Tag Archives: daughters

Dads And Daughters

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

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Observations On Moms And Daughters

I don’t like to write about things that I don’t know about.  Ok, enough with the comments that I shouldn’t be writing anything.   I am not a mom or daughter.  But I have a mom that I have lived with almost 50 years and four daughters and six granddaughters so I been able to at least observe over the years some of those interactions and reactions between moms and daughters.   They can have such scratchy relationships at some times but those gals always seem to know how to work things our better than we guys.  It might have something to do with using those 20,000 words per day that experts have estimated the gals must get in daily to feel good.

Those brand new moms with their first babies are often more cautious than even the dads handling the baby.  Watch them at the hospital.  They love holding the baby but they treat them so gingerly like they are a China doll.  Of course it doesn’t take more than a few score of diaper changes and baths before they can put them down on the changing table and get to it quick as a flash.

I know some ladies prefer not to nurse for good reasons but there is something special about those moms who do and that image of them holding their new daughter to her breast.  I realize some would dispute that there are medical or health benefits to nursing but I think it does give that mom and daughter a special bonding that comes with it.  It must be incredible to know that part of you is going directly to your child.   We have a beat up small sculpture of mother and child doing that and it is one of my favorite pieces in our house.

When they a couple of years on them the moms seem to all know instinctively how to do all those arts and crafts things with their daughters.  The paste, scissors and ribbons and such and they make these little collages and cut outs that you would think were going into the Lourve.   The little girls all love doing those things and then showing them off to everyone who is sitting still and breathing.

Of course there is the entire drama and production around the getting dressed up as they move into school age.  Sure they are still young enough that often it is just shorts and a tee shirt.  But when holidays or Sunday School or other special events come along that little girl and her mom will be exploring through every option in the closet to pick out just the right outfit for the occasion.  Moms love for them to look all frilly sometimes and those patent leather shoes top everything off.  When a Dad tries to pick the clothes he is evitably told that whatever he choose just won’t do.  We have to sense of fashion apparently.  But it is in the DNA of those gals, big and small.

The day will come when Mom doesn’t go do the shopping for clothes for the daughter by herslf anymore.   It doesn’t matter whether they are shopping at Wal-Mart or Neiman’s the drill is the same.  You can see it at the stores.  The two of them picking, putting back, selecting, eliminating and then the interminable trying everything on, and then again.  I reckon that teaching the daughter how to choose the right outfit within the budget is considered a true neccessity for survival like learning how to start a fire and skin the kill.  Of course when they arrive home the male side of the family is required to ooh and aah over the great deals and the style and how pretty everyone looks.

Then there is the whol ritual of applying make up.  They start doing these around puberty and Mom is definitely the artist in chief.  Usually the daughter will start off wanting to do it herself and take her cues from magazines, TV or movies or youtube I guess these days.  For sure when they first start using the make up they use too much.  Lordy, how many fights have there been over the eons between moms and daughters about the amount and use of the make up?  Cleopatra probably argued with her daughter on how much henna to use or ground sand to apply for just the right look.  Those young gals always go through about two years of trying to look about 5 years older than they are before they settle down before college.

The kitchen is a whole other matter.  When they are little the daughters love to “help” in the kitchen by playing like they are cooking also.  They get all the equipment from the toy store and are happy playing.  But they tire of that after a couple of years and they usually don’t have much interest in Mom’s cooking as long as it is  there on time and meets their perceived dietary wishes.  Those vary with weight from time to time.  Some decide to lose weight when they are only 14 or whatever even if they don’t need to.   Mostly they don’t show much interest in cooking skills during those teenage years or even into college.  But, but, but give them a few years down the road and they start remembering all those really great meals Mom could fix and they decide they wish they could fix a pot roast like Mom’s or stroganov or whatever it is they remember being so good.  Then Mom gets those phone calls asking for directions about how to fix the dish and they soon are sharing with the Holiday meal preparations.

Moms and daughers as the years pass are talking about their families, friends, their worries and their happy moments.   They really do share in ways we guys will never relate too. They often become friends which doesn’t work when you are raising them.  They can pass a quiet and very pleasant afternoon just drinking tea and visiting with each other the whole time.  We guys run out of topics pretty soon but they never do.  Their relationship is special as it should be.  You will be blesse and learn about life if you get to observe those Moms and their daughters even from the cheap seats.

The Good Lord got it right when he pulled that rib and gave them to us.   www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Choosing fun over prudence, child #5

In the mid ’70’s my wife and I were busy as the proverbial one armed paper hanger. We had 4 children under the age of 8 and I was working very hard and even every Saturday for half a day.  She was loaded to the gills taking care of the house and being the Chaffuer, mom, laundress, house cleaner and pal for the ole work boy here.  Well, as hectic as those times were we did enjoy the kids.   They gave a purpose and joy  about life.   They were what got me to the office every day and my wife in and out of that station wagon a zillion times a day and kept her up late every night doing diapers and laundry and then up early to feed the herd and get everyone in the car for the trip to school and pre-school.

So, we did the “smart” thing and went ahead with another pregnancy.  She was born in ’74 and shortly afterward we moved for the last time to our current location where everyone more or less grew up.   There was about a 3 year gap between her and her older brother.  Her older sisters were very delighted to have a new “toy” in the house.  She was pulled and carried along with  us everywhere we went.   We weren’t really near the grandparents anymore so we couldn’t just give a holler and have them come by to watch the kids.   She was a good baby and toddler.  Not very demanding at all compared to a couple of her older siblings!  I would often sit her on the couch beside me after dinner while I was folding the diapers and the other laundry which was one of my regular chores in addition to being the bed time enforcer in residence.  She of course would want to help and was always grabbing the laundry which didn’t really speed things up but she was always in such good spirits that I loved having that “help”.

I remember when I first took her to school for the first grade and watched her walking into the school and how much she reminded me of her mother.  Her build in very much like her mom.  Her legs are the spitting image of her mom.   It almost made me weep with nostalgia to see her like that.   I imagine because she had so much “socializing” at home with all her siblings that she was very adaptable with others and always got along so well with others in school.   She became the cheerleader in middle  school and her freshman year before moving on to the drill team and developed very strong friendships and attachments.    The changes between her pre teen and early teen years were the most dramatic I think of the kids.   I love looking at her pics when she was 13 and then when she left for college.   The differences are dramatic.  She somehow over night became so sophisticated, at least to me.  

She played in one of the toughest football games I ever saw.  The local hi school had a tradition of a powder puff bowl between graduating seniors and the juniors.  Those gilrs went at each other I am here to tell you.    There was blooding flowing and scrapes and bruises aplenty.  I don’t remember who won I was just glad she got out of there without broken bones.

I remember when she was off in college she had  car problems so like a loon I let her borrow my Range rover.   Well, sure enough, after a few weeks I got a call from her saying the car would run.  Gee, what a surprise since she had forgotten to chech the transmission fluid and just like they warn you it burned out the transmission.

Then she married.   Gosh she has turned out to be the bestest mom.  Blessed me and the misses with 4  terrific grandchildren and she works as hard at being a mom as her mom did.  When times get a little tense I can always rely upon the memories I have of her and my heart will be lightened.   Having her was one the the better decisions of my life.   Yes,  it was worth it a million times over.   It might not have been prudent to most outside observers but the being lead by your heart sometimes can have rewards more abundant than you expected or in my case even deserved.   I received more than I gave.

If you are wanting to expand your intellectual horizons and stay abreast of current events I would recommend you take Foreign Affairs and the Sunday supplement to the Manchester Guardian.  The first is published quarterly and is pricey but it has thoughtful and in depth articles about the issues affecting the globe from military issues to economic and social.   I often disagreed with the content but enjoyed the mental challenge of different views.  The Guardian is very left wing.  Warn of that up front and traditionally very anti-American but because of the history of the British empire and its connections that still exist it probably has the best coverage of world events you will find in one source.

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I have a large family by some measures.   Six kids, four girls and two of the others.  Naturally that led to some interesting and amusing moments at times as they grew up.   It also had it absolutely terrifying moments.   Each had their own special moments that will remain forever in my memory.  

My oldest when she was about 13 was signed up for Cotillion by my wife.   She thought it would be good for my daughter for all the usual reasons that moms think those things.   Don’t ask me to explain where moms get these ideas, they will have to justify that for themselves.   But like so many “mom” ideas they are not to be denied.   I mean to listen to them the child’s entire future hinges on some particular event or participation in some finite activity and without it their life will stretch before them like a great wasteland of social isolation.   I wasn ‘t very excited about the idea and frankly it was something that never would have even got on my radar screen.   But this was a decree from her majesty and you disobey at your hazard.    I could tell the little lady was most adamant about her going to the Cotillion.   We already had several others at the time to make sure weren’t running out into the street and vandalising neighbor’s property.  With six on the ground already you can imagine I felt a little pressure to bring home some bacon on a regular basis.   But with work and carpools and soccer and the evening routine to make sure all homework was done and baths taken, hey, it was no sweat.  I could add that one night a week too.   Don’t want you to think the little lady wasn’t busy herself with the afternoon snacks and meals and laundry, etc.  

Anyway, she was signed up and the time came for the first session.   I was the designated driver, escort, and general pooh bah to get my daughter there and see that everything went well.   The sessions were at the local country club which just happened to be the most “ritzy” one in town.   She was all dolled up and looked terrific.  I was just wearing my standard office suit.   I could tell she was very nervous about the event and most reluctant to go.   We pulled out and left the house in its usual chaotic turmoil during what my wife and I called the “Viet Cong” hour.   We arrived and went in and immediately I noticed that there were a lot more girls than guys.  Big surprise.   I decided I would hang around for a while just to make sure things were going alright.  I faded into the background and observed.    Sure enough when they finally got around to the first dance there were lots of girls without partners, including my sweet pea.   So, I did the daddy thing and went over and became her partner.  For once she didn’t object.   She was mortified I know that dad was there but she made no scene about it.  We did the two step together along with the other couples.  I was the only dad that had hung around.  Some of the girls had to partner up with each other.  We survived the night and she survived the program.  But, my wife upon learning of the events did back off.   The others were spared that rite of passage.   We had not cell phones in those ancient days and I do recall getting chewed out my the sweet little lady for not calling or letting her know I would not be home to put the others to bed.  Pardon me!   I felt like the rescue mission for my daughter came first.   Ah, the joys of parenthood.  I thought my daughter was very brave to endure dad in front of her friends.

Daughter number two had her own quirks and we shared some real moments with her as she traveled the road of growth.   We had bunkbeds to accomodate the herd in the house.   Everyone wanted the top bunk.  She did too and we let her at first.  But when we heard those first few “thumps” upstairs and went up to find she had fallen out of the bed we quickly moved her down.  This upset some of her brothers and sisters because it wasn’t “fair”.  We didn’t want to risk real injury though and she would  careen out of the upper bunk regularly until we changed.  She also sleep walked.  Frankly, I had never really thought that was a real deal until we had her.  I figured it was made up.   After I finally would get everyone to bed and after going up to quiet them down about a dozen times within an hour, it would get calm and cozy and all  would be asleep. Then here she would come.  She would walk right into the den and say something completely nonsensical, even for a 5 year old, like–the stair ate the cat.  Her eyes would be wide open and she would respond when asked a question or given an instruction, but the response was always completely wacko.  We learned that any strange sound during the middle of the night was her roaming around the house.  My wife and I soon learned to go with the flow and just enjoy the moment.  Sometimes I would wake up with her standing beside our bed talking, not making any sense but talking like a politician.  I can’t tell you how many times we laughed ourselves silly with her comments while I walked her back up the stairs to her bed.   She would always get back in bed and curl up right away.   Even though I was usually pretty tired it always made me smile to take her to bed after one of her adventures.   It was something that she and her mother and I shared.  Made her special.

She also was afraid of anyone dressed up in any kind of costume.  Clowns especially scared her.  Halloween was a real challenge.  Heck, we couldn’t hardly get out of the house and I was constantly having to cross the street with her to avoid someone dresed up.  When we would go to the school carnival or something of that sort I usually would end up carrying her in my arms and promising not to let any of them near her.   She didn’t like the characters at Disneyland or Disneyworld when we took the kids there.  She was ok if they stayed a long way off.  But up and close and personal was not her thing.   As a dad it never bothered me because there is always something very tender and moving about a daughter holding her arms around your neck and counting on Dad to protect her.  

I won’t bore you with more of the kid stories today but I will later.  They all will be covered.   Mostly today’s stories make it clear how strong the bond can be between father and daughter.   Daughters want dad to be there and Dads  love being the knight in shining armor for their daughters.  That is as it should be.  We dads have been blessed more than we deserve with the  love of our daughters.  

Just because you are right occasionally,  don’t get a big head about it, remember even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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