Chapter 4 — My Date with Destiny (Dude to Dad passage)
…I didn’t have an immediate connection with this newborn child in the delivery room, and I started to wonder if there was something wrong with me for not having a gushier reaction.
Then it was time for my daughter to be taken somewhere else with the nurses. I tagged along behind the women in white, I don’t know why. It was very quiet when they started cleaning up the infant and doing all those things that I’m sure they do to all babies, when when Nurse Ratched pricked baby Victoria’s heel and drew a blob of blood, I never wanted to punch a lady more in my life.
The moment that pin-dagger touched the tiny foot, my fist closed hard as a handball, but at the exact same moment my heart opened so wide so fast that I almost passed out from the onslaught of emotion. I suddenly had a feeling of compassion and protection so overwhelming for this brand-spanking-new little person that I literally couldn’t breathe.
And that let-me-throw-myself-on-a-hand-grenade-before-harm-comes-to-my-child feeling has never let up for a second…
Chapter 4 — My Date with Destiny (Dating Magic Passage)
… Whitney stood there and let me open the door for her, and after making sure she was buckled in, I walked around to my side.
That’s when I thought, “this is the first time I’ve consciously opened the door for my daughter, like she’s a special young lady.” It was true. I wasn’t thinking about work, or anything else. I was totally focused on my date.
Who was nine years old.
Dinner went great. I asked her questions about her friends, and I learned more about Whitney’s world in that little dinner conversation than I had being her daddy for her entire life. I mean, I couldn’t get her to stop chattering, and it wasn’t aimless conversation. It was meaningful. She talked about how she felt about people, about a boy who liked her, but who she thought was icky. I thought that it so funny that I had never heard of this guy/kid. I knew the names of Whitney’s basic circle of girlfriends, but clearly not much else.
But I got to know them all that night, as well as my second daughter. I was amazed to discover how this child made decisions, which were based on criteria in her little mind about what’s good and bad… things I knew nothing about a few hours before. And I was blown away by that discovery, because so many of her insights were right on.
… Pretty soon I remembered she had a curfew, and her mom would kill me if I brought my date home late on a school night.
And as I was walking her to the car under the moonlight, I couldn’t believe how much was inside that little girl, and how smart she was, and how much she had shared with me that evening.
We hopped in, I threw it in reverse, and as I put my hand on the back of the passenger seat to look over my shoulder, I caught a glimpse of my daughter’s face.
Whitney was weeping. Living with five females I thought good gosh, what did I say now? What did I DO?
I hit the brake.
“Uh oh, what’s the matter, honey?”
She looked up at me, her eyelashes wet and shiny and tears streaming down her face.
“Nothing.” (Oh right, she’s a girl.)
“Honey you’re crying. Did I say something to hurt your feelings?”
“No Daddy, nothing’s wrong. It’s just that I’ve never felt this special before.”
We both boohooed all the way home.
I thought about the impact of a simple evening, one day mid-week. All I did was carve out special time for this one girl, made a real effort to get to know her in a relaxed, enjoyable environment that suited her unique personality— and the result was pure magic, and a memory of a lifetime.
I thought “hey, maybe I’m not gonna screw up, after all. I can pursue getting to know my girls, and win.”
And from that day on, I haven’t questioned Daddy Dates for one single moment.
Chapter 10 — How to Talk to a Girl
… First, open the big heavy oak door of the Man Brain and you’ll see The Container Store. It’s got a million little separate boxes in it. There’s the Work Box. The Play Box. The Wife Box. The Kid Box. The Learning Box. The Pay the Bills Box. The Poker Box. The Cut the Grass Box… all the things that make up MEN are compartmentalized in there.
There’s only one thing in each box. And it’s clearly labeled. And what it says is in the box is actually IN the box.
Now we go through the lovely French doors with the cute curtains and step inside to the Woman Brain. You are now completely and utterly disoriented. Because you’ve just stumbled into the big giant Earth size space where it’s all of her experiences and knowledge and relationships, and they are bumping into each other. The Friendship piece is connected to the Work piece which is connected to the Children piece and the Fashion piece and the Education piece and the Emotion Piece and all these things are touching and interconnected and moving around and it’s enough to make the blood stop flowing and they should start measuring a male visitor for a casket.
There’s no way a guy can get this environment, and it explains the auto reach for the remote. Click. Sports. Click. News. Click. Action. Click, click click. Box, box, box. Sweet.
So logically, conversation with a female is a problem… Half the time, I get woozy in conversation with girl relatives because of a basic processing snafu. I know words are coming out of her mouth but I can’t make sense of the flow, which just won’t stay in one place.
That’s why we often think they’re nuts and they always think we’re stupid.
Chapter 13 — The River and the Whirlpool
The Lone Ranger is an idiot. Yes, he’s got Tonto, but it’s not like they’re sitting around the campfire chatting about the meaning of life. The Lone Ranger goes about his hi-ho-ing business as if he doesn’t need anything but a mask, a trusty steed, and a yes man.
You know what I think? That’s why he’s always getting into the same scrapes over and over and over.
Or maybe I’m just not hero material . When I try to go it along and keep things to myself, I don’t do very well. I stumble, I make mistakes, and I get in knots over nothing.
I recently went to a conference about how men are, by nature, loners capable of deceptions, depression, and questionable deeds if left to our own devic3es, but stay out of trouble when open and connected to responsible others who hold us accountable. I made the same observation a while ago, which is why I sought out more seasoned men as advisors–like my friend and neighbor Melvin, who is an emotional gas station where I can fill up and keep going back when I’ve hit a speed bump in life. When I look back to the times when I’ve been winning, there is one absolute. I am always accountable to somebody.