Daddy's Little Girl

As I was going through the notes my mother wrote in my baby book, which she recently bequeathed to me, I have been struck by some really funny entries. For instance, when I was just over a year old, I would hit my diaper and shout ‘poop’ whenever I’d done just that, much to my parent’s entertainment. Another bizarre incident involved my mother holding my 9 month old self and standing at the bottom of the stairs shouting ‘Dad!’ in the mornings in order to wake up my father. The sweetest entry described how I would fall asleep holding the hand of my very first doll, a Raggedy Ann, at the tender age of 20 weeks.

 

I was curious to see if my mother recorded my first words, because I had no idea what they were. It was a complete surprise to find is that my first words were Da Da! I found this bit of information really startling. I would never have thought in a million years that my first words referred to my father. I would have thought Ma Ma for sure. Nope, it appears that I was a daddy’s girl right from the start.

 

As the child of divorced parents, you naturally gravitate toward one parent, and most of the time it is the mother. My mother raised me and my mother nurtured me. My mother was there every single day. When I saw my father, he played with me and entertained me. I adored my father when I was young because he was the fun one. Mom was the one who told us ‘no’. As I have grown up, I never really thought about the time I spent with my father when my parents were together. Obviously I was too young to remember, and like most people I am only really aware of things that happened to me within my living memory. He lived with us then, something that is really hard to imagine, and he even changed diapers, I am told.

 

Now that I am becoming a parent, I am thinking more and more about fathers and families. The man I chose to marry and begin my family with is nothing like my father. I somehow rebelled against the social phenomenon where girls choose partners similar to their fathers. My father, in the most loving way, could be compared to Homer Simpson: the nice guy who finishes last, who often ends up in the ER (often by his own doing), who enjoys the simple things in life, and whose appetite has a mind of its own. My dad never really took to school but he got a good job in law enforcement and he provided just fine for his family. Husband, on the other hand, had a very upper middle class childhood (although he will want me to point out that although they were culturally rich the were not financially rich) and was exposed to foreign cultures, travel, languages, art, history, and all things refined.

 

Indeed, I ended up choosing a partner more akin to my own likes and interests than those of my parents. That is mainly due to the fact that many of my interests are not shared by my family. Further to the above Simpson’s comparison, I am the Lisa Simpson of my family; the academic with convictions and ideals who struggles to fit in at home. My brother is the rambunctious Bart who is always in trouble but totally innocent. My mother is the caregiver Marge whose identity gets (happily) trampled in the process of bringing up a family. When I grew up and moved away, I was no longer defined by my family and was able to choose the person I wanted to become. I was then able to chose to marry a man who matched my newfound identity.

 

And now, with this pregnancy, I get to make my own family from scratch! What an amazing concept. I know Husband will be a great father. Although he has been typically male about the pregnancy so far, when we saw the heartbeat at the 12 week scan he squeezed my hand with excitement. I know he will adore his children and will expose them to the culture and values he was brought up on. Whether it be a boy or girl, he will insist on teaching them to be an avid sports fan, and will instil in them an appreciation for the great outdoors. On this Father’s Day I find myself looking ahead toward our life together as a family and can’t wait for it all to begin.

 

 

 

Leila Lacrosse blogs weekly at The American Baby Plan in London at http://leilalacrosse.livejournal.com/

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