“Dad you are asking me too many questions. If you want to get along with girls you need to accept we always have a reason for everything we do and it doesn’t have to make sense to you.”
I paused before responding and asked her if she wanted to rethink her tone with me.
“I am not your friend and I am not a mind reader so lose the attitude and be direct with me. If you are upset or have a problem you need to tell me. If you are not comfortable telling me that is ok, too, but you know I won’t ever accept the attitude.”
We don’t have this conversation often but I have made a point from the time the kids were little to make clear there is a line.
I have never tried to parent through fear but I never pretended that being their friend sometimes and their father was effective either.
“You don’t want to know what grandpa would have done if I tried that.”
I never was hit with a belt or object by my parents but my kids have heard stories about friends who and schoolmates who were.
Sometimes I think they think I am making those stories up, but those don’t fall into the category of exaggeration.
How To Handle Girls
I can tell from the silence and her tone of voice that she is upset so I take a different tack.
“I went out last night and heard this really interesting speaker. Afterwards they had food to nosh on and I spent time talking to people not knowing that there was food stuck in my beard.”
The silence continues so I tell her I started singing.
“Dad, that is not funny but at least your voice isn’t as bad as grandpa’s.”
She tells me she hopes I didn’t really do it but says if I have to embarrass myself it is good she wasn’t there.
“If you can’t feel the food in your beard it might be too long.”
I laugh and tell her she might be onto something, it is a little unruly and there is a part of me that wonders if it is time to shave.
Still another part is curious to find out how long it can get if I let it grow.
Of course I tried to grow my hair long and confirmed the Jewfro grows up and out, but not down so it is possible the beard will be just as difficult.
But the difference between the days when I wanted to see if I could grow long hair and now is that I am not a teen and don’t care what others think.
Well, that is only partially true, because if it has a negative impact upon my work/employment then I do care.
None of those things are of concern to a middle school aged girl who is trying to find her place in the world.
And if I have learned anything about how to handle girls it is better for me not to mention them.
Some days she is excited about moving and some days she isn’t.
“Dad, are you really sure about this?”
I tell her about registering the car and getting a Texas Driver’s License.
I tell her I am committed and that I want to be able to retire and not have to live with her or her brother.
“LA hasn’t been good to or for me for a while now. You don’t understand it is painful for me to say that.
I understand why you are concerned about moving, but think for a moment about what I just said and remember my willingness to leave my home and create a new one is because I am convinced it is critical.
We have to live for today and plan for the future too. This does both.”
Food In My Beard
No one said anything to me about the food in my beard but I wasn’t bothered by that.
They were very warm and friendly and I don’t know if they even saw it.
Funny thing is I really didn’t eat much so I ended up picking up a pizza on the way home. Had a few slices that night and a couple more for breakfast this morning.
As I walked through my place and did my weekly clean up I thought some more about what my daughter said and smiled.
She cracked me up with her lecture about how to handle girls. I asked her two questions, which apparently was two too many.
If she only knew how many times people have asked why I was being so quiet.
Anyhoo, since I don’t work as a fortune teller I can’t provide a perfect prediction for the future but I am very confident I made the right choice.
When you are bleeding you have to find a way to stop the blood flow and under the prior arrangements that just wasn’t happening.
So when an opportunity to fix that comes along a smart person takes it.
Have to live for today and plan for the future.