//Instagram, My Daughter, and Me

Instagram, My Daughter, and Me

I got divorced in September 2012. My first Instagram post was in January 2013. (As anyone who has been through a breakup in the digital era can tell you, it’s amazing what you can get up to online when you find yourself with unexpected free time on your hands.)

My daughter was just 3 years old when the marriage ended, and the first eight pictures I posted were of her. Like many parents, I saw Instagram as a way to share pictures of her with my family, particularly my mother, who lives 500 miles away.

But I was also posting them for myself. I only have my daughter with me two out of every 14 days, and I miss her every single day that she is not with me. It’s painful. What Instagram has allowed me to do is to employ a kind of digital physics, to warp my experience of space and time in my favor. In the offline world, I spend precious hours with her and then she disappears. But online, she is with me again when I post, and then again each time I receive a notification that someone has reacted to that post. It’s like the universe sending me an echo of the moment.

Duff McDonald holding his daughter in his arms. Text reads December 25 2015 The Lady refreshes the spell that controls...

When I post about her, I’m also doing a little parenting-by-example. Duff’s First Rule of Instagram Posts says that the caption is as important, if not more important, than the picture. You know, surface plus depth. If I have communicated anything to her as a parent (besides try to be a decent human being) it’s that, if you’re going to ask someone to give you their attention, you should try to make it worth their while. Try to be interesting. Or funny. Better yet, both.

Text that reads April 7 2013 I have long tried to stop this one from chugging her milk. Slow down it's not a race I've...