Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seeds

Sometimes a follow-up entry is just necessary, don't you think? I mean, I could just leave you hanging. Let you draw your own conclusions. But if you know me at all, you know how much I despise silence when overt communication seems to clearly be the better option. So. Here's what happened Friday night when Jessica and I went out to dinner...


...I let her be her and she let me be me. There were no weird, pre-concocted questions. There were no forced issues. There was just a young woman and her proud dad having dinner together, enjoying each other's company, conversation, and laughter. We had a great time!

I'm learning what it means to be her friend while still being her dad. It sounds weird to me, so I don't mind if it does to you too. A part of me wants to protect her forever from anything that would cause her an ounce of pain. Believe me, it's a BIG part of me, but another part of me wants her to prosper and grow and gain strength and success and stand tall in the world. I know intellectually that pain is part of the growth process, so my desire for her growth seems like the antithesis of my wish to protect her. The reality is this: pain and protection from pain both have, as their finished product, growth. So, where does that leave me? It leaves me no choice but to admit that I'm going to struggle with this. And that 'this' is my struggle, not hers. I'm going to keep engaging her. I'm going to bumble along down this road some more. Sometimes I won't get it right and I know that, but I'm done doing only the things I get right! In the end, Jessica will forge her own way in this world and she will know that her dad loves her.

By the way, the name of the restaurant where we had dinner was: SEEDS

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank John. Your wisdom is growing. I'll see you soon. Mark

freeman said...

The safe statement is that parents struggle. It implies that dads fight the loss of their kids ("being little") but doesn't come right out and say it. It also implies that it's moms who have the greatest interest, the greatest loss and the greatest sense of separation anxiety that comes from watching one's children become their own person. Maybe they do but it doesn't change the heart of a dad. You've come out and said it: that in itself takes a different courage than most people picture when they think of courage. Kudos to you!

Like you, I ache [with pride of course] at the way my daughter is growing up - and away. I believe the struggle is a two way street between dad and daughter, not just our struggle as dads. The energy of youth and passion and discovery find other avenues to offset that struggle. For dads its different because the safety net we believed we were for our girls is gone but the protection of what we taught is still with them as they fight their own battles. Keep bumbling, stumbling, grumbling...and showing that as well as the strong character traits that we've got. Why? Because somewhere on the road of life (and love), at a time we may never know about, she'll be able to tell herself that it's okay to be bumbling, grumbling, stumbling...look at the great dad I had who taught me that.

Wonderland said...

John,

Dad's can be funny creatures. I know, I have one. But I believe she is saying to herself 'Lucky me'. One knows when they're enjoyed and allowed to be...You are doing that for her.

Are you and your daughter vegetarians? I am thinking veggie burgers, salads with Sunflower Seeds, in a restaurant named "Seeds"? Am I close??

John said...

wonderland-no my daughter and I are definitely meat eaters! The restaurant is named that because it is housed in a building formerly occupied by a seed company which turned itself into a really popular nursery and outgrew the building....but it WAS a good guess :)