I'd really hoped to get things together by now, but I'm still having trouble getting the illustrations out on time. The scanner we have at home has broken, and we keep not getting it fixed, so I have to go out to Staples to scan these things, and all my other errands are in the other direction so it's never convenient to go. And it's amazing the chaos a very small girl can cause, without meaning to at all. I'm beginning to think that we will never get ourselves organized again, but perhaps we will adjust ourselves to this new state of flux eventually.
Don't think I'm complaining. My daughter is a miracle; there isn't poetry in the world enough for her.
We're coming up on Litha, the Summer Solstice. I'm going to post the Litha entry a couple of days early, even though the following post actually falls on Litha itself, because that works better for the rhythm of what I want to post. Litha wasn't the beginning of a new semester, the way Ostar and Beltane were, but it was a major holiday on campus, and I want to keep with the structure of putting section breaks in my narrative at every Sabbat.
We're coming up on Father's Day, too, which is really strange because this year..."father" means me. I'm Daddy, now, not that my daughter can say so with words yet. Even "Da-da" is still months away. But she doesn't need words to say it; I know what she means.
And so we come to the half-way point of my story, if my story covers the first year of my time at school only. I think a year is enough to get my central point across, and it is the most natural stopping point, unless I continue writing this for the whole four years I was a novice, or for the further six years of my Absence and candidacy until I won my green ring...Absence, incidentally, is a period of three years that graduates have to spend entirely cut off from the school before returning to become a candidate for mastery. You don't have to do Absence if you don't want to become a candidate, but since they only hire people who have been through the program themselves, and since winning the green ring means you're qualified to take a job with the school if one opens up, they have to do something to make sure that the faculty have something to teach other than what they learned in the school. It keeps the community from getting inbred, so to speak. If I continue and write about my candidacy, I'll just skip my Absence--not that it wasn't eventful for me, that's when I met my wife.
Anyway, I will probably write a book about all of this at some point, but how long this continues as a blog depends largely on how readers respond. So, be thinking about how much of the story you want to hear and in what format, as we get closer to the end of the year, and drop me a line. Or, since I'm probably impossible to get a hold of directly (as you may have guessed, I've hidden my identity as deeply as that of the school), get a hold of my editor, Caroline, and she'll get a hold of me. Or, just comment on the blog.
Half a year from now, let's see. By then Carly (my daughter, and no, she's not named after my editor) could be walking. That seems like a million years away, but I've heard it will go by in a flash. One of the strange things about doing this story this year, rather than last year, as I'd initially tried to do, is it means that Aidan, in the story, is very close to the same age Carly is now. I haven't written all that much about Kayla and Aidan, because I wasn't interacting with them very much. I didn't know what to say to Kayla. I so wanted her to like me, to think of me as this really cool big brother or something, but I had no idea what counts as cool to a twelve year old girl, let alone a twelve year old girl with a baby, so I hardly said anything to her at all that first year I knew her. And I had no idea how to connect with Aidan, since he couldn't talk. He was so alien to everything I knew. But I thought about them both, sometimes, and I've been thinking a lot about both of them now.
I've been watching my wife with our daughter, how, like me, she has no idea what she's doing and yet how thoroughly and utterly competent she is. Even exhausted, frightened, with her hair all a mess and her face scratched up from Carly's sharp little finger-nails--I just....
And Kayla did this. She did this with no partner, no preparation, and she was just twelve years old. The same age Aidan is now.
She called me the other day. We talk now, sometimes, especially since I've become a parent, too. A few months ago Aidan found out that he is Kayla's son, not her brother. They were going to tell him at his manhood ceremony, when he's thirteen or fourteen (sort of like a Wiccan Bar Mitzvah, not real adulthood), but he figured it out--consciously, I mean. I'm sure at a deeper level he's always known. Just this past week, he asked who his father was. Kayla wouldn't tell him. She made up some vague version of the truth that's a bit more palatable, morally, than what actually happened.
"Did I do that right?" she asked me.
"How should I know?" I told her. "I guess you did. It's kind of a heavy thing for a twelve year old to hear."
"It was kind of a heavy thing for a twelve year old to live," she agreed. We were silent a minute.
"Do you think you'll ever tell him?" I asked.
"I don't know. I hope I don't have to."
"He's going to get curious. He's going to want to know where he comes from. Who your father is is a big deal, for a boy," I told her.
"For a girl, too," she reminded me. She doesn't know her biological father, either, but for much more benign reasons.
"He's going to read my blog, eventually," I pointed out. "I don't tell the story, but you know I've made references to it."
"I know. I took care of that. I told him that the man who helps a woman get pregnant is only the sire, like the rams and the buck goats back at the farm on campus, remember?"
"A father is a man who loves a child, and that's where Aidan comes from, the men who loved him, not his sire, who didn't. I asked him if he knew who his fathers are."
"What did he say?"
"He listed them; Allen, Greg, Charlie, Joe and Joe...he didn't hesitate at all."
I had no reason to think he might have listed me.
"Kayla, do you ever regret it? Do you ever wish they hadn't given you the option to help raise Aidan? You never got to really be a teenager." There was silence on the phone again for a minute.
"Daniel, that man who sired Aidan took away my choice. The men of the ring gave choice back to me."
[Next Post: Monday, June 17th: Litha]