I want to ask your permission for something, I said to The Girl.
“What is it?” she asked curiously.
Do you know what a blog is? I asked.
“A blog?” she said. “No, what?”
It’s short for web-log, I said. A log is a journal – captains on sailing ships used to write down their coordinates on a timber, like a desk, and it was called the “captain’s log,” so eventually every day-to-day journal was called a log.
When people invented computers and connected them together in a network around the world – a web – people started keeping public journals, like their own magazines, and they were called ‘web-logs’ or ‘blogs’ for short. I write for a newspaper in Ireland and a couple of magazines in the USA, and I put the articles I write – plus some other bits and bobs – in a blog. And sometimes I mention you.
“Me?” The Girl looked flattered, then wary. “Do you tell people my name?”
I talk about the times we have together, and the conversations we have, I said. I show photos I took, and some of them have you in them. But I never tell people your name, or show your face, or say exactly where we live – that’s my deal with your privacy.
“If you’re already doing these things, why ask permission now?" she asked.
Because I started when you were a baby, and I’ve been doing it ever since. And it’s one thing to tell people the cute things your child said when they were two, or four, or six. But telling the world about a conversation you had with another grownup, without that person’s permission, would be a violation of their privacy. You’re nine now, and we’re starting to talk about some serious and personal things, and I wanted to ask your permission before writing about it.
She thought about that a moment. “Nobody will know who I am?”
You can decide that for yourself when you’re an adult, I said. Until then, no.
She smiled. “Yes, you can absolutely keep doing that.”
Photo: The Girl on the ferry to Wales last summer.