There are more than a few moments when being the father of a daughter smacks me in the face in ways that remind me that life is a series of contradictions, conundrums, conflicts and chaos. The video above is the perfect example, but we’ll touch upon that in a moment.
A short while ago my daughter told me that it was time for daddy/daughter day and instructed me to find something for just the two of us to do together. I told her that I couldn’t wait and she jumped into my arms, kissed me on the cheek and gave me one hell of a hug. It is not like I hadn’t said yes or wouldn’t have but when she does that sort of thing I have to make sure I don’t offer her my wallet.
She knows that she is daddy’s girl and I am a big sucker for her. It also explains why every time she wants an American Girl doll she comes looking for me and not her mother. Sucker or not I still haven’t given her the doll. I can’t bring myself to spend that kind of cash on a doll, but it hasn’t stopped her from asking.
Anyhoo I went looking for a special activity for us to do together and was pleased to find a cooking class for us to take. We both like cooking and I thought that it would be a lot of fun so I signed us up to do it with a friend and marked the day on the calendar.
Time passes and the morning of the class arrives. We are both excited and just before we are ready to leave I look at the clock and realize that if there is traffic we might be a few minutes late. No problem, I send a text to my friend to ask her to save a space for us and she writes back, “it is next week.”
I don’t normally make mistakes like that and I double check the paperwork. Yep, I blew it. So now I wander over to my daughter to tell her that the class is actually next week. She smiles at me and tells me to get the keys so we won’t be late.
“Daddy! What do you mean it is next week?”
Yep, I got that look. So I told her I was sorry and asked if we could go outside to take a picture. After all she had made a point of putting her favorite ribbon in her hair and had picked out a special outfit. So we took the picture and then she gave me a big hug, told me it was ok and then asked me to fix my calendar. We both laughed. I felt badly about it, but if this is the worst thing we have to deal with than life is easy.
The Telephone Call
It is 3 PM on the day that was Daddy/daughter day. I am in the middle of a telephone call with an old friend. It has been months since our last conversation and Doug is filling me in about his life. He is single and has never been married. He tells me that he is driving down Sunset and wants to know if I ever think about those nights.
He doesn’t have to say more than that for me to know what he is talking about. I remember.
Girls with big hair, red lipstick and short skirts. Long haired guys, leather pants and the hair metal scene. He teases me about being the only guy on the strip who didn’t have long hair. That is not true, I wasn’t the only guy but I know what he is talking about.
The Jewfro wouldn’t grow out so I wore a flat top. During the first Gulf War it made some people ask if I was in the service. Actually it was probably the combination of the green t-shirt and Levis, but I digress.
He gets lost in reminiscing and asks me if I remember the night I had to drive him home. I tell him yes. It wasn’t just him. I drove him and two girls back to his apartment. It is like a scene from bad movie.
I am in the front seat with some girl I really don’t know at all. She and I are trying to ignore what is happening behind us. That is because Doug and his “date” are doing things that would make adult film stars blush.
Doug tells me that he just hooked up with her again. I tell him that I am confused and he says that the woman from that evening has been spending time with him. I guess I forgot that he kept in touch with her. He follows up by telling me that she was a dancer at one of the clubs and that she can do things with her body that are amazing, at least I think it was something like that.
I am not really sure because midway through this my daughter walks into the room and sits on my lap. She has a book in her hand and she is reading it.
And now I feel a desperate urge to get off the phone. I can’t listen to this. I can’t have him tell me anything sexual when I have this sweet girl sitting on my lap.
Somewhere in the background I can hear my father telling me to remember that every girl I take out is someone’s sister or daughter and I need to show them respect. I tell Doug that I have to go and I hang up. I remember that conversation with my dad. I was about 16 or 17. I remember him telling me to remember that some guy was looking at my sister and thinking the same thing that I was about girls.
Dad was right.
As soon as I hung up my daughter looked up at me and smiled. I smiled back and gave her a big hug. And then I told her that I was proud of her and that I think she is really smart.
I know that I can’t protect her from everything and everyone but dammit, I can try and make sure that she doesn’t need a boy to make her feel good about herself.
Life is funny sometimes.