My elder daughter has gone blonde and taken up the guitar. How quickly they grow up and chase their own dreams. I’ll love her no matter what, but the new look is going to take some getting used to.
TajLV has written 6 entries about this goal
Today my elder daughter has come of age; it’s 成人の日 Seijin no Hi (Adults Day) in Japan. This is the day that all 20 yearolds are recognized as adults. Her grandmother bought her a special kimono for the occasion. I’m hoping to get some pix soon. It’s incredible how quickly her childhood flew past – two decades gone in the blink of an eye. I’m very proud of her.
I spent a full week visiting my daughters in Tokyo at the end of March. We went to the park one day to see the cherry blossoms and to tour a green house full of exotic plants and trees. Another day we ordered a pizza together. And we also colored some Easter eggs…a very unJapanese custom.
My elder daughter had to work several of the days I was there, so I spent more time with the younger one… bowling, visiting a temple, and trying out the rides at a small amusement park. On the final day of my trip I took the older one out to eat at the Hilton Hotel, where we enjoyed a Strawberry Dessert Buffet, complete with a chocolate fountain for dipping whole berries and all manner of strawberry delights, from cheesecake to mousse and ice cream.
Although I cannot see them often, we certainly do make the time together count. I can’t remember laughing so much or feeling so close in a long, long time. I’ll miss them a lot till the next time we can get together, probably in another year or so.
I was unable to see my daughters in Tokyo this year. My last visit to Japan was in November 2005, and although we talk on the phone once a week, I miss seeing my girls. Over the weekend I learned that the Christmas presents I mailed to them arrived in time for the holiday. God bless the international post. I only wish I could have delivered the gifts in person. Fortunately, I’ve accumulated enough paid leave to take off ten consecutive days. Now I need to put away enough for air fare and travel expenses in the next couple of months to fly over in late March or early April.
My youngest daughter turned 15 today. I called Tokyo around 10pm (her time) to sing her the birthday song, but she was already asleep. Her sister told me she was tired and had gone to bed before 9pm. They had made a cake. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to see the candles blown out. I asked if the package I sent on Monday had arrived. It hadn’t. Probably will get there on Saturday.
It’s not easy being an absentee father, especially when separated by an ocean and 18 hours’ time difference. I call once a week. I send items by mail every month or so. I visit once a year. My older daughter came to stay with me for a couple of weeks after her 16th birthday. It would be nice to do the same for my youngest, but it’s unlikely. She’s a special needs child, born with congenital cytomegalovirus, and traveling alone is not an option. She’d find the trip very disorienting (no pun intended). Routines are very important to her.
So I’ll call again tomorrow after the mail arrives. She’ll see the card I wrote expressing my love. She’ll fumble with the pieces of the puzzle I got her, an interlocking map of the 50 United States made of a soft rubbery plastic. I know she’ll enjoy the Pixie Sticks I sent, a treat she’s never experienced and will find surprising. I can just imagine her reaction, squinting her eyes, shaking her head, puckering her lips, then asking for more. It’s all about sensory input with her.
I remember walking her to school one rainy morning. She was dragging her umbrella behind her and getting wet. I was getting frustrated. We were going to be late. Then she stopped dead in her tracks. She was looking up at something. I decided to mimick her body posture to see if I could understand what had her so entranced. There was nothing but grey sky above. Then I saw it. The rain coming down, like a shower of tiny meteors and asteroids whizzing by. It was fascinating. When’s the last time you just stood still and looked up at rain falling? For me it had been decades.
She has taught me patience and the ability to reconnect with my younger self. I call her my _ Little Buddha_. She lives outside of time, outside of norms, outside of want. She needn’t strive for success. She already has it. People care for her. She is loved. And I’m convinced that when a great spiritual master is reborn, the form taken is this: a special needs child. She has taught me so much.
It often seems I do a poor job reciprocating, however. I break her heart each time I visit and leave again. I can’t communicate with my voice alone over the phone how important she is to me and how much I miss her. She will never be able to read these words. But I know we have a constant connection. We are in each other’s hearts and thoughts. We share much more than DNA. She’s my special needs child. I’m her special needs dad. Together, we bridge the separation of distance and time with love.
Happy 15th Birthday, Shina. Sleep tight tonight.
Is to leave a legacy… something my own father was unable to provide for me. I’d like my daughters to have some property, a trust, and a head-start on their adult years. Many of my other goals tie into this one: getting a financial advisor, owning land (again), building a house, revising my will. I know that material wealth is fleeting, but it would be nice to pass a bit of it along to them so they can let it slip by on their own. And at the very least I do not want to leave them any of my debts. We should each pay for our own mistakes, not those of our parents.
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