Any Dad out there who has girls knows there are several phases of the Father-Daughter relationship that we move through. I am now at a point where my oldest of 4 girls is 13 and my youngest is 7. A few years ago, I was “the man” when it came to my girls and now I am seeing almost weekly changes in my status around the house.
First off, don’t worry my 13 year old refuses to read my blogs. I have even tried to use them as leverage to get her to do things around the house, to no avail. I remember life a few years ago….
“Kids come get a picture”, and then everyone clamoring trying to get a seat on “Dad’s” knee. Now, the same request elicits the same harmonic groan as if I had proclaimed “kids! Lentil soup tonight!” Getting a picture of us as a family causes frustration and agony that cannot be hidden with the most innovative iphone apps currently on the market.
A while back, it started with my first daughter right around the 12 year mark. Parents actually think “what is wrong with them? Why are they acting so __________?” when talking about pre-teen/early teens. I am not sure what I think I presented like as a 13 year old but my Mom will gladly tell anyone who wishes to listen. It doesn’t even seem that gradual, it just seems like Bam! not cool anymore!
Ok, fine so one kid isn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement to watch 80’s movie with me or sit with me at the hockey game but I still have the other 3 right? Nope. I have an 11, 9 and 7 year old as well. It is spreading like wildfire. I now enter the kitchen before work or a party and I am greeted with “you aren’t going to wear that are you?” “Please Dad, not those shoes with that belt” or “Georgie, look at Dad’s shirt!” I used to strut around with such confidence and now I find myself going back upstairs and starting an inner dialogue with myself about matching my shirt and pants and regrettably sometimes changing my clothes. How did I get to this point?
I am on a journey which will find me in 6 years with 4 teenage daughters. In 2023, I will be the tired, broken man, father of 19, 17, 15, 13 year old girls. Movies paint a picture of the proud Dad where the girls all look with admiration and undying faith in their father’s decision to guide them in all their decisions. I started to worry about this, I even started to think about how I am going to fix it or do it differently than any other Dad. Then I smiled, sat back and realized the approach I must take if I am to survive the next 6-10 years in a houseful of girls.
I am going to embrace it. I am going to embarrass them in front of their boyfriends. I am going to do my best to mimic the latest sayings only to get them wrong. I am going to try to include myself in their conversations only to have the door slammed in my face. Jeans with a sport coat- yup, you guessed it, I am going to rock that all night despite their best efforts to convince me otherwise. I am not going to stress about it. I am going to live through the journey knowing this is a phase and we are all going to look back and laugh at it hysterically together in 15 years. And I am going to enjoy every moment on the way there.
To every cool Dad out their, I salute you.