Yes, I think about her often, sometimes two or three times a day. Oh, some memory from her eight-year-old birthday. I am smiling, and laughing, and crying. Not just eight, but many, many memories over 28 years, nine months, two weeks, and seventeen hours. She is present every day, not in person, but sometimes, like today, she calls mom and dad, and I tell her how close we are, and how I regret her high school years when I was aloof. She says nothing, We all talk about her grandpa, who will be 88 in July, how he is actually talking with her about moving from his acre with house, machine shop, amateur radio room, But, I think to myself, “My dad will never move!” My daughter cannot visit us because the only trip she could make was to my dad’s house, and he needed her. Everyone but dad id dead: my mom, my stepmom, my stepdad, my wife’s dad, and her mom. Everyone but dad is dead, and even my dad’s dog Julie baby is gone at 14-years of age. My daughter took care of dad for one week, and she’s a great caregiver, but all any of us can do for dad is stay one week because we just sit, and I do not mean meditation. Yet, what’s to say? I love my dad, and I love my daughter, without my wife who I love in ways only the two of will ever know, nothing would be possible.
My daughter is with me everywhere, and I love her. I think about how she’s grown into a strong and brilliant woman. I think about her tact and understanding. As in AA more will be revealed. She was a runner-up for the prestigious Penn Award in London, for her MFA thesis, an MFA with better than 4.0 GPA, a translation of a Japanese novel, a woman’s novel. I cannot remember the title or the author. I am mystified by my daughter’s command of Japanese, as she teaches herself Korean, has had some grasp of Spanish. She knows many of the poets I studied in my MFA, and she knows some of my wife’s MA in anthropology studies as my wife studied culture. What better way to study Asian culture but live in Japan for four years. She is excited by the rigor of the Ph.D. in Japanese literature and comp. lit. She’s at the end of her first year of a six-year program with excellent results and will continue to study classical Japanese on her own because she doesn’t quite have a grasp yet. She publishes translations, her own essays, and delivers papers at professional meetings, some of which I have done, but not like her, some of which momma did, but not like her. We believe in this; children should climb from parent’s shoulders, not their bootstraps. She is reaching for the stars and dear daughter, with tears in my eyes, knowledge of what this all takes, I pray you find your star, and that you know God.
My dearest only child is gifted and copes with the hereditary tumors from me, with some influence from mom. Mom and I are northern European, and some folk like me get vascular tumors. The family calls them blue-bumps, and some call them Hemangiomas. I have had three bothersome tumors removed. Her’s are serious, She had five removed from her alimentary canal when she was 14; these were life-threatening. One tumor, the most serious in all the family nearly destroyed her walking–two surgeries at six months and two years with no success and this covering the bottom of her left foot, and she’s told by the University Hospitals and Clinics, there is nothing can be done with the five non-cancerous tumors she has under her skin. She buys the best athletic shoes she can find. We pray she won’t have to have another surgery. But, my daughter succeeds. She does yoga and she’s good, knows the need of her meditation for her body, as I know the need for meditation with my arthritis of the spine. She may be a carrier of the genes I have for Ankylosing Spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis of the spine. This, however, it does not affect women. She’s told in genetic counseling never to have children so her immortality will be found in her writings, her translations, and hopefully her academic authenticity, and maybe in finding God. I think of her nearly every day, for she is the real reason, she, her mother, and God, that I have remained sober. Finally, I see that eleven-year-old child running into my arms with sobs, “Oh, daddy, quit smoking.” and I did, not at once, but the next year on her birthday.