Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Transitions

I’m amidst some healthy ones with LFG but I don’t have to like it. I’d rather purge my distaste here than bring such things up to my mom. My mom, the one who would always scoop me up and love me and kiss me and rub my crew cut little head when I’d bump it. She, the one who would spank inanimate objects like my tricycle or wagon or whatever I fell off of or bumped into that hurt me, and admonish them to not hurt me—her baby—anymore. She, the baby of ten sturdy farm kids, who if I told her that I wasn’t completely reveling in these transitions, would call me a p_ _sy and tell me to buck up and keep going. 
I knew the day would come when LFG would declare that the Bitty Baby Changing Table and the Bitty Baby Bubble Bath should go to Goodwill. But I don’t have to like it. Little girls are supposed to like and want to keep...little girl things.
I said…I DON’T have to like it.
I knew the day would come when LFG would declare that the little house we painted together…you know…the one that held HER collection of 19th century hand painted figures that WE collected together was no longer cool in her room. And that it too could go to Goodwill…and her figures stored away. But I don’t have to like it.
I knew the day would come when LFG would decide that building model cars with me was NOT cool and could I please move the ones from a shelf in her bedroom to somewhere—anywhere else. But I don’t have to like it. (And yes, that is a Cheetah—that LFG painted red and I put together—for US. She used to love looking at the Bill Thomas Cheetah pictures online. (I know this to be true...I'm NOT delusional. Shut up.)
I knew the day would come when LFG would ask me to just drop her off at dance and not watch her practice…“Come back and get me dad, and bring me something cold to drink.” But I don’t have to like it.
I knew the day would come when LFG would more precisely tell me what clothes NOT to wear when I pick her up… “Dad…DON’T wear those orange pants.” But I don’t have to like it.
“And Dad…DON’T wear the mustard-baby poop yellow cords either.”
I knew the day would come when LFG would do a one-eighty…hygiene-wise. I had seven good years of slumming it when WE deemed anything other than teeth brushing to be delightfully optional. SHE was the one who finally got me to shave the other week. And I didn’t mind that one actually.
I knew the day would come when LFG would offer mostly grunts and uh-huhs instead of full sentences. Only guttural signs of life when I, the ever so excited to talk to her on the phone—daddy who hasn’t touched his child in ten days gets his three minute audience. And you can bet your sweet ass I’m not liking this one—one bit.
My hallucination had all of these transitions manifesting with LFG at about age twelve. Why are we two years ahead of schedule? I’m never ahead of schedule and I don’t have to like it.

Onward. Embarrassingly blessed to have these as my obsessions.
ADG, II 

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now now now. (Pat the daddy on his woeful little head) LFG is just being organized. She is going to need a lot more space in her room for all of those clothes and shoes her daddy will be gleefully buying her. I am thinking we will be seeing a slightly shabbier version of ADG as he "makes do" with his old poo cords and tomato soup pants to adorn his princess in the latest and chicest. (The shoes she's going to want are going to kill you, my dear, and you ain't gonna like THAT either!)

Besides you still own her until she has that driver's license, 'member? There's a couple of years of usage left in the old Dad.

SFBayArea

ilovelimegreen said...

One of the stupidest things I did growing up was when I gave my dollhouse- made by my grandfather and decorated by my mother - to a cousin who later gave it to her cousin, who gave it someone else in our family (fortunately my mother intervened when I was about to trade the dollhouse for a skateboard to some kid down the alley).
That said, I am very glad LFG forced you to shave but I have no complaints about the orange pants. And I still tell my father what NOT to wear when we go places - you, ADG, have no choice other than to get used to it.

Young Fogey said...

The other day I was wearing a pink university striped shirt. My daughter saw that and had to wear her matching skirt.

I hope I have a few more years of that left.

As for her requests about what you wear? She's not the boss of you, and it is your job--nay, your duty--to embarrass her. Soon, you'll be able to do it just by existing!

She--and you--will get over it.

James said...

No my friend, you don't have to like it.

~ami* said...

Once upon a time, it wasn't until about 12 that they did all that; but the times, they are a-changin'...

If it's any consolation, they take a serious separation-anxiety spell around 12 or so and want to be little kids again.

Mine just turned 13. I don't like that much, either...

SouthernProletariat said...

Do not, I repeat, do not give the dollhouse or cars to Goodwill. When she comes to her senses (about age 27-32 ish) she will be glad that you saved them. Find a storage unit somewhere or take them back to South Caroliny...but don't cast them off. Obviously they hold too many memories.

You guys have a good foundation...you'll make it through fine...Now...

Buck up and keep going


Hang in there. It'll be a bumpy few years, but you guys seem to have a good foundation...

Summer is a Verb said...

LFG is ooooone lucky girl. Now, it's time to hand over to me...XXOO

Nelle Somerville said...

So sad. LFG is growing up...but before you go any further...let me buy the Bitty Baby stuff!!! I just got my goddaughter the Bitty Baby because of LFG. If you haven't hit the Goodwill yet let me know!!! Merci.

TWJ said...

Brother, it gets better. At least it has for me. Now, my disclaimer is that I now have one daughter at 20, soon to be 21. The youngest daughter is 17, soon to be 18. That said, I still get both of them going through their “cleaning and clearing out” times. They both have done mortal damage to old dad, (and mom for that matter). They too have their list of “don’t wear that if you are going to be seen with me” clothes. And they did try to get rid of “bitty baby” stuff and “American Doll” stuff. Oh, and you bet there was an “I don’t think so missy” from the Queen here. The worst of that ordeal was they both said, “But Mom, Dad said it was ok to give this stuff to the church”. Yes, tandem bus drivers with precision drive and reverse skills.

And by the way, it is ok “NOT TO LIKE IT”! I know I don’t some times. (I feel ya brother).

Anonymous said...

Don't you have an attic for some of that stuff? She's going to want it some day and she is going to say "Dad, why did you give away my ______? I wanted that."

Gretchen said...

I certainly agree with Young Fogey about it being your duty to embarrass poor LFG. In fact, a bunch of us old farts were talking about this at a medical directors conference last week, one-upping each other on the embarrassing things we've been accused of by our teen and twenty kids. Pick your most outrageous GTH trousers, honk the horn and wave wherever you drop her off/pick her up, and be sure to speak to ALL of her friends when they visit or call (albeit this last one is a bit tough w cellphones). THAT is certainly a good dad's job. Just do all of it with a great big smile, and a hug (out of sight, if need be). The creepy dads are the ones who come in to dances or houses with a look on their faces as if they are convinced not only that everyone there is doing horrible, unmentionable things, but fully believe their children are, too. Doing goofy things is fair game, and I've found that the kids LOVE to be able to roll their eyes and tell their friends "man, my crazy dad's at it again." She knows you're just being you, and is finding her way into the new phase, while still wanting to know her dad loves her enough to acquiesce to the silly rules she imposes this month. It will change again in no time, so play it up. YOU have this right as Dad. Moms are just banished from earth for awhile, it seems. As Twain (?) said, it's amazing how much we'll "learn" by the time our kids are out of college when we're so evidently moronic right now!!

Flo said...

Do NOT recycle that house. I'm looking at your desk and I see plenty of room on top for you to push the house to the back edge so you can store things and still have room up front to write. Do NOT let that house/showcase/bookcase/etagere/curio cabinet go. It's HISTORIC. You MADE it together. Fine she's over the cars, but at least let a second generation of goods take up residence and be on display. Listen to me. Please don't let it go.

LPC said...

Oh, if my experience is any benchmark, it gets better. And worse. You are sad for two reasons. One, she is ignoring you, two, she is getting older. She will keep getting older. But, as she encounters the world and its exigencies, she'll listen again. Go read this, however, if you feel too bad. http://materfamiliasknits.blogspot.com/2010/10/autumn-comes-before-winter-yes-it-does.html It's probably worse to be a mom and get middle aged than to be a dad.

Believe me, she will always love you terribly despite herself.

Kurt said...

Please don't write about this topic too much. The sympathy pangs are killing me!

Mine is now a college senior and is great about keeping in touch--so I can at least tell you the pain is survivable.

Dana-In-Wonderland said...

I did a blog comment on my site this Summer about picking up my 10 year old from month long girls Summer camp. Frankly, have not been blogging since. Good night, that was emotional.

OK. She is my only girl. OK, she is the baby. But where did the time go? Why is she so wise? Why am I so in love with her every step? She is just so damn fun.

Enjoy your daughter. When she is grown up and looks back, the fact that you noticed what you notice.....Well, it will mean the world to her. Priceless.

yoga teacher said...

My big one was when my daughter told me, the 8th grade room mother for cryin' out loud, that she wanted "to fly solo" on their class trip. I was torn between relief (getting to miss Sea World & bad restaurants) and grief (my baby doesn't WANT me at her side every moment of every day). But, isn't this our highest calling? To train these little people, with little baby steps, to become big, strong people? I say you're doing a great job! And those "I need you, Daddy" moments won't stop, but they will be so much more precious.

Anonymous said...

For the first time ever, ADG, I'm disappointed with you.

Just what is a p--sy. Is that a Masonic term, Kappa Alpha, or something else?

I'm not angry with you, just surprised. I thought better of you than that.

Elizabeth said...

I'm 22 and my dad is still my favorite person in the world. He continues to embarrass me at least once a day and I tend to boss him around and tell him not to wear this or that. I love him to pieces for his patience and his ability to let me do my "own thing". But i do vividly remember the transition you are talking about when my saturdays switched from being spent all day with my dad to constantly being spent with friends. LFG seems like one lucky girl and you seem like one great dad. But yes, anon is so right, until she gets her license you are still VERY important! I also know exactly what you mean about the grunts and uh-huhs. My dad still tries to ground me for my use of yeah instead of YES.

Anonymous said...

Wait a moment, Sirrah. You may be replacing dollhouses and doll-baby accessories, but you have soon to enter the immediate realm of Satin Doll magic when you introduce her to your jazz collection. She won't share this with her friends until prep school or later but she will be grateful that her dad introduced her to Miles when she was 10.
I was.

Flo said...

These comments have me reaching for the box of tissues. I can't imagine what reading them must be doing to you. I only logged back on to remind you of the text LFG sent you from FL a couple of months ago when she was away from you for several weeks, in case you forgot: "I miss you."

Don said...

Yours is the only blog I follow - because you have such a gift for reminding me that life is a process...and while we have to follow it and live it we don't always have to like it! Many thanks.

Rebecca said...

Oh, I know honey, I know...but it does come full circle and get better again!

Turling said...

You're a good man, Charlie Brown. Keep up the effort. You don't have to like it.

DAM said...

Two observations:

1.Keep the doll house, if you can. Solid wood, did it together, she'll want it again some day.

2. I dig how you hung those prints below the chair rail.

Patsy said...

I might listen to her a little on the clothing...I love my Dad dearly, and consider him one of the best dressed men I know, but he wore some cringe-worthy stuff back in the day (or so my 10-16 year old self thought) and I just HATED it.......while he'd just laugh and laugh.

Proprietor said...

All of our advancement in valuation methodologies and we still can't even come close to quantifying the value of a cherished memory.

Grab your little girl (she is still smaller than you are!), go out this weekend, and create a few more...

Kathie Truitt said...

Hugs from someone whos 'been there/done that' and not gonna say one word or even try to get you to 'like it.' Just a hug. That's all.

Kathie

UNCJack said...

Re the orange trou: didn't know you went to Klempsun?

CeceliaMc said...

It all comes around again.

The second happiest day in your life (their birth being number one), is the day that it dawns on a daughter that you are indeed as valuable as they considered you to be when they were a tot.

With my little girl, it came at the age of seventeen when she once again put her hand into mine as we crossed the street.

At the time, I held my breath.

Now, she calls me everyday, emails pictures of clothing and decor for my consideration, and walks arm-in-arm with me whenever we are abroad.

Independence achieved, I am now her emblem for all the struggles of womanhood and the delights of home.

ADG said...

Listen folks, as I stated in my conclusion, I’m blessed beyond good measure to have these as my prevailing issues in general and with LFG specifically. And I’m serious about this. I have friends who have lost children to disease and tragedy. I have friends with special needs kids and I never lose sight of my blessings, even when I’m in the midst of missing my child or having, as I did in this post, a bit of a selfish tantrum. It’s all good.

And your insights and tactful splashes of reality are very reassuring and I won’t muster words adequate here to thank you. But…thank you.

And finally, to AnonymousDisapointed … It was bound to happen. Read my stuff regularly and sooner or later and you’ll tisk-tisk repeatedly. I’ve received several private emails pointing out to me that some of my foul language debases the stories I tell. I get that and have already reconciled with God that I’m gonna have—and I mean this seriously—some ‘splainin to do about my language when I get to heaven. But I’m ok with it. I won’t refrain from it because when I am amidst a thought that is en route to its manifestation in sentence, I can’t not write what I want to write…be it offensive or not.

And regarding a pu_ _y being a Kappa Alpha thing…While none of us at the KA house had one, we were all in lock step pursuit of its procurement; pretty much 24/7.

Onward.

Gretchen said...

That last comment from you, ADG, proves your humor will get you through, angst or not. And if it makes you feel better: My Pink-and-green-adoring Older Daughter said "I'll take his clothing choices ANY day over my dad's wearing Tevas with tube socks or his stupid overalls to pick me up." Yes, this is the same man who used to wear such great stuff...notice he doesn't live at our house anymore. Coincidence??? My 13yo has always been challenging (which I am convinced will make her a solid-state human being. Once she's out of my house) and even her dad is now saying the same things about her that you are about LFG. Each phase passes. You don't have to like it, and there sadly will be days when you don't like each other much, either. But you're there, and she'll remember that, too. Tell her if she doesn't like it, she is more than free to design ways to torture her own kids years from now and stop whining now!

Flo said...

Ah, duly noted. But again, not that you need reminding, living in Old Town as you do, but it's never too early or too late to teach historic preservation, i.e: Save The Historic Minimus House!

~ami* said...

See, the fact that you (seemingly) have a mouth like a Teamster is what keeps me coming back.

Belle (from Life of a...) said...

Lorelai started the same thing about the same age. It's just how it goes, I think. As a young adult now, she calls Hank every single day. Me, not as much. I get most of my information from him and then I feed him a few tidbits from her facebook page. Yes, I stalk our children on FB. This weekend, she will love me the most because we have a shopping day planned for Monday. True, her bedroom looks like that of a young woman rather than a child BUT the dolls, doll baby beds and strollers, children's books, and all manner of keepsakes are tucked safely away for future grandchildren. You're raising a strong, confident, smart young lady. Sadly, this all goes with the territory. And not to upset you further, but merciful heavens, wait until puberty!

Ian from Downunder said...

It's highly improbable that I have children so I won't pretend to know exactly how you feel but as a cyber buddy I can try and empathise. Imagine your future agony when she's out on her first date! Perhaps you can insist she doesn't date until she turns 40 - you know what boys are like don't you / we??
PS - DO NOT THROW OUT THE DOLLS HOUSE. EVER!Warmest regards, Ian from Downunder.

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