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Fathers and Daughters
September 24, 2012 |
We have a beautiful and wonderful two-year-old daughter. As a new father I have a set of fears that are haunting me. What kind of person will she be? Am I doing a decent job? What if something bad happens to her? What kind of world will she be in when we're gone? The list goes on and on.
Did you feel these fears when you had your child? Do you still have them? How do you deal with them?
Still have them, J.B., and mine are all the more acute because I am an elderly dad -- I was 55 when my little girl was born -- and so the worry about What Will She Do Without Me is rather keen. And I am nobody's idea of a good father. I'm gone a lot, I'm too busy, I'm restless, etc. My father was a good dad according to his own lights and provided for us and was a man of absolute integrity, though I can't remember us ever talking about important things and he and I never "bonded," whatever that may mean. I have known several men who were excellent fathers and who made big sacrifices in order to spend plenty of time with their kids and I berated myself for not being as good as they and then one of them died suddenly and I was sort of shocked by the grief of his kids, who were well grown by then -- their sense of shame that they had disappointed him somehow. So it's always complicated. Enjoy your little girl. Be playful. Be demonstrative. Be foolish. You'll find out who she is and it may surprise you. And I don't know how to deal with fear, except that the day is too short to spend much time on fear, and fear is not nearly as interesting as your daughter is.