My daughter turns 13 today. **pause for reflection** **pause for reflection–again** Wow! I have a 13-year-old. A 13-year-old girl! It is a huge understatement to say that since the minute she came into my life it has never been the same.
As I am writing this post, she is sitting in front of me while my wife does her hair. She now likes to wear her hair a certain way. She is 13. I am trying to digest it all. One or two dads reading this can relate.
It is hard to put into words the feelings you have as a dad when your baby girl is becoming a young lady. On one hand you are proud of the young lady she is becoming. On the other hand you miss the days when she was daddy’s little girl.
You also think of you, your homeboys, and girls when you were 13! Ever had that nervous feeling in your stomach? Yep, I got it.
As I think of all that and the 13 years of being the dad of a daughter, I realize how much my life has changed. The changes have been very eye-opening, very humbling, and very necessary for a dad with a daughter.
Below are 13 ways having a 13-year-old daughter turned my world upside down.
- I see other women as someone’s daughter. Do I need to admit I didn’t always view women appropriately. Having a daughter changes that quickly. If other people viewed my daughter the way I used to view women, I’d have major problems.
- I became the model of a man immediately, yet undeservedly. Dads, we are the first man our daughter will love. Whether we know or they know it, we are their image of what a man should be. I didn’t deserve it because I was a bad image when she was born, but I hope the image she sees today is a good one.
- I had to step up my game with my wife. Seeing me love my wife/her mother would shape her ideal of a husband, and a dad. If I talk to my wife a certain kind of (disrespectful) way, and treat our daughter differently I’d be out of order. When she becomes a woman, a wife, she’ll know she should be the queen, and the kids are princesses and princes.
- I realized the TV is not my friend. Let’s be real. The images of women on TV are sad, and shameful at times. I quickly learned the TV was not a friend to me or my daughter. I can’t think of a woman on TV I’d like my daughter to emulate more than my wife. Too much TV could lead to her viewing herself in a way that is not good for her growing into the young lady we are raising her to be.
- I learned to speak a new language. I had to learn another language other than “dude.” My communication style changed. If it didn’t we may not be able to talk at all. I had to be more sensitive in my conversation, and use many more words! All while I stopped using others.
- The girls I used to “like” I no longer do. For this point, let’s just say I focused on the outside, the appearance, or clothing a girl wore when I was younger. Now, I’m like what if my daughter was that girl, or became that girl. That would be tough to deal with.
- I watch ‘little dudes’ closer than I ever have. They may not know it, but these little dudes her age think I’m cool with them just because. I got my eye on ’em. I’m not trying to be the overprotective dad with the shotgun. But I’m trying to be the dad who is present, and involved. But if I have to be the overprotective dad…see below #10.
- I wish I learned to do hair. I did my daughter’s hair one time, and it was a mess. My wife was out of town, and I needed help. I was kind of banned from doing it again. But if I really wanted to do it, they would have allowed me. Then maybe I would have gotten better. I’ve read of dads who do, or have done, their daughter’s hair and it sounds like great moments to bond.
- I learned I have to get better at listening! If you don’t listen well as a dad of a daughter you will have issues. I am still learning my listening skills need some serious work. I am not there yet, but I will be.
- I realize I’m capable of really hurting someone. Earlier I said I don’t want to be that crazy dad, but I realize if a little dude hurt my daughter…I’ll leave it at that.
- I realize how soft I can actually be. Having a daughter brings out your soft side. You may find yourself getting teary eyed during movies. You may find yourself doing some things you never ever thought you’d do. But you’ll enjoy it all!
- I am thankful I married a wonderful woman and mother. When our daughter was born we were not married. And let’s say I wasn’t really the type of dude you want to marry. But my wife saw something in me, and I am blessed our daughter can see how a wife of noble character carries herself.
- I realized there were more important things in life. I was selfish. Period, point blank. When our daughter was born I had this little baby, who could do nothing on her own. A little baby who looked like me, and who needed me. My selfish needs had to be pushed aside.
I’m thankful for each and every one of those ways because they all came as a result of one of the greatest blessings in my life. Although I sometimes wish I had a pause button, I am looking forward to seeing her continue to grow up, and continue to turn my world upside down.
BMWK – Do you have a daughter? How has having a daughter changed your life?