Dads and daughters

When my husband and I talked about having a baby, we talked about genders.  We were from the school of “We don’t really care as long as he or she is healthy.”  And it was the truth.  But, at the same time, we both had various concerns.  I worried that if we had a girl she’d be prone to my bladder disease.  My husband worried what he’d do with a girl.  What could they bond over?  I assured him they’d find a way.  He insisted that might not work.  After all, he’s into things like video games and superheroes, which are traditionally and stereotypically male-dominated interests.  I reminded him, though, of how much I love to fish.  I’m a girly girl through and through.  From an early age, I loved my jewelry.  I wanted my hair done.  I loved frilly dresses.  However, I also loved going fishing with my dad, grandpa and brother.  When we went on vacation, I always went out on the boat to fish with the guys rather than stay with my mom and grandma to go shopping.  I still love to fish with my dad and brother.  (I miss fishing with my grandpa who passed away 13 years ago.)  And I’m still a girly girl.  I even put on makeup to go fishing.

My husband and daughter just before we left the hospital to come home back in October 2009. This remains one of my favorite photos of the two of them.

At the same time, I don’t think I would like to fish if it weren’t for my dad.  It was an interest of his, so it became an interest of mine.  Little girls like to be with their daddies.  I assured my husband the same would be true with our daughter.  Little girls pretty much think their daddies can do anything and everything.  I did.  And now my daughter does.  She adores her daddy.  Their relationship is different from my relationship with her.  They laugh more; they act silly more.  I don’t think to tickle or gently roughhouse with her like my husband does.  She loves that stuff.  I just come from more of a nurture, gentler play perspective.  It’s the difference between a mom and a dad, I think.

What’s really neat now that Lexiana is older and talking and sharing her thoughts and interests with us is that she is totally into some of the very things my husband loves.   Once every couple of weeks we have a living room picnic with pizza (or some other finger friendly food) and watch a movie or something special.  We’ve watched some Disney princess movies.  We’ve watched other kids’ movies.  We’ve watched holiday specials like Rudolph and Charlie Brown’s New Years.  But, one of her recent favorites is Green Lantern.  There is a new CG series of Green Lantern on the Cartoon Network.  My husband recorded it for himself.  She watched it with him once and was completely hooked.  When we told her we were watching Green Lantern for our living room picnic last week, she ran around the house excitedly proclaiming “Green Lantern!  Green Lantern!”

My husband and daughter last Father's Day.

And she knows her other superheroes and supervillains, too.  She can identify Spider-man, Black Spider-man, Wolverine, Batman, Superman, Bat Mite, Joker, Green Lantern and sometimes Green Goblin and Silver Surfer.  (Yes, we switch between DC and Marvel Comics for any comic-savvy readers.)  Would she know these things if my husband didn’t share them with her?  Nope.  Does she love talking about them with him?  Yep.  She even knows that Wolverine calls people, “Bub.”  How’s that for precious bonding?!

Over the weekend, the two of them bonded over Legos.  My husband wanted some new Legos for a project he’s working on.  We went to the Lego store, which was an adventure in itself.  We bought some Legos for the kiddo, too.  She could hardly wait to get home from church on Sunday morning to build a Lego tower with my husband while I put together sandwiches for lunch.

I can’t even begin to convey how much she loves riding in her daddy’s Jeep with the top down.  I also won’t start in on her looks and some of her mannerisms that are so much like my husband.

They’ve totally found ways to bond.  She likes his interests.  He likes her interests.  Having a loving relationship is a two-way street after all.  The man has gone to a Pinkalicious party, made sure to wear green for St. Patrick’s Day (something he never did before since he has green eyes), played with her dollhouse more times than anyone can count, worn a tiara because she asked him to, watched princess movies, read princess books and gotten excited over a Minnie Mouse purse.

And the two of them a couple of weeks ago when we went on a family picnic.

They’ve rubbed off on each other already.  He can easily pick out toys and clothes she’ll like.  She makes choices on her own for things I know she’s picked up on from my husband.  This weekend when she was allowed to pick a toy while we were shopping, she went for an airplane with big chompy teeth.  I know my husband didn’t influence her directly.  He didn’t say a word about what she was picking or try to get her to pick the airplane. But, his interests and what he thinks is cool has rubbed off on her.  I think it’s pretty neat to see.

Daddies and daughters have special bonds that grow through the years.  While there’s another man in my life now, I still love spending time with my daddy.  Our relationship has progressed through the years as I’ve gotten older.  Like my husband, my own father did girly things with me when he needed to.  And he never missed the countless music performances I had throughout high school.  He raised me to be a lady and treated me with respect.  My husband is doing the same for my daughter.  I know that one of these days, she’ll have another man in her life, too.  But, I also know she’ll still and always have that bond with her daddy.  Maybe they’ll go to gaming conventions together.  Maybe they’ll tag team in video games.  Maybe they’ll read comic books together.  Maybe they’ll make masterpiece Lego artwork together.  Who knows?  I just know they will continue to find ways to bond and common interests along the way.

In the meantime, I can’t wait to go fishing with my dad again soon!  And I’ll keep getting teary every single time I hear that Trace Adkins song, “Just Fishin.'” It brings back oh-so-many memories.

As a bonus add-on, here are some photos of my own memories:

This is my brother and me fishing in 1983 when I was 4, and he was 8. We usually went out on the fishing boat, but sometimes fished from the shore. (And if you look closely, you can see my cast. I had a lot of broken bones.)

This is my Grandpa Jennings (maternal grandpa) fishing a couple of years before he passed away in 1998.

Oh a fishing trip with my dad back in October 2008. This is one of the biggest fish I've ever caught. He was as excited as I was -- my dad, not the fish, though I did return the fish to the water.

On the same fishing trip with my dad.

My dad play fishing with my daughter a couple of weeks ago. He will take her fishing for real this year and continue to carry on the tradition as he has already done (and my brother is doing) with my brother's kids.

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