Some of you have privately inquired what's gotten into me lately, writing so many relationship type posts. The simple answer is that I'm petrified about being a father. More specifically, I'm worried that I am going to be a horrible father to a daughter. Women are complicated enough. To add a daughter into the mix is absolutely terrifying.
I can imagine my teenage daughter coming home one day crying because her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. I turn to her mother, “Honey, I'll be right back. I need to go break some bones.”
No matter what I say, she won't come out of her room so I begin to wonder whether she's OK. Her heartbreak is my heartbreak. And as a father, I know she will tell me that I just don't understand what she's going through.
All I can do is be patient and be there for her when she finally opens up. In the meantime, I pray to God she's doing nothing to hurt herself. I also pray these are the times when her mother will be able to calm her soul and ease her pain. Feeling helpless to help someone you love is horrible.
I want my daughter to find the love of her life early on and never break up. I want her to be brilliant, beautiful, and happy. By the time she graduates from college, I hope society treats men and women perfectly the same. Let there not be arcane tax laws, pay differentials, and old boys clubs with glass ceilings. I hope she never experiences tremendous loss.
Perhaps I overanalyze things too much. There are millions of fathers who manage just fine. But I'm the student who never believes he's smart enough to finish an exam with 30 minutes to spare so I check every single answer twice over. My friends say that nobody will ever truly be ready for fatherhood. I know they are right so I continue to write and hope that one day I will better understand.
For those of you who are fathers of daughters, or parents in general, how did you prepare? Where were expectations about parenthood different from reality? What were some things that really came out of left field which left you completely dumbfounded? For those of you with multiple kids, how do you do it?