You know as parents sometimes you just say something to see what your kids reaction would be? My Mom would do this to me all the time as a kid “Did something happen in English class today?” and I would think for a second “how they hell does she know” and I would then say “No”, but she knew from the pause I took that she had me. She had no clue something happened, she was just fishing for information and she caught me.
My wife did that this weekend. We were at a cheerleading competition with the 12 year old and they were doing their hair and makeup. My oldest daughter stayed at friends all weekend so she didn’t have to travel to Connecticut with her dumb parents. She had a dance competition so it was a good excuse I guess, so it was just Mom and Dad and the youngest daughter.
Anyway, my wife was doing the youngest ones hair. I have no idea what they were doing, but apparently competition hair and makeup involves screaming at each other and both Mom and Daughter crying about something. The wife composed herself and was trying to make light of the situation and said “what’s the matter, your boyfriend isn’t here anyway” and the 12 year olds face just looked different, like it was only for 1 second, but the wife and I both picked up on it. We then got very annoying. Wait, you have a boyfriend? What’s his name? Where is he from? …. This was GOLD for my wife and me. We were asking her questions and laughing together, it was a really great moment. She finally told us a name and I immediately reach out to my oldest daughter, giving her a name and asking her to get as many details as possible.
She comes back with a “Are you sure? She would have told me. She told me about the first one”…. So, the youngest tells me this just happened Friday and with us being away she hadn’t seen her sister to tell her. My oldest does so digging and gets back to me with something about him not having an Instagram.
I was 12 once, many years ago. I remember what “dating” waslike back then. A couple notes passed back and forth and then a friend of yours or theirs tells you they want to break up. All that stuff, all those memories come flooding back and I laugh to myself. So, I didn’t have any of those awful feelings Dads get when talking about your daughter dating.
The best part about it though was hidden in the words both my kids said about it. They had known and spoken about the first one. I had no clue there was a first one. Also, I thought my kids HATED each other. I knew they supported each other at events and stuff, but in the house it is kill or be killed. They are ruthless with each other at home. Something as simple as who gets shotgun in the car or who gets to take the first shower turns into World War III.
So, while I think I am the cool and hip and dope Dad, I am still just that, Dad. There are things they don’t need to or want to share with their Dad. But, I am so glad they share with each other. They have secrets, and they really love and trust each other. Their Mom is raising them right. Use Dad for his wallet and his car and leave him out of the stuff he doesn’t need to know.
While I know I have the right answers for whatever problem they have, they don’t need a 39 year olds answer, they need someone who has recently been through it, or someone who is living in their worlds. My Dad jokes and “look at the positives” and “this won’t bother you when you are my age, I promise” isn’t what they need. They need a Sister…
Boys are taught or shown to be tough. Growing up I would never tell my brother I liked this girl or my feelings got hurt today. He might see I have a black eye or something and threaten to beat someone up, but that was the extent of us really helping each other against other people. When we played football or something it was always better to be on different teams because you had an excuse to kick the crap out of your brother. That’s how we taught or helped each other, by trying to toughen each other up. Although, he must have been horrible at it because I still can’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag.
Girls are the most complicated creatures on this planet, actually, probably on lots of planets, but that is what makes them so great. Their problems aren’t solved with a punch to the face or a few bad words. Every issue is treated like the world is going to end if they make the wrong move. When the issue makes its way to me, I know it has gone thru a sister and a Mom before I’m asked to be involved.
It must be great to have a sister. All the emotional stuff you go through, we all go thru it, boys just tuck it away for as long as they can until they blow up over something so dumb or trivial. But girls, if they are lucky, get to talk thru all that emotion. And, if they are really lucky, they don’t have to talk thru it with their Mom or Dad. They use their sister to help guide them thru this maze. Sure, Mom and Dad are here for the big stuff, but Mom and Dad are old and out of touch, so the little stuff or the day to day things are handled with the help of a Sister.
Their stories are just starting. I’m just happy they have each other to help write them.