they say “nothing,” they mean nothing. Nothing crosses over. Not a body or a mind or a soul or any constant anything. Everything is always and ever new. I imagine it like a series of explosions. Kaboom! Here we are. Gone. Kaboom! Here we are. Gone. Kaboom! You get the picture. And they say this occurs about 6 billion times a day.

These ideas mess up EVERYTHING, which is why they’re so cool. They undermine substance and time. We are not the people we think we are who live for 80 years and die. We only emerge as these people after we blur over the endless series of constant distinctions and prop ourselves into being with language. “Black Hockey Jesus” is a name, a noun, that ignores the relentless eruption of ceaseless flux by holding part of it together with some words. I’m an entity of grammar. Which, though a delusion, is functional enough and necessary for me to go on loving and suffering. When everything’s a lie, who cares? Have fun.

Though these extreme subtleties of selflessness are difficult to grasp and impossible to say, which is why smarter people than me just hush up about it, it shouldn’t be too hard to understand that the infant baby girl that I once called my daughter is DEFINITELY not the same person as the one pictured above. (This is not the place to argue about “her” soul or the thing about “her” that always makes “her” “her”, but it doesn’t exist apart from “her” name.) And so I miss the old explosions of her as if they died because they did. They’re all gone. All the old hers are gone. And I’ll be damned if she doesn’t keep right on vanishing.

She keeps appearing, too, joyously, but this post is about nostalgia.

Nostalgia (you will have guessed by now, wily reader) requires the delusion of a “me” who reflects and remembers from a position of constancy. No problem. I have delusions in spades. And so goodbye my lovely 8-year-old. You were a constant source of joy and smiles. Your reading fluency skyrocketed and you learned to multiply. You held my hand through a really tough year. In fact, you were better at being 8 than I was at being 40. You reminded me how to play and how to go with the flow. 8 saw you erupt more firmly into your own sense of style – your fashion sense is very loud and sparkly – and there’s more and more hints of who you’ll become. You got so much taller. You’re growing into your mother’s face and I can sometimes see a flash of the woman you might be. I will miss you. I loved you so much that I swear you’re my heart.

It was my pleasure, almost gone 8-year-old, to explode into being 6 billion times a day with the river we call you.
____________

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