My nine year old daughter Anna and I are about to embark on an adventure together. For a few years now, I’ve thought it would be a good idea for daddy and daughter to just get away and spend time with each other. My hope is that it solidifies bonds that are likely to be strained in the unavoidable years of teenage drama ahead.
Now I’m just hoping we just get through the weekend!
It’s not that I’m really worried about it. We’re pretty close already. But without the distractions of her mother and brother, I’m going to be her only listening post. She likes to talk. A lot. Just one of many reasons she doesn’t have her own cell phone yet, and when she does, it’ll have to be an unlimited talk plan.
Seriously, this trip is very important and I hope it’s an annual event. We’re heading off to Atlanta to see the sites. With a City Pass in hand, we’re aiming to hit a natural history museum, the zoo, the aquarium and the World of Coke, not to mention a mandatory dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and a dip in the pool. It’s supposed to be fun and I believe that it will be.
But I’m also in the middle of reading Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Meeker. Dave Ramsey recommended this book a few years ago, and I’m just now getting to it. Big mistake to wait two years! If you have daughters, you need to read this book (moms and dads both). I’m amazed at what I’m learning about my daughter and how her mind works, while simultaneously scared to death at and in awe of the responsibility of being a father (not that it wasn’t already huge). I’ve tried to be a good dad…now I need to be a good dad more than ever.
Anna turned nine this month. It’s hard to believe that nine years ago she was ripped into this world, three months early and weighing just two pounds. She was a fighter from the beginning, and it’s still in her when she wants something (she’s a leader and an arguer…I’m thinking lawyer, judge or ambassador). In some ways it seems like yesterday I was putting my wedding ring on her arm two hours after she was born, and it went all the way to her shoulder.
I’m a nerd and numbers just pop into my head all the time. She’s nine, and in nine more years we’ll be sending her off to college. What!?!?! My little girl will be a high school graduate in just nine years (God willing). Nine years is not a lot of time. Nine more after that and I’m likely to be a grandfather…sorry, that’s the math talking again…shut up math!
Nine years. A lot of college savings left to do. A lot of trials and struggles to endure. A lot of temptations to prepare for, and boys to chase away with my shotgun (note to self: get a shotgun).
Most importantly, it’s nine years that will shape her into the woman she will become. And as I’m learning from Dr. Meeker’s book, there’s probably no greater influence on her than what kind of man I am. It’s a daunting responsibility. Am I up for it? Not by myself. But I had a pretty good father who modeled well for me, and more than that, I have a Father in Heaven who will be with us both during the journey.
Look for an after trip report in the next few days. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book or your own experiences as a father or daughter in the comments.