I am a daddy’s girl. Even now, it’s hard for me to accept that there are men who might be smarter or funnier than my father. I haven’t met any, of course, but there are rumors.
From the time that I was about 5, my dad talked to me about everything. He talked about the army, about his childhood, about music, about horses, about cars, about the stock market. I was the only kid in my sixth grade class who knew that the Speaker of the House of Representatives was Tip O’Neill. (That made me really popular, by the way.) He taught me how to ride a bike, a horse, and how to drive, and last week, he was the first person I called to ask if he knew anything about replacing the buss fuses in our very old house.
While my dad was delighted that he had two girls instead of boys, my husband is a jock who displays marked adult ADHD tendencies and can’t quite grasp yet that our daughter doesn’t have to be a tomboy to be a daddy’s girl.
On weekends, before she was born, he would take our dog on marathon walks, hiking through the nature trails out at Fort Chaffee. Now my husband takes our daughter with them on these grand adventures together, chasing our dog through the brush until all three are filthy. And she enjoys these outings very much. She bangs into the house, yelling for me as she kicks off her dirty shoes, shoves her sweaty bangs out of her eyes and declares that she wants to watch a movie.
Just lately, her favorite is “Mary Poppins”, but before that it was “Snow White” and before that it was “Cinderella.” She won’t wear any kind of hair accessory, but will readily wrap herself in a sheet and twirl around the living room while Cinderella dances with the prince. She insists that I sing the theme song from “Beauty and the Beast” at bedtime EVERY night. She is completely obsessed with my shoes and drags them out of my closet to try them on at the slightest opportunity. She also loves hats.
She’s not quite three, but her shoe fetish, at least, is genetic, and her father should accept this. Instead, he seems little bit baffled that she can tear around the house naked, shrieking like a wild thing on Sunday mornings, and then be so demure and ladylike in her dress and patent leather shoes as we walk her to Sunday School. As soon as he gets home from work, she demands to go outside and blow bubbles, showing little or no interest in the basketball and hoop he has out there for her.
But at the dinner table, she’ll sense that it’s almost time for her bath and bedtime and she’ll cock her head coyly and say, “Watch a ballgame, Daddy?” They pile up on the couch together as I gather up the dishes and start her bath water in the tub. I can hear him explaining that the man with the ball is trying to get it in the basket and when he misses, I hear her say, “Oops! Try again!” And I tell her father, “See? That’s a daddy’s girl.”
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