There is no getting around it: My daughter is a Daddy’s Girl.
It occurred to me this morning, as they skipped down the sidewalk together on their way to school, that I have lost her completely. I think I probably knew it already. It was crystal clear a few days ago during this conversation:
“Mommy, I’m making a picture for Daddy and you can’t see it.” “Why can’t I see it?” “Because it is a secret, and it is only for Daddy.” “Why is it only for Daddy?” “Because I love Daddy!” “Well don’t you love Mommy too?” “Yes, but I love Daddy more.”
Ah, nothing like brutal honesty from a five-year-old to keep you humble.
When she was little, before the arrival of a sister to compete with, little Maggie loved me and me alone. With just one perfectly sweet child to manage, it was easy to do fun things together every day, and we did. We’d go shopping, out for lunch, take road trips, go on play-dates. We even went on three-week vacation together, just me and her, while my husband Chuck worked crazy 70 hour work-weeks as a Boeing engineer. We were two peas in a pod.
Chuck would sometimes half-jokingly complain that she didn’t love him, and I’d just laugh and say, “Oh, just wait. When she is a teenager she will love you and hate me.” Little did I know. I’m not exactly sure when I got replaced, but I did. These days it is All Daddy, all the time. He is the only one who can brush her hair, help her brush her teeth, help her with her homework, or drive her to school. When she wakes up in the middle of the night from a bad dream, he is the one she calls to. He is the the recipient of every card, letter, & picture, the provider of comfort when she gets hurt, and the first one she runs to for snuggles when she wakes up in the morning.
It’s not that I’m jealous, per se. Okay well maybe I am, just a little. My heart sometimes aches for those special moments we used to have, when it was just me and her. I miss the closeness we used to have, the secret jokes, the cuddles, the security of knowing I was the most important person in the whole wide world to this little girl. Even so, I try not to be upset that my little girl loves her daddy.
You see, Chuck is not only good man and a wonderful husband, but an amazing father. I respect him more than he could ever know. He is our provider, our protector, our moral compass, and our strength. When I watch them together, their amazingly sweet & tender moments, I know my girls couldn’t ask for a better Daddy. And I’ve done the research. She needs him.
Perhaps even more than she needs me.
And because of the relationship they have with their dad, my girls are:
- 40% LESS likely to repeat a grade in school
- 70% LESS likely to drop out of school
- Far MORE likely to get A’s in school
- 68% LESS likely to use drugs, drink, or smoke when they are in school
- Far LESS likely to suffer from anorexia, bulimia, depression, or attempt suicide
- Far MORE likely to have higher self-esteem
- Far LESS likely to get pregnant or engage in pre-marital sex
I see those numbers and I am not only reassured, but humbled. My husband is giving both of my daughters is a precious gift, one that is impossible to measure. Losing her to him is a bittersweet blessing, but a blessing nonetheless, and I am grateful beyond words for this man, this dad, this hero.
Then again, sometimes I just miss my little girl.