When I found out I was expecting a baby girl, I remember worrying that my husband would be disappointed that we were not having a little boy. After all, don’t all men dream of having a son, a mini-me, that they can play and share experiences with? He assured me that he wasn’t disappointed at all, he was actually happy. He explained it would be like watching me grow up and he was excited to see who our little girl would become. Ironically, Maddy is indeed a mini-me of my husband and for better or worse (mostly better!), she looks and acts just like him.
As someone who loves them both, it has been fun to watch their relationship as father and daughter evolve. From having his toenails painted, to tea parties, to mastering the art of the pony tail, my husband has embraced his relationship with our daughter. He wants to know what she likes and do the things that interest her. But he has also shared his likes and interests with her and she has equally embraced them. As a toddler she loved playing with cars and trains and learning all about them. As a preschooler she loves learning about space and building doll houses from materials around the house. All things her Daddy loves and experiences she has shared with him. And that has been the key: all of their activities have been experiences they have shared together and time they have spent learning about each other.
As a mom I often think of myself as the primary caregiver and for our family that is mostly true. But I also recognize how important it is for my daughter to create her own unique connection with her dad. One evening a week my husband and daughter have what we call “Maddy Daddy Date Night.” I must admit, it was initially conceived because I worked one evening a week, but it has become a beloved ritual for them both. Each week, Maddy can’t wait for her “date night” with her Daddy and the feeling is mutual. My hope for them both is that their date nights continue long after the necessity fades. I am myself a self proclaimed “Daddy’s girl.” As a child and as an adult my relationship with each of my parents is very different, but equally cherished. I wish the same for my daughter.