Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Do you like little girls??

My dad has been on my mind a lot lately, comingled with thoughts of a much simpler and innocent time.  My dad worked for a school district in Oakland County. He worked there for many, many years and ultimately retired from there.  One of his interview questions was "do you like little girls?".  His answer??  "I hope so, I've got two of them."  And he got the job.  That popped in my mind late last night.

My dad did love his girls.  He had a tendency to treat us more like guys, but he loved us.  I shot guns, my sister played with bows and arrows.  We both qualified at Jr. Olympic level before we got stupid and hormonal and quit to go on dates and play with boys.  He cried when I got my ears pierced.  He threatened the life of my first boyfriend (under his breath and repeatedly) and he about went ballistic whenever I got myself into stupid or compromising situations.  (Yes, I was an 80's teen)  My sister didn't get into half the trouble I did but somehow managed to get into plenty of trouble just the same.  I think he spent our teen years mumbling and cursing under his breath and trying to pretend that we just didn't happen.  But he loved us.  There was no doubt.

My dad loved his daughters.  But he adored his granddaughter.  We might of made his world go round (until we knocked it clear of its axis) but she was the sunshine that lit up his life like no other.  He dressed her in little tights and cowboy boots. He took her with him whenever he could and quite frankly was a bit of a show off with her.  Whereas with my sister and me he was a little awkward and uncomfortable with our girlishness, with her he was totally at ease with Barbies and purses and tea sets.  If we went shopping at a store with a toy aisle he would most likely drag her in the direction of the pink stuff immediately.  To keep her out of my hair while I shopped, of course.  He was wrapped so tight around her little finger that he resembled a pretzel whenever she was near and my biggest complaint was that he had a tendency to spoil her at a time that she needed a father figure.  I resented that then. I realize now it wasn't his job.  His job was grandfather.  And he was good at his job.

My dad passed away before his granddaughter hit her teenage years.  Laid low by that bastard cancer.  He didn't have to deal with purple hair, emotional meltdowns, the goth period or her brief stint with rebellion in 11th grade.  And God how I wish he'd have been around when she was learning how to drive.  I still have PTSD from time on her learner's permit.  Sometimes I wonder if their relationship would have changed. Would he have ended up as awkward with her as he was with us?  How would he have reacted to her in her Homecoming dress and Prom and Sweet Sixteen and her first kiss?  Would he have tried to pretend she just didn't happen?  I don't think so.  I think if he had lived he would have figured it out the second time around.  I think he would have grown up with her and figured out the teenage years.  He would have been a shoulder to cry on.  A comforting hand on her back and a voice of reason in this crazy world.  I think he would have been very proud of the adult she has become.  Dean's list, Honor Society, and a solid plan for her future.  Yeah, I think my dad would have been ok with her.  After all my daddy liked little girls.  Back when it was ok to do so.