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Daddys...Push Your Girls...

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

She is 17 and beautiful. She didn't get much of her good looks from me but she did get some of my stubbornness. Last night she was using Facetime to chat with her latest boy-interest. I popped my head in to ask if she wanted to do a particular activity that I had planned out and got somewhat of a lukewarm reply. I knew why she wasn't interested, understood why, but as a knee jerk reaction I still felt replaced and no longer needed. I asked who it was this time and after a little coaxing she gave me a quick glance at the screen. I'm sure he wasn't a bad kid since my daughter does have a little judgement. He was clean cut, had a nice smile etc....BUT this is MY daughter we are talking about. Then as I left her room I made a comment loud enough to ensure that he heard me.... "Ok honey, I'll be right over in the next room...CLEANING MY GUNS!" and walked out.

Ummm, when did I suddenly take on the angry, impossible to please father role whose sole purpose in life is to scare the crap out of any potential love interest she might have?

Because of regrets, the fear of loss, the realization of age and the unwillingness to accept it. All of this compounded by the irreversibility of time makes for an uncomfortable awareness that she is no longer daddy's little girl. In the blink of an eye, she grew up on me overnight.

All her life, father-daughter moments were lived in-between the commercials of life. My entire world was engrossed in ensuring my family's survival, keeping the lights turned on and food on the table. When I took the girls to the park, they wanted more than anything for me to push them on the swing...push me daddy...pleeeeeeeze? As a dutiful dad, I did..most of the time. Other times I just let them swing on their own because I didn't feel like it. I was too tired or burned out to oblige and it just felt like too much effort at the time.

Daddys... push your girls.

As time wore on, I moved from job to job, survived layoffs, struggled, paid bills, and did what any responsible man should have done. All of this distraction did not stop my daughters from growing up. Those times my mind was clouded with other things and I just waved them off because their concerns were not as pressing as the crisis in front of me at the time are a source of pain.

Daddys, push your girls.

Now, my oldest is a young lady. There is no going back to the swing set at the park or helping her decide what looks best on her Barbie. My whole world is now revolving around making sure she doesn't run off with the first pair of pants that says the right things and flashes the most disarming smile. I know she wont but that doesn't stop me from worrying.

It would be a relief if a young man showed up at my door in a junk car yet had a college degree, a years worth of pay stubs, and a statement from his latest IRA contribution. To me, that shows priorities and forward thinking. Dependability and a willingness to forgo toys and trinkets in order to secure a better future goes a long way with me.

You show me some turkey that puts his money into his car, his sound system, upgrading his phone every year, and wont work overtime but will stay up for hours reaching the next level on some video game and I will show you someone who will be selfish. When the hard times come, and I promise you that they will come, he wont sacrifice like a man. You will argue over money. He will want to run with his buddies, live in denial, and buy toys like nothing is wrong while you sweat it out at home, endure calls from bill collectors, and cry in the middle of the night because of fear and uncertainty. I don't care how hot he looks or how much fun you think he is, such useless slugs are unworthy of your love and devotion. Difficult times reveal character and I pray for your sake that he is a man, not a sperm donor.

I digress....

Daddys, if you want to have ANY pull with your daughters when her decisions will be long lasting and have terrible impact if they go awry .... push your girls.

Daddys, if you want your word to carry any weight when your gut feeling screams NO because some clown wants to date her...push your girls.

As a dad, my greatest hope is that I have lived enough of a proper example that she will look for the right qualities and trust her gut.

I think I have pushed her enough to qualify... but not enough to feel happy about letting go.

I know that when that fateful day comes, I will hear giggling and the squeaking of a playground swing as I walk her down the asile. It's a sound only daddy's can hear.

I'm predicting that I will be a basket case.

Daddys, push your girls.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wise words. emoticon
    830 days ago
    emoticon excellent blog.

    You had a lot of great comments.

    879 days ago
  • v MSLZZY
    emoticon emoticon
    884 days ago
    Don't know how I missed this, but I LOVE it. You nailed it, friend. Thanks for posting it :)
    886 days ago
  • v DAWNFIRE72
    Great blog. As the parent of an 18-year-old girl myself I know your pain and reluctance to let go. We are hoping we have done it right and that our daughters will come to us when things get serious.
    899 days ago
    You are so awesome. :)
    900 days ago
  • v STARR3575
    As so many people have already stated, this is an awesome blog! I even read it to my husband because I had to share. He sounds just like you and your out look. I am sure your daughter has a good head on her shoulders and will make good and bad decisions in life, but that's the beauty. To make our own decisions in life and to own up to them and grow from them. What we do in our life and who we associate (good & bad) together make up who we are! I'm sure your doing great, keep it up!
    900 days ago
    Such sweet words from a perfectly lovely man. Kudos to you for your love and concern for your beautiful little ladies. Take care!
    901 days ago
  • v TINAJANE76
    So much emphasis is put on moms and the role they play in their children's lives, but you dads play a SUPER important role too, especially for girls. I'm very close with both of my parents, but can say without a doubt, that my relationship with my dad (and the relationship my parents have) has affected my relationships with men, especially my husband. My dad was very involved in my and my sisters' lives and my parents have a loving relationship, in spite of all their imperfections.

    Your daughter has such a wonderful, caring role model in you that I'm sure everything will work out fine for her and that she'll find a partner who has many of the wonderful qualities that you've got.
    901 days ago
    So lovely. Please save this and someday you can share it with your daughter. She is lucky to have a dad like you.
    902 days ago
    OH tears here and if I may , I would like to copy it to share with my 35 year old son that has a 2 year old little girl. He works 2 jobs and his 3 year old nearly 4 son, wants papa so bad it breaks my heart. I know he gets good money and they just have to manage it better and want less and he could stay home from one job. Makes me think of Cats in the Cradle.. loved that song and hubby and I just smile when we hear it now.
    Great blog LOVE it.
    902 days ago
    this is making me cry. such a beautiful blog, thanks so much for sharing! mothers, push your sons, not to be that video game playing loser too!!
    902 days ago
  • v PHOENIX43
    What a gorgeous love letter about your daughter! I do hope you copy this and give it to her. It will be her prized possession - especially when she has children of her own. I know if I had a letter like this from my dad, it would mean the world to me.
    Have a wonderful day!
    902 days ago
    Beautiful blog! I'm glad to see you come to terms with the way you feel about her growing up, once you've acknowledge how you feel you can move on from there and come up with a game plan. She may be too old for you to push her on the swing, but she is never to old to "date" her daddy. I date my son, we go out to have a bite and do a fun activity together and I just let him talk and we bond. It works wonders!
    903 days ago
  • v HDHAWK
    This is awesome! I'm very proud to say my oldest son drives a piece of crap car, just changed jobs to make more money, and is willing to work overtime. He does this to help support his gf and her 2 little boys (she's divorced) while the boy's dad doesn't pay a dime towards their care. He is only turning 25 next week and she'll soon be 30.
    903 days ago
  • v TIME-4-TINA
    Oh, boy, your already freaking out? Yes, I believe you will definitely be a basket case. You've done all you can do. Just hope that she listens. I think I told you, now that my son is at college he finally realizes the importance of home and family. And it's true, your teenager comes back to you. My relationship with my son is really good now. When he was home at 16 and 17, he was really hard to get along with. He is really growing up. Oh, and by the way, your oldest daughter definitely gets her looks from you! She looks just like you!
    903 days ago
    It's normal for your daughter to be lukewarm toward a family outing at age 17.
    It's normal for you to worry and be fearful about her future relationships.
    But fifty years from now she will realize, as I did, that the one great love of her life was Daddy! emoticon
    903 days ago
  • v LEWILL1982
    Wow, Robert, amazing! I can say, that fortunately, my dad is a pusher (and yes, he gets on my nerves, and I've been know to "speak out of turn" and I wonder how my mother copes) but I know where I stand and am fortunate that we are close. I'm 31 years old, it means more and more to me everyday! I hope I remember this in the future!
    903 days ago
    Thanks for the good blog, time to dry my tears!
    903 days ago
    You know, moms feel that way too. Sometimes the wish that I could go back and do it over just punches me in the gut. None of us is a perfect parent, but our kids know we love them.
    903 days ago
    God that was so good!! I would love to share this on Facebook with your permissions...please message me if its good, so true, so valuable to these you g dads. My hubs is gonna walk my girl down the aisle in he hears the swing too...hugs
    904 days ago
  • v EJB2801
    We all know it in our gut, we all hear it from those further ahead on the parenthood path, and it seems it is still such a surprise when our beautiful babies suddenly are making those big decisions. Thanks for reminding us again to live in this moment with our kids.
    904 days ago
  • v MOMMYTO1IN2012
    My husband and I have an 18 month old daughter. As much as my husband thought he wanted a son, the moment that little girl was born, his life changed. The bond he has exprerienced with our daughter has been so beautiful, and as my husband's wife and the mother of his child, it melts my heart. She loves him so much.

    Your blog put in perspective how fast this precious time goes, and reminded me what an amazing father my husband is.

    By the way, you sound pretty amazing yourself. Your daughters are lucky to have you. I'm sure they love you more than you will ever know. Take solace that you have shaped them to be the amazing young women that I am sure they are.
    904 days ago
    I grew up in a broken home. My father only paid attention to us because he knew it bothered my mother. When my younger sister was born, I ceased to exist in his world. Now that I have a daughter of my own to my amazing husband, I see what I really missed out on in the father/daughter relationship. You may not have pushed her as much as you would have liked, but you did and she will remember.
    904 days ago
    What a nice blog, and what a nice dad!! Girls do need a special dad so that they can grow up feeling wanted and loved. They believe in themselves because they have been shown love, understanding, acceptance of who they are. I bet your daughters love their dad and know they were lucky to have a good dad.
    My daughter is 17 as well and has never known a loving, caring dad. When me and her father broke up and she was a little three and a half year old he broke up with her as well. Because he didn't even acknowledge his little girl any more. He has now got lots of children to lots of other mothers. And yes, I was married to him. My little girl has abandonment issues and is very emotionally disturbed because of it. Parents can still both be very good parents even if they don't live in the same house anymore. They just have to each spend time with their children and show them love. Luckily there are lots of great dads out there, like you. Unfortunately there are also ratbag fathers who don't even bother.
    Congrats on a great blog, and way to go for being a great dad. emoticon
    904 days ago
  • v RENATA144
    emoticon emoticon You are a Great Dad.
    904 days ago
    What a moving blog...... I'm sure you did a very good job!

    Know that as they start pulling away it is hard and you will sometimes not like it! I LOVE the part about cleaning your Guns! LOL

    But our job as parents ultimately is to raise our children to be ADULTS ....... they pull away for a time to establish that ...... but you know what?? They come back to you as adults and love you and THANK you for loving them enough to let them go, and for making them do all those things they hated you for growing up. emoticon
    904 days ago
  • v 50PLUSBABY
    emoticon As mother of 4 girls, I feel your pain. I wish they had a dad like you.
    904 days ago
    Great blog! We have 3 teenage daughters and I have 2 sisters and I can tell you there is nothing better for a girl than a strong and involved Dad (or male influence)

    My husband also works a lot of hours, but he spends whatever time he can with our girls. They know he's "got their back"! My oldest (now 18) had a boyfriend last year for almost a year. He was an ok guy, but they had problems at the end and fortunately she had enough confidence and self-esteem to end the relationship with all of that still in tact. She's graduating high school this year and already has been accepted to her college of choice!

    My Dad is 85 and is still very involved with me and my sisters!
    904 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    904 days ago
    She will choose well she had an excellent example of a man in her life in the form of you. I will let you in on a secret since you have met Mike I married someone exactly like my dad. He is a man who puts me first, will be a wonderful father, and will work hard to ensure that the family has what we need. She will choose someone just like you in the end because she has seen what a REAL man is.
    905 days ago
  • v BOSS61
    Been there and done that - and doing that - every day!
    905 days ago
  • v BLUEJEAN99
    905 days ago
    Love it!!
    905 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/7/2014 12:25:16 AM
  • v JAMER123
    As a mother who has been there, I understand as my DH understands. There is a special relationship between father and daughter just as there is a special relationship between son and mothers. Every day is a precious day with your children.
    905 days ago
  • v SUPERDAD55
    SO TRUE!
    Your head is in the right place, and so is your heart. It sounds like you have done a good job raising your daughter, and if you don't hang on too tight, she will come back to you. Trust in the way you have raised your daughter but keep the shot gun loaded. I have two wonderful daughters who married two great guys. And yes, I put the fear of DAD into both of the guys. I let them know that as long as they were gentlemen and treated my daughter as a lady, then the shotgun stayed in the gun rack. But if not.... then I reminded them that I AM an expert shot. And remember that they will ALWAYS be daddy's girls. Yes, I pushed them both. In swing sets and in life. They are both successful and their husbands are too. Trust in your heart and you will survive this too.
    From a dad that been there and is there now.
    Good Luck, God BLess and Keep the Gun Loaded!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    905 days ago
    Thanks for sharing!
    905 days ago
  • v CAROLZ1967
    i love this! All so true.
    905 days ago
    Today would have been my dad's 70th birthday, and this blog really hits home. He quit a very good job as a partner in an accounting firm so he could be home in the afternoons to get me from school. He sacrificed so much for me, and I wasn't even his blood (I'm adopted). I miss him so much and we had the best relationship. I have a little saying I like to tell people: "If you are questioning if you're doing the right thing as a parent, you probably are, because bad parents don't care enough to question."
    905 days ago
    Don't worry, your girl will come back to you.
    905 days ago
  • v KKLENNERT809
    Very moving blog. My dad never said he loved his 4 girls until later in life--I'm 54 and he says it every time I talk with him. Things can change. emoticon
    905 days ago
  • v JUNETTA2002
    905 days ago
    This hit home. My Dad was old fashioned, never once did he say he loved me. I had everything, a swimming pool, clothes, never wanted, but he never said I love you. I always thought he favored the boys. I was the only girl. I got married to the wrong boy, I knew it, but I wanted out of the house. My father was walking me down the aisle and said I love you for the first time ever. That is all I ever wanted to hear all my life. I wanted to call the wedding off, because my Dad loved me and I didn't have to get married. I didn't and I married a sperm donor like you put it and everyone else did too. I paid for it.

    Push your daughter, but just tell her I love you. She will be your little girl forever. My Dad called me his little girl before he died and I treasure those words to this day. I am so glad we repaired our relationship before he passed.
    905 days ago
    So VERY emoticon !!! You sound like a wonderful father and I am sure that all fathers (and mothers) share your fears. We want the best for our children......
    905 days ago
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    905 days ago
  • v MRSRIGS1
    Keep up the GREAT job with your daughter(s)! Kids grow up much too quickly. I know because my sons grew into men overnight. I am thankful that my four sons are all GREAT quality men that will someday make a nice girl very happy. They are all responsible and have college educations. They have excellent jobs and are all good citizens that contribute to society. I am a proud mama and yes, I did push my boys. When they got a little bigger their daddy coached them all in sports. Even when they wanted to play soccer, he learned the rules and coached them. Parents need to spend as much time as they can with their children because if they don't, they might regret it later.

    P.S. If I had had a daughter, I certainly would have gotten my shotgun ready! emoticon
    905 days ago
  • v SJKENT1
    Robert... just beautiful!
    905 days ago
    good advice
    905 days ago
    Well said! They are lucky to have you!
    905 days ago
    Oh Robert, this is an AMAZING blog. I totally love it. I do believe that most parents will relate to it, in some way. Also probably those singles will relate to the growing up.. so darn moving.

    For one thing, just from reading your blogs for a year or two; I feel these girls didn't get gimped in any fashion, bu having Dad, instead of Mom. It sounds if you were not only taking care of their material needs, but you are present in the other important ways also. Having had hard gaps, in my childhood without a dad, or Dad figure... is so important. I think it makes girls feel more secure. I think it influences their relationship with men. It is also true that , that a missing mom important. As long as they have good sturdy rleationships on both sides, they will feel positive.

    In my humble opinion, also other role models, and God , help mend our idenities.

    I respect you very much, from the growth you've obtained , in so many areas.

    Hugs from your Spark buds. emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Oh one more thing... if it doesn't bother you... reading from a female writer on this topic ( really, I'd LOVE seeing a guy tackle the same theme)
    / I just read this book, called, " the Gift of an Ordinary Day"
    A Mothers Memoir by Katrina Kenison.

    Basically, it discribes her 2 sons going from youth to adulthood, and getting into college and launching from the nest. Another subject was moving from the city to the country and rebuiding a home.

    But really alot of what she says, would relate to a man or woman.It really shares the diffucult time for botht he parents and kids, becoming their own seperate peoples, outside of their families.

    It really stirred me profoundly, because our son has really taken some aunique paths, but all the other stuff , is the same. emoticon
    905 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/6/2014 3:57:32 PM
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