My daughter is a beautiful 11-year old phenom. Bewitching, lively, intelligent, athletic, you know the type, probably going to be the captain of the cheer-leading squad down the road. However, she is more than unique.
My family is a family of boys and men. Not many females in my family. Growing up, the majority of my cousins were boys, with a few of the "other gender" thrown in for good measure. My immediate sibling structure is one brother, of course. So, as families gathered for special occasions, birthdays and holidays through the years, there was a clear majority. This continued through my teen years.
I met my soul-mate at work in the mid 90's. We hit it off and were married in grande fashion in Maui Hawaii in 1997. A picture postcard wedding. This is just the beginning.
Fast forward to 1999 and our first child. Guess what? Yes, a son! The trend continues. A beautiful football-shaped headed boy. Yes, the head went normal and he is a great son, but that is a topic for another time. A little more forward please, 17 months later to be precise, and my wife gives birth to a....can it be? Doctor, "are you sure?" Wow. A dau...a daugh....a daughter! Sugar and spice and everything nice. As I held my daughter, swaddled immediately after birth, we bonded. I cried. I am a man, I thought to myself. Why am I crying? This crazy miracle called life handed me this sweet little pink package. I held her tight and spoke to her. She looked at me and it was love.
Back home from the hospital, I grasped with the unknown. Another girl in the house? I was not used to this. The testosterone was evened out, and then some. Diaper changes were unique. I was used to changing a boy....with her, it seemed like something was missing. I handled her gingerly and my wife had to remind me repeatedly that she is no different than our son. Easy for her to say. I eventually got familiar with this little lady and felt more comfortable as time passed. My daughter. I still said this to myself, and many times each day a big smile overcame my face. It was love.
Parents of families that have both boys and girls often state how different they are from each other. It is cliche, but so very true. My daughter is outgoing, personable, a friend to a huge number of other girls, yes some boys too (but I have plans on stopping that!). She is straight A's, a great student, all teachers love her, and she just plain excels in essentially everything. She is the apple of my eye. I am so used to having this second lady in the house. Her hugs and kisses are precious. Unfortunately, she is growing quickly. I say this because my "little" daughter is no longer that. She is tall and beautiful and so special to me. I do miss the younger years, and as time passes, a part of my heart goes along. It is love.
So as a "Dad" I prepare for the inevitable. Middle school next year, then High school. How will I cope? Thank God for my wife, who by the way, is also of my daughter's gender. My wife translates her emotions for me and fills me in on what is happening when my daughter's passions take over. Remember, my lineage is male. I still have those dam roots firmly planted in the male soil. But, she is Daddy's little daughter and the bond made from our first contact remains stronger than ever. It is love.
My son takes a beating from his sister. He is older, but he takes it like a man. Daughters pick on brothers, this is fact. Daughters love their brothers, this is fact. Two years ago, my son went on a field trip to Washington DC and was gone for three nights. My wife and I assumed our daughter would be queen of the house. She would have us all to herself. Back home after saying "have a great trip" to our boy, she was quiet, in her room. There was no celebration. There was no banging, no laughing, no TV. What is wrong? My wife and I slowly walked into her room and there she was, crying. She missed her brother. She cried every night he was gone. It is love.
Fast forward to current day. Sugar and spice and everything nice. In my daughter's recipe, toss in more spice. We wouldn't have her any other way. My wife and I are proud of her. She is a good daughter. In the realm of all things important, raising your children to be good, and honest, and true supersede everything. I sit back and watch my daughter with her friends, I watch her with her mother in the kitchen, and I watch her punch her brother. Sugar and lots of spice. It is love, it will always be love.