Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's the small things

I was fortunate to spend part of the weekend with my daughter. I suppose she will always be my little girl, but the last signs of that little girl are slipping away and she has become a young woman. I still don't know how to be the father of a girl let alone the father of a young woman.

But she makes me so proud. And little things give me joy about being part of her life. Earlier in the week when we got together she was telling some about her recent prom date and her dress. Admittedly those are things I don't fully appreciate. Oh, sure I can appreciate how a woman looks in a dress, but I don't really understand the pride a young woman takes in something like her first prom dress. But I could appreciate the pride she expressed and the smile on her face as she told me about her evening.

I was also quite proud to learn that she wore the silver bracelet I got for her for her 16th birthday and the fact that she borrowed a matching necklace from an aunt to wear with it for her first prom. The fact that she wore that bracelet on a special occasion for her made me feel like I was part of that special night, and a little bit of me was there with her.

As an absentee parent, I've come to appreciate, even celebrate, the little things, those little moments that make be feel like a parent or at least a special person in her life.

It doesn't pay to be picky. I take what I can get. There was another little moment over the weekend that I latched onto, even though it was a bit, um, odd, at least it seems that why when I try to comprehend how to explain it.

One of those celebrity gossip shows, perhaps "Entertainment Tonight" was starting on TV and their were talking about a story and showing a video in which actor David Hasselhoff was drunk and being filmed by his 16-year-old daughter. As poor timing would have it, I picked that moment of our little family Cinco de Mayo celebration to venture into the kitchen for a cerveza. My daughter was in the kitchen, near the refrigerator, and opened up the fridge, of her own initiative, to grab a malt beverage. She said, loudly and with more than a hint of sarcasm, "Here's your beer DAD!"

Her mother said, "Don't do it, don't you dare do it." And I said to my daughter, "Great, can you videotape me too when I get drunk."

We all had a good laugh out of it, but truth be told I was downright giddy, and not due to the beer. But it was the first time, albeit under strange circumstances, that my daughter ever called me dad to my face. Another man has that moniker. Although I have heard her refer to me indirectly, to her friends, as her "real" dad. But not Dad. Normally, if she refers to me in a formal sense it is by my first name.

So, perhaps its not that moment when a child, first learning to speak, says "Dada" or "Papa" or "Papi" or some such thing somewhere around age 1. Fifteen years late is far, far better than never, even if said in jest. I'll take it and hold out some small hope that maybe there will be more in the future.

I'll save the other awkward parental moment from the weekend for another post.

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