Hearing two little high-pitched voices squeal those words as I walk up the stairs makes it all worth it. When people say there is something special about a daddy’s girl they are right. Two beautiful little bundles of blue eyes and curls that I still can’t believe I had a part in creating. Daughters have a way of stealing your heart in an instant and making you work for the rest of your life to ensure that they never give it back.
Having two daughters probably means two weddings and two first dates and that I will spend 2020 to 2028 with a daughter in high school. Those things are daunting for sure but there is still a lot of time between now and then and it gets to be filled with giggles and tickles and dress up and tea parties. I don’t bat an eye when given the opportunity to toss a pink feather boa over my shoulder and lift my pinkie for a spot of tea. I try to keep them well-rounded with an occasional light saber battle but when having two daughters means wearing a tiara and competing in a beauty pageant, I join in without question.
I do it because I love them in a way that I could have never understood before they were here. I do it because their smiles and giggles feed my soul and also because Doc McStuffins is actually a pretty good show and I need to find out what happens even when they wander off and I am left watching it alone. I have painted a bedroom purple, another bedroom pink, and then repainted the purple one pink. I have a “wing” of our house adorned in pastel and fairy dust. It may sound silly but even when I feel as if I may drown in a sea of pink and sparkle, nothing makes me feel more like “the man” like having two little girls who love their daddy. You see, to them, I am the man. When they seek protection or provision or even occasionally a prince charming or a knight in shining armor, their search ends with me. There is magic in that.
When we found out our second was a girl I told my wife that I finally understood why God had made me so good with women. She didn’t find it near as hilarious as I did but I like to think that He knew I would embrace the frilly and the sparkle and recognize how special girls are.
They really do grow up faster than you are prepared for and I love seeing them grow into themselves. I get excited about the women they will become and realize how I get to be a part of that, a part of them. There isn’t much that I wouldn’t do for those two girls. To keep them safe or to just to see them smile. I am a full contact dad of daughters but even I have my limit. Though the begging seems to amplify, there will be no painting of daddy’s toesies and no lip stick.
Last night I held our youngest and rocked with her as she fell asleep. At 19 months her feet now hit my legs and she seems to spill out of the lap that not too long ago enveloped her. I listened to the rhythm of her breathing and soaked in the moment. I sat there for a long time and hoped that this Sunday evening would root itself deep enough into my soul that I will still be able to find it 20 years from now.
Daughters are totally sweet.
So yeah, I play with the girl toys because all of the emotional mumbo jumbo I just wrote about is true but sometimes dad just wants to blow stuff up. I still want to play with their cozy critters, only I want to turn them into lunch for a hungry Jedi Knight that hunts them down.
When you play toys with your kids, it takes you back to your own childhood. The thing is, when I was a kid, Star Wars, GI Joe, and The Dukes of Hazzard were my jam and I never had much use for Barbie, Polly Pocket, or Cabbage Patch Kids. While nothing in the world can change my love for my girls, sometimes I just need to wander down the boy side of the toy section to see what kind of rocket packed monster killing super agents are lining the shelves today.
I loved my toys when I was a kid and sometimes it bums me out when I am putting stuff together on Christmas morning and realize none of this shizz came with a grappling hook. My girls never like it when I make Barbie’s corvette careen off an embankment and crash into a twisted pile of flaming steel. No one ever wants to make Strawberry Shortcake a secret agent or My Little Ponies Dinosaur snacks.
This is an area where my wife is truly awesome. Last Christmas she gave me light sabers. She knows that I won’t get to vicariously enjoy the girl’s fighter jets or transformers. She also knows that I spent most Decembers as a kid with a Sears Wish Book in my lap drawing circle after circle around the greatest toy man has ever known. The U.S.S. FLAGG G.I. Joe aircraft carrier complete with towing fuel vehicle, admiral’s launch, and working electronic sound system. I might as well have been circling a picture of one of the Egyptian pyramids because there was no way I was getting either. I remember seeing the aircraft carrier in a store and marveling that it seemed to take up the bottom shelf of the entire aisle. I remember it was over $100.00 which might as well have been a million. I coped with its elusiveness because it seemed like no one actually got the aircraft carrier. That is, until one day you find yourself in Pete Mooney’s basement taking in its glory firsthand and realizing it truly was the greatest thing you had ever seen.
I appreciate that my wife realizes that after time all of the sparkle starts to take a toll on old dad. It is nice to pepper in the occasional sword fight or pirate scenario into play time because take it from me, your daughters think that having their American Girl Doll taken hostage by an evil doctor plotting to rule the world is totally weak.