Dads and Daughters

jacksteiner

Dads and Daughters

My daughter once asked me if I was jealous of girls and I said no. She told me that she thought that boys should be because girls can have babies and boys can’t. I told her that it was ok with me and she asked why. It is a reasonable question and something that deserved a thoughtful answer so I said that I love being a boy because there are lots of fun things that boys get to do. She sort of made a face and told me again that she thinks that boys should be jealous and then I realized that my sweet little girl was trying out new material on me.

Yes, the little trickster wanted to find a new way to tease her brother and figured me for an easy mark. I told her that I didn’t want her teasing him and watched as she scrunched up her nose and started giggling. I know that look and laugh. It is the one she gives me when she is trying to be cute and manipulate me. So I scooped her up in my arms, swung her around and tickled her. Love that little girl of mine, even if she is determined to be a troublemaker like her old man.

Sometimes I look her and wonder how I ended up with yet another girl in my life. You see, I grew up with 7,098 sisters and not one single brother. As a boy it was something that made me crazy. Most of the time we got along but when we didn’t it was always girls versus boy. They would work as a team to find ways to get me in trouble and because I was stupid I would react to whatever stimulus they provided. Lest someone think that I am claiming that I never did anything wrong allow me to disabuse you of that misconception.

I am was an expert at teasing them. They might have known how to press my buttons but I understood how to do it too. Sometimes my father would sit me down and explain that one day I would benefit from having so many sisters but that had little impact on the 7,8,9,10, 11 year-old boy I was.

Later on as I entered those wild and woolly years during which girls moved from irritating to interesting he would tell me to be sure to treat girls with respect. “Jack,  when you are staring at girls and thinking about certain things or talking to your friends be sure to remember that someone is saying the same about your sisters.”

There was a lot of truth to that and it stuck with me. It is one of a million different lessons that my father taught me. In my mind it stands next to the discussion where he told me that girls could do anything boys could do, except boys couldn’t hit girls.  I kept waiting for him to sit my sisters down and explain that they couldn’t hit me but it didn’t happen. Perhaps that is because I got to be far too good at herding them into a bedroom and then holding the door shut. Side note: last summer I locked my middle sister in a room and waited for her to start screaming.

It was juvenile, but still fun. It would have worked except I forgot that every mother longs for a few minutes of quiet so in effect I did nothing but make her very happy. I told her that she owes me and she just laughed. Damn girl figured out how to get me again.

Last weekend my daughter told me that she wants to have a daddy/daughter day. I said that I think it is a great idea and said that we should think about what we should do. She nodded her head and walked away. I didn’t realize that she intended to do it that day but when she reappeared with her hair in a ponytail and a purse draped over her shoulder I learned otherwise. She walked up, tapped me on the shoulder and said that the newspaper would still be there later.

For a moment I had to stop and stare at her- this girl with dark hair, dark eyes and freckles. I asked her what she thought she was doing and she said that she was getting me ready to leave and then she said, “get moving we have places to go.” Needless to say she was disappointed when I told her that we already had plans for the day so daddy/daughter day would have to wait but I promised to make it up to her as soon as possible.

I kid around sometimes and say that I am going to have to beat up the boys that try to date her. She tells me that I better not and I say that I need to protect her but sometimes I think that it might be the boys who need to be protected from her. She is smart, independent and exceptionally confident. Something tells me that this girl of mine is going to make life a whole lot more interesting. But that is ok, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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