It was bound to happen. My long-standing title of ‘Daddy’ has shed a few letters, and now I’m simply ‘Dad.’ I’m lucky: I existed as ‘Daddy’ up till now, right up to the moment Cayde wiped his feet on middle-school’s doormat a month ago and started speaking the new slang. I can forever be Daddy in my heart, but—if I am to call Cayde to breakfast, or invite him to play a game—I’ll from now on be met with, “OK, Dad.”
“I’m feeling nostalgic, lately,” I told my old therapist Patricia. She smiled and nodded over the rim of a coffee cup.
“That’s nice. It’s a golden sentiment.”
I disagreed with her choice of crayon; nostalgia is not gold, it’s sepia. As in a faded photograph.
“Well—no, Patricia.” And I scratched my head while looking at the carpet. ‘Nostalgia’ literally means ‘the sadness of returning home’ and I feel it all the goddamn time.” I demand concision with words: nostalgia is bittersweet, like a fine chocolate that nonetheless discomforts the palate.
“I never knew that,” Patricia said, her own cup of bitter suddenly metaphor in a room where I was sad and happy at once. Nostalgia is an ambivalent emotion, the palate divided.
It’s Cayde’s eleventh birthday today. My kid, my first-born. I do feel nostalgic, but I’m preferring the photographs I have in memory, their substance and not their sepia tone.
I always think to a moment I had with him when he was three. We were sitting on the playground structure and I pointed out the Children’s Moon—the moon that’s awake in the daytime.
“That’s for us, and when you get older you’ll see the moon at nighttime.”
So many memories of my Boy, all of which I’ve written down. I’m no longer Daddy, the Children’s Moon is no longer the only lunar presence, and may my current sepia be his forever golden. I love you Cayden. All my writings belong to you. May you treasure them.