Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm More Than Pretty Nails and Pretty Toes to my Daughter

Def Leppard was blaring. Why I even had that in my media library I don't know. But that's what she wanted to listen to so I let her. She had this planned since the morning. How could I say no to her desire to spend time with just dad while expressing her own self?
She picked the perfect timing. Today I actually had the time and here lately I have felt convicted about not spending enough, if any at all, time with the kids. I give myself so many projects that I in addition to all my other required obligations, work, etc., that I'm gone much of the time in the evenings and when I get home I wind up spending the majority of the time in my bedroom.

I've begun to learn and feel what it's like to need that one-on-one time with someone. Especially with someone in particular.  I've really paid attention to the kids here lately how they seek both my wife's attention and mine. They each seek it differently.

There's always a lot to say about the difference between boys and girls. But I want to focus just on my daughter, on daughters alone. On fathers and daughters. She, herself is what you would consider a "strong willed child." Sometimes she can be very difficult. And sometimes right in the very middle of it she cries out for attention in ways that are not so obvious. It's so easy to get frustrated and angry. Having my eyes opened to "need" I couldn't help but make it a point to grant her wish.  And I found myself looking forward to spending time with her too....even though it was nail painting!! I received tens fingers of black painted nails with purple and pink stripes thickly painted. After she was done it looked I had little Easter eggs at the tips of my fingers. My toes received a blue coat with black smiley faces. Fun...talking...laughing...bonding...that is what matters.

I've come to realize how important this personal one-on-one time is to and with a child with your child. Children tend to equate attention with love. "If you don't give me your attention, you must not love me." Then they react in any number of ways. There's a danger in that mindset. The last thing any father wants their daughter to grow up doing is to believe that just anybody shoveling out superficial seeking attention is love.

If parents want a daughter to grow up into any form of a healthy grown woman the father cannot take his relationship with her for granted. Just as I've come to see that I need to spend more time with my kids, I've come to realize that I am like a block. Like one of either two kinds of a block, either a stumbling block or a building block. By my actions and words, by my relationships with them do cause them stumble while preventing them to grow by leaving them with feelings of insecurities? Or have I been a building a block with words of encouragement and corrections and leading by examples?
Our daughter's most important man in her life is not her first love, or new husband or whatever. It's her father. It's her father who teaches her how a man is to treat a lady. It's her father who teaches her what kind of man she deserves. It's her father who should be teaching her what kind of man she deserves.

Father's truly are the most important man in their lives. My daughter likes attention if she seeks it in her comfort zone following us around and clinging constantly. I think she's hardly left my side within the last 4 or 5 days. Otherwise she's shy. She's not afraid to make it known when she is in need of some attention. Most wouldn't think it about her. But I know it.

My oldest daughter is no "daddy's little girl," but we do share a special understanding and bond. Like all daughters she picks up cues, on everything I do and don't do. Her very tone and demeanor changes when I walk into the room. Everything about both of my daughters change: their eyes, their mouths, their gestures, their body language. They light up. Or straighten up if they'd been arguing with their mother. They watch me intensely and hang on my words being able to repeat words I had already forgotten. They hope for my attention, and wait for it in frustration...or in despair.

I see it in their faces and hear it in their voices, the need for a gesture of approval, a word of encouragement, or even just a simple eye contact letting them know I care and their accomplishment wasn't in vain. And that's what daughters do, seek a father's approval. I have a folder full colored coloring pages and drawings, and a box of art projects all made just for me..."Here daddy, this is for you. Do you like it?"

Look at it in perspective, I don't do anything to try to earn my daughter's approval. I don't fix broken things and say, "Here this is for you, do you like it?" I don't follow either of them around asking question after question. I don't do something while at the same time look out the corner of my eye keep looking to see if they are looking.

But in spite of the fact that I as a father I do not seek my daughter's approval and attention as they do, they relentlessly pursue mine.

Come to think of it, maybe I do seek their approval. Fathers need the one-on-one time and approval of their daughters just as much their daughters themselves. If we are to be even remotely aware of who are daughters are who we are to them we need that time with them. We need to know to know if we are not being that father they need us to be.

Other than wanting gifts from my daughters why do I accept countless scribbled coloring sheets that I have to keep finding a place to put? So my daughters never get the impression there is nothing too small they can't come to me with.

Why do I not walk away after days of constantly being pulled on and followed while being asked question after question? So my daughters know that no matter what, no matter when I will always be there without pushing them aside.

And why do I get my nails painted with a thousand layers of nail polish while jamming to Def Leppard, "Pour Some Sugar on Me?" So she will know everything about her is important to me and not just part of her. I've known of some parents who refuse to do things with their kids if they don't like those activities. What a message to send your kids.

I'm More Than Pretty Nails and Pretty Toes to my Daughter

1 comment:


Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

Blog with Integrity\\ Auhor Lupe Picazo

Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome them