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

Fly Baby Bird!

Sacramento, California, USA

August 25, 2010

This essay, Fly Baby Bird!, is the ninth 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.

I have an indelible memory from driving her to the airport.

Often the occurrence which becomes an indelible memory isn't anything earth shattering  at the time it happens. This time is no different. We're driving, going east on Interstate 80 at sunrise. Literally. The first sliver of the sun is just cresting the hills in front of us, the first orange flames of the day searing into the already blue sky. It's dead calm - a perfect day for flying. We're talking. It's the effortless, easy conversation between a father and daughter at peace with each other and profoundly in love with each other. There's a sense of friendship and wholeness in the air. Other than that, there's nothing going on. There's traffic but no congestion. I'm paying attention but I'm not on the edge of my seat.

Laurence and Alexandra Platt -
 Muir Beach, California, USA - 6:32pm August 23, 2010
Father And Daughter
We're looking straight ahead as we talk, not looking at each other. Eye contact with someone you're speaking with who's sitting next to you when you're driving obviously isn't an option.

Then the conversation goes quiet for a moment. It's not a missing. It's not an awkward moment. Given we're about to say goodbye to each other, I expected one or more of these. But this isn't that. It's just a quiet moment. Actually it's a very full  quiet moment. It's beautiful. It occurs to me it's triumphant. And that's when I briefly take my eyes off the road, turn to my right, and look at her.

She's looking ahead and doesn't notice me looking at her like this. What I see is the face of a woman. Not a baby. Not a girl. A woman. The bones of her face aren't shaping her look like a child anymore. Her hair has a sophisticated, stylish cut beyond bangs  and a pony tail. The clothes she's wearing, the fashionable fedora  on her head tilted slightly to one side speaks pertinently of her graduation "from crayons to perfume". I see her eyes have seen things  which matter. I see her lips have spoken things which count. I'm in a kind of a dream, a haze as I realize my baby girl has grown up. This girl is a woman now, and it takes my breath away sitting here noticing it, letting the full impact of her transformation in.

Seeing her this way, experiencing  her this way is instantly etched into my mind forever - an indelible memory.

We're at the airport. Her bags are checked. It's time for her to go through security and board her flight We're both excited she's leaving. Don't misunderstand me. I don't want her to go. But here she is on the brink of her greatest adventure so far: her life!  She's leaving for Europe for her third year of studies by herself. And while I don't want her to go, I'm so god-damned proud  of her.

I tell her. "I am so proud  of you Girly" I say, holding her in my arms. "Thank You Daddy" she says. It's a beautiful moment. It's excitement not sadness which permeates this goodbye. It's anticipation not fear which heralds whatever's coming next.

And suddenly ... out of nowhere  ... I understand - for the first  time  - what it was like for my father when I left on my first big journey, leaving him behind at a train station rather than an airport when I was her age. I thought my father was mad  at me. I thought he was angry  at me for leaving. I wondered why he wasn't happy  for me in my moment of independence. And standing here with my daughter and I hugging each other saying goodbye just like he and I did all those years ago, I suddenly realize he wasn't mad at me at all. He was just terribly sad  his baby boy was leaving. And his way was the way he showed it. Finally  I get his love for me in this moment.

This is when I know it's time to let go, and I open my arms. "I love you Girly" I say, smiling at her, profoundly happy. "I love you too Daddy" she says, radiant, confident, beautiful, now a woman yet forever my baby girl.

She waves once ... then disappears into the throng waiting to clear security. I turn away, not looking back, walk to my car, then drive to the side of the airport campus where I park, watching her flight take off until it's a mere dot in the sky. Then it's gone and I can't see it anymore.

Fly baby bird!


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