Kyan started his first day of school today and I feel like there’s a part of me that’s missing, even though I’m normally at work on Fridays while he’s normally at daycare/preschool. Technically, this day isn’t any different than any other day. He’s just going to school at a different building with different kids and teachers.
But as every parent knows, this day isn’t like all the others. This is an Occasion, and how do we mark these Occasions but with pictures?
There’s not much I remember about my first day, except that I was nervous and excited, which for me means, quiet, and that I had a really sweet metal Superman lunchbox (some things never change, I still love Superman) and I was wearing a red shirt and this insanely huge beltbuckle with a silver dollar in it. I thought I was wearing my trusty cowboy boots, but alas, the picture evidence disproves my memory.
My mom was there on that day, but I don’t have a memory of my dad being there.
But how much of these memories are preserved because of the pictures my mom took? How much of it is my own recollections and experiences? Just a short look through my photo album I found out the memory of the cowboy boots was imagined.
And that leads me to wonder how much of Kyan’s first day he’ll remember, whether he’ll remember me not being there on his big day, on this Occasion.
There’s already so much of his life that I miss out on by virtue of the divorce, and there’s, as a result, already a big part of my heart that feels gone each day I don’t see him.
I write these words because somehow the memory of him in my head during all the occasions we share bring me closer to him. And it is in that act of remembering that I know his memories of me will be secure decades from now, since all of the times we go bike riding and read stories and jump on the trampoline and build forts and legos and look at comics together and laugh and wrestle and tell stories will surpass all of the Occasions in quality and quantity.
It’s from his eyes his world is shaped, and I can’t help but believe he sees me at night when sleep overtakes him.