Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Alexandra II

Muir Beach, California, USA

June 8, 2008

This essay, Alexandra II, is the companion piece to Alexandra.

It is also the fourth in a group of sixteen about my daughter Alexandra:
  1. Alexandra
  2. Babe On The Freeway
  3. Light In The Night
  4. Alexandra II
  5. Santa Barbara
  6. True Gold
  7. Goleta Beach
  8. Getting Into Your World
  9. Fly Baby Bird!
  10. Celebration At Essaouira
  11. The Woman She Creates Herself To Be
  12. City Girl
  13. Vocal Prowess
  14. Lost And Found: A Tale Of Ownership, Loss, And Triumph
  15. Girly Girl
  16. My Baby Girl, Now A Bride
in that order.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who inspired this conversation.

Sometimes triumph manifests over a long time. Sometimes victory comes very slowly. Sometimes winning is extremely gradual. And then there are also those occasions for celebrating sudden triumph, instantaneous victory, quick winning - which take eighteen years to happen ... like this one:

Laurence and Alexandra Platt - Photography by Father Avram Brown - Napa Valley, California, USA - Thursday September 11, 2003
Father And Daughter
Alexandra's application to attend the University of California has been accepted. She'll take up residence in a college dorm and start classes as a freshman in September of 2008. She'll probably leave her car in Napa, instead getting around the campus by bicycle. Her sights are set on a degree in business administration and communication.

Alexandra's been producing stellar grades throughout high school, typically A's, A+'s and A++'s, to the point where if she's gotten merely A's, I've chided her she's been doing badly and needs to improve. That's a private joke between her and me. "Girly Girl" (that's my term of endearment for her) I say, "What's this  I see on your report card? An A?  You're slipping. What happened?". She laughs "Gee, Dad! I'm really sorry. I guess I didn't work hard enough. I'll try hard to improve next time. I promise!".

It's something between just the two of us we hug and laugh about, again and again and again. It's a joke which never wears thin.

Please understand I'm not an over achievement crazed  parent. While I've always supported her, I've never pressed her. She's accomplished whatever she's accomplished all by herself. She knows I love her unconditionally. She knows I'd love her unconditionally whether or not she gets all C's, whether or not she gets all A's.

It's no surprise to me the University of California has thrown open their doors to my darling Girly Girl. The education fund I started for her when she was born is now paying dividends. It will pay for her college education and related expenses. Simply said, I'm just glad and relieved I started when I did.

I've noticed some things about myself, things I did while working for and contributing to her education fund. I've noticed things I've been doing all the while her education fund has been steadily growing and growing.

Now that her education fund has grown to the point for which it was intended, now that the math is done and there's enough, I've noticed I'd always operated under the assumption it wouldn't succeed. I didn't notice I was doing it at the time. Yet now that we've gotten to this point nearly eighteen years later and there's enough, I can see I did.

Perhaps more rigorously spoken, I've noticed I'd always operated under the assumption it wouldn't be enough but I'll give it my best shot anyway. But to say I've noticed I'd always operated under the assumption it wouldn't succeed is good enough for jazz. What the heck was that?  What was that all about? I ask myself. Creating a fund for Alexandra's college education, working long hours to fulfill my intention (and to fulfill my implicit promise to my daughter that I'd do this for her) and all the while knowing  I would fail? Jeez!  What the heck was that? What was that  all about?

Life and its triumphs are sometimes both victorious and bittersweet. When Alexandra was a baby, I sat at my desk working as she sat in a backpack on my back, looking over my shoulder, pointing at what I was doing, asking questions in a language not quite yet English. Then, in order to fulfill the contracts of my business which resulted in the acquisition of funds which I set aside as investments for what became her education fund which will pay her tuition at the University of California, I traveled, leaving her in the home I built for her and paid for. In other words, in order to secure her future, I had to give up being with her, I had to travel away from her. Now that she's been accepted into the University of California and will soon leave the home I created for her to take up residence there, I'll have to again give up being with her. In the very moment of triumph, on the very eve of victory, during the very hour of winning, during the celebration of mission accomplished, I'll have to give up being with her again.

It's a calling, this being father. There's no credit in the biological  aspect of it. There's no credit in being the DNA  donor. If the machinery works, a child is born. No choice is required. There's no credit in the financial  aspect of it. The vagaries of the stock market, the good fortune of inheritance  (or not), inflation, and the job market render credit in that arena at worst risky, and at best miniscule. In any case, wealth doesn't make for balanced, happy, healthy lives. Entire international magazine publication and television media empires have dedicated themselves to proving this, to bringing this to our attention, at the checkout in the supermarket, during prime time broadcasts.

Being father  is a matter entirely predicated on choice. Part of that has to do with the eternal  aspect of it. I may not be a husband forever. I may not be a business partner forever. But I'll never not  be Alexandra's father. In this eternality  there's deep, profound joy for me. There's nothing to do, really, except recognize it. Then, in coming from  the eternality of being Alexandra's father, my way of being, who (and what) I represent for her, the conversations we have, indeed, the conversations we are, the foundation  we are for each other, all of it  is assured. There's nothing to do, except recognize it and celebrate it all.

That's who she is for me, that's who my darling Girly Girl is for me, as she now sets sail, solo, on the biggest adventure of her illustrious life - so far.

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