My husband and my daughter have created a game: he holds her hands and she jumps as high as she can while he propels her up even higher, then she swings her legs up and over and ends up doing a complete flip, sticking the landing with a huge thud. I call this game “Give Mommy a Heart Attack,” they just call it fun.
When my husband and I first found out we were having a little girl, my husband was beyond thrilled but he was also a bit panicked.
“I don’t know what girls play; I don’t know anything about girls.” He was so worried.
“Girls are just like boys, minus the innate knowledge of how to make machine gun noises with their mouths which boys always seem to have,” I reassured him.
On the day our daughter was born, all my husband’s fears completely disappeared. She was his girl from day one and he has always known how to hold her and comfort her and even how to play with her, despite all his previous fears.
Now those two are thick as thieves. She is the very image of her father: brown hair that turns slightly reddish in the summer, big brown eyes that seem to be an extension of their smiles, and best of all, she has her father’s adventurous spirit and never-say-quit attitude.
The other day the two of them were outside playing in the snow and I stopped by the window to watch them.They were making a snow fort: my husband shoveling snow into a pile and my daughter already making snow balls for their impending snow battle. They worked together so easily and so happily. I turned to grab my boots and join them, but then I decided no. They need times like this, just the two of them, playing and conspiring and laughing, just daddy and daughter.
I kept watching them though and thinking how important this father/daughter relationship is. My daughter and I spend a lot of time together and have lots of fun, but it’s different. I worry and tell her to be careful and get scared when she climbs too high. My husband tells her to climb higher while never leaving her side and cheering like a madman when she reaches the top. She learns to take risks with him and as much as that scares me, I know how important it is for her to learn.
My husband plans “dates” for the two of them every so often. Sometimes they go bowling and out to lunch, sometimes it’s dinner and a movie. She always wants to dress up in her fanciest dress and she insists that he wear a bow tie and a jacket. He never even falters. He has worn a bow tie and a jacket out to Red Lobster before and loved every minute of it. My daughter just thinks these are special fun times with Daddy, but I know better. He’s teaching her how a man treats a woman and what respect looks like.
My daughter has also learned trust from her father. When she was learning to ride her bike, she was petrified. She made Daddy promise not to let go of her. And he didn’t. He ran up and down our street fifty times, keeping pace with her pedaling, the grin on his face just as big as hers. But he also knows when to give her a push and let her go on her own; like the time she first sledded down our hill by herself. I had been trying to get her to sled by herself but she wouldn’t do it. After a day with Daddy, she ran into the house and yelled excitedly, “Mommy, I went down the hill all by myself!” I quickly asked my husband how he finally got her to do it and he smiled slyly and said, “I just gave her a quick push instead of getting in the sled with her.” He knew exactly how to get her down that hill and her trust in her daddy is so strong she knows nothing bad can ever happen to her when he’s there.
Yes, sometimes my husband and daughter get a little wild and a bit too loud and their acrobatic antics scare the heck out of me, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.