Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Daughter (Guest Post)

Guest post of the day is by Bryan, the ever so clever author of both nuclearheadache and The Encyclopedia of Counted Sheep.

That's my daughter, Lea, to the left there.  She just turned 14 a few weeks ago, so that's kind of an old picture.  She's reaching that age where she's spending a lot of time hanging out with her friends and running around.  It's all part of that perpetual process of leaving the nest that repeats itself generation after generation, and like the long line of men before me I'm caught in the position between learning to gradually let go and being the worried father.  Although it's hardly a unique position, every man has to deal with it in his own unique way.  For me, whenever I start in worrying about something, my imagination always tends to take me to strange places.

On New Year's Eve she went to spend the night over at a friend's house.  I came by the next afternoon to pick her up.  I rang the doorbell, and when the friend's mother showed up, I explained to her that I was Lea's father.  She said only, "Okay", and then closed the door in my face.  So there I was on the porch, and almost a full ten minutes had passed and my daughter hadn't come out yet.  At that point, my wheels started to spin.  I started to think that they either had her tied up in the basement and they were consulting on how much of a ransom to ask for, or something bad had happened.  I imagined this conversation between the mother and father (we'll call them Alice and Bill.):

Alice: He's here!  What are we going to do?

Bill: He's going to know about it sooner or later.  It was an accident.  I'm sure he'll understand.

Alice: He'll understand!?  Bill, her head came completely off.

Bill: I'll just get some duct tape and...

Alice: This is serious.  He's going to call the police.

Bill: Well, get him to come inside.  I'll just beat him to death with my old bowling trophy, and then we'll ditch the bodies in the back yard.

Alice: Alight, go find the trophy.

At that moment, if the mother had poked her head out and said, "She'll be out in a couple of minutes.  You wanna come in and have some coffee.", I probably would have grabbed her, dragged her through the door, and demanded to see my daughter.  Alright, well maybe I would have and maybe I wouldn't have.  Clearly I'm exaggerating, but I was getting a little worried.  When my daughter finally showed up, I said, "I've been waiting out here for like ten minutes."

"We were in the middle of doing something."  Wonderful. 

I'm sure from her point of view, she just thought I was ticked off about having to wait.  I'm sure it came across that way.  Obviously, she has no appreciation for the sorts of things that run through my mind.  Oh well, she'll have kids of her own one day.  I tell her I worry about her, but when you're a kid and you hear this, you think your dad is just being sweet or something.  You have no idea.  Sometimes I even look in on her when she's sleeping, as if something's going to happen to her in her own bed.  How can you even explain these kind of neuroses without sounding like a lunatic?

But it's a balance.  It's a fine line you have to walk.  If I let my anxieties run away with me, then I'd be doing her more harm in the long run.  She has to learn to take those first fragile steps in the world, or she'll never be able to survive if she's confronted with this insanity that we call "real life" all at once.  And so I let her go, but as she's heading out the door, I always say, "Be careful."  I have no idea what that's suppose to mean.  Neither does she.


DawnZhang said...

This always happens with my father and me. He always gets worried and gets angry even if I am a minute late. I guess through your post I have just looked into his mind. This is a wonderful post. Thank you and you have a pretty daughter. :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing! Dead-on description of the lunacy that comes with being a parent.

Kate said...

This is a terrific post Bryan. I put myself in your shoes reading it and can only imagine the lump in your throat when the mom shut the door on you. That woman needs to learn manners, just a side note :) It sounds like your daughter has a good head on her shoulders because of you!


nuclearheadache said...

Yeah, it was pretty rude. She wasn't nice about it at all, either. She looked me up and down like a cockroach, and then shut the door. I think that was the main thing that got me worrying that something was wrong. Turns out she was just a...ummm...not nice person. Yeah, let's go with that.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Site Meter