When I found out I was pregnant, I immediately started praying for a girl. Well, I would have, if I prayed. But I did start wishing really, really hard and in the end, my wish came true. On September 16th, our little Luna was born and since then, I have spent twelve hours a day being at her complete beck and call. I feed her, I change her, I dress her, I soothe her, I bathe her, and I play with her, yet the moment my husband walks through the door, it’s as if I was never there.
I would be profusely offended if that wasn’t exactly the way it’s supposed to be. Fathers and daughters; like peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, and (as maybe I’ll find out one day) mother and sons. Sure, a part of me wants to jump up and down waving my hands in the air and point out the injustice of it all (in fact, I may or may not have looked down while changing her diaper and exclaimed with a grin “you did a dada!” but that was just one time, I swear.) On the other hand, it’s pretty darn cute and I really wouldn’t change it for the world.
In all honesty, it’s tough to be angry when I’m a complete daddy’s girl myself – but aren’t we all? Not unlike most of my friends growing up, my mom was the one to pack my lunch, drive me to school, pick me up and bring me to whatever after school activity was on the agenda for that particular day. She did so much work organizing our lives (we were two at the time, to be joined a little bit later by number three) that I’m not quite sure how she got everything done on time, or in the right order for that matter; but she did, because that’s what moms do. However, despite all the time and effort she put into making sure our childhood was punctual, nourished and properly equipped, nothing was more exciting than seeing my dad walking through the school yard in his work suit, having come home early and wanting to surprise us by picking us up from school. The bag would go down, the coat would fly off and I would race towards him, convinced that I couldn’t get there fast enough. I’m sure my mom was in the background banging her head against the window, but she had my brother on her side, evening out the scoreboard – not that we really kept count.
As a little girl, your dad is your world. He’s the approval you seek, the playmate you hope for, and the disciplinarian you actually listen to (to every mother’s chagrin). Jungian theory suggests that we – the daughters – are in constant competition with our mothers for our father's affection (and attention), and it is that ongoing competition that drives the urge to bond. That could explain a lot – I mean, let’s face it, mothers and daughters bang heads at the best of times, until that is, we move out of the house and have kids of our own at which point empathy moves us to apologize for being so difficult as teenagers and we all move on our merry way. Yet, no matter how old we get, the bond between a dad and his little girl never dies and rarely fades. It’s made strong by the memories of Saturdays spent watching soccer together on the couch sipping tea, perusing Chapters for the newest titles to hit the shelf, holidays spent walking the beach and coffee dates spent lending a shoulder when it’s needed most.
My dad was my champion, and he still is; wanting me to become whatever I wanted to be, not pushing me to walk in his footsteps but offering me guidance and support when needed most. That is what dads are for, to help little girls realize big dreams. These days, I look at my husband and his overwhelming desire to protect his little girl and open her eyes to a wide world just waiting to be conquered, and I can’t help but roll my eyes, smile and think “here we go again”.