My wife said I should write a post about being a girl dad. To my recollection, I don’t think I’ve used the term in this blog, at least referring to myself.
My wife’s prompt was embodied in her photo of me. My daughter asked me if I had ever worn a do-rag. Well, no, because I never had a hairdo that required covering. An early receding hairline took care of that.
Still, my daughter decided that I needed to wear one. Ah, she’s dressing me up like she did when she was four or five. My wife thought I looked like a pirate, specifically a “Barbie pirate!” “Or a Barbary pirate,” I retorted.
But I didn’t know what to write until I was reminded that there were always many girls in my extended family. My first wife, the Okie, had a baby sister nearly a decade and a half younger. Reading my diary reminded me I was often assigned to keep her occupied when visiting.
After Leslie had Rebecca, I loved spending time with her. There are pictures of me at her first and second birthdays in New York City; me walking the toddler in Charlotte, NC; her sitting on my lap while coloring at my Grandma Williams’ funeral in Binghamton, NY; her sitting on my shoulders during an impromptu family photo in NYC.
I first saw Alex, Marcia’s daughter, about six months after her birth. I held her, and she was crying because her shoes were too tight, I was told. Alex visited my wife and me in Albany. I took her to work; during lunch, I took scads of her beside various downtown statues. We spent time hanging out in Washington Park.
My wife’s brothers had three girls, including twins. I spent quality time with them, especially the twins, who were geographically closer, during family gatherings.
Then my daughter was born. What are the chances I’d have five nieces and a daughter but no sons or nephews? Oh, about 1.5625%. My sisters claim that they knew I would be a good dad because I was a good uncle, a logic I didn’t entirely accept.
When our child was born, one of my oldest friends misheard that we had a son. When she discovered we had a daughter, she exclaimed, “Thank God!” Recently, I asked why, and she said, “Cuz your best friends growing up were girls.”
That is mainly true. I had a few male friends in elementary school, including two in Cub Scouts. By fifth grade, I realized that girls were more interesting people to me, and this was not based on romance.
It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I had more than a few male friends, a function of rejoining church and playing racquetball.
So I guess I was destined to be a girl dad, whatever that means.