When my daughter comes to me and says, “Daddy, I got a new book about hair braids from the library and I want to braid my hair in a Viking braid. What do you think?”
I tell her, “Baby…you do whatever you want to do with your hair. There are plenty of things and people out there waiting to tell you what you can and can’t do with it…and trust me…you can still do whatever you want…but absolutely…do whatever you want!”
and when she smiles and runs off to her room and then comes back to show me these:
and then my wife comes to me one evening and says:
“I want to tell you something. Sarah was so upset she cried all the way home from dance class.”
“why?” I asked
“Some of the girls at dancing decided to coordinate their outfits and they wanted to include Sarah but they have no way to get in touch with her. I think we need to consider letting her have a cellphone.”
“She’s 11….I don’t know…” I reasoned
“Eric, She’s responsible….she’s been around computers and email and chat stuff on the computer pretty much her whole life..and she’s never done anything inappropriate.”
I have to admit…if there is one thing neither of my kids have in interest in doing…it’s looking for trouble. They may get in to trouble…but they don’t seek out ways to cause trouble….
“Yeah…you’re right” I respond with a heavy sigh. (she is.)
So we look into it……and we find a reasonable phone…and we give it to her
and I talk to her…about all the messed up, fucked up things, other human beings can do to you when they have a direct connection to your life. I tell her how there are people out there, sick sick sick people, who get a thrill out of tormenting other people online. And I make her understand that she doesn’t take pictures of herself to send to ANYONE…she doesn’t talk to anyone about anything that makes her feel uncomfortable. and the minute someone says, “Don’t tell your parents but….” That is a huge red flag that she needs to get out of that conversation immediately. Just like my parents did, I pass on the warnings I can…try to outfit her like I should…and let her know I love her and she can tell me absolutely anything in the world…then I turn her loose into the vast world of technology and being in contact with her fellow humans…pretty much 24/7
This little girl is growing up so fast…and I believe she is going to be one hell of a woman. and it’s always my greatest wish that she understands just how much I love her, which I tell her multiple times a day EVERY day…and how beautiful I think she is, which I tell her at least twice a day (Once in my standard morning phone call to the house to check on everyone and at night..when I tuck her in).
I’m going to make sure that when she feels like no one else believes in her, I always will.
And any help I can lend her throughout her life, is immediately ready and standing by, at her word. (and will sometimes arrive before she can even ask)
So after turning over the phone to her. I got a few fun text messages. We put her picture as on my phone attached to her number..and I gave her a special message tone which is a sound effect from Star Trek (of course)…and for a couple of days I’ve been getting. “Hello Daddy!” and kissy face emojis. to which I always respond with, “Love you, Pretty Girl” and lots of heart emojis.
then I get this one yesterday, I think…I don’t even remember the day or the time…because it made my heart stop and my eyes fill up:
I wear my superman t-shirt a lot. But it struck me this way:
If this young lady
feels like I have anything in common
with Kal-El, The Last Son of Krypton, The Man of Steel, Clark Kent, Superman
then I feel, though I am in no way even close to him, he and I may have similarities
I can not express how deeply it strikes my heart
that she draws that conclusion….
…and how much I feel that I have won this round of Life.