I can at least comment on daughters and their relationships with their dads and vice a versa as I have four and six granddaughters. Every dad and daughter will have a different relationship qualify but there are certain events and feelings they have that tread their way through most of those relationships.
When you learn you are going to have a daughter for the first time there is always that little thought in the back on your mind that you are getting into water a little too deep for you. I mean after all what do you know about women? Even after dating and married life for a while you still realize that your wife will surprise you on occasion because she doesn’t see something the same way you do even though it is so obvious to you. Then they get mad or cry and you have absolutely no idea what brought it on. Now you are going to be the man of the house for this little lady and you know you will be having an influence on her.
But then you have those first few hours and days with her. You hold her a little more gently than the boys; I don’t know why that is true but it is. Guess it is because they are a girl and you are supposed to treat them more gently. Then there are those frilly clothes and outfits that they wear. When it is your turn to dress them as infants you usually don’t get it quite right for mom. She often will come along right behind you and make an adjustment or two that makes them just right.
There is nothing prettier than that infant in her crib dress or whatever they call them, all white with trimmings on her pillow holding up a plump little arm and cute smile on their lips.
By the time they are ready for the nicer things when they start Sunday School or other special events it is all patent leather shoes and velvet dresses and you are definitely a bystander but you love the way she looks at you and you can’t resist asking for another kiss although you get them all the time. But that afternoon they might look the tomboy in shorts and a tee-shirt and tennis shoes and she is begging you to chase bugs with her in the back yard. Soon you will be working with her to learn to ride the bike the first time or try her three-wheeler. The little boys smile when they do it but those gals just beam all over they are so happy.
Then the time will come when she wants you to play dolls with her or do “kitchen” or tea party with her. You are awkward with this since you haven’t had much experience. Don’t worry she will start telling you which outfits to put on the doll and then re-do what you have done to make it just right. Just like her mom she knows you have limits as a guy and they seem to learn this so early.
As much fun as they are little it is just as good as they become 8 or 10. It is different but lots of fun. You aren’t directly involved as much but you get all the great things like those hugs and kisses when you get home. They still will bring you everything under the Sun to fix or repair. They think you can fix anything even if you are all thumbs. Now they are more under Mom’s wing but you get to watch your gals together. There are those soccer games and practices to do and you have to restrain yourself not to make it too arduous or intense so they can enjoy it. You’ll get the pleasure of taking 10 or 12 little gals to the pizza parlor after the game with all their excited yells and running about and whispering with each other. That is an experience all its own.
Boys. Yes, so much sooner than you ever thought it would they are interested in boys. You’ll hear and see those short intense conversations with Mom and then tears on occasions because someone told someone that some guy liked someone else and she heard it at school. The heartbreak of it all. Then they discover the phone or cellphone today for many I suppose. Oh boy, you are on your own with that one. If you don’t pull the plug they will never have the thing out of their ear or today in their hand with those texts messages non-stop. If there is more than one, then you will be the constant arbitrator of who gets the phone next.
Then they are grown up before you can spit over the creek. Now they still give you those hugs and kisses but they don’t bring you a toy to fix anymore. The issues are more important and you want them to be happy and safe. Their friends, the schools they choose and certainly the guys they want to date become major issues with you. If you stay out of jail and upright you know you will have their love. There is no greater feeling in the world than to be loved so unconditionally by someone. You need to deserve it. That means you have to have done a good job over the years. You can’t buy being a good father at the drugstore; it is not bottled for sale. It takes some sweat and worry along the way but the rewards are as good as they get on this earth.
One day she will give you a peck on the cheek and a big hug and you will realize she is really a grown woman. It comes like an epiphany. Like any grand house it is the foundation that makes it all possible. If you are lucky and have worked at it, she will adore you through all the years and the gray beard. Prize your daughter every day for she is your prize, you will find none better.
“Thou art they mother’s glass, and she in thee Calls back the lovely April of her prime” Shakespeare sonnet www.olcranky.wordpress.com