It’s Tuesday night and all four of us are home. Mom, Dad, Messy Daughter #1 and Messy Daughter #2. We are eating a meal made by the wife. Well, three of us are eating it and the fourth ate whatever she wanted. I’ll be honest having 75% of the house eating the same meal is a big, big win. Hell, having the four of us even all home at dinner time is a miracle in itself.
We talked about pregNANCY tests (if you don’t pronounce it like that you should), college applications, favorite candy, and all sorts of other random things. My oldest had to fill out a ton of different things on her college applications so that generated lots of weird discussions. When she got to a question about her sexual orientation, I told her I would close my eyes, but this would be a great time to come out to me. She laughed and put in she was straight, and I exhaled in disappointment.
College applications is such a stressful time for a 17-year-old. The stress of writing the perfect answers to questions and picking the right schools to apply to and to where to spend a minimum of four years is immense. The feeling of “I’d never get in there” happened a few too many times for my liking. I tried to build her up, tell her how schools should be begging for her to go there, and she would say I’m her Dad I have to say that and I would try to beat her over the head with her accomplishments and we would end up doing this dance for a couple hours. I hate that she lacks confidence in her resume, her accomplishments, but then I wonder if that’s how I know she will be just fine in this life. She works her tail off at everything in life, except maybe cleaning her room. Her drive is something about her that gives me the most pride. Someday she’ll see that my encouraging words to her had nothing to do with being her Dad, it was always because I believe in her. I believe in her talent because she made me believe.
We talked everything from Halloween costumes to Sociology to Marxism to Red Sox Playoffs. I got my few fart jokes in and tried to pay my 14-year-old to be the one to go into the store alone to buy the pregNANCY test. She wimped out…. She then asked me the same question she asks for every single playoff game I have ever watched, “so, if they win this game do they win the whole thing” and I have to explain what round of the playoffs we are in. This goes for every sport if I say it is a playoff game, we have that same interaction. I love it.
I love this culture my wife created with these little girls. I love how free my girls feel to say whatever is on their mind. There isn’t a subject out of bounds. I love my kids growing up like that. Sure, they have 14-year-old and 17-year-old problems, things that Mom and Dad, ESPECIALLY Dad, won’t understand. But they are not afraid to ask us about them. I reap the benefits of all my wife’s work with these kids. I get to hear the days successes, failures, fears, mistakes and everything in between because of how my wife raised those little humans. The uncomfortable stuff I had build in my head, being the Dad of daughters, just isn’t there because my wife created this open and honest relationship with the girls, and she invited me into the circle. She helped me build this incredible relationship with my girls, one that I love, one that a cherish and one that I love to watch grow.
It was just a few hours on a Tuesday where our lives paused for a meal and a few tears and a few more laughs, but if you know me, those are the nights I will always love. They sneak up on you, they aren’t planned. Arguing about how Mike and Ike candy is gross and how maybe, just maybe, Reese’s pieces are better than peanut M&Ms. Nothing big happened, nothing I could tell you about without saying “you had to be there”, just a normal, random, completely perfect Tuesday Night for my tribe.
“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts” -Winnie The Pooh