My oldest daughter emerged from her messy room yesterday to let me know she wrote about me in school. She went on to explain about she needed to write about why it’s important to hear opposing views, to entertain the other side of an argument because it can educate you, it can even strengthen your view or opinion. She said she related to this because of her Dad. She mentioned how when she brings something to me, she knows I like to take the opposing view. How her opinions are challenged by me and she thinks that is important. I like to argue. I like to test her opinions. I love to try and win a debate. Even if I care nothing about it, I enjoy picking a side and trying to convince her I am right. I can’t do this with my youngest because eventually she will just say “I don’t really care Dad, can I go back to watching my show?”, and not with my wife. She absolutely hates arguing, so she nods in agreement with whatever the hell I am talking about, or if she really cares, she goes for the throat and makes fun of my biggest insecurity. I can’t win with her. She knows the secrets to the test, so she wastes no time on my dumb games. But my oldest is a fierce little warrior. She loves to argue. She’s not afraid of getting into a battle with her Dad. She knows, probably because I tell her all the time, that she’s the smartest person I know. Or, she knows how dumb her Dad actually is. I prefer to think she knows she smart, but I have this sneaky suspicion she knows her Dad isn’t going to be Jeopardy anytime soon.
We fight about big stuff, like today about a Blue Lives Matter flag in her school, and lots of little things, like the best song on a Taylor Swift album. If I come across a good opinionated topic on the news or just on dumb twitter I think about my stance. Then I change my stance and think about it from the other side. I prep for my fight later with my daughter. I ask her opinion on it, then I take the other side. She knows pretty quickly how I really feel about something, but it’s fun to battle a bit. I know I have the upper hand on the fight because I studied for it, but she still almost always wins. She’s the best lawyer I know.
We fight, then we sit and watch a dumb movie like Twister, or a classic like Dazed and Confused. We laugh a bit when we noticed her Mom, my wife on her phone during the movie. Like, how is she not into Twister, or why would she not want to watch Dazed and Confused for the 800th time in her life.
Life is poetic, this much I know. She’s less than a month out from getting her license and hardly ever being home again. I can see the excitement on her face, I remember the feeling of just going for a ride, for no reason other than, not being home. I wasn’t the world’s greatest Dad when she was a little one. Sure, I loved the moments, but I was always thinking I was missing something with my friends. But, as she grew, so did my love. I fell in love with being a Dad. I love being a Dad. Of all the names, husband, son, Sharky, brother, friend, Stanton, nothing will ever compare to Dad. And, now, just as I write about it, just as I realize it and proclaim it to whatever audience decides to read my words, I feel it slipping away. I can see a bit of an end date. I never saw it before, or I chose to ignore it maybe, but now we are talking car payments and even planning for 3 years when my youngest gets her license, I can see the end.
She’s not gone yet, we have plenty of fights left in both of us, but that car can travel pretty far. It gives her more of a chance to see the world without Mom and Dad over her shoulder every two seconds. She will LOVE her freedom. And sure, I still will have lots of time with my youngest daughter. Our relationship is different in the best kind of ways. So, we will get to annoy Mom together and band together with our strange senses of humor, but these arguments with my first born I will miss more than I am ready to admit.
I won’t be relied on for car rides, or to buy the right shampoo and conditioner (there are so many wrong kinds), or to solve whatever issue that little girl has, she will figure all that out on her own. Just as I think I have all the answers for her she won’t need to ask me the questions. That’s why this life is so incredibly poetic. You don’t have to believe in a God to see the beauty in this life, just have a daughter.