It’s so much fun experiencing everything the city has to offer with my beautiful little girl at my side. On Tuesday we wandered around downtown for a spell near Dundas Square. It looked like something was afoot – people were gathering, bringing lawn chairs, snacks, etc. There was a big screen set up on stage. Turns out that on every Tuesday night, there’s a cult movie classic being played, for free, to all comers. We took in The Big Lebowski. Jazzy had never seen it before and for me, it was just as funny as the first time I saw it. Actually, it was even better, because I had my daughter at my side.
On Wednesday we did a photo shoot with Sharon in the Distillery District. Sharon and I were both surprised by how assertive Jazzy was being, telling Sharon where to pose, how to pose, and noting how light was landing on Sharon’s face in certain locations. It seemed that after hanging out with me while I taught three photography workshops, she was busy filing away everything I said.
It didn’t stop there. Jazzy started pointing out all the people walking by with fancy cameras – maybe they could use a photography workshop. I gave her some of my handbills and she started working the crowd, tepidly at first, but more confident towards the end. I just stood back and watched her.
When I was a kid, I used to spend summers with my dad on the truck. All day long, all summer long. He had a septic business called Southern Sanitary Services. He worked at pumping out people’s sewers, and I helped him – except for me, it was fun. There was nowhere in the world that I wanted to be, except on the truck with my dad. I thought about those summers as I watched Jazz hustling the crowd for me. I didn’t even ask her.
Last night Sharon took us to the Toronto International Beaches Jazz Festival. Fifteen blocks of Queen Street East was closed to traffic, and every half block or so, a live band was playing. You could stop and listen, or keep walking to take in the next band. People were everywhere. Music was everywhere. All of it, free of charge. We split our time between taking in the sites and sounds, and talking to people sporting DSLRs. By the end of the night, Jazzy was fearless, approaching perfect strangers to pitch her dad.
She looks at me the same way I looked at my dad 30 years ago. I’ve said many times how I worry about her growing distant from me, living half a country away. Instead she embraces me. She dives into my life, beyond just tagging along, she actively participates in it. She makes my life a part of her life because she enjoys my life. She’s proud of me. How many parents can say that about their teenaged daughters?