Everyone tells you that you will feel sorrow but no one could prepare you for legitimate heartache that comes with that. Everyone tells you how you will hurt, but I am here to tell you how you will grow.
If a former runaway teen with decades of anger and distance and thousands of miles between her and her father could find her way back to a lonely old man in a wheelchair finally ready to talk to anyone who wants to listen, anyone can bridge the gap.
When I think of my father in the time before he became my father, he seems marvelously determined and ready to get the hell started with his life. My father always appreciated a straightforward narrative.
Traditionally, fathers and daughters have struggled to regain the connection they shared when the girl was very young: the time of shoulder rides and tickle attacks. But fathers are learning to be role models for their daughters throughout adolescence and into adulthood.
As I stood over him, noticing the deep crease in his left earlobe and the shallow pulse in his neck, I thought nothing of the man he hadn't been. Nothing. Every harsh word exchanged, every disappointment, every hurt, vanished. All I could see was my father.
Your daughter needs to know that you are there for her -- that you will protect her, do anything for her and will not judge her. Make sure you are cultivating a safe relationship with your daughter so that she knows she can come to you in times of trouble.
It's a strange feeling, saying goodbye to the baby phase. We've been in this phase since returning from our honeymoon. We didn't come back from Hawaii pregnant like most couples; we returned knowing it was the right time to pursue our dreams of becoming dads.
My urge, my only urge, is to wrap her up in my long arms and hold on dearly while the quietest storm passes over us -- only I'm pretty sure there is no storm on the horizon at all. This is growing up. This is riding the seesaw between goofy kid and complex young adult.
She loves the bright sun and the way it feels on her skin. She adores the feel of the breeze on her face. She takes joy in slowly moving her hands through the sand. She breathes in the ocean air the same way I breathe in the smell of freshly-made chococlate chip cookies.
This isn't a story about regret or failure. I raise my voice because I do a lot as a parent, because there's a lot going on. We all have a lot going on. And kids don't listen all the time, nor should they be expected to.
She may not love us as she thinks she should. "Should" is a nasty word -- she will learn that, too, as she learns to navigate the world that has disappointed her so. For now... I will take what I can get. And give all. As always. Because she is the best thing I have ever done.
For fans of "The Twilight Zone," Rod Serling was the cool, dark-haired, tight-jawed narrator with the distinctive voice, who took viewers on a suspenseful guided tour into another dimension, during the Golden Age of television. To Anne Serling, he was "Dad."