I'm a Girl Dad

Updated: Apr 27, 2021

When you tell people that you have three daughters they always respond the same way. First they will apologize and next they will ask if you’re going to keep trying for a boy. I sometimes wonder if people actually feel sorry for those that have only girls. As if having daughters is a curse or plague brought upon us as punishment for some unforgiven sin. Each time one of my girls where born people would warn me for the teenage years. They acted like they had some civic duty to warn me of the difficult years ahead.

The truth is, when we started out, I did want boys. I wanted a whole baseball team of boys. I grew up in a household that had four boys and only one girl. I felt a comfort in the rough housing and antics that came with brothers. When boys get in a fight the punches will be thrown but forgiveness is quick. When girls get in a fight it can be remembered for eons with emotional scars and enduring grudges. Yes, I wanted boys.

When Tiff was pregnant with Olivia, the ultrasound revealed a girl. I’ll admit for a brief moment I had some disappointment. I imagine most men look forward to passing on their knowledge of the world to miniature version of themselves. That moment quickly passed though. The thought of protecting and raising a girl overcame me. Someone to look up to me as a protector and provider was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. For real men a daughter is a joy and a light. She provides additional accountability. You never want to disappoint her. She loved me the moment she was born and I loved her.

By the time we were pregnant with Atlanta we were surprised to be blessed with another girl. This one came with a bit of angst, however. How could I possibly love another daughter the way I love my first? How would it be fair to split my love for my oldest to share with another. Somehow, by God’s will, my capacity to love simply increased. I finally embraced the pink in the house rather than keeping neutral colors just in case we had a boy (although, Atlanta has never been quite the fan of pink). I began to see my life as a girl dad.

By the time Lily was conceived, I had completely come around. Not only was I okay with her being a girl but I was relieved. We knew girls at this point and we were comfortable with what they brought. But Lily came quite a bit early. She was born during the 26th week of Tiff’s pregnancy. At only 1 lbs. 16 ounces, she was a fighter. The doctors explained that the survival rate on a girl that early is much greater than a boy. After a long 75 days in the NICU Lily came home with us at just over 4 lbs.

Each one of my girls has brought more light and joy in my life that I could have ever imagined. I thought, when younger, that girls would cause me to miss out on the things that seemed to define me as boy when I was younger. I felt that I would trading camping for tea parties, baseball for dance recitals, and daring for dainty. My life has not turned out this way. That doesn’t mean that haven’t had my share of facials, Barbies and polish on my toes. But I need no sympathy. I am more blessed by my wife and daughters than I could ever have hoped.

With each came new personalities, strengths and frustrations. They each brought new ways for me to learn and grow as they experienced new things. It has become obvious to why, as parents, we desire a better life for our children. We have a desire to protect them for the world, with its hardships, ridicule, and failure. Having my girls has taught me that resilience of a child exceeds that of their parents. I’ve learned that I may want to protect them from a fall but I’m only supposed to soften the blow. It would be failure on my part to shelter them in such a way that they are not prepared for the unpredictable.

It seems that many of the problems that occur in the world stem from our failures as parents and more specifically fathers. We’ve abandoned our true responsibilities and have left the moral, spiritual and educational compass of our children in the hands of the schools, churches, and (most frightening) the government. When these teachings do not begin and end in the home our children are easily manipulated and confused by the thoughts and philosophies of those that are simply the loudest.

Raising daughters is not a burden but instead a blessing. Girls are not just made up of “sugar and spice…” but they plenty of piss and vinegar. Luckily for my wife and me, we enjoy the time we spend with our daughters. The reason that people believe that teenage girls are so difficult to deal with is because we’ve left them to associate with others girls whose fathers have not created firm foundations of love and kindness. We’ve allowed influences from outside the home that we would never let inside. We avoid hard conversations when young, thus making them impossible when older. What a sad story to it is to want to avoid your daughters, when you should be embracing every interaction. If you don’t like your daughters it’s because they’ve began to act like someone else’s daughter. If you don’t like your daughters then you should have ire for yourself, not them.

I am far from perfect. My children have work to do. Even my wife, with her charity and kindness, will tell you she has shortcomings. Olivia is wise beyond her years with confidence and wit but unfortunately for her she is too much like her father. Like me, she believes she is right even when proven wrong. Atlanta’s stubbornness has proven to be a strength and a weakness. But I’ve never seen someone so brave. She’s willing to face hard things. She has a desire to raise a family as (never add “just”) a mother. She is never without her sense of humor. And Lily, what a fighter. From the beginning of her life to she has chosen to fight. With that fight comes love and appreciation for the relationships in her life. Her desire to love and be loved sometimes causes her frustration when not immediately understood. But she will fight for you.

Building a strong, eternal relationship with my daughters will be one of the most important things I do. It will dictate how they view other men in their lives. Most importantly it will greatly influence their relationship with God. Yes, I’m a girl dad. I own it. I love it. I am better for it.

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