Very soon I’ll take my daughter out for her birthday. She’ll come up from where she goes to college and we’ll eat Prime Rib to celebrate. She calls about four times a week, so I don’t know why that old song by Sara Evans called “Suds in a bucket” upsets me so much. In the song a girl turns 18 and takes off with a guy in a white pickup and it’s clear she’s leaving for good.
I feel like I’ve got a lot of nerve being upset by that song. I ran away from home when I was 15 and dropped out of college once to figure out what was going on. It’s clear everybody has to spread their wings.
But when you’ve put her to bed for years, taken dance lessons with her in the Canary Islands and had her sit next to you at the bar in Germany while you had Schnitzel (it’s perfectly acceptable in Germany), it’s hard not to think about how I’d feel if she moved to Alaska.
I wrote once before about carrying her on my shoulder into a drugstore when she was a little more than one. She started stroking my hair and from then on she owned me.
But for the father who didn’t walk away before she’s born, or isn’t mad she’s not a boy to take to Dodger’s games, it can be a great experience to love someone for the first time without reservation. It doesn’t matter how great your life is with someone, a daughter has a key to your inner self. She can finish your sentences; remember when you acted like a fool and forgiven you when you took her cell phone away.
It could be the same thing with a son. My Sunday Chinese language exchange is with a great guy from Inner Mongolia and his Dad frequently calls him when one of us is explaining his native tongue to the other. I can tell from the conversation they’ve got a close relationship. I guess any father is lucky to get a least one other homo sapiens who they can watch grow and then create life him/herself.