My daughter… Gotta’ love her. Well, I gotta’ love her anyway. But if you knew her, you’d adore her almost as much as me. Let me explain.
Let me first explain the special bond we share.
I was at a friend’s house for dinner earlier. He has two little boys but no girls. Don’t get me wrong. I love having a son. If I didn’t have my boy, who else would get my craziness? Who else would I have as an ally when the women of the house align against us. No, it’s awesome being a dad to a son. Even though I know I have a heavy responsibility in just teaching him how to be a man when I’m not sure I’ve got that down myself; I love bonding with him. We understand each other in a way that no other two people can. And yeah, there’s something awesome knowing that I had a part in creating this little person who will perhaps one day pass on my genes, who will carry forth a strength I didn’t know I had, who will be for another a physical sign of God’s paternity. Wow.
But my daughter is something else. She and I were destined to be bonded from the day she was born on my birthday… at the same exact time of day as me. That’s spooky. But true. There’s something tender and beautiful about having a daughter when you’re a guy. They soften you. They make you realize how powerful you are by their daintiness. They force you to realize that what brute force you have was put into you by God for the express purpose of taking care of them. You get to be for them the perfect man, the image of the man they want to marry. And more than that, you get to be superman for them. You don’t even have to do anything special. You’re automatically their hero. I’ve never been anyone’s hero so it’s kind of awesome.
I love noticing all the quirks my kids have. While I am extraordinarily proud of my son for going out for the local basketball league and sticking with it despite lack of decent coaching and an uncertainty of how to play the game I have to mention something about his sister and her cheering him on.
Yesterday was his last game, or so we thought. It was a playoff game in the morning. He’s 7. What kind of playoffs do you have exactly. We went to the game assuming something. Since they had only one two games in the regular season they couldn’t possibly do that well in the playoffs. Don’t misunderstand me. Of course I want my son to win. It’s just that winning that game would mean we’d all have to be back at 5PM for the second round. And really, 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon kind of breaks up the day now doesn’t it? To our great surprise they won. Rats.
So we all returned to the YMCA at 5. “Honey,” I asked my wife, “isn’t that other team the kids who beat them last time 44-4?” “Sure is,” she replied. OK. A quick four quarters and we’re done for the season.
What was funny though was how my daughter and I got into supporting the little guy. “Daddy,” she asked, “are they going to win?” I knew they likely would not but didn’t want to dampen her sense of hope. “Probably not sweetheart,” I said. Oh, I guess I did just that. “Seriously, little lady,” I said, “your brother is having fun right now. That’s what matters. Maybe we should have some fun too!” And that’s when I taught her the wave.
OK, so we were the only two people in the stands doing the wave but it was so funny. She laughed every time I jumped up with my arms in the air and then she’d do the same thing. We also got on the floor and did a dance for her brother. I’m sure he was mortified.
In the end, I think she learned more from me about basketball than he did. Except about the score. There are some things even a dad can’t help with…
“The other team,” she said, “has either 22 or 55 points.”
That’s right little girl. Sometimes digital numbers confuse Daddy too.