Category / Families

Dad has to be careful driving to protect daughter's make-up kit

1. CRITICAL SUITCASE. From movies, I know how carefully a military aide to the President guards the briefcase known as “the football,” which contains the codes to launch nuclear weapons. In our family, we have a case that is just as vigilantly protected – my eldest’s make-up kit. On a recent trip, it had its own seat in our car, and before we hit the road, she carefully strapped it in with a seat belt to make sure we would not jostle its precious contents – which she spends a fortune replenishing. At least our case can release good into the world – enabling my daughter to feel great about how she looks. (Of course, she’s so beautiful she does not need any cosmetic embellishments, but I’ve accepted the make-up-free look is not how her particular friend group rolls.) As instructed, I drove cautiously with that precious cargo in the back, feeling reassured that the only thing the contents of that important case have the capability to destroy is our family budget.

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father in the scale of human evolution

1. PREHISTORIC TERMS. Every time I say “junior high” instead of “middle school” or “stereo” instead of “sound system,” my daughters look at me as if I’m so ancient I belong somewhere between Neanderthal and Cro-Magnan man in that scale of human evolution.

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Babies not allowed to sleep in parent's bed, dog was.

1. CANINE SUPERIORITY. Our kids never slept in our bed. Not sure why the dog has to.

2. FLEXIBLE FEATURES. At the dinner table, my wife and daughters can entertain each other by arching one eyebrow, making their earlobes wiggle and flaring their nostrils. I feel horribly deficient for being capable of only one such trick – curling my tongue. No one is impressed.

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Two girls with paternal and maternal grandfather.

1. TOUGH ACTS TO FOLLOW. Throughout our lives, my wife, kids and I have continually marveled at how loving, gentle, patient and devoted my father and father-in-law are. So on this Father’s Day, I have three things to say to my children’s grandfathers: 1. I love you both. 2. Thank you. 3. Why do you always set the bar for fathering so high? (Seriously, try to remember that I, unlike you, am not a member of “The Greatest Generation”!)

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Father is trendy too

1. SERENDIPITOUS TRENDSETTING. Having a fashionista in the house helps me gain all kinds of insights I never would have discovered on my own. Recently when my oldest daughter was sitting next to me, she pointed at my left hand and asked, “Why did you get a silver watch?” I didn’t, of course. My wife picked it out for me, based on my two criteria – that it be light-weighted and have a large day indicator (since I hate heavy accessories, can’t ever remember the date and can hardly see). Of course, I had no idea why my daughter would have any objection to this handsome new watch, so she had to explain, “It’s silver and your wedding band is gold. That’s mixing metals…

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Father and two daughers at a campground

1. S’MORES NO MORE. The days when my now teenaged daughters were willing to spend an entire weekend camping with their dad are long gone. As much attraction as fishing, canoeing and making S’mores by the campfire might have held, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I can no longer compete with malls and the endless supply they provide of clothing stores, ice cream shops and boys. (So now the tent is stored deep in the garage — it and me hoping it can come out of mothballs when they have kids!)

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His vs. hers beside tables

1. TABLE STUDY. All you need to do to quantify the vast differences between husbands and wives is inventory the contents of the tables on their respective sides of the marital bed. In my house it breaks down this way: MINE: Alarm clock. Eyeglass case. Lamp. HERS: Four pairs of variously colored drugstore eyeglasses. A professional journal to keep up with work stuff. A romance novel to decompress from work stuff. Three past issues of Oprah magazine. Two water bottles (to help meet those 8 recommended daily glasses!). Three varieties of cream – face, hand and body. One dish of assorted seashells (under a Reader’s Digest)…

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Things boys have to do to get prom dates

1. SO “PROMPOSAL” IS A REAL THING? It’s been fun to watch the boys in my town go to great lengths to ask my daughters and her friends to the junior prom. Signs have been made, cakes have been delivered, boys have gotten down on one knee. Of course, it’s all so much more elaborate than what my friends and I did 35 years ago. Back then, you just caught a girl between classes, popped the question in a quavering voice and hoped she wouldn’t embarrass you with a “No” within earshot of all the other kids passing by in the hall. And maybe that’s exactly why this generation of boys is so much cleverer than we were…

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Father with daughters as toddlers, then teens

1. STOP GROWING! My youngest recently turned fourteen. Overnight it seems like she grew another four inches, so that now both of my daughters are nearly as tall as I am. It does not feel right that they stand close to eye level with me. Maybe that’s why an old picture of them standing in front of me at half their current heights now has a prominent place on my desk.

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My daughter sounds like Sylvester Jr from Looney Tunes cartoons.

1. DISPLEASED DESCENDANT. I know I’m in trouble with my youngest when she calls me “Father” instead of “Dad.” She’s too young to get the reference, but when she addresses me that way, I can’t help but hear the voice of Sylvester Jr. from the old Looney Tunes cartoons. I half expect her to begin her explanations of how I’ve let her down with, “Oh father, oh father, the shame of it …”

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