I was thinking about my relationship with my adoptive/adopted family (link), and it brought me to the conclusion that single dads raising daughters (especially raising them well) are really something.
If I had parented kids, I’d have wanted girls. Don’t know why, but I just happen to like girls. My feeling is that sons tend to wander off on their own as they get older, while daughters are more likely to stay in touch as long as you haven’t been a complete schmuck.
Even though they are really just good friends to me, Jamie, Tess, and Scarlet (still not their real names) are about as close as I’m ever going to know what it’s like to have daughters. I have to say, if what I feel for them is only a fraction of what it’s like, then…wow. I can’t imagine loving them more.
Even so, I wonder if I’d have been their father if I’d have done right by them. Come gift-giving occasions with the little ones (Jamie and Scarlet’s daughters), I’m constantly amazed at how the gifts these little girls are given bear no resemblance to anything in my head…and that’s when I clutch.
I like to think that I have a better symbiotic relationship with the distaff part of the species than many with Y chromes do. I’ve grown up around, and been friends with, strong and independent women for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent a lot of time around female athletes and other professionals. Just about all of these women in my life have treated me pretty well. And yet, I’m still thrown for a loop when they get all "girly".
I’m not talkin’ about talking about guys or this or that sundry product. But for some reason when the talk turns to makeup or shoes, or when they squeal and arm flail at "creepy crawlers" or vermin, I’m thrown for a loop. It’s not that I really care, but it’s not a side I’ve seen a lot of from the "more serious" of the gender. And that’s what gets me to question if I’d have been a decent enough father.
When I see the little ones getting the traditional diversions such as play makeup, tea sets, dollies, and the like, I realize that I’m so totally clueless when it comes to the female of the species (especially the very young versions). Sure, I think I could keep them safe, manage all of the important "talks", and have no problem when even the mention of feminine hygiene comes up…but when it comes to knowing how to build a growing psyche so that a little girl becomes a whole woman…I’m not so sure I’d be the best choice.
So…my hat is off to all of those dads who don’t have a woman in their life to help them raise their daughters. You guys are under-appreciated and unsung. I’m not one of you in fact, but I’m certainly one of you in spirit. Just do right by your girls.
(Yeah, I know this is sort of a weird post coming soon before mother’s day, but look at all those athletes who say, "Hi Mom," in the camera when it was their dad who actually tossed the ball (or whatever) when they were kids. ‘course, all the kudos to the moms who were the ball-tossers, but I think sometimes dads need a few shout-outs, too.)