Found the following photo lurking in the dark corners of the hard drive.
...and it gave me pause. Serious. Pause.
That was taken outside Lake Placid, NY in 2003 [on my way up to bigger & worse things] but, it was a great moment. Great because it was the 3rd time I was outside that year. Chloe & Amy had begged me to go somewhere with them: a vacation, a get-away. And I had -finally- agreed.
Looking at that photo, I smile for what it shows in the immediate: a beautiful little girl in her very first swimsuit walking into water for her very first time with her dad. She was terrified of a school of baby trout swimming near our feet. Amy & me had to -repeatedly- convince her that they weren't 'Miniature Sharks'.
But, also, looking at that pic right now... The Regret. I'd like my daughter's youngest years back, with me where I am at currently/presently. I lost so much of it. Only stories & events retold for my cloistered benefit [sanity] kept me seeing what I did not see, what I did not participate in at all. I missed every walk, every errand, every trip to the park. I pushed my daughter in her stroller precisely one time... in our living room [Amy had arranged that so I could know what it felt like~and it felt gloriously like it should have felt].
I don't know what or how it is that draws me to regret, deep regret, while certainly respecting, appreciating & honoring where I'm at now, today. I appreciate a lot if not every thing in ways I cannot express overly well... but simultaneously, I am -at minimum- tipped toward the past with endless melancholy over what was -no other good way to paint it- Lost.
I've asked Chloe if she feels anger, sadness or anything bad toward me for those years, the lost years. And her answer remains, "No, you're my daddy... I love you! I just think you're more You now, than you were you Then". And that's that I suppose...
We are who we are right now.
It's the shedding of memories [the ones that hurt, haunt & drag it all down] that seem everlastingly on the biggest of big 'To-Do Lists'. If you can't erase them, what's to become of them.
I think, eventually, I'll find a proper place for all of it to reside in myself...
but for all the good and fantastic in the universe, I'd like a Do-Over.
Keep Ridin'... Always