This dad was side blinded about what having a daughter would do to his life. Check out how his baby girl changed his life.
Average people have a habit of turning into wild soothsayers when they find out you’re expecting.
In my case, volumes of prognostications were given about what being a father would be like or how it might feel.
Here are some things that no one prepared me for.
If you’ve ever wondered what was happening in the hearts and minds of dads with daughters, consider this list a kind of soul peep show.
1. No one ever told me how soon she might pay attention to boys.
Like many of us, I pretty much bought into the social anthropology that sees boys as the romantic aggressors and girls as, at best, generously tolerant of their pursuits.
This all changed one night at the gym, when my daughter Mary Grace tugged at my arm and earnestly pronounced, “Daddy, do you see that boy over there? I like that boy!” As we sipped our smoothies in the gym café, she continually turned around to see where he was and watched him intently.
At one point, he even came over to the table. His name was Harrison, and to her credit he was polite, cheerful and well-spoken. He treated her kindly and with great respect. The one drawback to her first crush was that he was a 6’4, 19-year-old with surfer good looks and the physique of a linebacker. He was the café worker. And she was 3. Seriously.
2. No one ever told me how much more I could fall in love with my wife.
Having a mini-version of Mary in the house cannot help but re-contextualize who she is to me. Many of the idiosyncrasies and dispositions that have tempted me to frustration over the years were suddenly recast in the person of our daughter, allowing me to see with new perspective and compassion some of her ways of being that seemed most alien to mine.
To give an example: I never could understand the seemingly crushing disappointment that my wife experiences when plans fail. Even the most mundane engagements, extemporaneously altered, can greatly affect her mood. I once saw her have a complete breakdown in a cafeteria line as she watched the last carvings of “her” prime rib sandwich get distributed to the guest in front of her.
Frighteningly, Mary Grace is exactly like this. But, since she is innocent, I am forced to compute her emotions using a more charitable calculus, and in doing so I find that it is a wild enthusiasm for living that lay at the heart of all these tiny tragedies.
And, in turn, I come to see my wife. I used to think of those moments as childish; now I know they are beautifully childlike. There is a profound difference. I wish that I could go back and always love her as well as I do now. She deserves it.