It is late, and behind me, Meshparjai sleeps on the couch while Kendall Payne plays on my iPhone. We have just finished watching Tinker Bell.
Meshparjai is almost sixteen months old now. She walks, she climbs, she begins to run. She begins to speak, and certainly understands some of the words that Thayet and I use. Mostly those words are English. When we are alone, I still speak some mando'a. In part it is for my own practice. But only in part.
There is a Mando saying, "Raise your children: raise your sons to be strong, but your daughters to be stronger." The Natalian appeal should be obvious, but it's probably less obvious that there's nothing about Mando culture that is pro-female or anti-male. This is one of the many reasons the Mando mindset appeals to me. It's ... a lens, I guess, through which to process my fatherhood.
In what does fatherhood consist? When I vowed to Thayet, "Mhi bajuri verde" (well, in my heart anyway; I try to avoid vocalizing too much Mando stuff lest it become silly), what exactly did I have in mind for a sixteen month old? She still needs her diapers changed and the turmoils of babyhood soothed, but now that she begins to understand ... what? How do you teach a sixteen month old to be a lady knight, a verd mandokarla?
I can't articulate an answer to that doesn't seem immediately incomplete. But I can name little things to do. Sing to her songs that explain who Jesus is. Watch movies and read books that dream of a better place than here - so she will know that here can be made better.